BYU Football: First college start thrills Cougars' Blair Tushaus
Provo • Five days later, BYU offensive lineman Blair Tushaus got chills and goosebumps while talking about his first college football start.
"It was unreal," said the sophomore center from Scottsdale, Ariz. "When I was first told [I would start], it didn't hit me. But when I stepped on that field and [saw] 65,000 fans ... it was pretty cool. It is hard to describe."
Tushaus got the nod at center over Houston Reynolds after a battle that lasted most of preseason camp; Reynolds rotated at guard with Brock Stringham.
For Tushaus, it was extra special because his parents, Kirk and Marianne, had made the trip from Arizona.
"A lot of my hard work, I dedicate to them," he said. "I am a father's son, and I do a lot of that stuff for him. He played college football at Kansas, and I know he was proud of me. It was a really cool feeling, between father and son."
Tushaus was perfect on his snaps back to the quarterback, but WSU's nose tackles, Ioane Gauta and Kalafitoni Pole, were seemingly in BYU's backfield the entire night, stuffing runs and recording tackles for loss.
"You know, [Tushaus] did a really nice job in terms of directing the calls and protection, and then delivering the ball to the quarterback," coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "And now the mastery and the physical play of executing the job, once he has directed all the traffic [has to happen] because there is so much for the center to do. You make all the calls, deliver the ball, and then you have to actually do your job. So he's assignment sound. So now mastery of the assignment is kinda the next step."
Hoffman will be healthy
Receiver Cody Hoffman, who suffered a left quadriceps contusion against Washington State, practiced for the second straight day and said he expects to make up for lost time on Saturday against Weber State.
"I just got a helmet just right in the thigh," he said, describing the injury that kept him out the final three quarters. "It was just deep bruising in my muscle."
Hoffman it was disappointing to watch most of the game from the sidelines, because his parents had made the trip from Crescent City, Calif., for the game, but he just couldn't run well enough to be effective.
Count offensive coordinator Brandon Doman among those who thought the Cougars could have been more effective in the red zone. BYU had to settle for field goals four times after moving the ball to the WSU 15-yard line or closer, making three.
"Yeah, that was concerning to me," Doman said. "We had done so well there, running 48 plays in the first half. I was real impressed with our guys and how they had done. Then, goodness, we got into those situations down there in the red zone and didn't finish. ... I think I made a couple errors on some of those third-and-7s, third-and-8s, going into the end zone. I made a couple of mistakes as well with the play-calling."
BYU was just outside the top 25 in both college football polls that were released Tuesday. The Cougars are No. 28 in the Associated Press poll and No. 27 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.
Weber State at BYU
Saturday, 1 p.m.