Provo • If BYU’s football players and coaches are upset about having Saturday’s game against LSU moved from Houston to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, they are doing a good job hiding it.
“It is really the same kind of trip,” assistant head coach Ed Lamb said Tuesday as coaches and players met with reporters for the first time since the change of venue was announced because of Hurricane Harvey. “We are going to play an opponent in an unfamiliar place. It doesn’t matter to us.”
It obviously matters to the 10,000-plus BYU fans who purchased tickets to the game at Houston’s NRG Stadium, and many of them vented their frustrations on social media Monday night. Not only is New Orleans more difficult to get to than Dallas, San Antonio or some of the other sites bandied about, the Big Easy is just a 90-minute drive from LSU’s campus in Baton Rouge.
What was expected to be a pro-LSU crowd in Houston (LSU has reportedly sold 23,000 tickets) will be an overwhelmingly pro-LSU crowd in New Orleans, which doesn’t have nearly the LDS Church population that South Texas does.
“That is kind of a bummer for our fans, but man, we are excited to play no matter where it is at,” said freshman safety Chaz Ah You. “We can’t wait to get out there.”
Tickets for the relocated game will go on sale Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. through the schools’ ticketing websites. BYU’s website is at www.BYUtickets.com. Fans who previously purchased tickets through BYU will receive a separate email with buying instructions.
Tickets open to the general public — not in the sections seating primarily BYU fans — will go on sale Wednesday at 3 p.m. MDT through Ticketmaster.com.
At least three projected contributors — linebacker Butch Pau’u, tight end Moroni Laulu-Pututau and running back Riley Burt — did not play in BYU’s 20-6 win over Portland State last Saturday.
Sitake said he is “pretty confident that Butch will be ready to go. The rest of the guys we are still evaluating.”
Asked about playing more because fellow tight end Laulu-Pututau is out, Matt Bushman acknowledged that “it was sad when we found out that Moroni got hurt” and “hopefully he will have a speedy recovery, but there is not much we can do about it.”
BYU does not disclose or confirm injuries unless they are season-ending. Laulu-Pututau was at practice Tuesday wearing a protective boot on his left foot.
Takitaki talks Bernard
Defensive end Sione Takitaki knows what redshirting linebacker Francis Bernard is going through because Takitaki had to miss the entire 2016 season for personal reasons. Takitaki said Tuesday his advice to Bernard has been to stay busy and stay around the team.
“That’s about it,” Takitaki said. “He is in a good position. He is here with us and things are good.”
The Las Vegas line on the BYU-LSU game moved significantly after the game was moved from Houston to New Orleans. LSU was a 12-point favorite last week and is now a 15- or 16-point favorite at many Las Vegas sports books. … Former BYU receiver Colby Pearson was released Monday by the Green Bay Packers. Pearson had barely returned from an ankle injury.