Through all the ups and downs the BYU football team has endured this year, the Cougars were really looking forward to being able to play in front of a home crowd in LaVell Edwards Stadium.
That plan was scrapped Tuesday because of the county’s huge coronavirus spike. Instead of 6,000 fans, the Cougars will play Saturday in an empty stadium.
The players are rolling with it.
“We played Navy with no fans, so we can play here with no fans, too,” junior wide receiver Gunner Romney said. “I think it hasn’t really been a huge difference in what we see, but hopefully it won’t affect us at all.”
The Cougars may have a bigger issue than having to provide their own energy on the field.
But instead of building on the momentum, the team was forced to hit pause.
But will the Cougars be able to recover in time? Offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes thinks so.
The offense had a little rust getting back into team practices Monday, but after Wednesday’s practice Grimes believed they had almost managed to shake it all off.
“Last week we weren’t able to operate in a normal practice routine, working more in small groups, and that had a little bit more impact on our timing that I thought it would,” Grimes said. “But I feel like today we really took a good step forward in the right direction and looking forward to tomorrow, have another good practice and we’ll be close to game time.”
Romney acknowledged the break in action (it’ll be nearly a three-week gap between the Navy game and Troy game) has resulted in a weird situation. But the Cougars have found themselves in multiple weird situations throughout the pandemic and Romney expects they’ll find a way to recover.
“It’s hard to keep that midseason form when that timing is perfect, because that’s crucial to an offense and you have to have that through repetition,” Romney said. “This week, I think we started off a little bit slow throughout the week, but I think throughout the week has gotten better and better. And I think we’re looking the way we did before this long layoff. I think we’ll be ready to go in this game.”
Junior running back Lopini Katoa said, because everything can change day-to-day, he’s focusing on one day at a time, one practice at a time. Looking too far ahead, everything is unsure.
“We’re thankful that we even got to practice today and right now, as we know it, we can practice tomorrow,” Katoa said following Wednesday’s practice. “So we just had to look that far ahead and make the most of it.”
At LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo