In like manner, Kyle Van Noy also received similar criticism from local natives after his decision to commit to BYU. Much like the Cougars were able to silence Husky discontent with a victory, Van Noy hopes that he and his Cougars can once again invoke silence.
"I did receive a lot of criticism for my decision to come to BYU, but I'm not going to say too much about it," said Van Noy. "I think I'm just going to wait after the game to speak about that. I just want to do my job and do the best job for my team. I just want to get in there and learn to do it right and not mess up. That's kind of how I feel about how things are going for me right now. I don't really care about what other people are saying about my decision to come here right now."
Much like with Heaps, a lot of the criticism Van Noy received might come due to the fact that he didn't pick the local university. Van Noy and the Wolf Pack both hail from Reno, and some of the natives there apparently felt spurned by his decision to come to BYU.
"Yeah, it is my home town and they're talking a lot of trash, you know," Van Noy said. "That's the last of our worries, because we're focusing on what we need to do."
Van Noy's decision was likely disappointing to local fans because they knew what a talented football player he is. Now at BYU, he is splitting time with walk-on starting outside linebacker Jameson Frazier.
"If you play a true freshman too early they tend to drop off in performance towards the end of their career," Van Noy said. "The reason is they feel they've learned everything or that there is no reason to keep fighting because they're the starter. You want them to be on edge at all times. Like, I really want to be on the field you know, and once they get that shot you're rolling and will continue to roll ‘til they leave the school because they're always hungry.
"You don't ever want to start off a freshman too early. I've tried to be patient with it. But you know, it's hard because I'm on edge right now and I want to play. But I understand the process and I respect it knowing more about it."
The process of earning more playing time can be difficult for athletes used to being a star in high school. Most athletes go through this process while in college, and Van Noy is no exception. Coach Mendenhall has talked about Van Noy's maturation process and complimented him for it. It was a compliment that Van Noy took to heart.
"Yeah, me and Mendenhall, of course, have had a lot of talks together," said Van Noy with a smile. "It's great to get a compliment like that from him. He's always harping on me, so it's always nice to get a compliment from him. He's a great guy."
Van Noy has a lot of respect for his head coach.
"When you mess up he'll let you hear it, and when you do a good job he'll let you hear it, and that's how it needs to be," said Van Noy about Mendenhall.
Van Noy also said he is happy with how the coaches are developing him and the manner in which he is being utilized.
"Yes, oh yeah!" Van Noy said. "Being out here on the field every day, you're getting better. The way BYU plays, you learn to become a master of your position because the coaches harp on every little detail pertaining to the position. The coaches are out here helping you to become better every single day and I know that. I'm just on edge and want to play."
Coach Mendenhall and his staff have had to hold onto the reins of that passion while allowing time for Van Noy to develop. He has a ton of potential and the BYU coaching staff knows it. His first taste of college football came against Washington, and he had an expanded role against Florida State last Saturday.
"Well, Florida State was actually my first game playing against the run and the pass," Van Noy said. "In the Washington game, I was just in one package and I was to rush the passer, so in the Florida State game the coaches let me play a whole series in the game to let me get a feel for it, get more experience and get a feel for the speed of the game. I basically went out there and tried to do my job. I had a couple of errors here and there, but all in all it was a very good experience for me. Now I'm ready to go against Nevada."
After laying a 52-31 spanking on Cal last week, the 3-0 Wolf Pack are just out of the top-25 rankings. The Wolf Pack return 15 starters (six All-WAC performers) from last year's team, a team that went 8-5 overall and 7-1 in the WAC (good for second place).
"They run the ball really well," Van Noy said. "[Quarterback Colin] Kaepernick, I think, is a four year starter now. Basically the goal is to stop the running back and the quarterback."
Last season Kaepernick rushed for 1,183 yards. He was bested by running back teammate Vai Taua, who rushed for 1,345 yards. After three games this season, BYU's rush defense hasn't been very reflective of past Cougar defenses.
"Going into this game, we need to stop the run," Van Noy said. "We've been able to hold teams in the first half, but going into the third quarter we've been slipping. Our goal now is to win the third quarter. Then what's left in the fourth quarter is all heart, and that's what our team is built on: heart. Once we get past that third quarter we'll be a very successful defense."
Van Noy's Three Keys to Victory
"My three keys, I think a big one is the offense and defense have to feed off of each other," he said. "When the offense excels, the defense should get pumped about that and go out there and return the favor. Then the offense excels and feeds off of that and goes back out there.
"The second thing is I also think defensively we need to stop the run. We have to contain the run, and if we do that then we'll be good.
"The third thing is on offense we need to move the ball. Let Jake [Heaps] loose and let the whole offense loose for that matter."