Cahoon talks about joining BYU's staff

Former Cougar star receiver and all-time leading pass-catcher in the history of the CFL Ben Cahoon is both excited about joining BYU's staff and is ready to get to work. It's been a rollercoaster ride for Cahoon the past couple of weeks, but he is ready to teach his secrets to BYU receivers.

With the crazy past few weeks now set aside, Coach Cahoon was calm and collective during Wednesday's press conference. As he spoke, his humility was expressed in his tone, but his words oozed with great confidence. It was as if he knew he could make a difference at BYU.

"What I think what it came down to was the other stuff like the recruiting, teaching and experience, and all that can be learned," Coach Cahoon said about the things that the BYU coaches were looking for. "What they needed desperately and immediately was a mastery of the wide receivers position. What they needed was an immediate impact on the football field, and that was my strength."

Cahoon firmly believed he was the right man for the job, even though he lacked certain qualities or experience that the staff was diligently looking for. Nevertheless, he wasn't sure whether the other coaches would see it that way.

"Oh yeah, you have every emotion because it was a roller coaster and [you] kind of hyper-analyze every word you hear from the coaches," Cahoon said with a smile. "Try and think, 'Is that a good sign?' or 'Oh no, he said this and they're looking for that.' I was determined and had a positive attitude. I had a goatee about three weeks ago and said, 'I'm going to shave this thing off because I'm a BYU employee.' I knew I was the right one for the job, but it was convincing Coach Doman and Coach Mendenhall that I was the right guy. I didn't know and didn't really have a clue until very late in the process. I was really happy about their decision and it's been a blast since then."

Though he lacks coaching experience, Cahoon is working on learning as much as he can.

"There is a ton to learn and it's a whole different culture and vocabulary," said Cahoon. "There will be different terminology and the coaching environment and recruiting and all of that. There's going to be a steep learning curve, and I'm drinking out of the fire hydrant right now and some of it's staying down and some of it I'll have to keep taking in ‘til it stays down. Recruiting is done, so there's a breather right now, so it gives me a chance to get my feet under me before things start up again."

Cahoon's expertise on the field is what earned him a spot on BYU's staff. He is excited for this new opportunity he has been given.

"It's cool and there's no question about it," Cahoon said. "If 20 years ago I wrote down a plan for my life it wouldn't have worked out any better. With that being said, there's a ton of work that needs to be done. It's my job now to go earn the trust that's been placed in me. It's time to go get to work."

Getting to work is something Cahoon is very familiar with. One of the things he will focus on first is getting to know his receiving corps.

"We didn't have anything formal, but just a brief introduction," Cahoon said. "I'll meet with them and get to know them more so they can get to know me. I'll meet with all of them individually so we can do that. We just have to set our expectations high and be demanding and take pride that we are BYU receivers to achieve them."

Among the things that Cahoon talked about on Wednesday was what kind of coach he is going to be.

"I'm going to be demanding without being demeaning," said Cahoon. "My goal is to try and maximize potential and squeeze out every bit that I can out of everybody's athleticism and make the most out of them as receivers. I'm not worried about the other positions or anything else but my guys right now, and as we get things taken care of within the wide receiver position, then I can start working on other things. I've got tunnel vision right now trying to figure ways for us to get open and what's best for our team."

Back when Cahoon was suited up as a player for BYU, there was a perception among college football fans that no matter where the ball was, the Cougar receivers would suck them out of the air like a Hoover Deluxe. It's a perception that Cahoon wants to bring back.

"There is a great tradition here at the wide receiver position at BYU," Cahoon said. "We haven't strayed too far from it, but if we have, we need to get that back. It is a mentality that we are playmakers and we catch the dang ball, and we will do that by any means necessary. If that means we have to sacrifice our bodies, take a hit or whatever it takes, we're going to do it. So much to being a receiver is a mental aspect, and I think we can improve that. There's a confidence that you need to step out onto the field with the right frame of mine to dominate at the position."

With excitement in his voice, Coach Mendenhall mentioned on Wednesday that he had the day circled when he could watch Coach Cahoon go out in spring camp and watch him run routs better than his receivers. When asked about that coming day, Cahoon smiled and made light of it.

"Yeah, I'm excited about it, but I better get back into shape," said Cahoon. "It's been around two months since I've had the cleats on or ran a route, so I better get myself back into shape because it can go quickly if you don't stay on top of it."


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