Friel adjusting to life as student athlete

Tight end Kaneakua ("Man of God" in the Hawaiian language) Friel is back at BYU after serving a mission. The 6-foot-5-inch, 230-pound tight end, who saw action in eight games and started in one as a redshirt freshman during the 2008 season, is now working to get his mojo back.

When Kaneakua Friel came to BYU's summer camp years ago as a recruit, he performed well enough to surprise the Cougar coaches. His speed and athleticism during the camp warranted him a scholarship offer from BYU coaches.

Friel had the opportunity to put his talents on display as a redshirt freshman, and now that he's back from his mission, he is resuming his promising football career.

"Things are going good," Friel said. "I'm just trying to get everything back and my legs feel a little weak. I'm trying to get my legs back in shape and ready to go, and it's been hard."

Swapping the physical conditioning of football for the opportunity to share the gospel, unfortunately, doesn't do much for one's conditioning, strength and speed.

"Going away for two years takes a toll on you," Friel said. "Right now, I'm trying to get back into shape to help this team. I'm trying to get back to where the other tight ends are right now."

Not only is Friel struggling to get his legs back, but he's also having to readjust to life as a student athlete.

"The fast pace of all the meetings and school has been a big adjustment for me," said Friel. "That's been a big adjustment for me. It's just a different schedule than when I was on my mission."

School only adds to Friel's adjustment whirlwind as he has returned to everyday normal life.

"I went from going from house to house and place to place as a missionary and knew what I needed to do," Friel said. "Now I have to go to different meetings with this coach and do this and that. I have to go to this meeting to that meeting and this class to that class. It's a whole new schedule that I'm trying to get used to."

Now in the middle of spring camp, Friel is adjusting to new coaches and an offense that's now under the direction of Coach Doman.

"The offense is a little different and it's good," he said. "The coaches that are now here are a lot different. They're more motivational and trying to lift our spirits more. They're trying to push us even harder now, and I think that's a good, positive motivation for us."

One coach Friel has grown closer to is his new position coach Lance Reynolds.

"I'm just really grateful for Coach Reynolds," Friel commented. "He's helping us a lot to learn our responsibilities and be a better player. He's also helping to motivate us to become a better person. I'm loving it and it's a lot better."

Friel has seen his confidence grow thanks to added understanding of his position. While scrimmaging during last Tuesday's practice, Friel ran out into the defensive coverage and caught a pass. Although not where he would like to be physically, it was like old times.

"It's more about working on what you're doing and how to do it," Friel said. "It's not so much that the routes are different, it's more now knowing how to run them and why. It's good and I like it. Like I said, I like it a lot."

Friel scouting report

Although he's received limited reps, and has to shake off the rust from his mission legs, Friel will be another player in the mix at the tight end position in time. One thing is still evident about Friel: he is a rangy athlete with a ton of upside in ability. He'll be another in an already deep and very talented group of tight ends currently in the program.

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