Sorensen finally taking his trip to Ole Miss

BYU Cougar safety Daniel Sorensen is preparing himself to face SEC foe Ole Miss, He's watched film and scouted out the personnel and tendencies of a team that not only recruited him, but was the first to do so.

It could be the other way around; BYU's offense could be scouting out and be preparing for Daniel Sorensen at Ole Miss had he committed to the Rebels out of high school. Instead, Sorensen will travel down to Oxford, but as an opponent rather than a teammate.

"It was kind of an interesting process," Sorensen said. "I didn't talk to any of the Ole Miss coaches, recruiters or scouts, but they did come out to a basketball game or two and watched that. They were recruiting me and Damien Holmes of UCLA, and they faxed us an email, or paper, saying that they were going to offer, but it was early after my junior season so it was still early in the recruiting process. But they were the first ones to contact me, but as soon as I committed to BYU at the time [Ole Miss] just fell off.

"I'm glad I get to go down there and play them. I don't know if any of the coaches are still there or if they remember me, but we'll see."

Regarding being recruited by Ole Miss, Sorensen said that it was surreal.

"At the time it was almost like a fantasy," Sorensen said. "It was like going down and playing in the SEC. It didn't really seem real, but kind of surreal."

Sorensen has reflected back on his recruitment and thought about what would have happened had he chosen the Rebels.

"I kind of look back and I'm like, ‘What would my life look like now if I was at Ole Miss, if I would have gone on a mission, be in this spot, be who I am today?'" he said. "I might be stuck down there not playing, so I'm glad with the decision I made."

But what if he wore the red and blue of Ole Miss rather than BYU's blue and white, and served an LDS mission as a Rebel? What would it have been like to now be preparing for BYU as a return missionary?

"Oh, that's an interesting question," Sorensen said. "I don't know if I would have gone on a mission because of the kind of pressures they put on kids. They don't really support or endorse that kind of stuff, but if I had gone [to Ole Miss] and had gone on a mission, BYU would have been the inevitable choice. It would have been an interesting and drastic change from what I would have seen there to here."

A decision to come to BYU following a mission would have been an inevitable choice for Sorensen even if he had committed to Ole Miss? Well, possibly so, as many who serve do often seek out BYU following two years in the field. They often want to be in a more spiritual environment.

"We talked about this earlier today, the purpose of BYU and why we are here, why we're playing and where we're trying to go with this program," Sorensen said. "It fires you up and kind of gets you excited, you know, to go out there and play for a specific purpose to show people that we're playing for more than football. This is a faith-based university and we're trying to represent that as players and flag-bearers."

As BYU football becomes more visible across the nation, Sorensen feels it will draw more focus to the unique identity BYU espouses.

"What if we go out there and dominate and people start to see us and put us on the map being on ESPN, and people start wondering who these kids are, what are they doing with their lives and why are they so good? They may be a bunch of white boys who go down there and beat up on a good SEC team, you know, a big, physical team like that, and we go down there and dominate and what does that say?

"It starts [raising] questions and curiosity and starts making things interesting, you know. It starts getting the pot stirred and whatnot, and shoot, that's fun and that's what we're out here to do. We're out here to turn heads. We're out here to change the norm of what people think of us."

There is one thing Sorensen would like the nation to come away with after seeing the Cougars of BYU take the field against Ole Miss at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.

"I would like to people start fearing us. I don't know, kind of looking at BYU as a dominant team, especially the defense. Nobody is going to want to run against us and [that will] start setting that respect, so it's exciting and I can't wait to go down there to Ole Miss."

Playing in the SEC, Ole Miss averaged just less than 400 yards of offense a game last season. With a big offensive line and a deep and impressive running back group – led by do-it-all running back Brandon Bolden, who will be the Rebel offense's biggest threat – Sorensen fully understands what's coming his way.

"We already know they're a big, physical team," Sorensen said. "They're an SEC team and are going to run the ball first, and they're going to run the ball until we can stop them. We already know that and they're big, physical guys. So going in, it's going to be a physical brawl. They're going to hit us in the mouth first, and are we going to hit them back?"

Behind Bolden is a former five-star running back in Enrique Davis, who is fast and more of a scatback-type player. Davis came on stronger towards the end of last season, and the Cougars expect a heavy dose ground-and-pound behind an offensive line ranked second in the SEC by ESPN, behind only Alabama.

"I think it's exciting because they're going to test our will," Sorensen said. "That is what coaches have talked about more than anything. They have a huge offensive line and a great running back [Bolden] and big wide receivers, but what it's going to come down to is how long can they pound the ball on us – third quarter, fourth quarter? How long are they going to be able to keep that up, and how long are we going to be able to stop them?"

The Cougars will look to attack the strengths of the Ole Miss offense under the direction of a great defensive coordinator, Bronco Mendenhall.

"Bronco's got a great scheme, all the coaches do," Sorensen said. "We've got a good idea of what they're going to do, and so we can start coming after them. You know, pin our ears back and start blitzing and bringing pressures. So it all comes down to stopping the run, stopping the run, and how physical we can be and how we can show our will and beat them."

With West Virginia quarterback transfer Barry Brunetti having been named the starter by Rebel coach Houston Nutt, the Cougars will look to force Ole Miss out of their comfort zone.

Sorensen said the defense will look to "come out there and shut them down in their run game and stop their power, whatever their strengths may be and the runs they've got, [and] get them into third-and-long situations with a new quarterback who's untested, especially in that offense with a new offensive coordinator."


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