Still confident and unified

There's really no way to sugarcoat the Utah debacle. But while BYU coaches and players may not be downplaying the ugly and embarrassing loss, they are nevertheless expressing confidence in the team and their ability to bounce back and improve. One such player is Corby Eason, who didn't use the continual blunders and ineffectiveness on offense and special teams as an excuse for defensive mistakes.

Last Saturday's loss was tough, Corby Eason admitted, but he added that it was something they have to put in the past and learn from, and that they still have confidence as a team.

Eason personally did not have his best game against Utah. He dropped an interception, and gave up a passing touchdown to the Utes.

"I just lost track of my receiver," said Eason of the touchdown. "I took my eye off of him for a second and he got behind me. I saw the ball thrown and tried to deflect it but it got over my head."

And really, the defense as a whole did not have its best game. But, the final score would indicate that the defense played far worse than it actually did. As Eason noted, the defense did well for a good part of the game but did have some assignment breakdowns.

Yes, there were some assignment breakdowns and big plays given up. But after a strong first two games, the defense again kept BYU in the game for a while last Saturday. Just as in each of the previous two games, the Cougar defense forced multiple turnovers and kept the opposing offense from coming away with any points on a drive that got near or in the red zone.

But the Cougar offense and special teams combined to turn the ball over a whopping seven times. Four Ute touchdowns were due to Cougar fumbles. Two fumbles were returned directly for touchdowns, while another two gave Utah the ball yards away from their end zone.

Despite the defense being put in tough situations time and time again due to turnovers or lack of offense, Eason never pointed a finger at the offense. Rather, he focused on the defense needing to play better.

"Defense, we control points," he said. "That's our goal, is stop the other team from scoring points. So we support our team. Whatever situation we get put in, we just gotta come out on top."

Indeed, whether or not he and his fellow defensive players feel bitter towards the mistake-prone offense – and frankly they would be justified in doing so – Eason never indicated as much.

"I support our team a hundred percent. I feel like we're gonna get it together this week. When we lose, we learn from our mistakes, and we just have to move forward. Our ability to move forward is going to define the state for this team, so I feel very confident that we're gonna change this week."

Eason said they need to go win this week to show people that they won't quit and that their team is still good.

But it will be yet another tough test when the Cougars play Central Florida on a shortened week, with the game being played Friday night.

Eason said "they have a great team. They score a lot of points. As a defense, we gotta control the ball, get the ball out of their offense's hands and into our offense's hands. So we have to stop them on defense to make it better for our offense."

Eason said it will be key to stop their mobile quarterback, sophomore Jeff Godfrey.

Another key for the Cougars will be putting together a full four quarters of play, something they have yet to do this season. On Monday both Eason and Coach Mendenhall insisted that the team never gave up last week, despite the woeful second half and the defense becoming increasingly vulnerable amid the constant turnovers.

"We just have to, as Coach Mendenhall said, execute all four quarters," said Eason. "You can't sack up or anything, you just got to keep on working hard."


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