Friel becoming more involved

After starting tight end Richard Wilson went down with a season-ending injury during the Oregon State game, sophomore tight end Kaneakua Friel stepped in and received some extra playing time against the Beavers and even caught a touchdown. With BYU usually having three tight ends in the rotation, Friel should receive more playing time from here on out.

Prior to last Saturday, it had been a long time since Kaneakua Friel had stepped onto the football field (aside from playing on special teams) to face an opponent that didn't have a large "Y" on the side of its helmets. The sophomore hopes to receive more playing time Saturday against Idaho State now that he was called upon last week.

"Hopefully this week I'll be able to play some more and throughout the rest of the season," Friel said. "I just need to prepare myself and have been doing just that in case my opportunity comes. When it's my turn, and if it's my turn, I hope to be ready to play well. I just need to be prepared mentally especially."

Friel returned home prior to spring camp this year after serving two years in the South Africa Durban Mission. While some of the cobwebs have been shaken off his legs, Friel still feels he has some work to do.

"I feel like some of the rust have come off the legs from my mission, but not all of it has come off yet," said Friel. "I don't think I'm moving quite as fast or quick as I was before I left, but with what I've got right now, I'm just going to try and do the best that I can."

Getting one's self back into tiptop shape can often take some time after serving a mission. Despite having come home from his mission prior to spring camp, Friel's body still suffered during fall camp from the effects of being away from the game for two years.

"Early on in the season over fall camp, I would go to sleep and my legs would be stiff," Friel said. "I try to keep my legs loose and stretch a lot to keep them from getting tight. I want to have that endurance in my legs to be able to run full-on for long periods of time without any problems."

Now heading into the eighth game of the season, which he could possibly see more playing time in, Friel is coming along but still has work to do.

"I feel that I'm doing alright," Friel said. "There are definitely a lot of improvements that can be made, especially in my physicality with my body and my legs. I don't know if it will come soon or when everything will come back, but I need to get that spring in my legs back."

Back in 2008, Friel saw playing time in eight games as a redshirt freshman and started in two of them. Upon returning to BYU, Friel came home to a few offensive changes.

"I like the offense in the way that it's structured now," Friel said. "I like how we're being coached in changing our routes and the blocking according to our coverage. I feel like the coaching in that aspect is working a lot better for me.

"I also feel like I'm being coached a lot better in learning the schemes, the blocking, and with the route running and helping us to get open. I think that aspect is also showing in our tight end position. We're doing a lot better now than we were during spring ball."

Most of the improvements at the tight end position can be laid right at the feet of one member of the coaching staff, Coach Reynolds.

"I love having Coach Reynolds as our coach," Friel said. "I like his coaching style because he's a little more relaxed, but at the same time he's making sure and keeping track of our progression. He's always making sure we're getting the job done and that we're paying attention to every little detail. His big thing is how can we improve upon those things from yesterday and make those improvements a part of today's practice."

As BYU gets set to host Idaho State at LaVell Edwards Stadium, there is a good chance that Cougar fans could see more of Friel.

"I'm hoping we're going to see more of that," Friel said with a grin on his face. "I'm looking forward to having some fun and getting back into the swing of things. This could be a good chance to do that."

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