Preparation alleviates all doubt

When a high level of responsibility is placed on one's shoulders, chances are it's going to affect their inner psyche. Pressure begins to mount with the added stress, leaving room for subtle doubt to creep into one's soul.

And that's exactly what happened to junior running back Michael Alisa right before fall camp started.

"During the summer I was going through a mix of a lot of pressure, excitement, anxiety and stress, but now that we've started I've been able to utilize the new tools that I've required through the offseason," Alisa said. "The stress and anxiety has definitely gone away, but the excitement is still there. The butterflies are definitely gone and I just feel ready. The pressure is still there somewhat, but with the head coaches there, I'll be able to make sure it's healthy pressure."

The type of pressure that Alisa experienced bothered him more than most realized.

"Pressure is good if it allows you stay sharp, being a motivational reminder," Alisa said. "Bad pressure, when it paralyzes you, that's when it becomes dangerous."

And it was that deep type of emotion that Alisa was dealing with as time wound down towards fall camp.

"Leading into fall camp, and the closer I got to fall camp, I did feel like this was going to be crazy," Alisa said.

How did he overcome the pressure and anxiety that followed?

"Honestly, it was just talking to Coach Reynolds, talking to Jan Jorgensen, Bryan Kariya and Travis Uale, and they all told me the same things," recalled Alisa. "They just said for me to play and have fun and stay focused, but the main thing was to just have fun and don't over-think things and don't take it too seriously."

Now watching Alisa run, it as though he was born to do it. He's fluid, natural and makes decisions quicker than a humming bird in flight.

"The biggest thing going into this fall camp is just experience. I'm more confident and a lot better than I was a year ago," Alisa said. "My reads are a lot faster and my cuts are a lot faster. Physically, just straight physical ability, I don't know if I have a lot more than the other guys because they're all really good athletes. I think it's more now just more experience and knowing the playbook and knowing what to do in certain situations."

Seeing Alisa line up behind Iona Pritchard at the tailback position is fun to watch. The two have a great connection given the fact that they have similar college playing experiences.

"I love watching Iona Pritchard play and I have high, high expectations for him," Alisa said. "He is going to be a solid contributor this year and he's going to be great. He is such a solid football player. You've seen what I've seen out here and the guy can play. He really is a tailback in a fullback's body.

"Iona and I have a good connection because we played defense together and we were recruited together. We've been friends for a long time, so playing running back together, we're like, ‘You take it!' ‘No, no you take it!' We want to get better and we want to sharpen our own skills, but we want our brothers to be better. When you have a running back corps that wants the success of their brothers and is happy for the success of their brothers, that's pretty special. That's what we have this year."

When Pritchard lines up at tailback behind big Zed Mendenhall, the punch those two pack when going full speed is quite the sight.

"If I saw that coming at me, I would think, ‘I'm going for the legs!'" Alisa said while laughing. "They're both just heavy hitters. Iona is the nicest guy, but when he steps on the field he flips a switch and you don't want to get in his way. I'm just so glad he's on our side."

And when BYU fans catch a glimpse of Michael Alisa zipping and weaving through defenses, they'll be saying the same thing about him.


Total Blue Sports Top Stories