From teaching to chasing quarterbacks

There were quite a few true freshman players that saw the field during the Washington State game, such as running back Jamaal Williams and defensive lineman Remington Peck. Another true freshman who saw the field during BYU's season opener was 6-foot-7-inch, 260-pound defensive lineman Bronson Kaufusi.

It wasn't that long ago that Bronson Kaufusi – a highly touted football player who was ranked the nation's 19th best defensive lineman in his recruiting class when he was coming out of Timpview High School – was serving a mission in New Zealand. So when he was called to go out and play in BYU's season opener against Washington State, things seemed, well, a little strange at first to him.

"It was really fun and that was the best thing," said Kaufusi with a smile. "It was really different as well because about a month ago I was running around with a Book of Mormon. Now I'm chasing down a quarterback, so it was really weird at first."

Kaufusi had some suspicion that at some point during the game his number would be called. He was informed by his position coach and father Steve Kaufusi to get ready to go in at any time.

"Yeah, he told me to get ready," Kaufusi said. "When he called me to go in I was like, ‘Oh boy, here we go!' It was just to kind of get my feet wet, but it was good. I had a lot of support because I had a lot of guys there with me that had a lot of experience and have been there before – guys like Eathyn [Manumaleuna] and Romney [Fuga]. So they were all there cheering me on and that was the best part about it."

Having not played in a football game for more than two years, Kaufusi had some anxiety as he waited in anticipation. When he finally ran out onto the same field where his father once played, and in front of a crowd with virtually everyone dressed in white, the experience was a memorable one.

"I was ready and I was waiting," Kaufusi said. "I knew that I would eventually be called to go in, so I was just waiting for my number to be called. When it finally happened I was pretty excited to go out there. It was crazy to be out there in the middle of the field with all the fans cheering and everything."

Kaufusi had it within his mind that he was going go out and play as hard as he could.

"I just wanted to put it all out there and that's kind of the mentality that I had when I was out there," said Kaufusi. "Whatever I have at this time, I just wanted to just put it all out there on the field. I kind of had the mentality that no matter how ready I am or not, I'm going to just lay it all out there and see what I've got."

So how does he feel he did with the limited time he received?

"I felt I did pretty good," he said. "I felt like I did my assignment and took care of my responsibilities. That's the main thing I wanted to accomplish and I felt I did that really well. It was kind of like riding a bike. Everything just kind of came back to me after the first play."

What stood out the most to Kaufusi was the fact that he was able to hit someone that wasn't wearing a blue and white uniform.

"It was fun because it was great going up against someone that wasn't your teammate," Kaufusi said. "I remember that specifically. You go up against your teammates all of fall camp and then finally the first game comes around and it's someone different that you get to go hit. It was nice to go against someone else."

Whether or not Kaufusi continues to receive playing time or ends up redshirting is still up in the air. Regardless, he will continue to have the same approach to practice.

"I'm just going to keep practicing like I'm going to play more this season. I'll just let them figure things out, but I'm going to keep practicing like I'm going to play for the rest of this season. I guess we'll see."


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