Cougar defense turning focus to Boise State

The BYU defense was very successful against Utah's offense, and being that the offense wasn't at full strength, it was expected. Boise State's offense should be at full strength come Thursday's contest and will be more potent than what the Cougars faced last Saturday.

Last Saturday's game was one in which the stars had aligned for Cougar success. However, the cards didn't fall their way on the offensive side of the ball. Nevertheless, the defense performed very well, holding Utah's offense to just 245 yards.

"I can speak for myself, it will hurt me for the rest of my life," said Spencer Hadley about the loss to Utah. "I can look back at some high school losses and they hurt, you know, and I don't think it will go away, and I don't think they should. It kind of helps give you the drive in the future to prepare yourself for future opponents and games.

"It was a tough loss but it's something that we have to forget pretty fast and focus on Boise State," said Eathyn Manumaleuna. "All the good things we did during the game, we're trying to build on that and use it as momentum going into this game against Boise State."

So with so few days to prepare, Coach Mendenhall let his defensive players know it's time to get back to work.

"As far as right now, whether it's just moving or kind of masking or just kind of putting on the big boy pants and going back to work, we have another game that we have to prepare for," said Hadley. "There's no time to lament. It's time to get back down to business and start working."

"Heading into this week, we didn't want to hold anything back," Manumaleuna said. "Coach Mendenhall wanted us to get right back to work after that and we plan on getting a lot of work done focusing on Boise State. Our defense has done a great job these past few days and so we want to continue to be better. We have to."

With BYU having to play Boise State just five days after playing Utah, Hadley said there are pros and cons to having a quick-turnaround game.

"It helps you to move on after a tough loss and there's a great opponent ahead, so it's time to get back at it," he said. "At the same time, that was a physical game. It was a hard-fought game, and so you can always use a couple of extra days to get your body back and sorts. To me it doesn't really matter. It just tells me there is a game on Thursday, and so we'll be ready."

After a tough loss to Utah, what would a quick victory mean for the Cougars?

"Well, that's a good question, I guess another win," Hadley said. "On top of that it would be a good confidence builder because they're a great team. I think it would kind of help us set the tone again and remind us, ‘Hey, we still have a lot of football left to play and a lot of great teams down the schedule.' A win against Boise would be exactly what we needed right now."

So with a tough Boise State game about to take place, BYU needs to be prepared both offensively and defensively, or else the program could take a big one-two punch in the gut in less than a week.

"They're a great team, great coaches, great athletes and great scheme," said Hadley. "They have a lot of things going for them and they can hurt you in a lot of ways, and so, I guess other than that it makes them a pretty dangerous team.

"Like I said, we don't have a choice. As bad as that loss felt, you don't want to lose again, and so you can sit there and mope about it, complain, and basically flush your season down the toilet or you can bounce back."

Defensively for BYU, the Utah game was good preparation.

"Fortunately Boise State isn't too different than Utah in a lot of ways. They do run a lot of similar stuff and have similar personnel they use to run those plays," said Manumaleuna. "We know what we did well against Utah and we're using that to build upon when we face those similar things that Boise State does. It's not too much of a change that we have to do, so we have to just keep working."

"Sure, they're a little similar in what they do, and so, yeah, we can use what we've gained thus far and help carry that into next week," said Hadley. "You kind of try and do that every week as you prepare for certain aspects of a team's game. You insert certain calls and whatnot, and you remember those and you can play those calls and sets. You try and carry as much as you can into the next meeting, so there's definitely some rollover from last week's preparation to this week's."

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