“Honestly, just working on my catching and some of the small things,” Lasike said. “I’m trying to help the team win all our in-state games and then ultimately get into the top 25.”
Long gone are the days of confusion and wondering what to do now that he’s put on a football helmet. Rather the 6’0”, 227-pound bruiser feels because he’s more acclimated within Robert Anae’s offense, he’s much faster and fluid within his assignments.
“I’m still learning it but it’s like a language, and I’ve kind of learned the language for most of it,” Lasike said. “I’m able to play a little more fluid rather than thinking. It’s going well so far.”
Newly added BYU rugby member Josh Whippy has followed in the footsteps of Paul Lasike. Whippy is a newcomer to the sport of football having traded in his rugger jersey for a football one. Seeing him struggle to grasp the concepts of football reminds Lasike of himself not long ago.
“It’s really funny to be honest,” said Lasike. “I just laugh because I’ve been in that same situation. He’s like a fish out of water, you know? He’s just trying to stay alive pretty much. It gets real frustrating because in rugby you have two or three plays, and then the rest of the time you just improvise. In football you have like a hundred plays and every play is different, so I’m just trying to help him understand and help him learn it. For the most part this year he’ll probably just be contributing on special teams.”
In the opening game of the 2014 season, Paul Lasike will be a primary back, receiving more reps due to the suspension of Jamaal Williams. He’s excited to see what he can do.
“I’m really excited to take a couple more reps, but as a team we’re really going to miss him for that first game,” Lasike said. “I think we’ll be alright with the boys that we have. We have good depth at running back, so I’m just excited to be in it.”
In Williams’ stead, Adam Hine will take the starting spot come the opening snap against UConn. Hine and Lasike will be the featured backs and both bring a different style of play to the field.
“Adam Hine is real dynamic,” Lasike said. “You know, all of us are kind of different. I’m kind of a bigger back for those dives and bigger runs up the middle. I guess I’ll kind of take that load, and then for the longer running and routes Adam will most likely take those.”
Going on two years old, Coach Anae’s go fast, go hard offense has grown up and evolved. Much of that has to do with the familiarity that the players have of the offense and that has caused some things to slow down.
“Everything has kind of slowed down a little bit,” said Lasike. “Our model is still go fast, go hard and try and do the no huddle offense, but just having a year under our belt has [allowed things to slow down]. We look at the signs and get set so things kind of slow down a little bit. Boys are able to help the younger guys out because we’ve gone under it for a year. That’s kind of how I would explain it on how it’s slowed down [for me].”
That doesn’t mean the offense has slowed down.
“No, we’re still trying to go full throttle with the no-huddle, but I’m saying with interpreting everything and the whole game. For us as veterans, we’ve done it before under Coach Anae and we’re able to take a little breath because we’ve done it before. It was our first year running the no-huddle [in 2013], so it was kind of a test for us but this year it’s running smoothly so far.”
Contrast this year’s team comfort level with last year’s and things are completely different.
“It’s a lot easier, you know?” Lasike said. “Last year you would have to look twice or three times to make sure you had your signs right. Now we can just kind of look over and glimpse at it and know we’re going to be running this play. Like I said everything has kind of slowed down a little bit. Even though we’re still trying to go fast and go hard interpreting everything and running everything has kind of slowed down a little bit.”
The trick now is to get the bevy of talented receivers up to par with the comfort level of the rest of the team. The new infusion of talent at the wide receiver position has been an outstanding addition to the offense.
“It’s been huge,” Lasike said. “We’ve got some great slot receivers and some great outside receivers. If you’ve been watching practice we’ve got some great speed out there. It opens up the whole game for some run plays. They can’t just worry about Taysom or the running backs. They have to now worry about the receivers too, so it’s a real positive for our team to have such great receivers.”
When one adds the maturity of Taysom Hill as a passer with the new level of talent in which he has to throw to, the combination has made the Cougar offense much more effective in keeping drives alive. Hill’s passing percentages have steadily increased as camp has worn on.
“I think he’s improved just from having experience having started last year, and then just being patient and his throwing accuracy has gone really up,” said Lasike. “Then we’re trying to set goals every practice based on his completion percentages from what he’s trying to complete. For the most part we’re hitting those goals. He’s doing a really good job of reading things out there and just working on his passes and stuff like that.”
Paul Lasike now has a four month old child he now doesn’t consider being a baby any longer due to how big his child has grown. Now a father, Lasike is juggling football, school, and family life.
“I do, I have a four month old child,” said Lasike. “It’s awesome man and it’s fun now. He’s a little bit older and not so much a baby right now. He’s actually really big. He’s 18 pounds as a four month old baby, and the whole balancing part has been fun too. The whole balancing of school, family life, and football. It’s a good test.”