Top-rated TE, Coats Knows Expectations Much Higher

Freshman tight end Daniel Coats' breakout performance against Georgia Tech felt like "a dream" rather than a dream realized.

He scored two touchdowns in the Cougars 24-13 win over the Yellow Jackets, but nothing was as dramatic as his first.

With 5:07 remaining in the first quarter, BYU was down by three points on Georgia Tech's 38 yard line. BYU head football coach Gary Crowton decides to go for it on 4th and 3!

Daniel Coats recounted the experience of his first-ever career and college touchdown reception.

"I was running and I saw the guy (Georgia Tech defensive player) come up and I made a move on him. I looked up and I saw the ball. It was just like in a dream because it was like in slow motion."

Coats made a fingertip grab.

"The next thing I know, the ball's in my hand and I look down and I'm crossing the end zone. My heart just like, stopped for a second. You know, I was so excited I forgot I was on PAT squad the very next play. I was just all hyped. It was the greatest thing in the world."

To celebrate his first college reception and touchdown, Coats danced a little jig in the end zone and was hit with a celebration penalty.

Coats, who is married, said, "I just wanted to make my first touchdown memorable so I can tell my grandkids, "you know when I scored back in college, I did this in front of all these people and it was great.' "

Who gets credit for his unorthodox dance moves?

"Aw, nobody. That was just a little me," Coats said with laugh.

Coats finished the game with six receptions for 93 yards and two touchdowns, an average of 15.5 yards per catch to be named. He was named yesterday the Co-Offensive Mountain West Conference Player of the Week, with University of Utah running back Brandon Warfield.

"You know, it's a great honor," said Coats. "I love it, but that puts even more pressure because now they're going to be watching me even harder. I was thinking I would just come in and be in the background for a little bit. I guess you just gotta step up to the curve."

Stepping up is something many young talented athletes are asked to do. However, many aren't asked to do it in front of 61,000 screaming fans in front of a national TV audience their first time out.

BYU fans saw the emotions from his success on LaVell Edwards Field the day of the game. Fans had no idea what he was experiencing hours before kick-off.

"It was a whole whirlwind of emotions. That night I didn't sleep at all," Coats confided. "I woke up, I couldn't eat nothing. I ate a little bit and threw it up. I went home; my wife tried to cheer me up I was so nervous. You know, my legs are shaking. Trying to eat lunch, we had a little lunch at the Pizza Factory. I threw that up."

He continued that "before the game, I was just dying. I was thinking, ‘Oh, I'm going out there and I'm starting and it's crazy.' The first play, I just lined up and closed my eyes and hit the guy in front of me. Then after that I was like, "Oh, he's just like me instead of oh, he's a superstar.' Then it just got comfortable. The game slowed down and it felt like I was supposed to be there. Everything just went perfect from there."

His outstanding performance on ESPN2 last Thursday has Coats currently listed as the nation's top tight end with an average of 6.0 receptions and 93.0 yards per game. He is also the second leading freshman receiver in the country.

Coats said it won't get any easier for him to play at the college level. He feels greater expectations will be heaped upon his redshirt freshman shoulders.

"I feel like its way harder now because everybody is expecting so much now. The first game everybody is like, ‘he's a freshman so he'll probably going to come out and be pretty good.' Now, since I had a good game, everybody is going to expect an even better one."

But first things first and Coats must recover from some minor injuries from the Georgia Tech game.

"He's real beat up, but he should be OK to go," coach Crowton told reporters yesterday. "I'm anxious to see what he can do today. He's got a bruised wrist and a bruised leg. That bone in that knee right there, it'll be sore. I don't know how much he can do. He can go to tolerance, but he'll probably take it easy and just loosen it up a little bit and probably get stronger as the week goes on," Crowton said.

Meanwhile, Coats is scheduled to be one of the player speakers at today's weekly BYU media luncheon. Since it is not game day yet, this is one meal he won't throw up.

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