Naufahi Tahi, for one, is delighted with the possibilities after a breakout two touchdown performance as a fullback last Saturday at San Diego State.
"It keeps the defense honest, you know," said Tahi. "John Beck, he can run the ball really well. We have good running backs that can run the ball well, and that opens up the passing game. John, he passed the ball really well on Saturday (against SDSU) and that just opens up the defense both ways. It helps us out a lot."
A win against CSU would solidify Cougar confidence against the defending MWC champions, but also establish a strong finish as BYU shoots for its initial goal of a MWC crown.
"I watched them (CSU) play against Utah and I heard they are really good team," said Tahi. "They fight to the end. With both of us behind one game in the conference, you know we'll be ready to play. I don't think either of us wants to get behind with two losses in the conference. We're both shooting for the same thing: a conference championship and a bowl game."
Tahi added, "I think every game that we play from now on has gotta be a win. I think we are capable of doing that. We have to just continue to work hard at practice and I think we've been doing really focusing and doing what the coaches have asked us to do."
Recruited out of high school as a running back, Tahi started ahead of future running back sensation Luke Staley as a true freshman. BYU coaches have now switched him to fullback.
"Well, I'm doing a lot more blocking. I'm lead blocking more for the running backs, but that's fine with me too. I just want to play. The other thing is, Fui (Vakapuna) was injured, so they put me there."
Working hard to return to his pre-LDS mission form, Tahi stayed in Provo over the summer to participate in voluntary team workouts. Despite his normal weekday schedule of classes, homework, attending daily team workouts and daily team practices, Tahi goes the extra mile in the morning before his regular day begins.
"My dad comes down from Salt Lake like around five in the morning and we come to the Smith Field House and run stairs. I'm getting my legs back and I'm starting to feel good. I feel a lot better than in the winter and summer. Next year I'll feel a lot better than I do now."
Tahi says that despite his already rigorous schedule, the extra work has helped him already in games.
"My dad is the one getting me into shape. I mean, he's the one doing all the pushing," laughed Tahi. "I'm getting better about it, but I feel good though."
How long do the pre-dawn sessions last? "For about a half hour, forty-five minutes," said Tahi. "I've been doing it all throughout high school. After getting back from my mission, I started doing it again. I feel better. I need to get my speed back and get lighter on my feet. It's helped out a lot. I can already tell there's a difference in the results. I've lost a little bit. Last week, I was down to 226. Before, I was a little over 230 (pounds), about like 232. I'm starting to feel a little lighter. I have to stay away from food."
Reflecting on the team's first major offensive breakout at San Diego State since this season began, Tahi said he never doubted his offensive teammates. He said it was only a matter of time before they click through experience.
"Like I was telling these guys, I knew our offense would get the ball and put points on the board. It's just we had to get our chemistry together and work together as a unit, and we did on Saturday. The results were good. We just had to be patient. Now that we had that breakout game, we can get that past us and continue to play hard. Everybody came out ready to play – both the younger guys and the older guys; but most of all, it was a team thing. Our chemistry is coming and everything just went smooth."
Tahi continued, "We've been working hard every week. We've been out here and it's been kind of a struggle for us the last fives games before that. We just have to be patient. Once we did that, the hard work came through. We just broke out and everything was working. We just went down field at will."
BYU coaches still stress there are things that need to be taken care of. It's the little things that make the difference and Crowton spoke on how he still sees some of those things the team needs to work on to continue to improve.
Tahi feels the win against SDSU is exactly what the team needed to finally see the fruits of what coaches had been working towards.
"We felt really good," said Tahi. "I mean, there was a lot of talk on how they were No. 4 in the nation on defense, and everyone was saying how our offense wasn't too good and that we weren't going to score and everything. But we felt confident and we continued to work hard and everything just worked out good."
His 35-yard reception for a touchdown against SDSU was the first time Fahu scored a touchdown in nearly four years. His last came against New Mexico on Oct. 16, 1999. Scoring his second touchdown of the game on a 9-yard reception marked the second time in his career he's scored twice in a single game.
"Yeah, I was excited about that. They put in a few plays for the fullback and I did my best to catch the ball. I wasn't sure they were going to call my number, but they did twice and I feel good about that. I was happy. I guess if you do good blocking, they reward you. It's all good," said Tahi with a laugh.
© copyright by TotalBlueSports.com