John Beck on USC: "We Have Nothing to Lose"

The Las Vegas betting line currently has BYU as 26 points underdogs to No. 1 ranked USC this Saturday and the reaction from the Cougars' starting quarterback is exactly what you'd expect. "I could care less if they made us a 50-point underdog. We're not going to worry about that. Our team is not going to care. We're just going to go out there and play our best. The thing is we have nothing to lose."

"Everybody is picking us to be the losers, so we don't have to worry about that. Of course, in our minds we think we can win; no doubt about it. We're going to go out there and play like that," according to BYU's starting sophomore signal caller John Beck.

Beck is still recovering from a Grade-Two shoulder separation suffered in the first half of the Cougars season opener against Notre Dame on Sept. 4. He confirmed today he still cannot throw the long ball, but can throw all the other balls in his offensive arsenal. However, even as he looked ahead to the Trojans visiting Provo, he recounted last Saturday's 37-10 loss to Stanford.

"We know how good we are. We believe in each other," Beck said. "Everybody is still positive. On Sunday and early Monday, talking with the team, we couldn't believe we lost against Stanford, but when we watched the films, it was us. We beat ourselves. Everyone is still excited. We would rather be 2-0 right now, but we're not. We can't change that right now, but we know we only have one loss," he said.

Beck saw limited 4th-quarter action last Saturday in Palo Alto as BYU fans held their collective breath hoping their starting quarterback would not be hurt before the USC game. He wasn't. "Coach (Crowton) asked me if I could go out there and get a little more game experience. I wasn't able to practice at all last week; not playing in a game, then all of a sudden, ‘boom,' play against USC. He just wanted me to get a couple of series' in there," Beck said.

He added, "We didn't want to lose against Stanford. It was hard, especially since I wasn't able to play like I wanted. Of course, I wanted to be in there on every play, but I couldn't. Yeah, it was hard on the team because we knew we should have won that ball game. We shot ourselves in the foot with penalties and all kinds of things. That's football. I mean, there's going to be games you should win, but you don't. You just have to learn from your mistakes and go ahead," Beck said.

Beck was positive and upbeat as the Cougars team took the field for Tuesday's practice. "If you look at the (Philadelphia) Eagles last year, they lost their first four football games," Beck said. "Everyone was doubting Donovan McNabb and everyone doubted the Eagles. The guys that believed in the Eagles were themselves. The guys that believed in Donovan McNabb are himself and his teammates."

He said the team is far from losing confidence in itself. "That's the thing with our team, right now. I mean, all teams are going to go through hard things, but it's the people that are winners that are going to push through those and still play the best. We know we shouldn't have lost against Stanford, but now we have an opportunity to play the No. 1 team in the nation and we're excited," Beck said.

"Coach Crowton talked to the team yesterday. He said the last time he had a chance to play the No. 1 team in the nation was 11 years ago – and that kind of opportunity doesn't come around every year. It's a special thing and, yeah, I'm excited for the game this weekend. It's a fun experience and we're just trying to prepare for it," he said.

"The day after the swelling went down, they (doctors and trainers) told me it was a Grade-Two (shoulder separation). It was a little more serious than thought. I can throw, but I just can't huck it 70 yards. I can throw it with a little bit of pain. If I really try to push, then it kind of hurts a lot," said Beck.

A fiery, competitive quarterback, Beck outlined the only thing that would keep him off the field against the Trojans: "If it (arm) was falling off and if I didn't have an arm. It's tough, though. I can't play the same today. I've got five more days till we play the game. Hopefully, I can get my arm a lot better before then and maybe I'll be able to play better."

Beck confirmed his teammates and he were very respectful of USC, but noted they are not intimidated. "I mean, USC is the No. 1 team in the nation. We know they're a good ball club. I think one thing we have in our favor is last year we played them well. At one point, we were down by like five or something like that late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter. Especially for the guys on the team last year, we have nothing to fear. Sure, they're a top team, but they're human beings just like us. Yes, they're talented, but they're human beings just like us. He said, "We're ready to have a good week of practice and practice as hard as we can. We know our preparation this week is going to be the key to how we perform on Saturday," Beck said.

Meanwhile, Beck is methodically following the various treatment processes to hopefully recover in time for Saturday's matchup. "I'm in there and they do all kinds of stuff. I'm doing a lot of icing. They also have the little needles they shoot electricity through them (acupuncture). I have ice cups at home and I'm doing ice massages all the time. When I have an hour break between classes, I come down to the training room; I'm down like three or four times a day, not including the stuff I do at my house. Right now, it's (shoulder) about 70 percent. I'm expecting to be in the 90 percent range, come game time. If I'm doing everything I can, they said I wouldn't have to worry about it and hopefully it will be gone," he said.

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