Freshman Impact

There is no question that BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall brought top quality LDS talent to Provo with his first recruiting class. Some of those newcomers took the field in the home opener against Boston College and will continue to see playing time as the season progresses.

One of the new Cougars that took the field last Saturday was true freshman Vic So'oto. The superstar tight end from Carlsbad High School went through a difficult recruiting process that BYU fans were able to follow on So'oto turned down offers from Nebraska and most of the Pac-10 when he committed to BYU.

Last Saturday, all the internal struggles that went into a tough recruiting decision were validated when So'oto made his way onto the field at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

"When I ran out onto the field it was unbelievable," said So'oto. "It was crazy. I was nervous and excited. It was kind of bunch of emotions all mixed up. I never experienced anything close to that."

During the Boston College game So'oto lined up on special teams rather than on the offensive side of the ball at his normal tight end position. BYU coaches feel the true freshman's talents and fall performance warranted playing time. Coaches elected not to use So'oto's redshirt, preferring instead to put his size and speed on the field in an effort both help the team and to get So'oto more game time experience.

"No, they told me I'm not redshirting," said So'oto. "I've got mixed feeling about that. I'm here contributing as best I can for this team, and if redshirting was the thing to do then I would redshirt. It seems like the teams needs me now and I'm here ready to work and do my best.

"I'm on a lot more special teams now which is why I'm not red shirting. Basically my responsibilities on special teams are to go 110% on kickoffs, and make sure we help the team by moving the ball.

"I've been rotating in with Coats since Harline has been a little injured. I know Harline will be back for this Saturday so we'll just see what happens."

During fall practice, So'oto, or "The Terminator" as he was called by BYU coaches, showed his mean streak early on. Without intimidation he went head-to-head with the most notable BYU defenders during camp. BYU coaches were confident enough in So'oto's abilities that they gave him the responsibility of blocking Boston College's 6'8, 265 pound pre-season All American defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka on field goal and extra point attempts.

"When I first got out there I didn't think they [Boston College] were going to be that big, but I had to block Mathias [Kiwanuka] and that dude is humongous," chuckled So'oto. "I did pretty good. I did my job and got my job done.

"The speed of the game is unreal. I expected the speed of the game to be fast and I knew it was going to be fast but I just didn't know how fast. When I started running with our team and against everybody on Saturday it was crazy."

Despite the disappointing loss, So'oto is not discouraged by the lack of performance from BYU's new offense. He feels that BYU could have turned the game around if they had only executed better while they drove down the field against Boston College's defense. BYU's defense played well enough and the offense was in scoring position enough to have pulled out a victory.

"It was exciting and a good experience and I know if we would have capitalized on some of our opportunities we would have one that game without a doubt," said So'oto. "We moved the ball on Boston College's defense, and you know right now I don't think anybody can beat us unless we beat ourselves."

Against Eastern Illinois University, So'oto feels the lack of execution that led to the demise of BYU's offense against Boston College will be fixed as Coach Mendenhall corrects the problems from Saturday's contest.

"We know we didn't do what we can do and so it just motivates us," said So'oto. "We're going to come out this Saturday and do our job and come away with a victory."

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