Getting His Chance

With BYU's secondary suffering from injuries and depth, California's, Antelope Valley Junior College walk-on has already found some limited field time. talks to Cougar newcomer Cole Miyahira about his increased role on defense.

At 6'1", 195 pounds, newly converted BYU cornerback Cole Miyahira has that coveted size most look for to man up against taller receivers. Miyahira was first slated for the safety position, but BYU's defensive coaches felt his talents could be better used to help shore up the cornerback position. The conversion of athletes to play the cornerback position seems to be a new trend at BYU.

"I started out at safety but then during the first week of Boston College the coaches switched me to corner," said Miyahira. "It's a lot different than junior college with all the plays you have to memorize along with all the defensive schemes."

At his new position, Miyahira has found that building confidence as a cornerback has become one of his greatest priorities. To build poise in knowing he fully understands what is expected of him, his defensive actions become more reactionary than thought out.

"It's more mental reps for me to get in and making a mistake and then the coaches telling me what I need to do right," said Miyahira. "For me, that's pretty much the biggest thing in learning this defense."

Despite being young at the position, Miyahira's progress from day to day throughout the week's practices has yielded success. He has yet to break the first team depth chart by beating out Justin Robinson for the starting position, but his improvements at the position has become noticeable has he gains more reps. From his rapid progress the coaches felt comfortable enough with Miyahira's performance last week to give him the chance to play on a battered secondary during the SDSU game.

"I think I had a good practice all week and I didn't mess up on any of the assignments that I had," said Miyahira. "I don't think I had any balls but maybe one or two thrown to my side all week, so I think that's one reason why I got to play at the San Diego State game.

"I was a little nervous at first and had the butterflies, but then after one or two series I got rid of those and settled down. The main thing was just trying to be assignment-sound. You know, getting out of holds before you start backpedaling, just the basics and the fundamentals. I'm getting the fundamentals down and I've improved a lot over the past few weeks."

During practice this past week, Miyahira made good decisions, and received small praise from Coach Mitchell for his decisions and playmaking during scrimmages. During one play where the ball was swung out to his side of the field, Miyahira jumped the route and made the tackle behind the line of scrimmage.

Based on his continued progression this week within the secondary, is it possible that BYU fans could see another walk-on athlete get solid playing time on field against the University of New Mexico?

"I hope so," said Miyahira. "I've been picking it up pretty good and I hope I get some reps and am able to play well. I hope we as a team pick it up from last week as a defense. We always play hard but we missed some assignments. We messed up on a lot of plays so if we get our assignments down we'll be pretty good.

"I can play, but you've got to prepare yourself for the pressure. Just try to build some confidence out here during practice that you can take over with you into the games. I'm enjoying myself and I'm learning a lot. Every day I gain more and more confidence."

Total Blue Sports Top Stories