Such was the case last weekend when BYU squared off against in conference rival Colorado State University. No, the uneasy feeling in the Cougars' guts was not due to the fact most of the team suffered a strange bout of food poisoning. Rather, it had something to do with what Colorado State quarterback Justin Holland had been saying all week long.
"We had five sacks on them and they only had three on them previously," said BYU outside linebacker Justin Luettgerodt. "The quarterback came out talking the week before. I remember the general [Cameron Jensen] coming into the linebacker's meeting and saying, ‘Hey, there's a guy out there running his mouth and we need to get after him right now.' He came in fired up! I remember seeing him in the hot tub and he just had this look in his eyes like someone pissed him off really bad."
Previously, CSU's offensive line protected Justin Holland fairly well giving up a total of three sacks on the season courtesy of Colorado and Minnesota. In the first five games of the season, BYU recorded just seven sacks. They almost doubled that number against CSU.
So what button did Justin Holland push that got BYU's linebackers fired up? Apparently it had something to do with not getting hit and being tougher than linebackers. That is just thing to do it.
Luettgerodt said: "[Jensen] just said, ‘Man, I heard their quarterback running his mouth, and he has no right to be so we're getting after him.' We were all pretty fired up, man.
"You know what, it does not really bother us when people talk crap before the game, but if the quarterback is talking crap about toughness and not getting hit all week long then he is got issues man, and we're going to have to come after him."
So come after him is exactly what they did. Luettgerodt recorded his season high 2.5 sacks for 15 yards, racking up his best sack performance on the season.
"All I had to do was sack him," Luettgerodt said. "When I see him back there and I've got a clean shot at him, you start licking your chops man, for sure. Those blitzes weren't caused by one person. That happened because four or five people where doing their job, and that is what was cool because those were team sacks."
So while Luettgerodt and the BYU defense was becoming well acquainted with Holland on the turf of Lavell Edwards Stadium, did Luettgerodt have anything to say in response to the week's long rant by the Ram quarterback?
"On the field, oh I'm sure I had a few choice words for him," chuckled Luettgerodt. "We got excited seeing him laid out like that.
"I'm just glad I could go out there and help my team win. Just to play for each other out there, so it is always fun to go out there and come out on top. It is always fun."
The next quarterback Justin Luettgerodt and Cameron "The General" Jensen will face is Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn. Unlike Holland, Quinn's disposition towards the unique Cougar defense has taken on a much different tone than his colleagues at Colorado State.
"Looking at some of the film and some of the games they've played you'll see that BYU is able to almost out scheme people, and are able to put people in an awkward situation and force them to make dumb decisions," Quinn said.
Quinn has played against this Cougar defense before and knows what to expect. The unique scheme of the defense can give quarterbacks headaches at times.
One the opposite side of the ball, BYU's offense has found its running game to become both a pass and run threat. Curtis Brown ran for a season-high 31 carries for 147 yards and scored two touchdowns. After watching film on the BYU-CSU game, Notre Dame linebacker Brandon Hoyte knows how tough it can be to defend against a team that can affectively do both.
"Most definitely, and I think the ability to do both and do both effectively helps them a lot," said Hoyte. "Also, they give you a lot different look that you're not used to seeing on a game by game basis. Just the fact they make plays makes them good."