Foketi Is Never Satisfied

BYU's new defensive linemen know they were brought in to contribute right away. Mosese Foketi, a 6-foot, 270-pound defensive end, felt the weight of that responsibility more strongly than the other D-line newcomers did because he has two years of JC experience. After a disappointing first practice, Foketi is committed to becoming the players coaches expect him to be.

"Well my first day here at practice was crucial and I didn't even finish practice," said a somber Moses Foketi. "I only went half way because of the altitude and plus I was hurt from tearing my biceps and being in a sling for around two weeks. After the two weeks I took another week off and then I came up here, so it was pretty bad for me on that first day. Not working out over that period of time really killed me and kind of set me back a little."

Foketi ended up a lower on BYU's depth chart than those that were able to complete the first day's activities.

"Matangi [Tonga] and I got dropped further down the depth chart, and we know, like the coaches know, it's not a permanent thing," said Foketi. "It's just that we didn't perform to the level we needed to compete that first day, so now we have to work hard and prove ourselves. They guys ahead of us, they did work hard and they were able to finish the drills, so they did their part. Now it's our time to do our part to make up what we've lost to prove ourselves.

"I kind of got a bit disappointed in myself because I know the coaches are expecting so much. Before I got hurt I was working out like crazy like around three times a day because the coaches were calling me a lot saying how they needed me to step right in because we have a lot of young recruits coming in. I was coming from a JC, so I should have the edge on everybody else and all that kind of stuff.

Not being one to complain but one that would rather work harder to do what ever is needed to meet expectations, Foketi will simply put in more time and effort to get the job done.

"The second day I did better and could feel the difference," Foketi said. "The guys on the team were cheering me on too and I didn't want to let anyone down, so I was able to carry my own weight and push on through. It was cool to see the support and I lasted the whole practice."

"These coaches recruited me and they know what kind of a player I am. I chase after every ball and I never give up, but I feel like I kind of disappointed them because I'm not where they expect me to be and that's made me sad a little bit. The good thing is, I know where I need to be and I know how hard I need to work to get back to where the coaches expect me to be. I'm going to work hard, really hard."

The common theme among the incoming players is the level of talent they are facing everyday during practice on the offensive line. In previous interviews, Matangi Tonga and Russell Tialavea have mentioned how their own abilities have increased simply by practicing against those manning the offensive line.

"Honestly, I wake up every day and think of how I'm going to get better and better because of those guys on the offensive line," smiled Foketi. "Those guys are really good, big guys that can push their own weight and do it quickly, so they show us newer guys some stuff and then the veterans on the D-line show us some stuff in regards to what we might be doing wrong and stuff like that. At the J.C level they do teach you things but at this level it's more technique which I'm learning more of. This is a whole different level. Here they emphasis every little thing like your hand placement so you can get off the ball faster, your hand movements and all the skills you need in order to be a good player."

Some of the technique the newer group of D-line players have been working on involves pass rushing, gap filling and stopping the run.

"We've been working on our containment, pass rushing moves and our reach blocking technique we use against the run. Usually us younger guys just line up and go after it but now we have to combine our skills with technique at this level.

Walking off the practice field, the level of closeness between the players is clearly visible. Whether it's talking about specific techniques, the results of a specific play or individual work or performance, the personality of this specific group of D-linemen is one that has easily bonded together and is very teachable.

"We're all a tight group and we all came together fast," said Foketi. "Even like in the dorms we all just go over to each other's houses and each other's food, play video games and no one really minds. It's cool because all the Hawaiians in the group have their style and they're really funny, and the rest of us have our funny ways so we all just clicked as a group.

"All the new recruits, we're all really close and love hanging out and even living in the dorms which is something some of the older guys don't really understand because they hated it. It's just the people that you're with and how everyone gets a long that makes it fun. I think that's the whole idea behind Coach Mendenhall and the coaching staff's plan. To recruit people that can get along with each other so we can all connect and really be a band of brothers. I'm beginning to think more about Bronco Mendenhall and see how he ties all things together, he's my guy."


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