Cougars Grumpy and Hungry

The Cougars came to the practice field today with a bit of an attitude. They were shocked by the loss of a teammate to injury and furious about two performances that fell just short of victory. They are resolved to eliminate their execution problems so that they do not squander any more opportunities to win.

"We're pissed off," said linebacker Aaron Wagner about the team's attitude toward the season. "Losing the way we are is ridiculous. It's having to come down to one play that we don't execute and we lose because of just one or two plays. We need to execute at a higher level, but more than anything we need to take care of business so it doesn't have to come down to just one play."

Unfortunately for the Cougars, nearly half of their last 15 games have come down to one or two plays. In that period, BYU is 1-5 record in games decided by 7 points or less.

"We did everything that we needed to do, but they just made one more play than us," said defensive lineman Hala Paongo regarding BYU's latest close loss to Boston College. "They got one more play than we did and they won the game. We had a lot of opportunities to win, and we didn't take advantage of them, so we lost."

For now, the Cougars are going back to work in hopes of amending their failure to execute during key stretches in the game.

"It's just having confidence," said Wagner about the reason for their shortcomings. "It's practicing what you do, repeating it and knowing that you can get it done during a game. We aren't, for whatever reason, and I think it's because of confidence. We need to fix that, and it starts this week against Utah State. It should already be fixed, but for whatever reason it isn't, so what do you do? You just keep going and put it behind you."

Missing Keele

The Cougars were devastated earlier today when they learned that starting left tackle Eddie Keele would miss the rest of the season due to an ACL tear. Keele was a three-year starter and generally regarded as the best offensive lineman on the team by fans and his teammates.

"It's hard to talk about," said friend and fellow lineman Jake Kuresa. "Losing Eddie hurts so much that it's hard to put it in words. We've been through so much together and not being able to finish together on the field, man, it just hurts so much."

Keele's on the field contributions will be missed tremendously as he protected quarterback John Beck's blindside. Keele came into this season not allowing a single sack last year. Moreover, Keele was a dominant run-blocker. Now that he has played his last game for the Cougars, he will be looking to the other things in his life to carry him through.

"Eddie has an awesome marriage and an awesome wife," said Kuresa. "He's set to graduate here soon and he has a great life ahead of him. If you're living your life right like Eddie is and one aspect of your life doesn't work out, then the rest will carry you through. It breaks my heart, and we miss him a ton out there, but he'll make the best of it because that is the way he is. What we need to do now for him is to play the best we can and make him proud."


In the meantime, Jeff Grimes and the rest of the staff need to figure out how to shift the starting offensive front to compensate for not only the loss of Keele, but also center Sete Aulai, who will serve a one-game suspension during the Utah State game. During today's practice, bodies were continually shuffled in an effort to figure out what starting five would work best.

Kuresa tried his hand at center today while David Oswald stepped in at right tackle so Dallas Reynolds could move over the left tackle.

"I've never played center before, but if that's where they think I'll do best, then that's what I'll do," Kuresa concluded.


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