Stepping Back to Move Forward

With key personnel suffering from bumps, bruises, and sprains, the Cougars' bye week is allowing for some much-needed recovery time. The BYU coaching staff is also taking advantage of the mid-season break to examine individual player development as the Cougars head into the second half of what they intend to be a championship season.

BYU coaches are taking full advantage of the bye week to go back and analyze how the individual players and the team as a whole are so far this season season. The first three practices this week had a bit of a preseason flavor to them.

"It feels a little bit more like fall camp the first half of practice," said cornerback Kayle Buchanan. "Then towards the end we always focus on UNLV and preparing for their scheme. This bye week has been a great benefit for us this year."

Coaches are using their extra time to look at each player under a microscope for the purpose of polishing up individual techniques and team execution.

"It's nice that this year we have a bye-week in the middle of the season," said 6-foot-8, 315-pound starting offensive tackle David Oswald. "The coaches have had some extra time to go back and analyze some film. We're kind of analyzing our offense to see what we've been doing well and what we haven't been doing as well.

"We're going over on getting our techniques right, our assignments right and making sure we're executing our offense better and better because that's our ultimate goal. We're kind of focusing on what we do kind of like a fall camp. It's been a good to have all this extra time that gives us the opportunity to watch a lot of film, and to get back to polishing up some of the basics before we start focusing on our next opponent."

Although Coach Grimes stresses and teaches personal technique throughout the year, this week the offensive linemen have been tested on this aspect of their game even more than in previous weeks.

"With coach Grimes, he tries to focus on personal technique, footwork and handwork, throughout the whole season, even when we are right in the middle of preparing for a game," said Oswald. "This week we're working on even more of that and personal technique and as an offensive line."

On defense, Coach Hill is putting his charges through much of the same extreme scrutiny as Coach Grimes.

"During the bye week, teams have either the option to relax or to move forward," said Buchanan. "Our coaches have really stressed moving forward, so the best way for us to do that right now is to make sure all of our fundamentals are sound. We're working on our footwork fundamentals and really taking the time to talk through our coverages to make sure we're all doing the right things. We're also getting a look at UNLV early so that we are moving forward in preparing for that team as well."

On Thursday, the team will begin what would normally be a Monday practice which is implementing the game plan for UNLV.

"Tomorrow we're going to have a Monday type practice," Oswald said. "Basically this involves the first day of practice for that game week. We start implementing our plays for that week and the game plan for the up and coming opponent."

"Thursday will be a Monday practice so we'll be one day ahead," said Cameron Jensen. "Monday is just helmets and we do a lot of emphasis on special teams. It's also our first look at what the other team does. For about 20 minutes we'll line up and they'll show us their favorite plays and stuff like that. We'll then get more physical the following days knowing what to do during practice."

The following week leading up to UNLV, the practice schedule will return to normal.

"I'm pretty sure next week we'll just prepare as if it was a normal week of practice heading into a game," said Jensen

"The coaches haven't told us what the schedule will be next week," said Oswald. "I'm pretty sure it will be much the same as preparing for a normal game week. We'll just have an extra day from this Thursday's preparation against UNLV heading into next week."

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