The Red Jerseys Are Back in Provo

With BYU's 4th ranked passing offense preparing to face an all too familiar Lobo defense this Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium, the red jerseys once worn to protect quarterbacks from defenders are now popping up on the defensive side of the ball. Scout team safety Kellen Fowler explains the resurgence of this unwelcome color.

As BYU's scout team defense prepared the offense for the 3-3-5 defense of New Mexico, there was a noticeable difference in the color of a few jerseys in the defensive backfield.

"It does feel a little bit out of place," chuckled safety Kellen Fowler of the red jersey he was sporting. "I'm going to try and throw it away by the end of the week. Just don't tell anybody if it comes up missing that is was me."

Sticking out like a raisin in a mayonnaise jar, the intent of the red jerseys was to ensure that the BYU offense never loses track of certain personnel in the New Mexico defense.

"We're wearing these red jerseys to help the offense pay attention to where the Lobo back lines up," Fowler said. "Depending on where he lines up, he gives us a decent look at what's going on. We're trying to simulate that in practice so I got to put on the red jersey in practice.

"Hopefully this is a good thing. They expect me to make some plays over there on the scout team to give the offense a good look. You know, they really could have picked a better color though. At least it's not crimson, but we won't talk about why."

Along with Fowler, walk-on linebacker Rex Doman was also chosen to wear the unpopular jersey and play the roll of Lobo back.

"Rex Doman is wearing the jersey too," said Fowler. "He's a good player and is a transfer from Dixie State, and it's fun to have him. He's our official scout team captain, so Rex is leading the charge for us guys over there in helping us give the offense a good look."

Fowler got the nod as the imitation Lobo back because he played in the 3-3-5 before his mission when Coach Mendenhall was BYU's defensive coordinator and safeties coach.

"I did play here when we ran the 3-3-5 defense but it was called a Cougar back for us," Fowler said. "We wore blue, and it sounded a lot better than a Lobo. I did get to play some of that, and it's a fun position. It's been kind of fun to run the old 3-3-5 defense, a defense we ran before I left on my mission. Our new defense is obviously playing really well, and it's exciting to have this defense, but it is kind of fun to go back and play the old style a little bit."

Fowler explained that the Lobo back is safety-linebacker hybrid. Fowler is one of the biggest scout team safeties and Doman is an athletic linebacker, so the two matched the position profile. They are impersonating the likes of Chicago Bear linebacker Brian Urlacher, who played Lobo during his days at New Mexico.

Fowler returned home from a mission last March, so he is using this season to get himself back into position to help the Cougar football team next year.

"I'm red shirting this year, and I'll be a junior next year," Fowler said. "I'm using this season to red shirt and get back into the weight room to go at it hard and get back into shape for next year. I want to be able to make a bigger difference on the field. It has been a lot of fun.

"I'm happy to be on the field even though I'm over here on the scout team after playing with the defense for a couple of years before I left. You know, I catch myself looking up at the mountains early in the mornings and taking in the scene of how beautiful it is here and feeling how grateful I am to be here in this program at BYU."


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