"I've always love playing with Harvey [Unga]," said big true freshman offensive tackle Matt Reynolds. "I'm also excited to play with Luke [Ashworth] and Steven [Covey] as well when they get back from their missions. We had a really talented team when we were over there at Timpview. We all four had a fun time playing together and played together for several years. We were all lucky enough to be able to come to college together as well."
With Ashworth and Covey still serving missions but expected to return home during the spring of 2008, Unga is happy to be reunited with at least one of his former Timpview high school teammates.
"It does feel like the good ol' days," said Unga. "It's a lot of fun because Matt was an All-American and, in my opinion, was one of the best o-linemen in the country."
Reynolds shares the same sentiment whenever he sees Unga, his former high school running back and close friend, having success on the Cougar practice field.
"It does remind me of the good ol' days," said a chuckling Reynolds. "It makes me want to get up and be on the offensive line with him [on the field] so I can run down and celebrate with him."
Coming in at 6 feet 5 inches and 285 pounds, Reynolds has already begun to assert his High School All-American status by stepping right in with the second team offensive unit at the left tackle position.
"To me, [Reynolds] still is one of the best o-linemen in the country, so it's going to be like the good ol' days," Unga said. "We're going to be running the ball left and right wherever he's at. I'm going to be right there celebrating with him in the end zone in the future."
"You know, the two biggest differences I've seen coming from high school to this level is the speed and the technique," said Reynolds. "You have to strain yourself every single play or you'll get beat. You have to be sound in your technique or you'll get beat. It takes some adjusting to, and so you have to learn how to play against college-level guys and give a college-level effort every single play."
"Back in high school you could get away with taking it a little easier sometimes. The guys you would go up against either weren't going up to full speed all the time or they didn't have as good of technique. At this level, everything changes. Now it's not just who is bigger than who, it's more who is now quicker and has the better technique."
Unga and Reynolds grew up playing football together, but Unga has noticed that his childhood friend has changed somewhat.
"It's great to have him around, but he's a little different, you know, from the whole mission thing," said Unga while chuckling. "He's not the same ‘let's go out and do this and that' kind of Matt…it's good to have him back, but on the field he's more serious now. He comes out here and works his butt off every single day and is very serious about it."
"Right now I'm just trying to focus on learning as much as I can," said Reynolds. "Every day I'm learning more and more about the plays and the technique that I'm supposed to be using. I still have a long ways to go where I'm at that level of where I want to be, but the guys help me out a lot. My brother Dallas [Reynolds] helps me out a lot and Coach Weber is really good too with teaching and critiquing me. He'll help me reach the level that I want to reach."
When Matt Reynolds came home from his mission, early reports indicated his weight being at around 260 pounds. Over the summer, Reynolds worked out hard to regain his pre-mission stature and conditioned himself to the point to where he could compete at the Division I level.
"If you watch the o-linemen run, you can tell [Reynolds is] back in shape," Unga said. "You can tell he's gotten himself back into playing shape and he did so really quickly. He's the most agile, and in my opinion, the most athletic linemen we have coming up. It's exciting to know he's going to be on the o-line blocking for us running backs in the future. It's great to have him back and I can't wait to have him starting with the first team.
"You know, it all starts with the o-linemen up front and we've got some really talented, big, strong guys playing up there for us right now. We also got some big, strong and agile players coming up that will compete and fit right in and dominate at their positions like Matt will for us in time."