Indeed, Monday's practice, which usually features no pads and light drills for players, featured full pads, hard hits and an intense session. Instead of being able to ease into their preparation, the team is going full steam ahead.
"Yeah, we usually don't start hitting until Tuesday," said Poppinga. "But [Monday's] practice isn't even Tuesday's practice, it's Wednesday in our mind, so yeah, we have to get a lot done in a short amount of time."
The opponent this Thursday is TCU, a team coming off its best outing of the year, downing New Mexico 37-0 last Saturday. It's a game that was viewed by almost every player on the team as they went home following their own game against Colorado State.
"Game prep started on Saturday right after our game because of the short week," said defensive lineman Brett Denney. "I went home and watched every minute of the TCU game, and so did everyone else on the team. We had to get started immediately [at] scouting them out."
The weekend viewing wasn't limited to the TCU vs. New Mexico game, as players were greeted with DVDs in their locker room immediately following the CSU game. The players poured over those DVDs for the rest of the weekend and into this week.
"Coaches have done whatever they can to prepare us," said Denney. "They've been here before on a short week and so have most of us, so we're doing the best we can in preparing against TCU."
Preparing for TCU is no easy task. One could say when scouting out the Horned Frogs that they're the complete opposite of CSU a week ago. While CSU doesn't present a multiple amount of looks, TCU will throw anything and everything at an opposing defense.
"There's a lot to prepare for," said Poppinga. "They like to spread it out, go five wide, pack it in, do the ‘ride' with the QB, play action; they do a bit of everything. There's a lot to account for this week."
In order to defend against such an offensive attack, the Cougar defenders know that discipline in their assignments is very important, and will be even more vital for success than it was last week.
"We're going to have to focus on maintaining our assignments more," said Denney. "Last week there wasn't a lot to what CSU did. They just ran it right at us, so we were able to pack it in and be really aggressive. This week it's different. We have to be ready for a lot and be very disciplined in our assignments."
Containment responsibilities come chiefly into focus when defending against TCU's primary running back, Aaron Brown. Brown will bring a level of burst and speed into LaVell Edwards Stadium that the Cougars haven't seen this year.
"Oh, he's dangerous, he's very good," said Poppinga about Brown. "If he gets into the open field, then he'll beat us on most occasions, so we really need to work on containing him. If he gets past us into the open field, then he's gone, because we don't have anyone that can catch him. Containing him and not letting him get into the open will be key."
TCU was picked by just about everyone to win the conference, while BYU was picked to finish near the top. As BYU sits on top of the conference, TCU is making an end run, hoping to land on top as they were predicted to do. The Cougars know that TCU will be bringing their best game this Thursday.
"It's a championship game," said Poppinga regarding BYU's matchup against TCU. "The winner of this game the last two years has gone on to win the conference championship, and that's the mentality we have this year, and they might be thinking that way too."