Hola: "Adjustments Have Been Humbling"

BYU's defensive line got a shot in the arm by securing one of the top junior college defensive tackles in the country. Now squarely in the mix of spring camp, Hola is adjusting to the new level of competition.

It must be tough going from the junior college ranks to face off against one of the top Division I offenses in the country, but that's exactly what 6-foot-1-inch, 310-pound Tevita Hola has been going through for the last three practices.

"It's been going pretty and I'm just thankful that I have this opportunity to be able to play for a great program and institution," Hola said. "Now it's been a humbling experience playing against these guys. I got a lot of hype coming out of the J.C. ranks and coming to a program where it's nothing but hard work. I'm giving it the best I can.

"I feel that it's been a humbling experience doing all the hard work and being vigorous in trying to learn new plays and new things. No one knows who you are and you're basically just a person with a blank, white shirt with no name on it yet. You have to go out and prove yourself everyday, and so far it's just been a big-time learning experience for me."

Aside for the other things that may humble a player, lining up against a very experienced offensive line that consists of players the likes of Ray Feinga, Dallas Reynolds, David Oswald, Levi Mack, R.J. Willing and Tom Sorensen can have a way of helping you stay grounded. Throw in guys like Matt Reynolds in the mix as well, and even Travis Bright a little later once he's healed up, and the humbling lesson would continue for anyone for quite some time.

"I haven't gone against Ray [Feinga] thankfully enough because I've just gotten started in spring ball and they don't want me to get hurt too bad," said Hola while chuckling. "But yeah, the talent level is at a higher level and everything is a step a head from what I was used to, and right now I'm just trying to adapt to this level of competition. I'm learning and trying to be teachable and meek so I can become a better player. I'm learning from the players that have been here already as well as the coaches to take in as much as I can."

Hola has learned firsthand what it means to be a part of the "Band of Brothers." He's already received quite a bit of help from many of his defensive line teammates, who have helped him through this time of a difficult learning curve.

"Guys that have already been to the stadium and have already played have really helped me a lot," said Hola. "Many of the guys on the d-line have been helping. Guys like Jan Jorgensen have been a big help for me and kind of like a big brother. He's been leading me by the hand and has been a big help for me. I've just been trying to take in as much council and learn from these guys as much as I can."

Hola played his junior college football at Snow Junior College in Ephraim, Utah. The Badger defense would run, at times, a similar 3-4-4 defense to what BYU runs as their base defensive package.

"It's been really tough learning this defense and we ran a little bit of it when I was at Snow," Hola said. "Having that as our base formation is a little harder to adjust. For me, going up against three guys instead of one is definitely a challenge. Luckily, we have a great coaching staff to teach us proper steps and techniques."

Spring practice is well on it way, and so far this week the Cougars have been focusing on learning the base formations and how their positions fit within it.

"Right now we're just learning the base formations right now and getting our steps right," Hola said. "We're just doing little things right now like finishing after every play is done. We just kind of have the start fast and finish strong mentality right now."


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