TBS to feature exclusive articles on BYU pros

<b>Ben Cahoon</b>, former BYU and current Canadian Football League All-Pro wide receiver, is joining TotalBlueSports.com as a staff editor writing exclusive articles about former BYU athletes now playing professional sports.

Cahoon will also schedule and coordinate exclusive TBS chats for its members to ask former players about their careers and lives since leaving BYU.

While his initial focus will be writing about BYU's football professionals, he will later expand his coverage to include Cougar athletes playing professional basketball, golf, baseball and other sports.

Cahoon approached TBS with the idea, noting he had come across a lot of Cougar fans in the past five years who continually ask how his career is going. He said it is the same for all former Cougars currently playing professional sports.

"I'm a fan of BYU players, so I like to follow the golfers on the PGA tour, Shawn Bradley and all the Cougar football guys. I take an interest in their careers. I thought it was a shame there's not one place where you can go to get information on all the guys.

"I wanted to provide a service that was a little more detailed than what you can get from the newspapers. That's how it started; just a desire to keep track of the players and what they're doing."

On his new relationship with TBS: "I love the site. I love the service it provides. I'm thrilled with the opportunity to work with the Total Blue Sports team and for allowing me to collaborate with them.

"It's (TBS) going to be a fantastic place to get inside information on what guys are doing... the same guys we've all grown to appreciate and love while they were at BYU. Total Blue Sports will get exclusive and intimate details on how they're doing in their careers and their lives.

Cahoon said "about 70 percent of the BYU guys have already agreed to do the interviews. They have given me contact information and are more than happy to let their BYU fans know how they're doing. The players I've left messages for have called back quickly. The former players are excited about it."

Cahoon explained the former players are equally anxious to let BYU fans know how their professional careers and personal lives progress.

"The players appreciated the fan support while they were at BYU and they are more than happy to provide us with some insight and access to their lives. Something like this is not currently available for BYU athletes or athletes from any other schools that I'm aware of. You'll get information on the players and details about their personal lives."

Even as far away as Montreal, Canada, Cahoon has always remained an avid BYU fan. "I listen to the games on KSL and follow the teams on the Internet," he said.

Even his parents, currently serving an LDS mission in Bakersfield, California, get an occasional opportunity to talk about their son and his BYU football career as missionaries.

"My parents ran into some Arizona State fans in Bakersfield. Their son played for the ASU team that we beat back in 1997. They saw the name Cahoon on my parents' name tags and asked them if they were related to a Ben Cahoon who played at BYU a few years ago."

"My parents told them that they were Ben's parents, and the people said that they had just watched a tape of the 1997 BYU-ASU game a few days before and they remembered that I had a big game against ASU. My parents actually went over to their house afterward and watched the tape with them."

The parents of the ASU player remembered Cahoon's performance for good reason. He finished the game with over 200 yards receiving against a Sun Devil defense that featured several current NFL players, including the couple's son.

Cahoon also maintains close contact with the Cougar football program by working out with current and former BYU players in the off season.

"I've spent the last few months running at BYU and lifting weights at a local gym with Chad Lewis, Dustin Johnson, Itula Mili and Gabe Reid," he explained.

Ben also stays in touch with members of the BYU coaching staff from his playing days.

"I talk to Coach Pella and Coach Felt. I also saw Coach Lamb and Coach Bosco during the NFL scout workouts this spring. I really have a lot of respect for those guys. I've also seen Lavell (Edwards) a few times, but I don't keep in touch with him as often as I should. I was watching the two-hour KBYU special on Lavell the other night and I was crying like a baby. That was great."

His impressions about the new BYU coaching staff?

"I know for a fact they're working harder than they ever have before. They're talented and knowledgeable."

Cahoon has met some current players and talked to others very close to the Cougar football program and offered some random thoughts and impressions.

"I've been watching some of the younger guys work out. They have some great talent, especially young talent.

JOHN BECK: "I threw with John Beck last week. That kid is the real deal. I have never seen an arm like he's got in a college quarterback. The first pass that Beck threw me was an out and it went right through my hands. The ball was there so quickly! Chad and I were talking to Itula about Beck, telling him, 'you will not believe this guy.' The exact same thing happened to Itula the next day. The first pass Beck threw him went right through his hands."

MANAIA BROWN: Cahoon was recently speaking with a college football coach and the name Manaia Brown came up. The coach said, "Manaia Brown is the best D-lineman BYU has ever had." In fact, the same coach said Manaia is the best college D-lineman he's seen in over 20 years. According to the coach, "He won't last until his senior year. He's too good."

CHRIS HALE & TOBY CHRISTENSEN: "I haven't seen a lot of the players, but the receivers are really impressive as a group. I threw with Chris Hale a while ago. His physical conditioning is outstanding and his routes were really good. Toby Christensen also looks good. I remember he had a little baby fat on him before his mission, but he's really lean now."

BRISTOL OLOMUA: "There was another guy who stood out but I don't know his name (later learned it was Olomua). He's a big Polynesian kid who could play wide receiver or tight end. He looked really good."

BYU PLAYER CONDITIONING:

Cahoon noted how impressed he has been with the Cougars new level of conditioning.

"I've seen them working out, doing Jay Omer's stuff. They're all looking like they're in amazing shape. When I was playing, the O-lineman were a little chunky and you'd get the odd guy like Bateman or Tait who were lean. Now they're all in great shape.

"The receivers are jacked up and ripped. The linebackers are lean and muscular. BYU has never had a team as strong as this team. It takes two or three years for a strength coach and his workouts to really take effect. I think you're going to start seeing the effects of that."

"It doesn't hurt that Jay Omer is psychotic, and I mean that in a good way," joked Cahoon. "These guys run like you can't believe."

To illustrate his point, he added: "A few weeks ago Chad, Itula and I ran the north end zone stairs of Lavell Edwards Stadium, up and down five times. After we got done with the fifth, Chad didn't say a word. Not good-bye. Nothing. He just walked out to his car. He was in the worst mood I've ever seen. We were going over to Gold's Gym to work out afterward, and we had to call each other on our cell phones on the way to make sure we didn't pass out. We waited two weeks until we did that again. It was terrible.

"Two weeks later, Gabe Reid showed up and said they (BYU players) had to do 15 of them, non-stop! We were resting two or three minutes in between. Gabe said guys were lifting up their legs with their hands. Guys were throwing up. Omer would tell them, 'You can throw up on the way up. Throw up, but don't stop.' Some of the guys were crawling on their hands and knees at the end. It is amazing what Omer is able to do. There is no way I could do 15 of those. I don't think I could have done one more -- and I'm in pretty good shape."


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