The Pool Match and the Big Trip

Arizona offensive lineman Blair Tushaus prides himself on being a pretty good pool player, but when his position coach Mark Weber beat him during an in-home visit, a competitive spirit to be the best was born. Recently, Weber visited Tushaus again for a rematch prior to his official recruiting visit during last weekend's extravaganza.

Offensive line coach Mark Weber is supposedly a pretty good pool player. In fact he beat Blair Tushaus, who claims to be a very good pool player himself, during a recent in-home recruiting visit. The competition to see who the better pool player was heated up, and another game was set upon a return visit. With that rematch now in the books, it appears the student might have become the teacher.

"The good news is I did even up the match by beating Coach Weber," said Tushaus. "Right now it's 1-to-1."

Tushaus hates to lose. In fact, after losing the first game of pool to Coach Weber, Tushaus went right back to the pool table to work on his shot.

"I have to say all my practice paid off," he said. "I beat him pretty good."

After Coach Weber had beaten Tushaus the first time, there was a small debate among the BYU coaching staff regarding whether or not Weber should have let Tushaus win. So, the question is, did Weber purposely lose the rematch or did he honestly lose to Tushaus?

"I think he gave it his all and tried to win, but I can't tell for sure," Tushaus said. "He's kind of sneaky there. After I beat him he kind of avoided me because he new he was going to get it from me. He was like, ‘Aw man!' and was avoiding me. It was really funny."

While Tushaus found redemption, one can't discount the competitive spirit of Coach Weber either. A third game has been set up to see who will become the ultimate champion. However, there's a new twist for this final match.

"We are actually talking now about having teams," Tushaus said. "It's going to be me and Coach Mendenhall against Coach Weber and my dad when Coach Weber and Mendenhall come next Monday. There will be lots of witnesses to this game. I'm not worried about it at all."

One has to kind of feel for Coach Weber, who already received some grief from the coaching staff after beating Tushaus the first time around. Now that Weber's boss has decided to team up with Tushaus for the final game, Tushaus isn't worried.

"I feel pretty confident that me and Coach Mendenhall will win," said Tushaus with a chuckle. "Coach Mendenhall said during a visit with me that we will do good. I believe him and that's why I'm not worried in the least bit."

Good luck to Coach Weber on winning that final game, but whether or not he wins the final game, one thing is certain: he has built a strong relationship with his future center, and that relationship is evident given the fact that the two hung out together during the big gathering of recruits at BYU last weekend.

"On Saturday we split off with our position's coach, so for me that was being with Coach Weber," said Tushaus. "We went over some plays and stuff and that was a lot of fun."

When all the rest of the recruits went off to hit the mountains with snowmobiles, Tushaus stayed behind with Coach Weber, A.J. Moore and Moore's family.

"It was a last-minute decision and the BYU trainers decided that it would be better that I didn't go," said Tushaus, who has been recovering from ACL injury he suffered before his senior season. "It was kind of a bummer but the coaches told me that we would do it again sometime on down the road. For them to want to do that for me was pretty cool. I then drove back with Coach Weber and we drove down to LaVell Edwards Stadium and then to see the BYU vs. Colorado State basketball game."

After the basketball game, it was time to get to know some current players.

"Saturday night was a lot of fun because we got to meet our hosts and hang out with them," Tushaus said. "For me, that was being with Freshman All-American Braden Hansen. I was expecting this big guy with an attitude who thought he was all that, but that wasn't the case at all. He turned out to be one of the nicest guys I've ever met. He was so down to earth and so humble. He tried so hard to make me feel at home and he took me around and we did things together. I could tell he just cared about everyone and that's what I like about him. You don't really see guys like that very much anymore. He took me miniature golfing and we went and played some arcade games and that was fun. We went out with a whole bunch of recruits and their hosts that night and it was fun."

During the next several years, there is a good chance that Tushaus could be playing on the football field next to Hansen.

"It would be such an honor to be able to play next to him and I've thought about that," Tushaus said. "I know he's a really great guy off the field but I'm sure he can be pretty nasty on it. He's a really big dude at 6'6" and 300-and-something pounds, and I'm sure he can bring it when he wants to. I thought I was big."

As for players in his recruiting class, one fellow recruit that Tushaus has grown very close to is California running back Joshua Quezada.

"He's already there at BYU and I'm so happy he decided to come there," said Tushaus. "From the moment he was offered, I tried to talk to him about coming to BYU. Over time we became pretty good friends. I was telling him, ‘Come on, I want to block for you at BYU.' With him being non-LDS and me being non-LDS, we kind of had that connection. I told him that he and I would do good here at BYU. He's a great kid and he looks better with his hair cut too. I told him he looks faster and he's doing good out there now. I know he made the right decision to come to BYU."

The weekend was a big hit among the recruits. In fact, even though he wasn't able to go snowmobiling, Tushaus raved about the whole experience.

"It was amazing and was a hundred times better than I thought it was going to be," said Tushaus. "All the recruits were just great and I got along with all of them. My roommate Jordan Black is another great guy and is also very tall. He's all of 6'7" and was great to be around. In fact, our entire group of guys was great. It was me, Zac Stout, A.J. Moore, Toloa'i Ho-Ching and Alani Fua, and I think that was it. We did a lot more than I thought we would. We took some tours around campus and got a good look at where we would be most of the time. They had us talk to some of the professors, and then after that Coach Mendenhall talked to us. It was very helpful."

Unfortunately, the weekend eventually had to come to an end.

"When it was all over I didn't want to leave," Tushaus said. "I just wanted to stay so badly. The weather was awesome and all the people there are just so great. I loved it. I think I'm really going to like it there."


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