"The first thing I've seen in comparison from last year is last year guys were just trying to make it. This year I feel like guys are trying to beat their time, and not just beat their time but beat other guys. I see a lot more guys trying to compete against themselves and others more. Sure, we are a family and a team at the end of the day, but in reality we're still competing against each other at the end of that day. So guys are trying to beat each other out through competition. That would be the first thing I've noticed."
Logan is right. Players put a greater emphasis on beating their times running to the Y, and there appears to have been a greater offseason effort to be physically ready for the season. This is more than likely due to the fact that many positions are open and players are making a greater effort to fill those spots. Logan, on the other hand, feels that the level of competition on the defensive side of the ball is a direct result of a year-long cultivation of team culture and team ownership.
"I think the credit comes from the coaching staff," he said. "I know as a defense we wanted to create a culture. That aspect has to do with guys just getting together and doing things as a unit. The culture we have in the locker room is different. We have signs hanging up everywhere saying 'You cannot play on this defense if you can't hit or can't run.'
"The seniors came up with the culture that we wanted to establish and brought that to the coaches. Then the coaches came up with the signs. They'll get them made and they're big signs that they put up everywhere. They'll have words like 'Commitment' and ‘Passion' or 'Beat Washington' or 'Beat Utah' with the BYU logo in the middle. We're walking around the locker room and I know it helps motivate the team because it motivates me. Basically, the coaches have taken our ideas and said, 'Here you go. Whatever you need from us we'll do, but this is your team so have at it. Go ahead and lead.' Now we're seeing guys working harder because of that."
Another noticeable difference that Logan has seen comes by way of the practice field. Logan has seen a more level playing field among the various levels on the depth chart, and this has generated greater competition among the various positions.
"The other thing I've seen right off the bat is the depth we now have," said Logan. "We are solid and have depth at almost every position. I mean, you've got first team making plays, second team making plays and the third team making plays. In comparison to last year, we've got a lot more depth. This is my second fall camp and from what I've seen we have more depth and experience on all levels. Last year, it was primarily the first team and we were battling. Then the second and third team would come in and the results weren't the same. Now that's not the case because we have first-team guys battling hard with the second- and third-string guys. It's made things a lot more tougher for everyone, including those guys like me that was on the first team last year. You have to always be on top of your game or else someone could sneak up and take your spot from you, so overall I would say that the quality of depth we have and the level of competition we have on all levels is something I've noticed in fall camp.
And what's last but not least on Logan's list of noticeable differences this fall?
"Excitement and fun," Logan said with a smile. "I mean you can see it out on the field with Coach Hill. We were doing one-on-ones and a ball got tipped during one-on-ones and Coach Hill grabbed it and ran it back for a touchdown. So it's not just coming from the players but from the coaches as well. I think sometimes we get so caught up at this level with the expectations, what we stand for and trying to maintain the level of success we've had over the past that we lose why we play the game. We get too tight, and for guys to loosen up and for the coaches to get loosened up is good.
"I tell some of the younger guys that we're still playing a boy's game. It's still the game that we played as little boys growing up out on our neighborhood streets. It's just now there's a little more X's and O's to it, rather than just saying, 'Okay, you run out to the red car and you run out to the streetlight and I'll hit who's open.' It's still the same game but with a little more X's and O's. I think that's why I always have a smile on my face when I'm playing the game no matter what."