All the film has been watched over and over again. All the schemes and formations have been broken down. All the players’ abilities – as much as one could learn without actually knowing them – have been hashed over, then rehashed again.
“Our coaches have done a great job in getting us ready for the season,” said BYU tight end Richard Wilson. “They’ve done just about everything and have given us a good scouting report and look at Ole Miss. I don’t know what else is left to really do.”
The Ole Miss defense runs primarily a man-coverage defense. There is some cover-two, but reports indicate not as much.
“We know they’re going to throw a lot of different things at us,” Wilson said. “We’re thinking they’re going to try and man us up, but as tight ends we feel this will be a big opportunity to show the fans that we are playmakers.”
Given the past history of BYU tight ends, this group will have a lot to prove this year, and that’s exactly what they plan to do. With Devin Mahina out this season with a neck injury, it will be up to Wilson, Austin Holt and Marcus Mathews to carry the bulk of the tight end load. Mahina’s unfortunate injury could also leave the door open for Kaneakua Friel.
“Last year there weren’t as many opportunities for us to prove ourselves,” Wilson said. “This year it will be different because Coach Reynolds has really coached us up at the tight end position and I think we’ll spread the ball around and be a big factor in the game.”
With them being prepared and ready, what’s left to do?
“We’ve gone over so much that right now it’s just mental reps,” Wilson said. “We’re just getting all of our mental reps down, so that way in a game if something changes we know exactly what we’re supposed to do. That’s what Coach Reynolds wants from us and Coach Doman as a whole for the offense.
“Now it’s about focusing on the little things like catching the ball, tucking it in for ball security. The focus isn’t so much on knowing what to expect from Ole Miss – because we feel we’ve been well prepared – and knowing the plays, but it’s more about remembering the little things through mental reps now. Our offense looks great and we’re ready.”
Wilson said he believes the team doesn’t need any more time to prepare.
“We’re ready right now,” Wilson said. “Right now. We’re basically going through the motions because we’ve been so well prepared. I'm ready to play, and I think the rest of the team feels the same way when I say this, that even though we have a couple more days to play, we could play the game today or even a couple of days ago.”
With preparation comes confidence. With confidence, especially in an emotionally charged arena such as football, comes excitement. The challenge by the BYU coaching staff now is to temper that excitement so that it peaks for game day in Oxford, Mississippi.
“All the players have to realize that right now we can’t get hyped up too much,” said Wilson. “I think that’s the challenge for our coaching staff right now. We feel ready to play now, so we have to make sure our excitement gradually peaks to where it reaches that pinnacle on Saturday, so we have to stay focused and make sure we take it one day at a time and that we continue to practice like we’re still progressing.
“We’re all anxious to play but we can’t get too hyped up right now. We can’t get so excited to play right now that we psyche ourselves out, because we know where we’re at as a team. We just have to wait, be patient, stay focused on doing mental reps to make sure we’re doing the little things. We’ve got a few more days to stay focused and to make sure we’re peaking emotionally at the right time come Saturday.”