After being switched from quarterback to receiver, Alex Kuresa is enjoying the opportunities he’s had so far this season to get out on the field.
“It’s the most fun I’ve had playing football,” said Kuresa with a smile. “It’s just crazy to think that I’m out there catching passes and running around out there on the field.”
Kuresa has seen how Skyler Ridley made the most of every opportunity, and wants to do the same when he’s called upon.
“When I’m able to come in I just want to prove myself whenever I can,” Kuresa said. “Just like when Skyler proved himself when he went in for Cody during the Washington State, and made the most of his opportunity, I need to do the same thing. When I get my opportunity to step out on the field I need to step up and prove myself.”
A redshirt freshman, Alex Kuresa has the ability to play multiple positions, and has done just that so far this season.
“I play the z-receiver, so I’m behind Ross [Apo],” said Kuresa. “I’ll go in if he can’t go or I’ll go in at the h-position backing up J.D. [Falslev]. I do both and I’m just trying to get out on the field however I can, you know? It’s been good so far.”
Kuresa saw a little playing time during the Washington State game, and while he didn’t make any catches, he did get his feet wet on the big stage.
It’s different being on the other side of fence now. Kuresa used to watch his older brother Jake play for BYU. Now it’s his turn.
“I grew up watching BYU football pretty much all my life and in the stands when my brother played here,” recalled the younger Kuresa. “I can’t count how many times I’ve sat in that stadium watching my brother Jake play for many years.”
Now Jake is the one watching him making plays on the field, but it’s usually from the comfort of home rather than from the stands.
“My brother is a big guy so he doesn’t fit very well in the chairs,” said Kuresa with a laugh. “He would rather sit at home on his couch and watch it on TV where he can get a better view of the game. He has a little daughter too and his wife is eight months pregnant, so getting out to the games is a little tough sometimes. It’s fine though and he calls me after the games and we talk. He knows that feeling and is like, ‘It’s so crazy, isn’t it?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah it is, and I had no idea it was like that!’”
There are two plays from the Washington State game that stood out to him.
“Being out on the field for two of those touchdowns against Washington State that were scored in that game was great. I was out there for two of those and it was a great experience for me,” Kuresa recalled. “I was in on two of them, so being in on that and being in the middle of 64,000 fans when they erupted was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had.”
Prior to the Washington State game, Kuresa was told he would see the field.
“Dallin Cutler is the backup z-receiver behind Ross [Apo], but Dallin pulled his hamstring in pre-game,” said Kuresa. “The Washington State game was the first game I’ve ever stepped out onto the field. I wasn’t going to play in that game because the third string doesn’t usually play, so Coach Cahoon came to me and said, ‘Hey, Cutler’s hurt, so you’re going to be going in.’ I just thought, ‘Wow, this is sweet!’”
The Weber State game, meanwhile, was a different story when it came to Kuresa’s contributions. He caught four passes for 51 yards, averaging 12.75 yards per reception. He also ran the ball twice for seven yards.
Knowing that he’ll actually contribute makes all the difference in the world when running out of the tunnel on game day.
“To actually come out of that tunnel with the team this year was a lot different for me,” said Kuresa. “I came out of the tunnel a little bit last year and that was incredible, but to actually run out of the tunnel knowing you’re going to play is even more incredible. That feeling is awesome.
“That feeling going in is so sweet. It’s just like any other game going in. Once that ball is snapped it’s just like any other football game, but I guess it was a little different for me playing receiver instead of quarterback. I didn’t feel out of place and felt comfortable.”
Kuresa hopes that as the season wears on, his role will continue to increase as he performs well and gains more trust from the coaches.
“It’s been fun so far and I hope it continues,” Kuresa said with a smile. “You know, I’m hoping that if I get the rock that I can make things happen with it. That’s the plan and I want to do my best if and when that happens to make some plays. Right now I just need to be consistent and make the most of every opportunity I get so I can continue to have opportunities in the future.”
Is there a chance that Kuresa could receive some playing time against Utah? If Cutler can’t go this Saturday behind Apo, Kuresa will once again be the next in line. It remains to be seen if that is the case or not, but big brother Jake will – in a vicarious way – be a big support to Kuresa if he is called on to face Utah.
“It helps so much because he’s been through everything that I’m going through,” Kuresa said. “He gives perfect advice and is the perfect guy to go to for me. He gives me a lot of strength knowing that he’s already been through everything. So, he’ll be watching all the games, and it’s a big comfort to know that everything I go through, he’s already been through.”