Kat back Joshua Brandon thinks the short week of preparation, combined with the team's youth (11 freshmen and six sophomores who receive regular game reps), could have something to do with the "snowball" affect.
"Yeah, I think so. We have a couple of extra days to practice (against Wyoming). You don't have to cram everything and everything can be like it was before. We don't have to cram a lot for Wyoming, so hopefully it will show," Brandon said.
Asked what the mood and mental disposition after last week's CSU loss, Brandon said, "It's kind of a somber mood. You know what I mean, when you lose by that much, but now I think we're putting that behind us and we know what we have to do now. We just have to go out and play the ball we know how to play from a defensive side."
Maybe the weekend off helped (while most BYU coaches were out recruiting), but practice Monday was intense and there were no noticeable signs of any post-CSU doldrums.
"We watch a lot of film. We know the mistakes we've made. We are just going to go in there and fix those mistakes and, hopefully, we can come out victorious when we play Wyoming," said Brandon, adding, "You can't think about it. You can't dwell on it or it will be really bad."
Despite the obstacle of three consecutive home losses, Brandon noted, "You just gotta play hard. We've got something to prove now on offense and defense. I think we are one of the best defenses in the nation and we just gotta go out there and prove it. I don't know if a lot of people out there are doubting us, right now or not, but that really doesn't matter. We've just got to go out there and prove our point as a team."
Despite the bumps and bruises, this BYU team has shown great resilience towards the negativity that has surrounded them as they continue to "grow and develop." From abusive fans to negative media scrutiny, one constant is the unabated effort of BYU coaches to right their tilting ship.
"You can't get caught up in all the (negative) hype and stuff," said Brandon. "As a team, as a defensive unit, we are very close. We know what we have to do. We know the mistakes we've made and know how to correct them. Hopefully we'll do that and come out on top. Hopefully we'll win the rest of our games. We just have to take it one game at a time and Wyoming is next."
Meanwhile, quarterback Matt Berry is getting more reps with the first unit during practice to allow Crowton to determine his progression more accurately.
"I had to get Matt a lot of reps to get him back to where he is. I can't evaluate him unless I get him a lot of reps so that's why he had a lot of reps," Coach Crowton said. "I got John (Beck) as many reps as he normally gets. Matt looked pretty good yesterday for the first day.
"When you look at Matt, he's only lost one game this year (USC), and he was playing very well. We were scoring more points and we were a little more consistent when he was in there because of his experience. I think he has some confidence as he sat back and watched this. I think he knows he can get the job done," Crowton continued.
One positive upside for Crowton is knowing that he will have two good battle-tested quarterbacks for the future in Berry and Beck.
"… that confidence you can feel in the huddle. Both of those two guys are getting better and, like I've said, they're going to be around for a while. The future is very bright. He (Berry) doesn't have all the zip on the ball yet, but it's coming back and it will continue everyday. I think I'm in a good situation and not a bad situation because John Beck has had a lot of practice in game situations over the last four weeks."
The main reason Crowton is speeding up Berry's return is "the only thing I'm a little worried about Matt is he's a little rusty. That's why he's getting a lot of reps, but I still want to wait until the end of the week to make a decision. Probably both guys will play a little bit in this game. Just like I did before with Matt. If he ends up being the starter, I want to give John a series or so. If it goes the other way, I will give Matt a series just to get his feet going if he doesn't get the start," Crowton noted.
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