"We talked about composure a lot after the game and coaches talked to us a lot about it on Monday, running back Curtis Brown told reporters today. "It's something we're definitely focusing on as a team."
Crowton elaborated: "What I tried to do is show the team where we were at when I felt that we lost composure. Next time when we get in that situation we'll be better prepared. I don't know if our guys just thought they'd win big. What I do know is that in the second half when the game got close is that we lost our composure."
Teammate Justin Luettgerodt added, "They mentioned it briefly, but they didn't even have to do it, to be honest with you. It was so obvious to me and to the entire team following the Stanford game that we needed to be more composed. Me personally, I did some stupid things out there and I can't do that."
Crowton pointed out, "We've identified the mistakes as a coaching staff … with maintaining composure and … we're addressing them in practice." He also acknowledged that specific punishments will be dealt players who commit stupid penalties, but would not expound on them.
"Our No. 1 thing is to win. Following and staying with your game plan in all areas is the other thing. What we have to do is execute special teams better. We did a great job of that in the first game … which helped us manage the game better," Crowton said.
Asked if he knew what Crowton's penalties were, Luettgerodt said, "Oh, I know what they are, believe me." He declined to elaborate.
The BYU head man emphasized the team must concentrate now on what is ahead of them (USC) and learn from mistakes against Stanford last week. "We lost our composure in the second half and then did not have any consistency. What you can't do is worry about the past. The focus of our team is to execute one play at a time and then move forward. If you focus on what you did in the past, then it affects your composure and what we're trying to do."
"He only had to say it once. Now it's our responsibility as a team to do what Coach tells us," Brown continued. "You play how you practice, so we're working hard to maintain our composure during practice – not taking cheap shots on scout team players and not getting into fights. After the whistle blows, you just go back to the huddle and put all of your concentration into the next play, whether it be practice or during the game. We just need to work on controlling the things we can control and move on concerning stuff that we can't control," he said.
For his part, Luettgerodt said, "We thought about it and felt bad about it Sunday and for part of Monday, but it's behind us now. You can't dwell on it or it will continue to effect you. It's done; it's over and we're going to be a lot better this week."
Brown added, "I have no idea why we fell apart last week. It's something that just can't happen. We as players need to make strides to ensure that it never happens again. You have to forget about it and move on to the next play. I think we dwelt too much on the stupid penalties and other things."
Tight end Daniel Coats, who had a breakout game against USC last season, commented that "I think everybody is going to do the right thing this week. We know how to play. We're a great team and we just need to show it and that comes with composure. Just staying focused on the task at hand and going from there.
Coats said the fact the Cougars played the Trojans tough to the end of last year's game "will help with the awe factor. We know what they are and we know what they can do having played them last year. We know that they're extremely good, but we know that we're very good as well."
When asked how he approached the prospect of playing No. 1 ranked USC, Luettgerodt responded: "What does No. 1 mean? It's just a number. They're going to take the field like we are and we're both just a bunch of guys playing football. Sure, we respect their ranking and we know they'll be a challenge, but that's it. Every game is a challenge."
Questioned about the health status of starting quarterback John Beck, Crowton noted, "I expect John (Beck) to be 100 percent for Saturday's game. John is our starter. He's the guy who won the job in the preseason and I think he'll be fine for the game. He'll be able to throw the deep ball. He's throwing well in practice. Brandon Doman had a very similar injury (2001) and had to take shots throughout the year and he did fine."
"Of course you like having your No. 1 starter back at quarterback, but it shouldn't matter," Coats noted. "We need to play the same no matter who is playing quarterback. I know that I feel comfortable with all the quarterbacks and know they all can get me the ball along with the other receivers."
Crowton concurred: "It doesn't matter who is in there. Whoever is playing, we need to execute what we're doing. I thought Jason Beckplayed well. He did some good things, but that was not the reason why we lost the game. It's easy to speculate whether we would have won with the starting quarterback in there, but we were where we were. Whoever is in there needs to be ready to go," he said.
For his part, Crowton said he was happy the Cougars were facing the potent Trojans on familiar ground. "It's hard to win on the road sometimes; it's just a different environment. Being at home with your own fans and your own stadium cuts down on distractions," he said.
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