Mike Hague Joins Cougar "Young Guns"

Mike Hague Joins Cougar "Young Guns"

Nothing can prepare high school seniors for the speed, intensity, and competition of Division I football. BYU's true freshman came out and did their best in their first college practice, but even guys like 2005 Utah 5A MVP Mike Hague showed they have work to do to get up to speed on BYU's practice field.

Mike Hague committed to BYU on May 2nd, 2005, and at that time few BYU fans knew much about the Brighton High School running back. As Hague's senior year progressed, it did not take long for Cougar fans to see why BYU's coaching staff extended an early scholarship offer. By the end of his senior season, Hague broke the state 5A rushing record and carried his team to the state finals.

On his arrival at BYU for voluntary summer workouts, however, Hague, who is reported to have a 515-pound squat, moved over to safety.

"I signed as a running back but I've moved over to safety, and now I'm just playing safety," said Hague while catching his breath. "I felt I did pretty well today. Coming in new I really didn't know what to expect, but now after today I've kind of gotten a taste of it and know what to expect. Now, I just want more of it."

As expected, the first day of camp brought out the hacks and gags from some of the BYU's newcomers. However, growing up playing football in Utah, Hague was one of the few new athletes who did not seem as affected by the conditions.

"I feel really good, and I've been working out pretty much all summer with the team," Hague said. "I don't feel like I've lost a step. In fact, I feel like I've gained more by being faster."

The first day of fall camp began with the new players taking to the practice field thirty minutes earlier than the rest of the team. Many sat together on benches next to the locker room, staring out onto the practice field wondering what was to come. Some even admitted to being a little uneasy while waiting for their first practice.

"Yeah, I'm a bit nervous," said BYU defensive tackle Romney Fuga with a slight smile on his face. "I'm not really sure what to expect but everyone feels that way. Everyone is nervous."

In addition to all the shaved heads, there was a noticeable difference between the demeanor of the first year players and that of the veterans. BYU sophomore defensive tackle Kyle Luekenga came out early to the field to see his new teammates and enjoy the fact that he was not one of them.

"I just came out to see what's going on," said a more relaxed Luekenga. "I just wanted to come out and see all the new guys out here because I'm ready to go. I can't wait."

For Mike Hague, the extra 30-minute workout was a good way to help familiarize himself with the expectations of fall camp. It allowed him to ease his way into the transition to college ball.

"The young guns came out about thirty minutes early and worked on our feet a lot," Hague said. "We worked on those types of drills and stuff. It's a much different mentality and a much different speed out here than in high school, so you have to kind of adjust to that and get use to it."

Hague got his first D-I coverage experience when he took on the daunting task of manning up with BYU's speedy receivers.

"Covering McKay Jacobsen on a post route is about as hard as it gets," said Hague with a smile. "It's a new challenge for me but it one that will only make me better."

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