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BYU won all six of their games at Red Rock last weekend, but few would call any of those results a surprise, even when the Cougars fielded sides mixed with experienced and new players.
But this weekend, it's a different story. The Cougars face off with the Gaels of St. Mary's, and this is a much sterner test.
"This offers us an early chance to get outside," said BYU Head Coach David Smyth. "With the weather we normally get here in Utah, we've been training indoors. So this will be a good test for us. I want to be focused more on the performance than the outcome. The outcome is important, too. We always want to win, but the key is how we perform as a group."
The Cougars welcome the Whippy brothers back from LDS Mission, and those two dangerous backs will be folded into the lineup as the season progresses. Hoseki Kofe is a player the Cougars will look to in the midfield, and halfbacks Luke Mocke and Johnny Linehan will want to set him up.
There are a few players who might break through, if not this weekend, later on. All American Paul Lasike will finish up spring football with BYU and then move back to rugby. Lasike is a crossover from rugby to football, but two players are also coming the other way. Matt Green is still new to rugby but has potential on the wing. Josh Anderson played rugby at Highland, then walked on to play football at Utah, and now has transferred back to rugby.
Kody Thompson is looking solid at flanker and he partners with Kyle Sumsion, who is the team's captain.
Smyth said he and his staff took a while to pick a captain, wating to see who emerged during fall workouts. Sumsion made his leadership very apparent.
"Kyle just put his hand up and had done a very nice job," said Smyth, who will see Sumsion take a break from the team next week to attend the USA domestic camp in Georgia.
Up front Smyth said he wants to see how the forwards bring their physicality and work as a unit.
"We haven't really hit anybody," said Smyth. "We want to also give our backs clean ball on offense and mess up ball for St. Mary's. We know mistakes will be costly against them."
In the backline, added Smyth, he wants to see some continuity and communication. Most of the players know each other, so they just need to work together as a unit. Overall, though, we're just excited to be playing the game."