The best way to prepare for future opponents is to prepare as hard as we can for Weber State. – BYU RB Michael Alisa
PROVO — More than one week ago, BYU dominated Washington State in a season-opening victory. In one week, the Cougars visit Rice-Eccles Stadium for a showdown against archrival Utah, followed by a trip to Boise State the following Thursday.
But first things first.
BYU hosts Weber State of the Big Sky Conference on Saturday (1 p.m., BYUtv), and the Cougars insist they aren't looking ahead.
The way running back Michael Alisa sees it, the future is now.
"The best way to prepare for future opponents is to prepare as hard as we can for Weber State," he said.
The Cougars say they aren't taking the Wildcats lightly.
"I have a lot of respect for those dudes. They're really good athletes," said freshman offensive lineman Ryker Mathews. "They were overlooked a little bit in the recruiting process. Maybe they were a couple of inches shorter or something. It's going to be a battle. No game is easy at all. You can never let up at all. When you let up is when you make mistakes. We've got to match their intensity and bring more. We need to play the way we know how to play."
"As far as the offense, we feel collectively like we have a lot to prove," said quarterback Riley Nelson. "We left a lot of points out on the field last Thursday. We want to pick up those points on Saturday. We were happy with our performance, but we definitely saw a lot we could get better at. We're just anxious and ready for another opportunity to get better on Saturday. There's no looking past that."
Nelson added that it won't be difficult to get up for this contest against the FCS team.
"Not at all. You want to go out and you want to perform," Nelson said. "You want to play. There's going to be 60,000 people in our stadium on Saturday that are paying good money to watch us perform. It's just another game."
Coach Bronco Mendenhall said his team is focused on getting better.
"We have a lot to improve on. This is just our next chance, and it's a valuable chance. I hope (the players) are looking at it that way. … The urgency is right away. There wasn't a giant celebration after (the Washington State) game. We were pleased that we won the game, but then it was right to the areas to fix. There are things all over the place."
With games against Utah and Boise State on the horizon, BYU offensive coordinator Brandon Doman said it's not smart to show too much in the opening game, explaining that new wrinkles will be added to the offense every week.
"There will be new stuff for every opponent, just as there will be new stuff for Weber State as we play them," he said. "I'd like that to be a trend as we go throughout the year."
Weber State opened the season last Saturday with a 37-10 setback at Fresno State. The Wildcats fell behind 21-0 early in the second quarter.
Senior quarterback Mike Hoke completed 25-of-32 passes for 202 yards with one touchdown and one interception against the Bulldogs. Fresno State rolled up 515 yards of total offense against Weber State.
"I think they have a solid team. They're well-coached, and I really like their quarterback. I like his leadership," Mendenhall said. "He reminds me of style in play a little bit like Riley, where he tries to run guys over and he scrambles around. They have a good scheme. I was impressed (with the way Weber State played against Fresno). I think it was 24-10 midway through the fourth quarter, so I think they played them tough."