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BYU football notes: Cougars satisfied with early season results from red zone defense

Utah Utes quarterback Tyler Huntley (1) dives for the end zone but comes up short against the Brigham Young Cougars defense in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017.
Jeffrey D. Allred,

PROVO — In three games this season, BYU’s defense has allowed 11 scores in the red zone — with six of those being field goals. The Cougars gave up only one touchdown to Utah, which hit four field goals.

“We just play situational, tactical football,” said defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki. “We've done a good job in the red zone.”

Defensive lineman Handsome Tanielu said he wants to hold teams scoreless in the red zone.

“We have a lot to work on. If they kick a field goal, it’s still points. Our expectation is to leave them with no points at all,” Tanielu said. “Nineteen points is not good enough because we want to keep them at zero. That’s our goal. We have the personnel to do that, but we need to make sure we are on the same page and executing our assignments.”

Meanwhile, Tuiaki would like to see his defense create more turnovers.

“We haven’t done enough. We try to get three a game,” he said. “The last game we had two and we missed a couple opportunities on some picks and balls on the ground. We have to do a better job of that.”

FIELD-GOAL WOES: BYU placekicker Rhett Almond missed a 28-yard field goal Saturday against Utah but it wasn’t all his fault, special teams coach Ed Lamb explained.

“The snap was a bit low but not too low to execute. The hold was a bit bobbled but not too bobbled to execute and the kick was off,” Lamb said. “Those two things caused Rhett to hesitate a bit. In our special teams meeting in front of the whole team, we said that most missed kicks are an operational issue. That was definitely an operational issue. The snap, hold and the kick all have to be on point and none of them were. None of them corrected for each other.”