PROVO — Seeing some of your senior teammates in literal tears after a loss has an effect, and it certainly did with junior linebacker Butch Pau'u after BYU football's latest 35-10 loss to Mississippi State last Saturday. Pau'u noted respected senior teammates, such as Fred Warner, Micah Hannemann, Kesni Tausinga and Handsome Tanielu taking the Cougars' sixth straight loss harder than most, and for good reason.
“We don’t have much time with these guys. Not just with these guys, but not much more time in the season to go and waste a game," Pau'u said. "If we waste another game, then, dang, I feel bad for these seniors because they don’t get to go to a bowl (game.) And they’ve been going to a bowl since they first got here.”
BYU can't take any more than just one more loss in its final six games, in order to secure a bowl bid. Players understand the slim margin of error, and are working to do everything possible to keep BYU's postseason hopes alive.
"It's time, and I think the guys understand that. So we'll step up this week," Pau'u said.
ENOUGH, ALREADY: For Butch Pau'u, he's hearing about his play from just about everyone — particularly following his most recent outing against Mississippi State. Although the junior middle linebacker led the team with 12 tackles, he couldn't stand how he looked on film.
“I watched the film as soon as we got on the plane and took a little nap. Then I woke up and started watching film and I found I couldn’t keep watching it, because I was so sick and tired of it. … It’s tough to see that," Pau'u said.
Then came the phone calls.
“My dad got on me for it, and so did my mom, and so did my brother. So did my entire family,” Pau’u said. “So I’ve set the expectation to play better and be at one hundred percent.”
BICKERING BACKS: Pau'u revealed some discord between position groups over the past few weeks — specifically some spats between the linebacker and defensive back groups.
“There was some bickering or fighting last week between the linebackers and (defensive backs),” Pau’u said. “We were telling them to do their jobs and then they told us to just worry about ourselves. And sheesh, we didn’t do our job.”
The defensive front, of which the linebackers are a part, gave up 306 yards rushing on a 5.8 yards per carry average. It's a stat that humbled Pau'u and the linebackers.
"We have to be better and need to work better together, as a team," Pau'u said.