Cougars aware of the heat and humidity they will encounter at South Florida, but not dwelling on it
Assistant head coach Ed Lamb said arriving 36 hours before kickoff, stretching a lot and staying hydrated now are some of the measures BYU is taking
In exactly two weeks, BYU’s football team will board a flight bound for Tampa, Florida, where the temperature Thursday at 4 p.m. EDT was 92 degrees with 68% humidity.
That’s steamy, and it could be even hotter and more humid on Sept. 3, when the Cougars face the South Florida Bulls in the mid-afternoon at Raymond James Stadium.
Throughout preseason training camp, BYU has practiced from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., roughly, in Provo, where it was 90 degrees Thursday morning, with 23% humidity. That’s quite a difference.
“It is going to be more humid than we are used to. We are going to have to get used to that. We are going to have to make sure we hydrate. And it may very well may be hotter than we are used to. At least it will feel that way.” — BYU assistant head coach Ed Lamb on the opener at South Florida on Sept. 3
What are the No. 25-ranked Cougars, who will be double-digit favorites, doing to prepare for the oppressively muggy conditions? Well, not much out of the ordinary, assistant head coach Ed Lamb said after Thursday’s practice concluded at the outdoor practice facility behind the Student Athlete Building.
“I think the idea of trying to simulate at 100% the environment we are going to be in, I don’t think we want to do that,” Lamb said.
As the Deseret News reported earlier this week, the No. 7-ranked Utes also play in Florida on Sept. 3 — in the Swamp in Jacksonville against the Florida Gators, and are going to great lengths to simulate the conditions for a game that kicks off at 7 p.m. EDT. They have cranked up the heat at their indoor practice facility, the Eccles Field House, for instance, and practiced in the middle of the afternoon — the hottest time of the day.
“It is going to be more humid than we are used to,” Lamb said. “We are going to have to get used to that. We are going to have to make sure we hydrate. And it may very well may be hotter than we are used to. At least it will feel that way.”
Both teams are leaving Utah on Sept. 1, two days before kickoff. That has been a common practice for both squads when they play in the Eastern Time Zone.
“The administration has seen fit for us to travel like an NFL team would, so we are going to get there 36 hours before the game starts, or more than 36 hours, which is kind of standard,” Lamb said. “We are dropping down in elevation, so that is something (that could help).”
He said they thought about simulating the humidity in the indoor practice facility, but decided against it.
“Not that we think that is wrong. I think that’s fine,” he said, when it was mentioned what another team in Utah is doing to prepare. “That’s is (one) philosophy, and we feel good about the philosophy we have.”
As far as changing practice times, or watering down the outdoor field, or any other measures, Lamb said it was more important to the coaching staff to have crisp, well-executed practices at this point in camp.
“But we feel like that sometimes can backfire, where now we are not practicing as well as we could,” he said.
Senior cornerback Kaleb Hayes, who is from San Bernardino, California, said coaches are always telling players to stretch and hydrate properly, but haven’t dwelled on what conditions will be like in two weeks in Florida.
“We just play football. The weather, you just got to deal with it. I have played enough football and been around where it is humid, where it is raining, where it has been snowing,” he said. “It is just one of those things where you just gotta suck it up and just play through it, at this point. We are grown men, so let’s play like it.”
In the past, BYU’s support staff has had the players drink pickle juice to combat the heat and humidity and reduce cramping.
“That pickle juice is probably going to come, in about like two weeks, hopefully,” Hayes said. “I will probably have a jug of pickle juice. But I think the boys are smart enough to take care of their bodies, and the same goes for me.”
Another roster addition
The only new name on the new fall camp roster distributed by BYU on Thursday was defensive back Mory Bamba, a transfer from Tyler (Texas) Junior College who grew up in Wisconsin. Bamba will wear No. 19. Mamba put in a lot of work after practice with the aforementioned Hayes.
Kick returner and defensive back Caleb Christensen still isn’t on the roster yet, or practicing, but Lamb said Christensen is “fine, and he will be with the team.”
Other candidates to be the kicker returners are Talmage Gunther, Miles Davis and Lopini Katoa, Lamb said.
QB Hall takes day off
Starting quarterback Jaren Hall did not practice Thursday, and was said to be under the weather a bit by a couple teammates. Coaches have said that they will hold selected players out of practices in camp to give them some additional rest, so Hall’s absence could be attributed to that as well.
Head coach Kalani Sitake did not address the media Thursday, and hasn’t since after last Saturday’s scrimmage. The Cougars will scrimmage again at LaVell Edwards Stadium this Saturday.