Following a disappointing upset loss to Utah Valley University, where the Cougars lost 114–104 in their home gym, the Cougars are ready for redemption. And the BYU coaching staff has been prepping its team for a comeback all week.
“I think that our guys are obviously down,” said BYU coach Dave Rose. “With a young team, especially, it’s our job to get them back on the right path. … The bottom line is the focus with this whole group will just be that we’ve got to defend better, we’ve got to play harder, we’ve got to respect loose balls and rebounds, that we just have to have a more urgent attitude towards playing that part of the game. I think that sometimes that happens with talented guys that they feel like they can make up for it on the next play when in reality you can’t.”
Rose said the BYU coaching staff had spent a lot of time on Monday and Tuesday going over film with the players and that the staff is trying to ignite a fire under the team.
“They need help from the coaching staff. They need help from our managerial staff, our support staff,” Rose said. “We need to probably reach out a little more with this group. In that same process, the best teams are the teams where everything comes inside-out, where it comes from the group and then comes out, so you want to give them their space, but you also need to fill in the gaps for them. That’s how I feel right now. I feel as a staff we really need to reach in here and fill in the gaps and help these guys in a lot of different areas.”
“I feel as a staff we really need to reach in here and fill in the gaps and help these guys in a lot of different areas.” —Dave Rose, BYU basketball coach
But Rose says there isn’t much coming from the inside-out right now. He credits BYU sophomore captain Nick Emery for being comfortable in the role, but emphasized that the coaching staff is taking the lead on boosting the young team’s confidence.
And the message seems to be getting through. BYU freshman Yoeli Childs reflected on BYU’s loss to UVU saying UVU played harder than BYU on Saturday and that the team is determined not to get outplayed again.
“We have to be a team that comes out and attacks other teams and gets them on their heels,” Childs said. “These last couple days of practice have been this. We’ve just been working out butts off, so I don’t think you’ll see that again.”
“We have to be a team that comes out and attacks other teams and gets them on their heels. These last couple days of practice have been this. We’ve just been working out butts off, so I don’t think you’ll see that again.” —Yoeli Childs, BYU forward
A start-over with another in-state rival is exactly what the Cougars (4–2) need right now — and the Aggies are in a similar situation. The Aggies (3–2) started off the season strong, but have fallen in their last two games.
“This will be a real interesting matchup of them sitting on a couple losses, us sitting on a couple of losses,” Rose said. “How does that affect your confidence going in? How does that execution? Then you add the in-state rivalry to it and I’m obviously excited to play because we want to get out there after getting beat, so I’m sure (USU coach Tim Duryea) feels the same way about his program.”
Duryea has his hands full, much like Rose, with a young roster. Of his 15-man roster, USU has 10 underclassmen. USU recruited four new forwards since the last season, which Rose says will be a challenge as most of them are square-up-to-the-basket players, but Rose is most concerned about the challenge the guards will bring in the game.
“These guards are really good at getting where they want on the floor,” Rose said. “And that caused us real problems the other night, so hopefully we’ll be able to adjust to it.”
Rose has planned on a difficult challenge from USU senior Jalen Moore, a player who can not only shoot the ball, but create space for his teammates and post up.
BYU and USU face off at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake at 7 p.m. MST Wednesday, Nov. 30. Tickets cost $18–$40 and can be purchased online here.