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BYU Focused On Energy & Readiness For Independence Bowl

Dec 16, 2021, 6:32 PM
BYU Football - Coaching Staff - Independence Bowl...
BYU football coaches watch practice at Loyola College Prep in Shreveport, Louisiana during Independence Bowl week. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

SHREVEPORT, Louisiana – BYU football wrapped up a “big day” of Independence Bowl prep on Thursday. It was the final full practice of the 2021 season, as Friday will be a customary walkthrough behind kicking things off on Saturday against UAB.

The big day line comes from associate head coach Ed Lamb who was asked if he feels the team is ready.

“I’m a little concerned right now,” Lamb said before Thursday’s practice at Loyola College Prep’s football field. “I’d like to see the energy pick up from yesterday to today. I think the travel day -we had zero football-related activities– we were just traveling and dedicated to that. We had to make a couple of quick schedule adjustments and changes. I think that’s hard on guys. We needed to do that for weather purposes and facility resources. Today is really a big day. I think they need to prove that they are here to do their best to handle a really, really good UAB football team.”

When bowl season arrives, everyone that breaks down the sport immediately becomes a psychologist to study the mindset of all the teams participating. Who’s motivated? Who wants to be there? Those are questions the forecasters are typically asking in the postseason.

With long layoffs and the Christmas season approaching, people wonder how inspired teams will be for a bowl. Especially a postseason date that lands before Christmas. The Independence Bowl is an excellent example, as underdogs have won nine of the last 20 bowl matchups in Shreveport.

“As coaches, we get what we emphasize,” said Lamb. “I thought Coach Sitake at the end of practice yesterday did a really good job of saying, ‘we’re out here. There’s work going on.’ We respect the guys coming out and working. But the intensity, the energy, the excitement to play another game together, I think there’s still some room for improvement there.”

Along with energy, the readiness level of a team in a bowl game is another big angle in deciding who will come away victorious with a postseason victory.

“I think so. We’ll find out. In fact, that’s all we’ve been talking about is being ready to play,” said BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick after being asked if the 13th ranked Cougars are ready for Saturday. “Bowl games have distractions; you have a pretty long period of time between your last game and the bowl game, and usually the team that’s most ready to play wins.”

Roderick also shared similar sentiments to Lamb’s commentary about energy and excitement.

“The other thing is being excited to play. I think that’s a big factor in bowl games is the team that is most excited to be there usually is the one that has the better chance to win.”

The readiness and the energy from BYU will ultimately be on display for all to see on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. (MT).

With a victory, BYU would put an exclamation mark on one of the best seasons in program history with an 11th win. A loss? Well, you could potentially chalk it up to lack of energy and readiness.

No. 13 BYU vs. UAB

2021 Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl

Date: Saturday, December 18, 2021

Kick: 1:30 p.m. (MT)

Location: Independence Stadium (Shreveport, Louisiana)

TV: ABC

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM — Extended pregame begins at 9 a.m.)

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Focused On Energy & Readiness For Independence Bowl