Alani Fua was asked about a comment made a few minutes prior by his more popular teammate, who actually deemed Fua the better BYU linebacker.
All Fua could do last Saturday was smile after a monumental Cougar win against Texas. And after that, all he could do was try and diffuse the hype, insist that was just Kyle Van Noy being himself — kind and gracious with words about a friend and teammate.
But the best observation of all is that KVN was himself against UT, which he admittedly wasn't in the season-opening loss to Virginia. Van Noy was neither kind nor gracious to anyone who stood in his path in the Cougars’ second game of the season.
"My apologies for not getting the guys ready last week," Van Noy said not long after the Longhorn pounding. "But tonight was unbelievable."
So was Van Noy, who had eight tackles, a sack and several hurries that disrupted the rhythm and psyche of experienced Longhorns quarterback David Ash.
Van Noy called it the "best win so far" in his 3 plus-year BYU career, yet the greater detail was just how disappointed he was with the personal effort at Virginia.
"I left a lot of plays out on the field, and I didn't want to do that this week. I felt like I let my team down," Van Noy said.
Van Noy's name kept popping up during the UT game, a stark contrast to his involvement against the Cavaliers.
While he's owned up to the difference, there's still vagueness in what actually happened.
In week one, was he not trusting the hamstring that derailed some of his involvement in August camp?
Was he feeling the pressure of a marquee player and simply played tight?
“For me, it just goes from the way you prepare off the field in film studies — to on the field, being precise at everything you do," Van Noy said. "That goes from the time you wake up to going to the stadium, then warm-ups and of course the game."
If there was fear of Van Noy playing it safe to start the season, he insists there's no reason to think that.
Van Noy confirmed to the Daily Herald on Monday that he purchased a unique NCAA-approved insurance policy.
Started in 1990, the NCAA has sponsored a disability insurance program for high-caliber college athletes who are deemed "exceptional student-athletes at NCAA institutions in the sports of football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and men's ice hockey."
The program enables qualifying student-athletes, as approved by the program administrator, to purchase disability insurance contracts with pre-approved financing, if necessary. It's a way to "protect against future loss of earnings as a professional athlete, due to a disabling injury or sickness that may occur during the collegiate career," the NCAA website states.
That means it was an easier decision for Van Noy to return to BYU, get a degree and not fret about the future.
Van Noy said he was approached about the insurance policy not long after he declared last winter that he was going to return for his senior year. There was a lot of skepticism about that happening, considering how he finished the season — a flashy, dominating performance against San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl — and had been projected to be a potential first-round pick in the NFL draft.
Van Noy declined to talk about how much he's covered for in the event he has a career-ending injury in his final season.
"It's nice. I'm comfortable if a situation were to be involved," Van Noy said. "I'm thankful to my parents...for getting involved. It's nice to have people have my best interests, and want what's best for me. It's good to have."
The policy is similar to what former BYU basketball star Jimmer Fredette had going into his senior year. Of course, the risk is inherently greater of getting hurt in football.
Remember, the policy only protects against career-ending injuries — not an injury that may lower the value of a player for the NFL draft (like a season-ending hurt knee). So Van Noy isn’t totally out of the woods by playing another season in Provo.
Whatever the case, Van Noy said Monday, "I think personally I played harder than I have in recent games."