When fall comes around, every member of the BYU football team will be pulling for each other to go out against an opponent and be successful.
But in spring, the only opponent is other members of your own team.
With a bunch of ultra-competitive guys playing a sport with inherent violence, it’s not surprising that sometimes emotions boil over and fights break out.
When it comes right down to it, most of the Cougars are pretty good friends — who just want to pound each other once in awhile.
But what happens when one guy crosses the line?
No one knows better than BYU sophomore wide receiver Michael Davis, who moved to cornerback last fall but is now back on the offensive side, and is now hearing it from some of his former secondary unit.
“We still have our differences but it’s pretty cool,” Davis said Monday. “One is Craig Bills, who is a goofy guy. He’s serious but goofy. I tried to give him a handshake and he’ll be like, ‘here you go, Michael.’ He’s a goofball and everything.”
But while Davis might have to put up with things like that, his experience on defense gave him some different insights about playing wide receiver.
“I liked guarding the receivers but now that I know how to guard them, now I feel like I can run better routes against the defensive backs,” he said. “It will help me read defenses a lot faster than other receivers. I know from the way they lineup is they are playing Cover 2 and trying to disguise it by coming up to press. If they are playing man, they’ll always show it because they will just be on you.”
That knowledge helps in the mental game but he knows he’s got some things to get better at technique-wise to really excel.
“I want to enhance my routes,” he said. “I’m pretty fast, from what coaches tell me, but my routes aren’t too crisp. If I work on that, maybe I’ll be the next Cody Hoffman. Who knows?”
Cougar wide receivers coach Guy Holliday said Davis did some nice things on his first day practicing with the offense again.
“I think Mike had a better day,” Holliday said. “There are some things he does well. He was here in the program last year.”
Davis, however, pointed out that understanding what was going to take place and experiencing it were two different things.
“It was pretty intense and tiring, because I wasn’t really ready for the fast-paced offense,” he said. “It got to me a little bit.”
When asked if that meant he would be happier on defense, Davis recalled that being on that side of the ball wasn’t easy either.
“Coach (Nick) Howell does a lot of screaming, so I wasn’t really missing that too much,” he said. “It’s fun to catch the ball, but it’s fun to defend and lay a hit on people. It’s good both ways.”
Davis said Holliday appeared to enjoy having the sophomore back with the receivers.
“He was because he likes making fun of me,” Davis said with a laugh. “He made fun of me today, calling me names and stuff. I asked a question and he was like, ‘oh, Michael, that’s just like something you’d say.’ He told me to shut up in practice or in meetings. We have our moments here and there. He’s a funny dude.”
Holliday may have a pretty good idea of what Davis brings to the table — but so does the Cougar secondary.
“When it comes to Mike, play 15 yards off and bail because he has legit 4.3 speed,” BYU senior defensive back Robertson Daniel said.
Daniel said that facing a guy with Davis’s speed, plus playing against guys like Nick Kurtz who “runs great routes and his vertical is like no other” will help the Cougar defensive back be even more prepared for the upcoming season.
“We’ve got a chance to guard both types of receivers, so I feel like that helps us out a lot,” Daniel said.
The senior also added that he expects the receivers to improve dramatically during spring because of the talent the BYU defense will have to match up against them.
“I think if we approach the offseason the right way, stay humble, I think we’ll be the best secondary in football,” he said. “We have so much talent that we haven’t had here before. We have veteran guy in Craig Bills who can lead us all. If we put it together, it’s going to be ridiculous.”
A few months ago Davis might’ve been trying to figure out where he fit in that mix but now his dreams are all geared toward what he can do on offense.
“I look forward to (Hill) making those deep passes and scoring touchdowns and celebrating with him in the end zone,” he said. “He’s gotten a lot better in his throwing. He’s a good quarterback.”
Daily Herald sports editor Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or email@example.com. Twitter: @JaredrLloyd. Instagram: @JaredrLloyd.