BYU football offensive line veterans understand facing adversity
When BYU junior offensive lineman Harris LaChance was asked Tuesday after practice what senior Joe Tukuafu meant to the Cougars, he thought for a second and then noted: “We’ve played a long time together.”
LaChance has been at BYU for five years, although Tukuafu has him beat as he is in his sixth year in Provo.
“I know Joe,” LaChance said. “He’s a good pal and a great guy.”
Tukuafu talked about how much it has meant to him to be part of the Cougar football program.
“It was a great experience,” the BYU senior said. “I’ve been through a lot of different phases at BYU and I’ve seen a lot of different teams, different players, different schemes, different styles of play. It’s good to see it come full circle. It’s been emotional just being here for my last season. There have been bumps in the road but I’ve overcome those. Those are things I’ll learn from for the rest of my life.”
Now 26-years-old and just about to graduate with a degree in history, Tukuafu couldn’t help but laugh when he was jokingly asked whether he is going to try to get another season.
“I don’t think I have one,” he said with a grin.”
He did say, however, that he has no regrets about his decision to return to the Cougars for the 2022 season.
“I’m glad I did it,” Tukuafu said. “It gave me another year in the game, another year to learn the game and to compete at a high level. Whether in practice or in a game, we are competing against high-performance players so it is good to be out here. I’m learning what I can do to improve my game and hopefully work towards making it at the next level.”
He said he would love to keep playing football at any level. He feels like he has played a lot of positions and could contribute in a lot of ways.
As he looks back, Tukuafu said he has learned a lot of important lessons as he has dealt with all the challenges of the last few years.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself,” Tukuafu said. “I’ve learned a lot of patience and resilience. I’ve also realized that you get a lot of love from those in your corner. There are more people in your corner than you think. There are people rooting for you and that’s probably the biggest thing.”
Right now, however, he and LaChance both know that their experience can help the rest of the BYU squad to endure the adversity they are facing now, having lost three straight games.
“You have to dig deep and understand that you’ve seen adversity before,” LaChance said. “You know how it goes. You learn the adversity you’ve been through before. You realize this is a tough time but we’re going to make it through.”
Tukuafu said it is key to be levelheaded and not get too high or too low.
“We need to continue to do what we’ve been doing all year,” Tukuafu said. “Nothing is broken. We’ve just got to tweak a couple of things and then put in the work to become better. Everyone needs to put their heads down and keep working. There is no secret. If you are down, you’ve got to put in more work. It’s all the little things. Those things go a long way.”
LaChance wants to see the Cougars come out fired up when BYU hosts East Carolina at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Friday night and then stay that way throughout the contest.
“We need to bring the same energy,” LaChance said. “Last week I felt there was maybe a drop-off of energy. We had a great week of practice but when we got to the game it was a little bit different. This week we need to turn it up. There is no reason we shouldn’t.”