What has been the best part of fall camp for BYU senior defensive back Dayan Ghanwoloku?
“This is my senior year so I’m just enjoying it and taking everything in,” Ghanwoloku said after practice on Monday. “I like seeing all the new faces. It’s different. You see the guys you were with your freshman year and it’s like, we really grew. We are just grinding, grinding, grinding, trying to make it the best year possible.”
The talented athletes has played both safety and cornerback for the Cougars over the years. Many believe his pro future would likely be at safety but right now BYU has moved him back to the corner position.
That might appear to be a hard situation to outsiders but Ghanwoloku sees plenty of positives.
“We’ve always talked about how I can go play corner at any time,” Ghanwoloku said. “Last year I played safety all season and then in the bowl game I played corner. If they need me there, I’m going to go and play. We have the guys to play corner and to play safety. They feel like I can produce more at corner — and I’m down for it. I had five picks when I was at corner, so I’m like why not? It’s a good position.”
He grinned as he said he wants teams to think they can throw at him because he isn’t a big guy.
“I like the physicality,” Ghanwoloku said. “If they throw it up, that’s an opportunity to make a play. I can also help out with the run, on those edge runs.”
He explained that the Cougar defensive backs are working hard to make the BYU receivers ready to face physical opponents.
“We try to be physical with them at the line,” Ghanwoloku said. “We press, no matter what. In one-on-ones, there is no playing off. When the ball is in the air, we try to go get it but we also try to be physical with them and stay in their hip pocket. Even if it is pass interference, we are working to help them.”
He loves going up against tight end Matt Bushman and wide receivers Aleva Hifo and Micah Simon.
“We have some talking going on but it’s mutual respect,” Ghanwoloku said.
In his own unit, he’s also getting to see the young Cougar cornerbacks in action and help mold them to have success.
“They are doing well,” Ghanwoloku said. “They are coming in confident. They were nervous during the first couple of practices and you could tell, but now you see them out there trying to make plays. The coaches are holding us back a little bit to put them in there, see what they can do. They are trying their hardest. As a freshman, you’re nervous and don’t want to make mistakes. Mistakes are going to be there, but these guys aren’t scared to fix what they mess up on.”
It’s been a few years since Ghanwoloku was in those shoes but he said he hasn’t forgotten the feeling.
“It’s an adrenaline rush,” Ghanwoloku said. “Your body going crazy, your mind is going 100 miles an hour, you’re trying figure out everything and then one little motion can mess up your concept of everything when you are looking at the offense. It’s for sure difficult to pick up as they come into college — but they are doing.”