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Bengals face tough road test against 'rolling' Cougars

Bengals face tough road test against 'rolling' Cougars

By Landon Walters, Contributor | Posted - Oct. 20, 2011 at 3:40 p.m.

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POCATELLO, Idaho — The BYU football team will look to continue its winning streak as Idaho State travels to Provo this weekend. The two teams have met only three times in their history — most recently in 1951 — with BYU winning all three games.

The coaches and players know that it will be a tough challenge for them at Lavell Edwards Stadium. Kick-off is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Mountain Time and the game will be broadcast live on BYUtv.

ISU is coached by Mike Kramer, who is in his first season in charge of the Bengals. The team has faced a rough stretch, losing four straight games including a 39-12 setback against Weber State last weekend. Earlier this week, Kramer met with the media to discuss the upcoming matchup. Here's what he had to say.

On the progression of his team:

“We had some early success against some teams that weren’t very good. We continue to make progress. This program has been in the ditch so long that maybe all of us anticipated a little bit more success than we’re really capable of achieving. Right now it’s too early to expect that we would have a long run of success. It was great to have that early success, but in terms of long-term success, this program needs a lot of building.”

On the rebuilding effort:

“I’ve been through this a couple of times at a couple of schools. I know what the timeline is on this. The timeline is directly related to how distant your most recent success was. In our program, that’s a long ways away. You have to apply that mathematic for our current situation. In Bozeman (at Montana State) in 2000, we didn’t win a game. But in ‘98, two years before that, they’d been 7-4. And in Eastern when I became the head coach in ‘94, we were only two years from a Big Sky Conference championship. Here, we haven’t had a winning season since ‘03. There’s an exact mathematical formula for the distant success in today’s success and how long it’s going to take you to achieve that.”

On practice and preparation this week:

“I like what we do in practice. Now we have to transfer that to the game in a more positive sense. And that, to me, is the mystery of how long it’s going to take us to be successful. How can we take what’s on the field in practice and put it on the field during a game? The transference is what separates really good teams from teams that are learning how to win.”

On injury news for the Bengals:

“(Linebacker) Phil Pleasant is now out for another month. He practiced two days in the spring and dislocated his shoulder. He was given six months to heal, and it’s been five months. We’ve been hoping for the 20th of October with Phil. (Offensive lineman) Braeden Clayson’s wrist injury will allow him to return probably in the beginning of November. Braeden thinks he’s ready to go today, and our medical staff has cleared him. But as a coaching staff we want to make sure that we understand that we’re dealing with a guy who’s been a good Bengal and will be a great Bengal after he graduates. We want to make sure the wrist injury doesn’t go any further. So he isn’t playing until he’s really completely healed.”

On the goals against BYU:

“If we can go to BYU and come out with, say, 10 two-man tackles in the third quarter, we have to consider that progress. That is an example of the micro-success we look for inside every series inside every play. It’s just one small part of that. Another factor would be, can we return the kickoffs back to the 30 yard line like Danny McSurdy did last week more times? That’s a huge success given the fact that the week before we didn’t know if we were going to catch it, fumble it, stumble it or thumb it out of bounds. So we’re making quantum success inside of our program. It’s not going to show up on the scoreboard for weeks, maybe years to come. We’re not so concerned about the wins and losses early in our tenure here as a coaching staff. As long as we make progress every day, we coach them as a championship caliber team and expect our guys to make the progress that a championship team should be making. We just aren’t proficient enough to play like a championship caliber team right now."

Landon Walters is a history and political science major currently studying at Salt Lake Community College and is an avid sports fan. He can be reached at

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