The football season might seem far off in the distance but here at Vanquish The Foe, we’re counting down the days until the first game against the Utes. To help ease out way unto the season, we’re going to spend every day exploring a specific question pertaining to BYU football. Some of the questions will focus on important topics (offensive play calling) and others will explore the subjects of a rather...inconsequential nature.
Today we get to share our interview with former Cougar long-snapper Matt Foley.
There are plenty of thankless jobs on the football field, but one that’s near the top of the list is that of the long-snapper. Everyone assumes that a snap should always be perfect, regardless of the conditions. The best thing they can do is to remain completely anonymous as the only time that they ever get their name called over the TV broadcast is when they make a mistake.
For the last four years Matt Foley has been one of BYU’s long-snappers and was a key part of the special teams units the produced game-winning field goals against Arizona and Toledo. We were able to catch up with Matt, a newly minted office of the law in the state of Utah, and get his thoughts on his experience at BYU.
Vanquish the Foe: As a long-snapper who was the toughest defensive lineman or linebacker you had to block in practice?
Matt Foley: The toughest person I ever had to go against in practice was Bronson Kaufusi. I remember being 18, in my first week of fall camp as a freshman, and Bronson trying to block me while I was covering a punt. I say he was trying to block me but in reality he got a hold of my pads and took me all the way to other sideline haha. That was when I realized how truly small I was compared to my teammates.
VTF: Is there a player on the current roster that you played against or alongside that you’re excited to watch this next season?
MF: I’m excited to see how all my teammates do this season. I’ve loved seeing Mitch Harris progress into the great long snapper he is, and I’m excited to see how well he does this year. I’m also really excited to see Chaz Ah You this year. He was one of my favorite teammates during his freshman year. He’s such a nice guy, a very humble player, and a beast on the field. I expect great things from both of them.
VTF: Coming to BYU is an interesting transition for anyone. Who was the most helpful person (teammate, coach or admin) that made your BYU experience that much better?
MF: The most helpful person to me at BYU throughout my time there was Rhett Almond. He and I came into the program at the same time and were always close throughout our 4 seasons. He helped me study for religion tests, we had great conversations during our time as roommates on the road for games, and he was someone I always knew had my best interest in mind. I also credit Jonny Linehan and Trevor Sampson for taking me under their wings my freshman year. With being so much younger than all of them, I always kind of felt like I had some big brothers.
VTF: BYU has a storied program but there is always room for improvement. Based on your experience, what change should the football team make going forward?
MF: The only advice I’d have, based on my own experience, is to do a better job taking care of the players who are already busting their butts for you. I saw so many players contribute to the team day in and day out just to be a walk on, while there are scholarship guys who couldn’t care less about football. I also saw players get scholarships and come to BYU and either quit the team or just not end up playing much, yet there are multiple year starters who are still walk ons.
VTF: Congratulations on joining the police force! Which of your teammates or coaches is most likely to get pulled over for speeding?
MF: Based on personality, I’d say the teammate most likely to get pulled over for speeding is Corey Edwards. If that happens I would laugh so hard, but I feel like I wouldn’t give any of my former teammates/coaches a ticket.
VTF: Do you have a favorite memory, if that’s a specific game or moment in practice, that stands out to you?
MF: My whole time there is all a great memory. My first game at BYU was when we beat Nebraska on the Hail Mary, and that is honestly one of my favorite memories of my life in general. My last game at BYU, the Potato Bowl win over WMU, was a great memory because I hadn’t been starting/traveling all season and I got to take all the snaps that game and run one of the flags out and that was the perfect way for me to end my career.
VTF: Which of your teammates talked the most trash? Who didn’t say much but could back it up with his play?
MF: The best trash talker I played with was Tevita Mo’unga. He always made me laugh with the things he would say at practice and he was always able to back his talk up. The player who didn’t say much but could always back it up was Austin Hoyt or the Juergens brothers, but you have to remember that I’m a long snapper so I spend my life on the sidelines talking to the kickers instead of listening to who’s trash talking and who is not haha.
VTF: What advice would you give to any player coming into the program?
MF: The best advice I would give a new player is to remember that there is more to your identity than football. Buy into the program, and enjoy your time with your teammates/coaches, but remember that you are more than just a football player. The best thing I did for own self was to take my internship with the police department during the summer before my senior season instead of summer workouts. It hurt my chances of starting during my senior season, but it ultimately lead to me getting my dream job out of college and it allowed to have my own identity outside of football. I’d advise any new player to maintain friendships/interests outside of football.
A special thanks again to Matt for taking the time to give us his insights.