Uona Kaveinga downplays the hype surrounding his arrival for the BYU defense, but his coach doesn’t.
In the midst of the law and order chaos Tuesday I did manage a phone interview with Kaveinga.
“Once he steps across the white lines you hear him before you see him. He does it a million miles an hour and has a lot of fun while it’s happening,” BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said.
Kaveinga sat out last season in Provo as a transfer from USC. He will step in at middle linebacker for the Cougars and is expected to make a quick impact with side-to-side range and playmaking ability.
“I just want to do what’s best for the team and do whatever I can to help the team,” Kaveinga said. “That means coming ready to practice day in and day out, being a good leader and an example. That’s how I am conditioned to practice, and that’s what’s expected of BYU defensive players. I try to train every down to run to the ball and make plays.”
Kaveinga played sparingly as a freshman at USC and said his decision to transfer had nothing to do with USC’s NCAA sanctions. Son of a Latter Day Saints bishop, he grew up in Inglewood, Calif., near Los Angeles, but had given a verbal commitment to Mendenhall and BYU before opting out and deciding to stay closer to home.
BYU ranked No. 45 in the nation in run defense last year, giving up 138.62 yards a game. Kaveinga – one of two new starters in BYU’s 3-4 alignment — is expected to step in and fill a void and should provide an early challenge for the interior of an Ole Miss offensive line – guard Patrick Junen, center A.J. Hawkins and guard Matt Hall – that has its own high expectations.