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Critical Cougar

Oak Ridge grad vital part of BYU offense
By: Matt Long
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Austin Collie is expecting big things from the Brigham Young University football team and he knows he’ll be right in the middle of it. Collie, 22, is a 2004 Oak Ridge graduate, who helped the Trojans to a pair of Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championships in 2002 and 2003, and now hopes to help BYU be one of the top teams in the nation. The 6-foot, 2-inch, 206-pound junior receiver had an outstanding freshman season in 2004, catching 53 passes for 771 yards and eight touchdowns. After two years on his Mormon mission in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Collie returned last season and caught 56 passes for 946 yards and seven touchdowns. He led his team in receiving yards and touchdown receptions and was just three catches behind tight end Dennis Pitta for the team lead in receptions. In two seasons, Collie has hauled in 109 passes for 1,717 yards and scored 15 touchdowns. Last year he also returned 28 kickoffs for 723 yards. Collie has shown to be versatile, both at Oak Ridge and now at BYU, and less than two weeks ago he received another responsibility: the coaches are looking at him as a possible quarterback. “A couple coaches called me in and said they might need me as a quarterback if something happens,” Collie said. “It caught me off-guard because I’ve never played quarterback except in Pop Warner when I was 10 years old. “It just gives me a lot of things to think about. There’s a lot more responsibility and a lot more work.” Collie is coming off an injury to his right knee, which kept him out of the first three weeks of practice. He spent most of his time catching footballs, swimming and doing cardio-vascular work and participated in team drills for the first time this season on Monday. “I’m eager and antsy,” Collie said, as he’s set for BYU’s opening game Saturday at home against Northern Iowa. “I’m ready to go.” Collie said he’s bigger, stronger and faster than last season, which was the goal he set for himself following the end of last season. “I just want to get game quicker and I have,” Collie said. The Cougars are ranked 16th in the Associated Press’ preseason football poll, and have high aspirations for the season, following last year’s 11-2 record and 17-16 win over UCLA in the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl. In that game Collie was named the most valuable player with 107 receiving yards. “We want to win another Mountain West Conference title and get in a BCS game,” Collie said of his team’s goals this season. “The team looks great and it should be one of our best teams. Hopefully, we will live up to the expectations.” Collie, a newlywed for eight months now, is proud to attend BYU and is honored to play for the Cougars. “I’ve had a pretty successful career so far here at BYU,” Collie said. “It’s a great opportunity to play here, and I’ve grown here as a player and a person. It’s been extremely beneficial to me and my family. “Hopefully, I can continue to reach my potential.”