(Photo: Mitch Harper)

Had the chance to catch up with BYU defensive lineman Alden Tofa.  Tofa redshirted last season after suffering a season-ending leg injury before arriving on campus for his freshman season.  A year later, Tofa is looking to make an impact along BYU's defensive front.

Cougar Sports Insider: How has fall camp been for you so far?

Alden Tofa: It’s been great. Happy to be back. I had to sit out last year during fall camp because of my leg and I’m grateful to be here.

CSI: How difficult was it to try and bounce back from that injury?

Tofa: Looking back it was probably one of the more harder things I’ve had to go through.  I felt like I let a lot of people down. My mom always told me that a little setback would lead to a major comeback.

CSI: What was it about BYU and this coaching staff that appealed to you and do those feelings still hold true today?

Tofa: Yeah, definitely.  I think the whole environment here is a good place.  I remember when I had my coach visit, Kalani came over and he and my mom were crying and I remember right there that was the moment that I had to be here.

CSI:  What position are you currently playing at right now along the defensive line?

Tofa: They want to keep me a hybrid. I spend a majority of my time at defensive end.

CSI: Everyday you guys are getting a depth chart, where do you currently stand on the pecking order at defensive end?

Tofa: At two right now. Coach Tuiaki is doing the depth chart right now by Intel so he’s trying us out at different spots to see what our defense needs.

CSI: Who have been some of the guys on this team that has taken you under the wing and been mentors to you?

Tofa:  There’s a lot of them.  But mainly, Khyiris Tonga and Tevita Mo’Unga. Ever since I got here those guys have been looking out for me and got my confidence up.

CSI:  What is it about Ilaisa Tuiaki that makes him such an effective developer of talent at defensive line?

Tofa: I think the way he carries himself.  You can tell that he’s an intelligent man by the way he speaks.  He has a lot of intelligent ideas and he makes it simple for us.

CSI: Which offensive linemen have given you the toughest looks in 1-on-1’s?

Tofa: Man, all of them are really good.  The guys with size aren’t the ones I worry about, it’s the more athletic guys like Brady Christensen. The ones that keep up with you are the toughest to go up against.

CSI: What are some goals that you have personally and also goals you and the defensive front have?

Tofa:  Personally, my main goal is to start by hopefully, Arizona.  As a defensive front, we have to keep a motor. Tuiaki wants us to be a nasty front. I think we are doing a good job right now. We changed our front and we’re collapsing the pocket a lot better than last year. I’m excited to show out.

CSI: What do you think it’s going to take to be one of those starters along the defensive front against Arizona?

Tofa: For me, I think it’s more mentally.  The coaches believe me in my potential. As long as I can reach that potential and try to limit my mistakes, I think I can get there.

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