BYU has lost to services of several players thanks to them going on Mission as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS, or Mormon).
Among those, the most notable are Jared and Josh Whippy, who were outstanding freshmen for the Cougars, Jared more so as Josh was injured early.
That's a blow, but it's one BYU can absorb, especially when you consider they bring back center Paul Lasike, wing Jordan Lowry and lock/flanker Kyle Sumsion. All three are now back from mission, and all three were on the team that won the 2009 National Collegiate Championship.
Head Coach David Smyth reminded RUGBYMag.com that when a player comes back from mission, he is often months, if not a whole year, behind.
"It's a challenge to get them back to the level they were playing at before," Smyth said. "They don't come back in the same shape as when they left."
What that means, though, is, the players who returned in 2011 may well have been playing below potential. That's a scary thought when you consider former age-grade Eagle Seki Kofe was pretty terrific last season, and he was supposed to be out of shape. The junior center, 6-0 and 225, is poised, then, to make a big splash this season.