Unless they pay extra close attention on special teams, many Ute fans were probably not that familiar with Utah defensive back Mike Honeycutt.
They weren't familiar, that is, until last Saturday.
Last week, faced with the task of stopping one of the top rushing attacks in the nation, Utah defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake went searching for a new look, a wrinkle that the Cougars would not expect.
Enter senior Honeycutt, the ultimate team player - a guy who lays it all out on the line during every special teams play. He is gritty, fast, and not someone that the BYU offense would have expected to game plan around. Honeycutt finished the Holy War with five tackles, two tackles for loss, and one sack. It was finally the unsung hero's time to shine as he shadowed and attacked BYU quarterback Taysom Hill, helping limit the Cougars' potent rushing attack to 183 yards.
With his breakout game being a long time in the making, Honeycutt definitely savored the moment.
"It feels good. I mean putting in your dues and working hard here for four long years, then going out, being able to play, and make good plays, it feels great, best feeling I've had," Honeycutt explained.
The BYU game was only the beginning for Honeycutt in what could prove to be a vital role against the elite Pac-12 quarterbacks.
"We're going to be looking for a lot of the same things," he said. "I mean were not going to face another quarterback as mobile as Taysom Hill or Chuckie Keeton, but we're going to face a lot of good quarterbacks in the Pac-12, throwing and versatile. We're just going to be looking to play hard and scheme how we scheme and play how we play."
Even with his increased role in the Utah defense, Honeycutt is not about to lose focus on what got him to where he is.
"I feel like special teams is held really high here and it's a good chance for you to go out and show your athleticism, and I got a chance to put myself on the map while playing special teams," claimed Honeycutt. "Any play on the field is the same whether it's offense, defense, or special teams, so for my ability to go out there and do it, I'm grateful for the team, and I take it as a high role on special teams."
The season is still young, but the senior is dead-set on reaching his goal. "I want to get this senior class that works hard and has good heart-I want to get us to a bowl game and have the best season that we could have. I want to go out each and every day and work as hard as we possibly can to get ready for any opponent, this week UCLA or any other opponent we face," he said.
If the BYU game is any indication, Honeycutt should play a big role in helping the Utes get there.