Let me take you back to September 8, 2006. BYU was playing Tulsa University after losing to Arizona the week before. We were still a little concerned about our Cougars and we needed a win to right the ship.
This was a great game. It was a coming out party of sorts for our offense, and for one player in particular: Fui Vakapuna.
Vakapuna was a different player. When he got the ball, I honestly believed anything could happen. This was exemplified perfectly vs. Tulsa when he took a routine handoff and bruised and pounded his way through defender after defender (one guy bounced off Fui three different times) for a 38-yard rumble.
He used to take handoffs at the 20 and turn them into touchdowns routinely, and he would do it in incredible fashion. Remember when he rolled over the Colorado State safety for a touchdown? That was the kind of crazy exciting stuff we came to expect from Fui on a daily basis.
In 2006 Fui was the man. He played with heart and he was inconquerable. Not only was he a bruising tailback--and a touchdown machine--but he was a team leader. He played on two different special teams and became the fan favorite.
But then the infamous "high ankle sprain" changed Fui forever. Last year was supposed to be Fui's year. He was to be the primary back, and some even said he was on track to be the best tailback ever at BYU. I'm not kidding, I really heard that.
Well we all know how 2007 turned out. Vakapuna was not the featured back, but more of a place holder. Like those guys at the Oscars that fill seats when people get up to go to the bathroom (you Seinfeld fans know what I'm talking about). Basically Fui was brought in to give Harvey Unga a rest every other play or so. He was a complete bust last year, always playing the injury card.
We have yet to see which Fui will show up in 2008, but frankly my hopes aren't high. Despite reports that he is back to his old form, Fui is missing most of camp with a pulled hamstring. A pulled hamstring, by the way, that Coach Mendhenhall seems to think is due to lack of personal rehab.
It's a shame, really. I loved watching Fui play in 2006, and now it appears he's just fading into the night. I hope he'll prove me wrong, but Fui has definitely disappointed me lately.