The brothers, both highly recruited prospects out of Mission Hills High in San Marcos, Calif., have returned to the area where they first caught the eye of former BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall's staff. They will lead the BYU defense at nearby Qualcomm Stadium when the 8-4 Cougars take on 8-5 Wyoming in the Poinsettia Bowl on Wednesday.
"Having Troy play with me this season has been fun," said Fred Warner. "Troy has been huge for us on defense, made a lot of plays this season. … He's been playing with a lot of maturity as a freshman, so that is good to see."
Fred has been starting since he was a freshman and emerged in 2016 as arguably the Cougars' best defensive player. He has posted 76 tackles and three interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown against Boise State. He has also forced two fumbles and broken up six passes.
Troy started in the opener against Arizona and injured a hamstring that caused him to miss three games. He made 19 tackles, recovered a fumble and broke up seven passes but is still chasing that elusive first interception.
"I have three picks on him this season," Fred said with a laugh. "I don't want to brag too much, but he will eventually get his."
The brothers are part of a unit coordinated by Ilaisa Tuiaki that is No. 32 overall in the country, allowing just 364.3 yards per game. BYU's defense is No. 8 against the run, allowing just 108.4 rushing yards per game. Opponents have not scored against BYU's defense in a second half since Boise State got a fourth-quarter touchdown back on Oct. 20. Cincinnati, Southern Utah, UMass and Utah State were all shut out in the second half.
"Just good players that are tough, play hard and understand the scheme," Tuiaki said. "It is just them making plays, that is all it is. I wish I could say it is my evil plan that is working, but it is really just the players."
The Warners are the first set of brothers that Tuiaki has coached simultaneously.
"It is more cool for them more than anything," Tuiaki said. "For us, it is having two really good players on the field at the same time on the same team. I think it is really, really cool."
He will likely have both back next year. Fred Warner is getting some attention from the NFL, but said last week he is "fully committed" to returning for his senior year. He said one reason is that he wants to play with Troy for one more year.
The roommates "are together 24-7," Fred said.
And yes, the sons of Laura and Fred Warner had some disputes growing up.
"No matter what we were doing, we were always fighting and arguing about who is going to win this, who is going to win that," Troy Warner said. "So, we were definitely competitive. Video games, basketball, football, anything you can think of, we competed at it and we tried to beat each other at [it]."
They also played together at Qualcomm Stadium in 2013 Fred as a senior, Troy as a sophomore leading the Grizzlies to the school's first county championship there.
"It will bring back some good memories, being there," Fred Warner said. "I know there will be a lot of family there, so I am looking forward to it."
Said Troy Warner: "Hopefully we can go back and relive some of those memories with a win against Wyoming."
Players are allotted six tickets apiece, so the brothers have been trying to round up a few more from teammates because they expect more than 20 family members at the game. They are also competing for tickets with receiver Nick Kurtz, who grew up in San Diego and used to work at the stadium.
BYU's blockbusting Warners
Player Year GP Tackles Sacks Int PBU
Troy Fr 9 19 0 0 7
Fred Jr 12 76 1.5 3 6
BYU vs. Wyoming
P at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego Wednesday, 7 p.m. MST
TV • ESPN