This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Provo • If Squally Canada had a nickel for every time someone asked him if Squally was really his first name, well, he would have a lot of nickels. And he would also have to tell a lot of little white lies, because, well, it isn't.
He just says it is, because that's what he's been called ever since he can remember. He says his father, Byron Canada, started calling him "Boo Squally" when he was just a toddler because he would stare at the trees in the family's yard that looked a bit "squally" flapping in the wind.
Eventually, Boo was dropped when he was about 5 years old, and Squally stuck, although Canada says when he makes a big play on the football field which hasn't happened in a while, he admits or does something that makes his parents happy, "you will hear them call me Boo Squally. That's it."
So what is the new BYU running back's given name?
"That's classified information," he said. "You are going to have to work for that one. I can't have my teammates in the locker room clowning me about my real name."
OK, Bryant, challenge accepted.
Now if everyone would just forget about his first and only carry last season.
Made eligible in mid-December after transferring to BYU from Washington State in December of 2014, Canada was thrown into the Las Vegas Bowl midway through the first quarter with BYU trailing Utah 28-0. He promptly took a handoff from Tanner Mangum, picked up a yard, and then fumbled after running into an offense lineman.
It was BYU's fifth turnover. He did not see the field again.
"Glad I've got three years to make up for that," he said. "My teammates really picked me up after that and so did my father. He just said, 'Don't let that one play define you. Get it back next year.' "
So here's the 5-foot-11, 200-pound Canada, getting a ton of carries in spring practices and determined to make an impact this fall while most likely backing up senior Jamaal Williams, his good friend.
"Spring has been great," Canada said. "It has been a whole new offense to learn, but I am adjusting well to it. We are running the ball a lot more out of this new pro-style offense, and I love it."
Oddly, Canada is at BYU partly because his friend Khari Vanderbilt, a safety who the Cougars were recruiting, introduced the school to him and another WSU transfer, defensive back Kamel Greene. Vanderbilt signed with California and Greene is back at BYU after leaving school for awhile last summer.
Canada, who is not LDS, was reluctant at first to sign with BYU because it would mean he'd have to cut his long dreadlocks and adhere to the school's code of conduct. But after some prayer and lengthy discussions with his parents, he decided he could do it.
So far, so good.
He echoed what other non-LDS athletes, such as basketball's Chase Fischer, have said is the toughest adjustment about living in Provo. It is not so much the Honor Code, it is finding an open place to shop or eat on Sundays.
"I think it is a great school and a great town, a safe environment," Canada said. "It is just getting used to Sundays that takes time. It has been a smooth transition. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be."
New running backs coach Reno Mahe said Canada "is someone who can help us a lot on offense this fall" if he can keep the defensive coaches from snagging the speedster.
"He has so much ability, and feel for the game, it's scary," Mahe said. "He's got great vision, and just sees everything so well, like Jamaal does."
Coach Kalani Sitake said "mistakes happen" and Canada has done a good job shrugging off that ill-fated carry against the Utes on the day Sitake was handed the coaching reins.
"He has really good speed, a good burst," Sitake said. "I would rather have a guy who can do that, and then work on ball security afterwards. We just got to keep demanding that he takes care of the football ball, because the other stuff is really good."
And so is his name, no matter if it is real or not.
About BYU running back Squally Canada
• Transferred from Washington State after suffering an injury and redshirting his first season (2014) in Pullman.
• Became eligible to play in the Las Vegas Bowl after sitting out most of 2015 due to NCAA transfer rules, but fumbled his first and only carry.
• A highly touted prep star from Milpitas, Calif., Canada is considered a redshirt sophomore and has three seasons of college eligibility remaining.