Kalani Sitake Press Conference - USF


The following quotes are selected from BYU's Monday press conference prior to its sixth game against USF on Oct. 12 at the Raymond James Stadium. 

Watch the full press conference here.

Head Coach Kalani Sitake
On the take aways from the Toledo game
We’ve already had a week of practice since then. Obviously, a lot mistakes, the guys played hard, but I need to do more in places to succeed as a coach.

On what they focused on during the bye week
All three phases. We were able to get a lot of work done. We have a new quarterback and we need to get him ready so we took advantage of that extra time. There’s a lot of competition on this team still and we need to get our guys executing at a higher level. That was our main focus this week.

On what he has seen from Jaren Hall this week
He’s extremely confident and I think he’s ready for this moment. I’m really excited for this and I know he’s excited and the players are responding well. Zach Wilson still has a role there as a mentor and to help coach. I think we had really good practices last week with Jaren running the show. It gave some opportunities for Baylor Romney and Joe Critchlow to get some reps as well.

On Jaren Hall as a passer
The main emphasis in his recruiting was that he was going to be a quarterback. He could probably play a lot of different positions since he’s so athletic but his focus was being able to throw the ball and be a quarterback. That’s why we’ve kept him at that position. We’ve used him here and there in different schemes but he came here to play quarterback. Unfortunately, there was an injury but I’m excited for him to be able to have this moment and take advantage of this opportunity that he has in front of him.

On what kind of team is South Florida
They have a lot of athleticism and speed. I know coach Charlie Strong, he’s been around for a long time, he’ll have those guys playing hard. They’re coming off a win and we’re going to their house. We have to be ready for this game. More than anything, for my purposes it doesn’t matter who we play this week, we’re going to respect them and scout them as we have been. But, I’m more concerned with how we’re playing as a unit more than anything right now.

Running Back Emmanuel Esukpa
On what the offensive is focusing on
We’re keeping focus in what we do. Just because we came off a loss, doesn’t mean that our stuff doesn’t work. We’re building confidence back into what we do and getting better at everything we do.

On how close the team is to being consistent
We just need to have one game where we just blow the team out and score a bunch of points, then after that we’ll be ready to roll.

On how the bye week helped the team
It’s helped a lot because now we can get a head start on USF, so it’s been a big help. They had to play another game that wasn’t us and we didn’t have anyone so we started watching a lot of film early so we could get a jump on these guys.

On moving on when you have a bye week
You always have to watch the film and learn from it, but a lot of us live by a 24-hour rule. After 24 hours we stop feeling sorry for ourselves because win or lose, we have to move on because our next opponent is waiting for us. The day after the game against Toledo, we watched film, learned from our mistakes and knew what we had to fix. We corrected our mistakes and moved on.

Defensive Lineman Khyiris Tonga
On the defensive focus during practice
We need to continue to run to the ball, be more conditioned and be physical up front as a defensive line. Everyone needs to be doing their part.

On the morale coming off the loss to Toledo
It was tough, but we’re going onto the next week. We’re focused on moving forward and learning from the loss as a team so that we can improve. We need to be better upfront. It starts with the defensive line not getting blocked. We need to be more physical. That’s something that Coach Kalani Sitake and Coach Ilaisa Tuiaki have been reminding us constantly and so we’re planning on taking care of that.

On the rotation of the defensive front
I feel like it’s helpful. We’re all confident in our play. I’m confident in the guys that I rotate with so there’s never a doubt when I go out. It gives us time to refresh and then we can rotate. We all want to be out there, especially third and fourth downs, because we want to be there to force a turnover, but we’re one team.

On channeling your emotion after losses
It’s hard especially coming off a loss. A lot of the players have their own way of coping with it. Something Kalani tells us is to not focus on it too much. When we come out of the locker room, we try not to show any emotion. We want to be grateful for our family, our fans and all those who came out to support. It’s more important that we stay positive and always focus on our roles outside of football. There’s more to life than worrying about a loss and that’s something that Kalani has helped the team to recognize.

Quarterback Jaren Hall
On how it feels to be the starting quarterback.
It feels good. I’m ready to go play, show what I can do and get a win this weekend.

On looking back at spring ball reps and how it helped him get ahead.
Getting increased reps in the spring versus the fall last year was huge. I was catching up to the speed of the game. It’s a lot faster, so I feel like I got a lot more comfortable with the offense and football in general at the college level.

On what was going through his mind during the final drive against Toledo.
Execute each play, throw the ball where it needs to be, go get completions, get out-of-bounds and do the things that we practice every week.

On his family’s excitement of him starting.
They’re very proud of me. I’ve had a chance to talk to them throughout the week and they’re excited to see me play, as any parent would be of their son or daughter in this position.

On the importance of playing a series against Toledo for moving forward as a quarterback.
It was huge. I think about it a lot. The feelings of being in the game finally, the confidence it gave me to know that I can go in and compete at a collegiate level. So it was good to get in there with the guys and get the feel of a real game.

On what Zach Wilson has said since the quarterback transition took place.
Zach’s on board, he’s a great teammate. He’s still in the meeting rooms with us and on the field to give his perspective and telling us what he’s seeing. He’s very intelligent in football and he knows the game, so he’s been a big help and a great teammate through it.