Kalani Sitake Press Conference - No. 14 Boise State


The following quotes are selected from BYU's Monday press conference prior to its homecoming game against No. 13/14 on Oct. 19 at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Watch the full press conference here

Head Coach Kalani Sitake
It's a new week. We have a ranked team coming into town so we have to be ready and we have to get our guys in positions so we have a chance to win the game.

On what needs to be done this week
It’s kind of like the impression that I had right after the game. The stop on the run on defense didn’t take place in the second half and we didn’t score enough points on offense. Those are the things I’m addressing as head coach. I need to do a better job. We have good players, our guys are capable of scoring points on offense and guys are capable of making plays on defense. I need to get them in the right spot to make sure that we have some success.

On what items take precedent in the revaluation he mentioned on Saturday
Everything. I’m not going to share much of what we’re doing, but we’re getting things done this week with the thoughts of performing better than we have in the past two weeks.

On if stopping the run is player-dependent or scheme-based
It’s both. I’m not going to blame our players though. Normally as a coach, if they give you the effort and they’re tough, then we should put them in a position where they can at least handle the run consistently, and that’s what we’re trying to get done.

On special teams 
When it all comes down to it, when we have our playmakers in, they usually do a good job. We have some young guys kicking the ball right now and we’re as comfortable as we’ve been with those guys kicking. The punt game has been pretty good, kickoff has been good until the last couple weeks when the other teams were getting some big returns. There are things where we give a lot of credit to the other team for making plays, but we can definitely help out on our end. That’s something that we’re looking to get better at.

On using a hands-on approach with the defense
I’m hands-on with everything, so anything that’s not functioning well is my fault. That’s how I look at it, hands-on with the offense, defense and special teams. We’re not performing well so that’s on me.

On Jaren Hall’s availability
It’s day-to-day right now. We’re still hopeful, but right now we’re going to go to practice and see what the protocol is. That’s a question to ask the training room.

On Baylor Romney
I think he’s comfortable with the coaching he’s received and with his mentality. He came into the game with great poise, I mentioned that after the game. We can work with guys that have a lot of confidence and we just need to put him in a position that works with his strengths. Whether it’s him, Joe or Jaren on the field, we’ll work towards that this week.

Running Back Lopini Katoa
On what he’s seeing on the offense
I really haven’t had much interaction with anyone since Saturday. I’m sure everyone feels the same way, we know that there’s work to be done. I guess the best way to say it is we’re just unsatisfied right now.

On Coach Sitake taking the blame
It’s a good example that he sets for all of us. That’s the mentality that any good coach or good player would have; to look inward and find out what out you personally could do better and not just point the finger. That’s exactly what you don’t want to do, start pointing fingers and separating the program and making it hard for the team. I want to follow what he does and looking inward to see where I could improve my game.

On what’s holding the offense back on scoring enough touchdowns
I know we have playmakers. We have players at every position who can get in the end zone and who can win their one-on-one battles. We drive the field really well, we’ve done it week-in and week-out, we just need to score. That’s as simple as it is, and not settle with three points, but to get in the end zone.

On Baylor Romney
He’s just like his brother, Gunner. Both of the Romney boys are hard workers and are always out there getting extra work in together. They work super hard. From what I saw from him on Saturday, I was super impressed. He came in with confidence and he was relaxed. I looked him in the eyes when we were driving down the field and it felt like he had playing the whole game. I was super impressed with how he performed. 

Defensive Lineman Bracken El-Bakri
On the defenses struggling to stop the run
If you’re asking for our emotional feelings, frustration is going to be involved. We know what we need to do. We need to win some individual battles. It’s hard to coordinate everything if people don’t win individual battles. We need to do that as a defense. Playing as a frustrated defense isn’t a bad thing though because frustrated defense can be a positive thing in this game.

On what he learned about the defense in the second half of the game
It’s always the role of the player to first look at how they can improve their game and then look at the unit. One thing that we need to learn in order to win the future games, is that it’s less about individual responsibility and more about playing as a unit. Every yard that they gain is against us, no matter where you are on the field. If I’m on this side or the far side, we’re still all a defense. We need to understand and play like that.

On the the common denominator for other teams success
I don’t think there’s always one common denominator. Every play that you look at has mistakes in different phases. On the defense, especially with the philosophy that we run here at BYU, we’re going to force them to beat us. You need to win those match ups and play stout defense, tough defense. In some cases, that’s the common denominator we need to beat.

On what it means when Coach Sitake takes the blame for the team
To give you some insight  into how our team operates, we love Coach Kalani and his staff. For any fans that aren’t sure how we feel about him, we love him. I wouldn’t want to play for anyone else. He cares about us and will take the brunt of anything coming. Anything good that comes our way, he points straight at us. That’s how a loving father should act. That’s how a great coach acts. It motivates me to play for him. I feel a great loyalty to him because of how he treats us.

On correction as a coach
As players, we yearn for the corrections. We want to know what we can do better. We lost the game. We played really hard. Nobody is out there loafing it because we’re all trying our best. If we’re trying our best and we still didn’t win, we want to know what we need to do. Coach Kalani comes in and tells us how to do that. Just because he shows everyone that he loves us, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t correct us. He just doesn’t do it in front of you.

Linebacker Chaz Ah You
On first career interception
I was hoping it would be happier circumstances after that, but I’m glad I was able to provide our offense with opportunity. It felt good, but could feel better.

On taking ownership on stopping the run 
We take a lot of responsibility. As a linebacker, your job is to read the gaps and shoot them. If we’re not doing that, they’re going to get those extra yards. We need to play more on our toes ready to come downhill. We can’t wait for the ball to come to us because that’s how five yards becomes 25 after they break a tackle. We need to meet them at the line of scrimmage more.

On coaches taking responsibility for losses
As a team you never want to be the one to point fingers, so I would hope that everyone on the team takes it personally. When you hear a coach step up and take the responsibility for the players, that takes a lot of love and humility. As a player, it makes me want to step my game up even more.

On playing ranked teams at home
As a Division I athlete, you want to play against the best teams. To be able to play against four ranked teams at home, that’s fun competition. It brings a great energy to the fans and the stadium.