Kalani Sitake Press Conference - Utah State


The following quotes are selected from BYU's Monday media availability prior to its eighth game against Utah State on Nov. 2 at Maverik Stadium. 

Watch the full press conference here

Head Coach Kalani Sitake
On the bye week
We put in some good work last week and we got an early start on Utah State. We’re going to have another full practice today and then we’ll be ready to roll. The guys had some rest over the weekend with not playing on Saturday and they caught up on academics so we’re ready to go today.

On the quarterback situation
It’s looking promising for us. I think Jaren will be okay to play this week, but we’ll see. Zach is progressing really well, but it’s doubtful he’ll play this game, but it’s a day-to-day thing for him. Once he’s able to throw the ball, we’ll wait and see how he progresses, but he’s ahead of schedule when it comes to his injury.

On how they’ll decide if Jaren Hall or Baylor Romney will start on Saturday
It’ll be about competition and seeing who gives us the best opportunity to win; that’s what it comes down to. We’ll be practicing and they’ll both get turns at the one's and two's so we’ll see who can make their group function better.

On injured players coming back to their spot or losing it
It all depends on when he comes back. When an injured player returns, are they 100 percent? The only way to tell is to put them through competition. If you could, you would forget about what they’ve done and how good they were when they won the spot, but you also can’t discount the fact that other players have gotten better too. The only way to do it is to compete and we’ll see who plays and does the best. It doesn’t really matter from week one or throughout the season, if someone beats someone out, we’ll make a change, and that goes for every position.

On the strength of the offense
We have some momentum going forward and I think they’ve been able to respond to some new guys getting the opportunity to play. I’ve been really impressed with the depth. You hate testing your depth, but you know going into the season that you’ll be tested in different spots, and I’ve been impressed with the coaches and the way they’ve been able to organize a game plan. You see how our players are executing it and how others are stepping up. I think that’s been a huge strength for us.

On what position is the deepest in terms of depth
We took four offensive linemen out, so offensive line is pretty good when you can take out half the group. I’m impressed with them. Looking at the running back position and what AJ Steward and Jeff Grimes have done with them has been nice as well as with the quarterback position. Anytime you go to your third-string guys and you’re still able to do well and have a good performance like we did against an undefeated ranked team, I think that’s a sign.

On the game against Utah State
The last game Utah State played was a little difficult to watch because the elements disrupted a lot of the throwing that Jordan Love could do and I think Air Force just took them out of the game with their possession of the ball. I thought that was a good game plan for Air Force, but for us it’s a different beast because they’re at home. They play really well at home and they’re capable of putting up a lot of points, so our defense will have to be on top of things. I’m glad we got a week to prepare for them and that we had another game week of film. We’re going to utilize all that and try to get ready for a good performance up in Logan. I’m looking forward to the game.

Defensive Back Dayan Ghanwoloku
On if coming off a win changed the feeling of this bye week compared to the last one
Not really, we’ve worked just as hard, if not harder this bye week getting ready for Utah State. We’re game ready for them right now. Having this week to have time to prepare for them and know what they’re going to do, helps us out a lot. Having a lot of people coming back healthy, we need guys from injuries to come back and play; it’ll help us out lot getting those mental reps on the field and in film. We needed this bye week.

On going back to the safety position
It’s not new, you just have to communicate a lot more than at corner. I love being back there because I can see the whole defense and it’s just exciting, especially having coach Hadley as a position coach again. He puts me at that level where I can understand film and watch a little more film to understand the defensive scheme and what they run. That’s helped me out with my personal goals and I also think it’s helping the team out to have me at safety.

On how the victory against Boise state has enhanced team morale
It obviously helps us out coming off the losses we had, but now it’s onto the next one. It was a good win against a ranked team. With Boise State being a rival and having us lose to them the past couple years, it felt good to beat them, but we had our celebration so it’s onto the next one.

On if the game means more to Utah State
I don’t know what they say, but every game means a lot to us, it doesn’t matter who’s playing. Whether its USC, Utah State or Utah, it doesn’t matter. It means a lot to us and we’re coming into the game ready to win. I know it’s a rivalry, there is the wagon wheel that we hope to get back this weekend, but every game is important to us, especially this game too.

Offensive Lineman James Empey
On playing as a unit after so many lineman were injured
Lots of guys were able to step up and play well. Blake Freeland and Clark Barrington were kind of the newer guys, I thought that they came out and did their best and they played a good game. Moving forward we’re trying to get that unit to fit together just right and get everybody knowing what to do and how to do it. We’re just working on getting the unit to tighten up moving forward.

On their motivation to beat Utah State since losing the last two games against them
To a certain extent, maybe. You look back and you don’t want to have a repeat of what happened in previous years. You want to learn from your mistakes in the past years and move on to the next game. It’s a whole other year, a whole different game, we’re just focused on getting ourselves prepared for Saturday.

Linebacker Austin Kafentzis
On how he utilized the bye week
We just got better each and every day. It’s nice having a bye week so you can get your mind and your body right, rest up, watch football on Saturdays and recover a bit. It also allows you to focus on fundamentals. Last week we had a lot of 14-period practices, 16-period practices. We did a lot of individual practices, on techniques, alignments and assignments. It gave us a lot of time to prepare for this week and now the game is just around the corner, so hopefully we have a good Monday practice and get ready for the game on Saturday.

On his role for the team each week
I mean, whatever the coaches want me to do, I’m willing to do. If they want to put me at linebacker, safety, all the special teams, I’ll do it. I love football. I love to play football and that’s my mentality this season, last season, day-by-day game-by-game. Whatever they need me to do, I’ll do it.

On his experience being at BYU
I love being here, it’s my third season here. I love coach Kalani, all the coaches that have been here, all my position coaches. I’ve had Preston Hadley as a position coach, Ed Lamb as a position coach and they’re all amazing guys. They prepare, work hard and push you as hard as you can to get the most out of you. I love the atmosphere here and it’s close to home. A lot of the kids on the Utah State's team are familiar faces because I played against them in high school. I’m happy that I ended up here because it’s been an amazing experience.