The following quotes are selected from BYU's Monday media availability prior to week nine's game against Liberty on Nov. 9 at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Watch the full media session here.
Head Coach Kalani Sitake
I’m looking forward to this week and having our guys preparing well to take on a team that’s really explosive, especially on the offensive side because they have some amazing athletes. I’m looking forward to our game against Liberty. Hugh Freeze is a really good coach and his staff has a lot of experience. They’ve been at a lot of different places and done a lot of things in college football, so I’m looking forward to that matchup.
On if he has updates on Jaren Hall and Zach Wilson's status.
No, not at this moment. It’s still day-to-day. Well find out day-to-day. Jaren got injured on that touchdown play and we’re still going to evaluate him. Like I said in the post-game interview, we just want him to be healthy. His life is all that matters to me right now. We have a really good medical staff, I trust them, and they said they’ll take care of Jaren.
On what responsibilities Kalani has taken on to help the defense.
Just coaching football and trying to get our guys in the right spot. Coach Ilaisa Tuiaki and the other coaches do an amazing job. They had some great adjustments that we made, even in this game against Utah State. I oversee the whole team, so I’m going to be involved in all three phases. I trust those guys and whatever I can do to help out and help us win games, I’ll do.
On Aaron Roderick handling the quarterbacks.
I’ve been around A-Rod for a long time, we’re friends, we played together here at BYU and we’ve worked together for most of our coaching lives. I have a lot of confidence in him. I’ve seen him work, I’ve seen the relationship he has with his position groups and I’ve seen how they all work together. It’s what you’re seeing right now; collectively they’re doing a great job. Whether guys can play or not, they’re involved in the game plan and in feedback. It’s been a really cool thing to see. A-Rod is doing what I always knew he could do, so I have a lot of confidence in him, his skills and his coaching skills.
On the explosive plays made by the offense.
We were able to capitalize and make some of those plays, but like I said after the game, I like the way our team approached the game. I liked the preparation and I liked the execution. I like that we were able to get some big plays because that’s how you get points on the board. We were able to make some big plays on defense as well. I like the way these guys are starting to work right now, we just have to keep building on it. This is another great opportunity for us this week to play a quality team and I know it’s going to be a big game for us as well, so we’re looking forward to the match-up.
On what areas of improvement he wants to see.
There are a lot of different things that we can improve on. We’re going to work on that right now and put this game away quickly. We celebrated enough, so we’re focused on Liberty today. We’ll make a few corrections and spend less time on the Utah State game as possible because we have to move on and get to the next one.
Running Back Sione Finau
On the performance by the offense and what’s made them better.
Taking the quality reps every play, trying to win our one-on-one matchups and putting the best players in the best position. I feel like we’ve done that and Coach Jeff Grimes has done a phenomenal job trying to put certain players where they need to be and trying to get a win.
On how going through rough patches has helped the team.
It played a really big role in trying to find out what all of us can do and how we can really play the whole game. Just going back to those rough times and seeing how our offense dealt with adversity and how practice really changed when we came together as an offense and really trying to win these one-on-one matchups and really trying to put the best players out there to succeed.
On how he’s moved up the depth chart and proved what he can do.
It’s been a very good experience. Going back to what my mom said, to just wait for your time, as well as Coach Stewart and Jeff Grimes, waiting for my time and playing my role. That’s what I’ve done. Especially on special teams for the kickoff return, trusting me with the offense and my role on the offense.
On what he learned from the running backs ahead of him on the depth chart.
They have helped me with the mental aspect of playing a running back here at BYU, especially Ty’Son and Emmanuel. I talking to them before the games and seeing what they think about on every play and how they try to make the most out of every play and every run. They were there in Tennessee and USC, so I really tried to grasp that when I did get my moment and I tried to make the most out of it.
Defensive Lineman Devin Kaufusi
On his role this season
It's been an interesting ride for sure. From training all off season, to then being told that I was going to be used in other places. But, looking back at it has been really great and a compliment from the coaches that they can see my abilities and being put where it's needed for the team. That is really what it comes down to. It has really become a huge mindset for the team later on in the season because of injuries. We need what is best for the team in order to win. Just being able to take every opportunity, wherever I am, and try my best. I know there are going to be mistakes as I am being brought a long. I have been really grateful for the patience of my teammates and the coaches helping me out so I can contribute to the team.
On his fumble recovery against Utah State
We know that turnovers can be the deciding factor, especially when it comes to rivalry games. So, being able to get a turnover early in the game is great. I just happened to be the guy there to jump on it. But, we were able to build off of that with the momentum of the defense and we could see it throughout the rest of the game with the turnovers that followed. It's a fun game when it goes our way like that. We really enjoy that and had a good time out there.
On his role for each week
Earlier in the season, when I was put with the linebackers I was put down the depth chart which was a great way for me to learn. Then, against Boise State, I was told to go back to the defensive line room because I was going to get a lot of reps there. I have really been grabbing everything and going for it. For me personally, I am just trying my best. It makes me super grateful for our coaches that believe in me and are patient with me as well with my mistakes. It has just been week-to-week and figuring out where to fit someone like me in the defense. But, most importantly it is all about what is best for the team. I love contributing to the team and helping us win.
Wide Receiver Gunner Romney
On what this experience is like for him and his family.
It’s been awesome being able to go through this with my family, it’s not just my brother (Baylor), it’s my whole family being proud of us. I’ll get four or five different calls every day from family members saying how cool it is and how much fun they’re having watching us play on Saturdays. It’s been really cool.
On the offense clicking and putting up a lot of points and yards in the last game.
It’s been really cool to finally see the production come out like that. It was a great game for us all-around, rushing game, passing game, just all around. I think it really helped build the confidence of the offense. Going through the next few weeks, we’re going to try and play off that and try to replicate what we did.
On changes made on the offensive philosophy.
Honestly, not that much, it’s sort of been the same throughout the year, but we’re starting to click, so it’s looking better on film. We’ve all been focusing on our roles a little more and everyone doing their job, so it’s starting to show.