The following quotes are selected from BYU's Monday media availability prior to BYU's home opener against Troy on Sept. 26 at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Head coach Kalani Sitake
Full interview here
I am looking forward to this week and our home opener. We’re excited to play Troy and welcome back Ryan Pugh as an offensive coordinator. I think that they had a great game last weekend and scored a lot of points and looked impressive on film. We’re looking forward to the matchup. It feels like it will be a good matchup for us in all three phases and we’re looking forward to the test. We’re excited to be getting back out on the field with the whole team again and all of us being able to practice.
On the health of the team and contact tracing
We still have a few more tests to go this week, but everyone is still in play right now as we approach the game. What’s difficult is when guys test positive, their whole apartment has to shut down and quarantine. Aside from keeping our masks on even at home, I don’t think anything could have been done differently other than moving these guys to studio apartments at the beginning of the year. I think understanding the contact tracing a little bit more and being able to adjust to that is going to be key for us for sure. We’ve done that and made some adjustments already. We’ll have to make adjustments if we don’t have everyone, but that is just part of the season this year.
On it being the home opener
We’re looking forward to it. It is just familiar to be on our field. We’ve had a number of scrimmages on our field now. It brings a little sense of comfort being at home now. The guys know what our locker room looks like, they know how to prepare before a game two hours before the game when we get there and go through the process of pregame to postgame. However many fans we can get in there, they’ll be cheering for us. It will be a heavy blue fanbase in the stadium.
On his relationship with Troy offensive coordinator Ryan Pugh
I check with him every once in a while. We followed the team closely last year to see how well he was doing running the show. He’s an offensive coordinator so it was a huge step for him. We have a really great relationship. He has that connection with a lot of guys on staff and a lot of the players, too. He’s a person you can’t forget about. I think he’s going to have a lot of success as an offensive coordinator and he’ll make a great head coach one day. He’s a special young man and I’m really happy for him. We’re just trying to make things rough for him this weekend, but after that, we’ll always cheer for him.
On maintaining momentum after an unexpected bye week
There’s still a deep level of appreciation for the game coming this weekend so I think there is a lot of excitement still. The momentum is the guys just wanting to get out there. These guys are excited to practice today. I’ve seen the gratitude in these young men in the way they carry themselves every day and I don’t see it changing at all. These guys are consistent. They appreciate everything and they don’t take things for granted.
Quarterback Zach Wilson
Full interview here
On maintaining momentum from Navy
I feel like those last three weeks went by pretty quick. We were really only off from practice last week and we still had our groups to go and throw with. So I still got exactly what I get done in practice except the live reps of going against the defense. Once we get that in this week, I think the guys are going to be ready to go.
On Troy’s defense
You’ve got to be aware that they try to win the game by getting you to do things you shouldn’t be doing. I think we just have to understand what they are giving us on defense. They try to do somethings to mix you up and disguise where some guys are on the field so you’ve just got to be aware of where everyone is at.
On the offense being ready
We have some veteran guys. I think even taking three weeks off of not having live reps won’t matter to this team. I think guys are just ready to go and they are handling their business, so we are going to come out ready to play on Saturday. Honestly, I am not too worried at all and I am just excited for these guys to get out and play because I think this is one of the best offenses we’ve had in a while.
Safety Zayne Anderson
Full interview here
On Troy’s offense
They have a super powerful offense. They do a really good job throwing the ball down the field. They’ve got some really capable guys at receiver and it’s going to be a good test for us in the secondary. We are really looking forward to this game because we finally get to be tested since we didn’t get used much in the game against Navy. It will be a challenge and it will be fun. We need to be ready for it.
They’ve got some really good receivers that are good at running their routes and they pass the ball down the field really well. We are going to get tested and we need to make sure we are disciplined with our eyes and technique. We’ve had a week plus to prepare for these guys because they are a really capable offense. We need to be ready. We are going to get tested and I am excited for the opportunity.
On being the first game in the West
We are really lucky to be playing right now. I know other conferences are joining in and starting to play but in the back of our mind we know how blessed we are to keep playing this game that we love. It really is amazing that we get to play in Lavell Edwards even though there will only be 6,000 fans it will be fun to play in front of our families. It’s a blessing we can’t take for granted so we are going to make sure we are prepared for it.
On fans at Lavell Edwards Stadium
It’s a weird feeling out there. As a defender you don’t really notice it on the field, I think offenses notice it more. But when you come on the sideline and it’s silent it is weird. It will be good to have some energy. But still with only 6,000 fans we as a team have to create our own energy. We have to use each other when big plays happen and just get excited because that stuff carries on and without the fans, we will need to do that. It will be nice having a small amount of fans because it’s better than nothing.