The following quotes are selected from BYU's Monday media availability prior to BYU's game against Western Kentucky on Saturday, Oct. 31 at LaVell Edwards Stadium on ESPN at 8:15 p.m.
Head coach Kalani Sitake
Full interview here
I’m looking forward to this upcoming week. Obviously, I’m very pleased with the win this last weekend in front of our fans. Looking forward to being at home again with the matchup against Western Kentucky. Hopefully, we can make corrections and get some things addressed. Overall, I’m really pleased with our coaches and our players.
On being 6-0 to start the season
I think you gain momentum, but the key is to focus on every week is different. You’ve got to move onto the next one. I think more than anything, we keep the feeling of appreciation and gratitude. Hopefully, we can continue to do that and keep our focus. All we’re focused on is winning this day and winning this week.
On how the team has handled the success so far
We’ve talked about how our team has handled adversity really well and been able to bounce back. Along with that, our players have handled success really well, too. They’re staying humble and being as hungry as possible to try to get better. They’re not settling on what they’ve done so far and trying to get better. It’s a great mindset our players have had. We’ll keep with that and keep the theme of staying focused.
On the matchup against WKU
They have some athletes and they’re well-coached. You see a highly competitive group. They had success last year, so they’re used to winning games. You look at their coaching staff and those guys know what they’re doing. They’ll find ways to be creative and be innovative to put points on the board and try to stop us from scoring. We have to be ready for anything. In our last game against Texas State, we weren’t anticipating a high dose of different looks that they gave us early on. For us, we’re going to play all three phases and play team-sound football trying to get the win. If we can do that, I like our chances.
On the depth of this year's team
I think depth is something that is needed in every program. It’s something you can never have too much have. That’s with development, recruiting, strength and scheme. There are so many variables in getting your depth ready. When we first got here, we felt like we had a pretty good starting group but needed more depth. We started to establish that, and I wasn’t shy in saying this is saying I feel this is the deepest team we’ve had since we started. It’s not about talent, we’re talking about depth, meaning guys we’d feel comfortable taking the field. That’s one thing you always keep working on. We have 123 guys on this roster, and we need all of them to be ready to play. Are we there yet? No, but hopefully we get there. I don’t know if any team feels comfortable with their 123rd guy starting on the field, but that’s our mindset and we approach our roster that way.
On the impact of starting games off strong
We know we’re going to face adversity and we know we’re going to get the other team’s best shot. The key for us is making sure they get our best shot. If we can do that, I feel really good about our chances of success. The level of maturity I’ve seen from this team is up there and that’s because we have great coaches and leaders on this team. I’ve been really pleased with how Jeff Grimes is coordinating the offense and working well with that staff. Ilaisa Tuiaki is doing the same thing on defense and Ed Lamb has been able to do that on special teams. It’s been working really nice so far and we want to keep it rolling.
Defensive line Bracken El-Bakri
Full interview here
On finding a balance of dealing with adversity and success
This team is really good at looking forward to the next thing. We always have our downs and our highs. It’s just about focusing on our next opponent and we do that really well as a team. Even the following day as we are getting treatment we are already talking about the next team and the next scheme and the next idea.
On the goals for the end of this season
We try to keep things week to week. We obviously have big hopes and dreams but that’s no different this year than other seasons. We’ve always had big dreams and ideas about what we want to do as a team and where we want to be. We want to succeed and play well as a team. We want to go places together as a brotherhood, but the way to do that is to take it week by week.
On playing against a different scheme against Texas State
We’ve actually practiced against schemes like that on purpose to be ready for anything that could happen. Coach Tuiaki was preparing us for it and that we could really see anything. During practice this week we really did try to play against a lot of different schemes. The one we ended up playing against wasn’t exactly what we prepared for. We were ready for a scheme like that, so it was an easy adjustment from what we planned on doing to what we ended up doing. After the first drive, we came together on the sideline and said this is our plan and this is what they are doing so let’s move one or two guys here and it worked just fine. What people don’t know is I think we were actually very well prepared for that scheme we just needed to move a couple of pieces on the board to be totally ready.
On where the program has made the most strides
We’ve grown as a team in every area so it’s hard to say that one area is drastically better than another. But if you look at the maturity mentally, I think that’s the biggest thing. We know how to handle the adversity that comes in a game. I think that mentally we are really strong and firm as a team. We are okay being down because we know we are a good football team and can overcome it whereas in some other seasons we would have been oh here we go again. We are definitely a lot stronger mentally.
Running back Tyler Allgeier
Full interview here
On playing well from the opening kickoff
Even from the last 48 hours, we all have to get our minds right and perfect the craft. And then right when kickoff happens, we just need to turn it on. The offense and defense need to shine. There will be ups and downs, but we all have each other’s back because there is a lot of togetherness on this team.
On the success of the offense
I would say that we are really deep and have a lot of guys that have stepped up. We are bought in and that’s resulted in that much success.
Where has the running back group improved the most
Our adversity and physical toughness throughout the whole offense. As a whole, from the running backs to the offense we bring the physicality and juice to everyone.
Full interview here
I think the offense has been strong, but there is still a lot of work to do. It was exciting to go up against Houston and we have Boise State coming in a couple of weeks. It’s exciting to put ourselves to the test and see how we compare against other teams. It’s exciting to be in the groove we’ve been in and I’m excited to keep it going.
On the trick play pass completion to quarterback Zach Wilson
We practiced throwing it over while pretending the defense would bite on everything, but the defense didn’t do that in the game. When I saw the corner fall off after I came around, I saw Zach slow down and knew it was the only way. I had enough time to throw it to Zach and, playing a little quarterback in high school, I threw it back shoulder.
On the play of the receiving corps and Zach Wilson
It takes a collective effort. I know Zach gets a lot of praise, but he also gets a lot of fault as the quarterback. I think the wide receivers and tight ends had to step up and do their jobs, especially with Matt Bushman going down before the season. I think we took it personally as wide receivers to bring it every day and we’ve been able to do just that. Zach is putting the ball where it needs to be. Sometimes we have to make the tough catches and we’ve been able to come down with a lot of those. It’s a collective group effort and it’s awesome to see.
On the depth of BYU’s receiving corps
I think there is enough depth for sure. I’ve talked about it since fall camp, there is a lot of talent in that room. With the guys that play more, I think we can get a better understanding of the playbook. I think processing everything is the biggest thing. When we’re in our groups we understand where we need to be, but when the bullets are flying there can sometimes be a little holdup.