BYU wraps up first week of spring football


PROVO, Utah – BYU football finished its first week of spring practices on Friday evening as the team continues to prepare for the 2023 season.

The Cougars strapped on the pads for the first time in spring on Friday, getting in some real hits and tackling work. With several incoming transfers, young players and several new coaches, an emphasis on fundamentals and reps have been critical to during week one. 

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake, along with wide receiver Keanu Hill and defensive lineman John Nelson spoke with members of the media following Friday's practice. Read select comments below.

Head Coach Kalani Sitake
On the first week
"The first week is done. I'm really happy with what we saw today. We got pads on today, so we got some tackling in and played real football. We have a lot of work to do still, but overall the guys are aggressive and strong. We can really build on what we’ve done this week. I’m really happy with how everything is going so far.”

On the level of competition with pads on and the team’s progress so far
“It’s good to see the intensity come back. It’s real football now for the offensive and defensive lines. The offense is really in sync. The defense is learning a bunch of different schemes, pressures and coverages.”

On the many new players joining the team
“Getting them on the field is important. All of the new guys are getting a lot of reps, it’s a good way for us to evaluate them all. There are some guys that are making big time plays right away. We’re always looking to improve our team, we’re never afraid to add competition.”

Wide receiver Keanu Hill
On the defense
“I’m really confident about our new defense. We’ve been seeing a lot of new stunts and fronts. They’re bringing in new pressures. Jay Hill is more aggressive and I like that. It’s good seeing new things and getting adjusted to them. Some of the defenses we face in the fall could be aggressive, so we’ll be ready for them.

On what has stood out the most about quarterback Kedon Slovis
“His arm strength. On Wednesday he threw me two balls that were right in stride, they felt good and the spirals were pretty.”

Defensive lineman John Nelson
On the new defensive scheme
“It's a lot more aggressive, I like it a lot. The scheme lets the defensive tackles get more up field and cause havoc by themselves. As a whole the defense has been pushed a lot harder and it's been good. We're going to get better every day.”

On the team’s strength and conditioning goals
“We've put emphasis on reaching a certain strength level and then working smarter and getting faster. That's the difference between the NFL and college. Everyone's strong in college, but the NFL players are strong, fast and athletic so we're trying to emulate that in our training.”