PROVO, Utah – BYU football has entered its second week if spring practices looking ahead to the 2023 campaign.
The Cougars practiced Monday and again Wednesday afternoon. BYU will get one more practice in this week, hitting the gridiron on Friday. Coaches have continued to place an emphasis on constant learning and peer to peer mentoring among teammates as the squad builds for next season.
Following Wednesday's practice in the Indoor Practice Facility, offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick, linebacker Ben Bywater and wide receiver Chase Roberts spoke with members of the media. Read select quotes from all three below.
Offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick
On the continual progression of quarterback Kedon Slovis
“Kedon's playing really well. We are only five practices in so there's still a lot of room for growth, but he's a veteran player and he shows it every day. There are a few things that are happening for the first time that are new to him in our offense, but as far as his ability to run the team and make the plays that you need to make at this level he is showing us that he's a good quarterback.”
On not being in a rush to name starters on the offensive line
“Competition keeps everyone improving. There's a motivation factor and you want everyone to keep working. You're not playing mind games, but you want guys to be motivated. The other reason is you want to keep working different combinations because if an injury happens, what's our contingency plan? So, every day we're experimenting with different combinations. We have several guys playing guard and tackle, there’s a bunch of variables there and that’s good.”
On returning wide receivers like Chase Roberts and Keanu Hill
“You can tell Chase and Keanu have played a lot of football for us. They know it's their time. They’ve seen other guys step up the last two years at receiver and those guys are showing they're veteran players. The game has really slowed down for them. There's no sense of panic no matter what the defense does. The timing and spacing on the field is always better when those guys are on the field for us.”
Linebacker Ben Bywater
On linebackers coach Justin Ena
“Coach Ena is intense. I'm excited because he'll get the most out of you. That's what you need at linebacker, somebody out there sparking you and getting you going. Coach Ena has had success in multiple different places. He's coached NFL linebackers before, so he knows what it takes.”
On what is different about the defense compared to last year
“Playing downhill, that's the biggest thing. Coach Hill and Coach Ena have been great before with defenses at other schools. Playing downhill and attacking our gaps is exactly what we're doing this year.”
Wide receiver Chase Roberts
On his relationship with quarterback Kedon Slovis
“I knew who he was and knew that he was a great player. It felt awesome that he wanted to get going right away. We became buddies first, not only football teammates, but good friends. That came through him reaching out to me right away and from us going out to lunch and building a good connection on and off the field. I think that connection will show in the games this fall.”
On changes he has seen in BYU’s defense this spring
“They’re a lot more aggressive. Coach [Jay] Hill prioritizes aggression. I can see the intensity of the defense is making us better as an offense since we have to be ready for a more physical, prepared defense.”
How he wants to improve
“I want to get stronger, more physical, more capable of making big plays and better at reading the defense. I want to get better at those little things that a wide receiver can do to take his game to the next level. I want to be someone that can be trustworthy on the field.”