Cougars hold second day of fall practice
PROVO, Utah – BYU football held its second day of practice on Saturday morning at the Student Athlete Building practice fields. Check out this video of some of the practice drills from Saturday and read below what several of the coaches and players had to say following practice.
Head coach Kalani Sitake
On quarterback competition
Once we feel that there’s a clear leader, we’re going to make that decision. I can’t tell you a timetable for what that will be, but it’ll be before game day. I don’t want it to be the day of or the day before. Watching the film, they’ve both done some really great things and they’ve got things they can work on.
On team progress
Overall as a team from yesterday to today, it was a much better practice. Yesterday was good but today was really, really good. We saw some really good things, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively, we’re seeing some guys start to emerge and guys doing some good things. We’re really pleased with what we see from the D-line and the O-line, and with the bigger bodies we’re seeing some really good technique with what they’re doing up front.
On players playing multiple positions
If anyone knows anything about me, we’ll put our best eleven on the field. I don’t know how that’s going to look, but you can have guys, usually seniors, that know how they’re playing and have a lot of experience; maybe a guy like Micah Hannemann who can play both corner and safety. When you have that ability to be flexible with some of the guys on your eleven, you can get the best eleven all around. You don’t want to get in trouble though with a guy who is a jack-of-all trades and master of none. We want to make sure that our guys are comfortable in each position and that they can thrive in it. The team needs are the most important, trying to get a win and trying to get the best players on the field - that’s what is most important to me. Harvey (Unga) is another one of those guys, and he has a lot of experience at linebacker. We’ll see how he does with the other stuff. There will be other guys that will move around a little bit and the ones that do can handle it. Francis Bernard has been perfect. It’s not a problem for him. The game comes easy for him. He’s a natural linebacker. He could go and play running back right now, but we’ve got a lot of good running backs. He has really good instincts and you can’t teach that. We’re trying to build the scheme that allows him to feel like he can play his best and not think too much and just react, and he’s doing a great job so far.
On the kicking game
We had some opportunities to kick and I thought Jonny (Linehan) did some great things today on punt. Rhett (Almond) did really good backing him up. (James) Baird did some really good things with our place-kicking. We’ll get a look at some of the other guys, but for the most part, we feel comfortable with what we’re doing right now. We’ve got some new bodies in there now that can kick a little bit and the snaps have been good, so I feel really comfortable with where we’re at and I’m not concerned at all.
On the defensive secondary
They look really good right now. They’re a big reason why the defensive line did well today because they cover well and run to the ball really well. Some of the new guys we brought in are doing really well as they start to grasp the scheme and they’re understanding what our coaches are trying to teach them. All around our coaches are doing a good job teaching the young men. We’ve got some really good coaches and they’re getting through to their players. I’m seeing a lot of improvements in fundamentals and techniques even from yesterday to today. As long as we keep improving and working on that, we’ll be good. I’m really pleased with the film and we’ve learned a lot.
Opening thoughts on fall camp
We’re staying healthy, which is important, and we are working on installation and playing with good technique. It’s coming along. Yesterday there were a lot of mistakes, but from one day to the next there has been a lot of improvement.
On being excited to start hitting
Yeah, we’ve got to slow them down a bit because they are not in pads yet, so it’s a little bit of a fake football deal for the D-line and O-line, and so we’ve got to slow them down and make sure they are not banging their shoulders, and making sure they are using their arms and stopping when they need to stop. It’s been a good thing, though not a surprise, to be able to hold them back instead of having to get them going. We always want it that way.
On the new offensive system
I think we are not really paying much attention to what [the offense is doing] as far as just making sure we are sound on our side of the ball because we’ve still got assignment that we need to sure up on all positions, and I think that is the same thing that’s going on on the offense as well. We’re just trying to make sure that everybody is in the right place at the right time.
On the new guys
Yesterday was a little bit of a shock for them. The speed of things, but also just how much more complicated it is than what they have been used to. But I think once they get it down, relying on the veterans to teach those guys and bring them along has been huge. The veterans have been good that way, not selfish, but sharing their knowledge and being around the young guys. I think they are just kind of just hanging back, trying to get used to everything. But you can tell there is a little bit of a shock going on.
On the new staff
This spring was huge for us, to be able to be together and we are just kind of picking up where we left off in the spring. We are making the adjustments that we need to and trying a couple new things that we picked up in the summer and professional development. I love my room; I’ve got really good coaches with me, really good graduate assistants and we are excited about the room we’ve got defensively.
On changes from spring ball
In spring ball, obviously nobody was in football shape, but our strength coach has done an awesome job. They are here, they are excited, they’ve got pep in their step, and the size and speed that we are seeing them at now is a lot different from spring, which is really impressive.
On being settled in his role
I’m not really [settled]. But I’ve got a great head coach to lean on. Ed Lamb was a head coach for a long time and has got a great defensive mind. Coach Kaufusi has been around for a long time. Jernaro (Gilford) is new, but he is a great technician, and I feel that we’ve got a great room. So the trust factor in our room is great for me to be able to lean on guys and be open. I don’t ever feel that they are holding things back, but we are all pushing in the same direction, and so that has been awesome.
Senior RB Jamaal Williams
On the first two days
We are learning new things, but it is the same thing we learned in spring. Having that much time off, you only remember some of it, but you just need to clear it up. But having these first two days has been extremely helpful for both defense and offense to be able to learn what they are doing and their assignments.
Well, we were doing all that in our offseason training. We did everything we could, spotting every day, working hard like we were in fall camp. And now that we are in fall camp, we can just worry about doing our assignments and keeping our bodies fresh, coming out 100 percent during practice. That is the great thing about having the coaches having us work that hard (in the offseason)—it works. And to see it pay off now, coming into fall camp, just worrying about practicing is a great thing.
On Ty Detmer’s offense
Pretty much we just have the check-downs. We are just doing our thing out there—running the ball, blocking. It is a great offense. I am glad to be in it, and it just gets us prepared for the next level, if most of us want to go. I know all of us want to go, so it just helps us get ready.
On Squally Canada
Squally is feisty. When he gets on the field, you can see it. He might even be feistier than me. He is someone I can really relate to all the time, and I just want to help him and tell him about my experience so he can have a great experience too.
On being a leader
I am just here to be a leader. I like being a leader now. The teammates know that when I talk, it is important to them. It is coming from the heart, and so I keep it real with them all the time. But I seek to lead by action.
On team chemistry
We are all brothers and family here, and that’s what you need. You need a family mentality to play football.
Freshman DB Troy Warner
On being at BYU
It’s a blessing to be here at BYU. It’s an opportunity that not many people get. My brother Fred is here, so my comfort level is really high. It’s great being around my teammates because we are also a brotherhood. The atmosphere here is awesome. I have already been able to learn the ropes and learn what college football is all about.
On the tug-a-war between offense and defense
I think primarily I will play defense right now so I can perfect it and get better at it. Maybe in years to come I might see a little time as receiver. But, right now I am focusing on defense.
On competitiveness at the corner position
Competing itself is a great thing because everybody is able to learn and improve. When you don’t have that competitiveness there, you might slack a little bit. Competing is a fun thing to do, and I think the competitive nature of this team will be a good thing for us.
On Coach Sitake
Coach Sitake’s way of doing things is really fun. We are able to just be ourselves and just interact with each other. We are able to know the defense well because it is a lot simpler.
Playing with Fred Warner
Every day we are arguing about something. That just comes along with the competitiveness that we share. It comes out on to the field as we are able to push each other to be great. Fred has been very successful here and I’d be lucky to follow in his footsteps.
Senior DB Kai Nacua
On fall camp
After the second day, I think we are looking really good. Our offense and defense is coming together.
On leading the team
As leaders, we have told the young guys the things we need to do to get to a certain spot and achieve our goals. We tell each other that to achieve our goals we have to expect a lot of each other and hold each other accountable. We have to make sure we are going 100 percent all the time.
On the coaches
The coaches are really good. We all are cooperative. The coaches say jump and we are saying basically how high.
On his shoulder recovery
The shoulder is good. I am ready to go. They are going to hold me out a little in camp just to make sure I don’t re-tear anything. I am feeling 100 percent. Coming back from surgery was difficult, but it’s my last year and I’ve got to come back and lead these guys.
On Micah Hannemann moving to safety
Micah is a good player. He can cover a lot of ground. I think we are similar players; we like to hit and get physical. It’s been a lot of fun. I think we are doing a really good job out there.