Cougars compete in first scrimmage at LES
PROVO, Utah – BYU football held a two-hour practice and scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday morning.
Head coach Kalani Sitake | Video
On today's scrimmage
It went well. We did some stuff that was live and we actually tagged some things. For the most part, I think the right guys got opportunities to make tackles and break tackles. We had a lot of good work. Being three weeks out, it's good to go through the motions of a full game. We had a full reffing crew here today. Obviously there are things we need to handle administratively as a staff that we can smooth over but it was a really good practice. We took some huge steps forward as far as getting ready for the games.
On Jamaal Williams
Jamaal looked great breaking some tackles today. He looked good being out in space and catching the ball and running with it. Not a lot has changed with him, but it was good to get him that work. We didn't do that with him in spring, so it was good to have him in some live situations. Jamaal is bigger and stronger and he is really helping the younger guys out. We've got a good group of running backs, and Jamaal is the leader of the pack.
On today's defensive standouts
Corbin (Kaufusi) did some good things towards the end today. Harvey (Langi), Sae (Tautu), Fred (Warner) and Butch (Pau’u) are playing really well. We will see how the front seven keep progressing – we have a lot of guys we can work with. The quarterbacks are finding Corbin is a hard guy to throw over. He is going to be a dangerous pass rusher. He is just so big and so agile for how tall he is.
On the tight end position
We put Alema Pilimai there today. He is a guy that has a lot of athleticism and he has gotten bigger so we are going to see if he can be that athletic type of tight end we like. He actually is doing really well for the short amount of time he has been there.
Offensive coordinator & quarterbacks coach Ty Detmer
It is hard to compare because they are going with different groups, different plays, different situations. As a coaching staff, we usually go back and look at the film, make sure our eyes are in the right place. They are always getting different looks with different receivers, and different guys are in there with different groups, so we don’t really compare too much during the time, but they are all starting to get it. They are starting to get reads quicker, getting to the right places, starting to take that next instead of one-two-three, cleaning up some of those things. I thought overall, the quarterbacks are playing pretty well. We’ve still got a couple of weeks here though, to tighten things up.
On leaders from the quarterbacks
Right now we are just rotating. They are all getting equal reps. They are all starting to understand everything more, and getting the concepts. We are working on getting our eyes in the right place; we are all working at it together. The quarterbacks work great as a unit; they help each other out, talk through the reads together and the different receivers and how they run the routes.
How the scrimmage went overall
Pretty good. We’ve got to cut down on penalties. We need to try and stay ahead of the chains. We are still at a point where our O-line is trying different combinations. I’d like to see things cleaned up, but overall we are getting a good push up front and it is a continued work in progress.
On the tight ends
They all bring a different aspect to the game, so we are still waiting for that one guy to be able to step up and do it all. It may be tight end by committee; we may be a little more three-receiver set. It is really just dependent on the situation. We try to have those guys learn it all, try different combinations and see who is picking it up and who is there. But right now, it is a little bit by committee.
The value of a day like this
It is valuable because they are out there by themselves. Coaches aren’t out there with them, giving them reminders before the play. It helps us from a logistical standpoint getting personnel. We didn’t have headsets, so when the music is going it is hard to relay to that personnel group every time. But more than anything, I like it because it forces us as coaches to get the personnel in, see where we are on the play clock and get the quarterbacks to understand where they’ll be now that they are huddling. They don’t have all day to stand up the line like they did when it was no huddle.
Where you expected to be as offense as a whole
I really don’t put expectations on them, like we need to be here at this time. We have got a lot in. When you look at the play sheet, there is quite a bit on there for a week into it. So I feel really good about that. Now we just need to tighten it up. And that was the plan. Throw a lot at them early, and then we dial it in, and at some point here in the next couple weeks, we’ll be playing Arizona and we’ll really dial in that game plan. But right now it is throw a lot at them, get as much in as we can, and iron out the kinks.
Senior RB Jamaal Williams
How the scrimmage went today
It was good, a little different. D-line and O-line are always going live all the time. It is great to see the skilled players go in and get our time to tackle. It was just a great time to practice, great time to learn from each other and get better.
On what he saw from the quarterbacks
They are great. They are always learning things because it is a learning process. They have the hardest job because they have to know what everyone is doing. But it is always great to have [the quarterbacks] to learn the offense and they are just doing their best. We know we can’t do this offense without them.
How he feels with his role and the offense coming together
Every player is different when learning a new game, but all we can do as teammates and coaches is to help each other out in learning it better. It doesn’t take me long to catch on to something. I have had my mistakes, but I have learned from everything. Now I feel like I have a good knowledge on the offense and the terms and everything.
On the offense running smooth
We are always on pace. We are just doing what we need to do and working hard. It is mostly about effort and paying attention.
Senior QB Taysom Hill
Getting back after a year off
It’s great. I’ve definitely had some times where I felt a little rusty, but I felt pretty good today. I thought our line did a fairly good job up front and gave us time so we were able to go through our reads and progressions and deliver the ball where it needed to be when it needed to be there. I was happy with it.
Offense progress overall
We picked up where we left off with spring. We have a bunch of stuff in and now it will just be dialing in what exactly we’re comfortable with as quarterbacks and as an offense and taking a lot plays as we get ready for Arizona. Then we’ll start narrowing that down.
Biggest improvement since start of fall
I think just getting a new offense – the timing and decision-making. Those two things and being comfortable in our offense, knowing the reads on every play, recognizing the defense and getting the ball out when it needs to be delivered. I think those things for sure and they’ll come with more reps.
How he’s doing compared to last year
It’s hard to say because this injury put me out for a little bit longer than last year. It’s been a full week of practice now and I feel like I’ve been able to progress nicely and I don’t feel like I’m behind in anything. I feel like I’m ready to go, so it’s hard to say but I do feel like I’m ready.
Sophomore QB Tanner Mangum
On practice overall
I thought it went well. I got a lot of reps in. It was good for us to come here in the stadium 11 on 11 and make some more progress. Fall camp is a grind and every day it gets better. I think we’re making some big steps. The run game looked good and we made some plays downfield in the passing game so overall it was good and we definitely got better.
On his performance today
I did all right. Obviously it’s never perfect so there are mistakes here and there. As a whole quarterback group, we made some good decisions and took care of the ball. We didn’t throw any interceptions and we moved the chains and had a couple scores as well. We did some good things. Obviously there are some things we can clean up and work on like sustaining drives longer and a few penalties we had here and there, but overall we did a good job.
On splitting reps with Taysom
It’s been good. He and I are both enjoying getting better with this offense. That’s the main thing we’re worried about right now is getting the offense better and making sure we’re all on the same page and getting this thing going so we can go into Arizona and do our thing.
On Jamaal Williams
It’s awesome having him back there. He’s obviously a great player, but then also a great leader. Every time you see him in the back field it gives you a sense of relief knowing you’ve got Jamaal behind you whether it’s the running game or pass blocking. He gives you a lot of confidence back there in the pocket.
On grasping the new offense
In spring it took me some time to get use to everything, but I think now after spring ball, summer and now throughout fall camp I’ve got a pretty good grasp of it. Now it’s just getting more reps. That’s the key. Reps, reps, reps. Making sure we’re developing good habits and we understand all our reads and keys. Coach Detmer does a great job helping us understand it. I’m relying a lot on him. As a quarterback group, we help each other out a lot. We’re always talking to each other behind the play when we’re not in and that helps a lot because we’re on the same team helping each other out.
Sophomore LB Francis Bernard
On how he has made the change to a linebacker and became a starter
I’m able to pick things up fast and I do well in space. My strong suit is definitely coverage. As far as the other linebackers their strong suit is playing the run and I can move well in space.
On the most difficult running back to guard
A lot of them are good. Jamaal is great. Squally (Canada) is shifty. Trey Dye and KJ Hall, all those shifty backs, are difficult because once they get into space they know exactly what to do so I can’t get hands on them. Those guys are good and so is Algie (Brown). I can’t put a finger on one of them. There’s good competition everyday and we’re getting better everyday.
I thought we did well. With the starters, we started off a little slow, but as momentum picked up as we got stops and more sacks and turnovers the intensity picked up. Overall, it was pretty solid.
Missing being on the offense
I’m pretty dialed in on learning my position, but I have thoughts every now and then watching film on one-on-ones or on team where I’m like the running back should have done this or that’s the offense I ran in high school.
Sophomore DL Corbin Kaufusi
On his progress
There are a lot of things that are coming back pretty quick, but there are things that are taking a little bit of time. This is an every day progression. I’m not sure how this goes, it’s up to the coaches, but as long as I’m doing my part I’ll be good.
Similarities between basketball and football
The similarity is the dominant mindset. I like it here because this time you get to put the physical aspect into it, whereas in basketball you have to dominate but you have to have the finesse with it. You can’t foul out here, so I love it.
The biggest adjustment was just before the season trying to get my body to the right place where I wanted it to be. It’s a different body type to play football instead of basketball. Also, just learning everything again. Nutrition wise I had to up my calories a ton and gain around 30 pounds, but it’s been nice and I like it.
On scrimmage today
The scrimmage was good. There are a lot of things to work on. Some plays you need to get down better and some coverages you need to get into. Overall it’s always good to get reps.
On more physicality in full pads
The offense and defense line go live basically the whole time. There’s no way to not hit the other guy across the line. I like the physically that we’ve had continuously. I have zero fouls so far, so it’s great. I have a clean slate.
I’m on the PAT team. I wasn’t able to go in and block kicks today, but I can’t wait for the chance I get to block kicks.