Kalani Sitake media availability: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
PROVO, Utah – BYU football head coach Kalani Sitake met with members of the media on Monday to discuss the upcoming Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Dec. 21 against Western Michigan.
The following quotes are from Coach Sitake and select players. Watch the full media availability.
Head coach Kalani Sitake
On the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
We’re really excited for the bowl game and are looking forward to the matchup against Western Michigan. They had a win in their last game against Northern Illinois so that’s a good matchup up for us. Our guys are excited about going to Boise. We have a lot of players from around that area in Idaho and we’re familiar with being on that blue turf. We’re glad to be around that community and are excited to see our fans there. We have the mindset that we want to win the game. We’re looking forward to a competitive game.
On getting the notice about the bowl game
I wanted to plan for who we would be facing and where we’d be going. I got the notice yesterday. I’m looking forward to the time we get to practice as a team. We have one more opportunity to play all together. After not being a bowl game last year, we’re really excited about this one. It’s going to be a lot of fun going to Boise. I didn’t have an opinion about where we’d play, I just wanted to get to a game and we’re happy that this one will be close to home at a good time of year.
On players returning for bowl game after being out in the regular season
There’s going to be some guys cutting it close so we have to see if they have enough time to practice before the game. Obviously, Corbin Kaufusi and Matt Hadley are out but Squally Canada has been cleared to go. He’ll be practicing today. At the Utah game, Matt’s leg was fractured. He’s a tough player. He walked off the field on his own. We’ll miss him but it’s good to get the other guys back.
On playing Western Michigan
I know there are guys on the team that went undefeated and played in the Cotton Bowl against Wisconsin a few years ago. I’m sure those players are senior leaders on the team right now. They’ve played some big games. Looking at their offense, they scored a lot of points. They average around 250 in the passing game and 200 running. They put up a lot of points and beat a team that we lost to.
On preparing for the game
It’s an opportunity for us to work hard and get ready for the game. Our younger players have the chance to run the scheme more. We’re going to try to develop our guys quickly and utilize all the time we can in practice. We’re practicing six days this week and another six days next week. The whole point of this bowl game is to go and win. In 2016, we won our game so we’re looking forward to another chance to win.
Tight end Matt Bushman
On going to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
I’m excited, I’ve never been to a bowl before. I’m just excited to play another game and have the opportunity to be in a bowl game. Everyone looks forward to it, that’s everyone’s goal. I love playing college football, so I’m just grateful and excited to see what the bowl experience is like.
On reaching the goal of a bowl game
It’s definitely satisfying. Every team has goals to go far, and sometimes they’re long-term goals. But, coming from the season we had, going 4-9 last year, just knowing that we were going to be bowl-eligible is a good step for this program. Even though we lost some games that we should have won and didn’t have the season that we were expecting to have this year, knowing we were able to make a bowl and have the chance to play another game, it’s awesome for our program. It’s awesome for recruits to see that. We’ve had a tradition of going to bowls and unfortunately last year we didn’t go. I think we’re all just grateful that we have a chance to go to Boise and play.
On playing Western Michigan
We’re excited to play them. They’re a good team, they’ve won some games. Like Coach Sitake said, they beat Northern Illinois, so they definitely have talent. We just have to be ready for it and prepare with this extra time that we have to play a good game against them.
Defensive back Dayan Ghanwoloku
Thoughts when you heard where you were going
I was excited, I wanted somewhere warm, but Idaho will do, it’s a bowl game so I’m just happy to be at a bowl game.
On the benefits of having extra practices
It’ll help us on both offense and defense to get things polished a little more. It’s going to help us in the future with all the young guys we have on defense and offense. It’s just another game for us to get better. It’ll improve us for the next game when we play Utah next year.
What’s the talk been defensively when the second half of the last game didn’t go as you wanted?
We just have to follow the coaches’ game plan. We have playmakers on defense and we just need to follow the coaches and be disciplined. When we win games, coach tells us what we did good and bad. Most of it comes from doing your job, so I feel like when we do that, we can win games. That’s the main things we need to work on.
Quarterback Zach Wilson
On the next few weeks
I want to be able to finish the season how we want our offense to be. We got a lot of time off from here until the game, so I’m hoping to build our offense and our team unity to how we want it to be for future years. We’ve changed offenses a couple times this year so I’m hoping that we find our identity, stick with it and really progress going into these next two weeks.
On Western Michigan
I know they’re a pretty good high scoring offense. I know they’ve had a lot of success in the past and I know they’re a very respected team and I think it’ll be a good matchup. I think we’ll come out and have a little fight going.