Joseph Hovey | Posted: 11 Aug 2021 | Updated: 24 Aug 2021

Football holds annual photo day

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Jacob Conover
Campbell Barrington Photo Day

PROVO, Utah – The BYU football team held its annual photo day at the Indoor Practice Facility on Wednesday.

Coaches and players stepped aside from the normal routine of fall camp to take team and position group photos following a walk-through in the morning.

The following quotes are from media availability on Wednesday.

Head coach Kalani Sitake
On the quarterback race and if there's been any separation
As far a separation goes, not highly visible right now other than all three are much better than they were in spring, and they improve every day. It's getting a little bit more difficult, but it's really no fault of theirs. They're just stepping up and making some big plays and I anticipate some separation soon, especially when we start doing a lot more 11-on-11 work and that'll probably happen in the next week-week in a half or so.

On who is involved in the quarterback decision
Mostly Aaron Roderick and Fesi Sitake. We communicate a lot so we'll be in it all together, but I'm going to lean heavily on the guys who spend the most time with them and that's those two. Obviously, A-Rod is the offensive coordinator and the quarterbacks' coach so the heavy part of it would be his to decide."

On what's next for the offense after five scripted practices
The goal is to get them used to situational football and that's not something that you script you. It's also good work for our communication from the play-caller, A-Rod, all the way to the signalers, to the guys that can get lined up. Now we're trying to figure out how to get into the flow of the game, who can lead the team down the field and score points. That's going to be the key in the next little bit. Right now, we're just trying to establish a foundation of guys knowing the plays, their assignments, how their alignment is supposed to be and the technique that they need to utilize. Then it's putting it all together and having it be different times and not having this all scripted. Before the scripts were all situational, now we're just trying to go with the flow and go with the plays. I think that's going to be the key for those quarterbacks evolving and progressing to the type of players that we want them to be leading the way against Arizona.

On the confidence in the depth of the team right now
I just have to go up and count how many guys we feel comfortable with, as a coaching staff, being one of the starters. I really believe that's my job as head coach is to get the depth ready and get the whole team ready to start and play for us, regardless of what type of team we have. I think my goal is to get all the guys in a position where they should be able to get on the field and help us win games. Is it achievable? I don't know, but we're going to try to do our best. I don't know the exact number right now, but I know we have a good number of them and there's a lot of guys that can change day-to-day right now. There's a lot of guys that have made huge improvements from last week to now and then if you can do that in five practices, imagine what can happen in the next five.

On the "legacy guys" in the program whose fathers played at BYU
I think it's a cool thing, I wonder how many have had grandfathers or family members that have played here. I think having legacy kids is a big part of what we're trying to accomplish here. Those guys that have been raised BYU, know a lot of things when you're recruiting them. There are not a lot of things that they don't already know about, especially when in terms of culture especially from players that played for LaVell, they know that I'm trying to run a similar system. So, we get to know them and get to see that they fit our program perfectly. I think that is what we're trying to promote for the school's mission and our team mission. It seems like an easy transition. I don't want to be just limited to that, I just want to make sure that we're open to recruit the best kids out there and just a high number of them happen to be sons of former BYU players.

On Coach Hadley's new position assignment and Pepe Tanuvasa
Preston has done an amazing job. He's just a ball coach, so it doesn't really matter what position you give him, he's going to flourish in it. I'm really excited about the unique perspective he has of the front, especially the defensive ends and hybrids, being aware of what's happening in the coverage. Pepe had amazing talent. We just feel like there's a scheme where he can really do well and devising that plan where he can play in different positions as a stand up or hands on the ground if we need him. He can do a lot of different things and that's utilizing his skill set, rather than making him lose weight and change the way that he does things or gain weight and be a hand on the ground defensive end. I think devising a scheme and a personnel set where guys like him have a home, and a big part of that is having Preston there.

On areas Tyler Allegier can improve in after an impressive season
Looking at perfecting his game, there's a few plays that he wishes he could improve on and there's also an opportunity to get better blocking and catching the ball. All those things matter, but what I really want him to do is step up and become the leader that we started to see already since the end of the season – a vocal leader. That's not his deal, but he's getting out of his comfort zone, he's learning how to become a leader and the players have really taken to him as a leader. They love following him and it's not really that difficult when you're a guy that just does everything right and works extremely hard. We just need him to keep mentoring these young guys along and being one of the main leaders on our team.  So far, he's doing a good job.

On newcomers Jacob Robinson & Caleb Pace at cornerback
They have the size and speed, exactly what we're looking for. They have a lot of talent and so adding to our depth and our talent, that's huge for us. But I really feel good about what Jernaro Gilford has done with that group. It's a solid corner group, and we just got to keep testing them. I think there's a chance that we'll see a lineup with a lot of different corners contributing to our success on defense. It just helps out having guys here that are pretty much game-ready and then we just teach them our system and away they go. But so far, from what I see, they have the talent individually to really be something special here for us."

Offensive Lineman James Empey
On the quarterback battle
Well, all those guys are playing really well right now. They're all showing good leadership qualities from a quarterback standpoint and we're confident with any one of those guys as their line and as their teammates. I know a lot of the offense feels the same way. So, we're glad that those guys are playing well and came out to compete. I look forward to seeing them keep it up as camp goes on.

On offensive line chemistry
It's obviously different. We're missing four guys from that group that we had before and they brought a lot to the table obviously, because they're doing well for themselves right now, wherever they're at. So, with the guys that we brought in and with the guys that we still have, I feel like we're getting to the point where we're pretty fluid. We can communicate well with each other and understand what each other saying. I think we have a good unit that's cohesive and works well together.

On Coach Funk
Coach Funk is awesome. He's an awesome caring guy who brings a lot of wisdom and he's been around the game forever. So he brings a lot of wisdom and a fresh perspective to what we do. He added a few things that we have a grasp on. I think he connects well with a lot of the guys and is able to bring a little bit of wisdom, knowledge and perspective as he approaches our offense. He's been coaching that for a really long time at a lot of different places. So he has a ton of stuff to add in a lot of good coaching points and it's great to have him in the room.

Defensive lineman Tyler Batty
On the tone of practice thru the first week of camp
Excited. Everyone’s just happy to be back playing, back together.

On biggest improvements in his personal game
Mentally is the biggest for me. My understanding of the game, being able to process things faster mentally is where I've improved the most.

On health status going into the season
I am feeling completely healthy, very happy to be able to play and move the way I want to. I’m feeling really good.

On filling the shoes of previous linemen
We all take it very personally. Especially, for the guys who were here last year that played alongside Khyiris Tonga and Zac Dawe and Bracken El-Bakri, they are big shoes to fill. Everyone takes it very seriously and very personally when it comes to prep and being ready to fill the role that they need to.