Football continues fall camp in the IPF
PROVO, Utah – Despite losing key players to the NFL draft, BYU football's offensive line and safeties will rely on other experienced players as it prepares in camp for the 2021 season.
After a stellar year for BYU’s defensive backs and safeties, in which they held opponents to an average of 197.5 yards per game, the safeties room is looking to reload. The Cougars lose the production of Troy Warner to the Los Angeles Rams and Zayne Anderson to the Kansas City Cheifs who combined for 23 starts, 70 tackles and two interceptions in BYU’s 11-1 season.
Despite two Cougars moving on to the NFL, BYU returns the production of Chaz Ah You, Malik Moore, Hayden Livingston and Jared Kapisi who combined for 20 tackles and two interceptions in the 2020 season.
The safety room also includes juniors Jason Money, Mitchell Price and Matthew Criddle and freshmen Dean Jones and Talan Alfrey.
Safety Chaz Ah You
On the safties
First of all, I think our safeties room is a very tight-knit group. As far as the competition goes, we all know that it's cutthroat, that Coach Lamb is going to have to make hard decisions and some guys are going to be happy and some guys are not. But, that doesn't change the atmosphere in our film room. We're all coaching each other; guys will coach me up and I’m coaching other guys up. So, as far as that aspect of it goes it's really tight-knit, but it's a very athletic group. We've got a lot of guys who have played multiple positions already on the team that have converted back to safety. So, we're a pretty experienced safeties group as far as playing and knowing the defense from different positions. I think we have a lot of good keys and a lot of good pieces that we can use this year.
On where football fits in his priority list
After God and family, football is definitely my number one, or I guess my number three in that sense. That's something that I eat, breathe and sleep every day, day in and day out. It kind of sucks sometimes because I can't remove my mind from it so I'm doing something away from it and football just sneaks its way into my head so it's definitely a main priority for me.
On how the three types of quarterbacks help them prepare for the season
Definitely, you want to get reps against every type of skill set, especially as a defensive back where I can go from covering a running back to a tight end to slot back to a wide receiver. So, I think it's good to have that diversity at quarterback as well, where you're working against dual threats or quick decision, throwing the ball type of quarterbacks. So, I think these quarterbacks have given us a look at everything that we could possibly go against this season.
The 19- man Cougar offensive line is working to replace three 2020 starters who are currently in the NFL; this includes third-round draft pick Brady Christensen to the Panthers. Tristen Hoge and Chandon Herring signed free agent contracts with the New York Jets and Tennessee Titans, respectively.
BYU has three starters returning for fall camp this year, James Empey, Clark Barrington and Blake Freeland. Empey is featured on five major pre-season watchlists and started and played in eight games in the 2020 season. Barrington is listed alongside Empey as a nominee for the Rotary Lombardi Award.
Other experienced players expected to contribute this fall include Brayden Keim, Harris LaChance, Joe Tukuafu and Connor Pay as well as JT Gentry. Newcomers competing for time are Campbell Barrington, Chandler Bird, Brock Gunderson, Donovan Hanna, Tysen Lewis, Tyler Little, Cooper McMullan, Burke Parker, Cade Parrish, Dylan Rollins and Seth Willis.
The following are other quotes from Wednesday post-practice media availability:
Passing Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach Fesi Sitake
On fall camp
One of the more promising things for me in the big picture of the team is the intensity, the passion and the energy that we're seeing right now, right in the thick of camp. I think that right there is just the product of the culture, of the leadership we have on this team. I've been really, really pleased with the energy and the excitement that these guys are displaying in the toughest part of fall camp.
On the Nacua brothers
They have a knack for going and getting the ball, understanding the concepts that we have, knowing where the ball is going to be. They bring a lot of personality to our room. I know that's something that you don't see in statistics and numbers, but that's huge when you have guys that have a natural ability to lead and to bring energy and passion to the field. The fact that they can couple that with their ability to make plays and pick up this playbook are things that I think are keeping them on track for us to see a lot of them this year.”
On how Dax Milne’s success influences the team
It sends the message to, most importantly, our guys right now in the room that they can accomplish their goals. It sends a message to all the recruits and the potential players here, that you can go accomplish your dreams. Whether you come in as a highly touted recruit or whether you walk on and don't have many scholarships, you'll come here, you'll thrive, you'll get your opportunities and if you make the most of it, you'll be able to accomplish your goals.“
Tight End Dallin Holker
On his current role on the team compared to his freshman year
Whatever it really takes for us as a team to win and to be the best that we can be, I'll try to do.
On the tight end room
There are about six or seven of us right now in the tight end room. It’s competitive and it’s fun. I definitely feel like there are different ways that we can all help out the offense when we’re in.
On team culture
It's a family here, so it's not really like anybody's ever left out or anything like that. So we're all really close and it's fun to be around.