Kalani Sitake Media Availability - Utah State
The following quotes are selected from Monday's media availability with BYU head football coach Kalani Sitake and select players.
Head coach Kalani Sitake (Video)
On his general thoughts for this week
Looking forward to this week. It's a rivalry game against Utah State in Logan. We missed it last year so I’m happy we can get it going this year. I have tons of respect for the fan base and the program. I’ve been really impressed with my interactions with the team’s head coach, Blake. From what I have seen so far on film, they’ve added some new faces to the roster. They have a lot of explosive athletes. It will be a fun game to go up there on Friday night. I’m looking forward to it. We are short a day, just like they are. It’s a new one for the season. Everyone will need to make adjustments and get ready with a day less of prep.
On any changes being made to the defense moving forward
I think a lot of guys were disappointed after the game. They wanted better results. After watching the film, I’m actually pretty excited, even though there were a lot of mistakes made. The effort and the energy was there. I saw a lot of guys just trying to do too much and not focusing on their 1/11th. The mistakes are very fixable. They just need to be a little more disciplined in their assignments. We can always improve our technique and focus on the fundamentals of the game. I’m excited to get to work today.
On the Wagon Wheel
We have the Wagon Wheel. That Wagon Wheel is heavy. We are just going to go out and play the game. I want my guys to be more focused on playing the game, rather than what trophy we could get after.
On Jaren Hall
I think Jaren will be available. We will see how it goes at practice. We work off of what we can get in practice. We make a final decision close to game time. We go with the guy who will give us the best opportunity to win. He will be at practice today.
On who Utah State reminds him of
They can do a lot of different things. You can look at Blake’s past as a coach and you can see what he has done and where he has been. From what we are seeing right now, it’s very similar to what we see with USF. They have two quarterbacks and give them a unique skill set. I’ve been really impressed with how they utilize their strengths. They have a physical offensive line. They have some athletic, explosive athletes. They’ve been able to gain many yards and have explosive plays against difficult teams. Overall, in all three phases, it’s going to be a good matchup.
Wide receiver Neil Pau'u (Video)
On success of the offense
Yeah exactly. We wish we would’ve had the ball a little more in the second half. But we were able to just put it away with another drive to kind of put the game away like we did with Utah and Arizona State. We needed one of those tough drives to run out the clock, and put our team in the best position to win, and we definitely did that.
On playing in front of a hostile crowd in Logan
We’re excited. As awesome as LaVell has been the past two weeks with how loud it’s been, and it’s been really loud. We’re excited just for the challenge to play away to kind of hear the boos. I know a lot of athletes get up for that when they hear boos and they hear taunting. Utah State definitely is hostile. So, I think we will be more than capable with coming out with the “W” as long as we keep our composure and stuff. I think everything should run smoothly.
On importance of offensive line
They’ve been the reason why we’ve won. I know a lot of the offensive and defensive line don’t get a lot of pics and posts like some of the skills do on offense and defense. But, that’s where games are won. They’re won literally because of them. You saw in Arizona State and Utah we couldn’t get the passing game, or we couldn’t get it going as we did this past Saturday. So we were able to run the ball, find certain lanes, and Tyler was able to hit, and that’s all created because of them. I know this past Saturday they took a lot of pictures of the big fellas, and the big fellas were able to post it on their Instagrams, and feel the love as well.
Defensive lineman Gabe Summers (Video)
On what he learned from the USF game
I feel like one of the biggest things we learned is we just can't take our foot off the gas. That first half we were pretty dominant. I don't want to say we let up a little bit but we definitely can maintain that intensity. Overall as a defense I felt like we played well. I've go to give credit to USF I felt like they made adjustments, they made timely plays and they came out and played hard. We have got to match that intensity and come out with that fire.
On playing on the road
I feel like negative energy and positive energy regardless of what it is, is all energy. Especially as a defense, we feed off of as a defense. When we hear those boos and negativity, that just gives us a little more fire. I am excited. I can't wait for the boos to come and the chants and the signs they like to do. I think it adds to the game.
On being underrated with the defensive line
To be honest I feel like we all play a big part. Being a walk-on when I got here I feel like I have always had to play with a chip on my shoulder. I was counted out when I was in high school but the coaching staff here and the players around me have always believed in me. I really don't feel underrated I feel appreciated and bring value to the team. But I've always had that chip on my shoulder and I appreciate that chip on my shoulder.
Wide receiver Gunner Romney (Video)
On getting to catch touchdown pass from brother, Baylor Romney
It meant a lot, just seeing how hard my older brother has worked. It was one of the coolest touchdowns I have caught because my brother deserves that and everything he gets for how hard he has worked for it. Really that is what made it so cool.
On the quarterbacks
I just try not to pay attention to it. Whoever is going to be the starter is going to be my quarterback and I will be catching balls from him. In the end it's not my decision it is Coach Roderick, the offensive coordinator's decision, I just leave that up to them. I try not to stress about it.
On having one day less of prep with a Friday game
It for sure makes a difference. People pick up the urgency a bit. It is hard because when you come back usually Monday is more of a recovery type day. We practice lighter without shoulder pads and take that day to review film from the past game. But we can't do that this week. We have to jump right into it even though some of us might be beat up. Some of us are still sore from Saturday. We have to jump right into it because we leave to go up there Thursday. We really only have three full days of practice so we have to jump on that immediately.