Kenny Cox | Posted: 25 Oct 2021 | Updated: 1 Nov 2021

Kalani Sitake Media Availability - Virginia

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Sitake media availability

The following quotes are selected from BYU head football coach Kalani Sitake's weekly media availability.

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake (Video)
Another week, another game. Looking forward to being at home after being on the road the last couple of weeks. We talk about seeing our fans on the road and that’s always fun, but we love being at home with our fans and our student section. Virginia is a very explosive team. They are well-coached. The head coach, Bronco Mendenhall, does an amazing job with that group. You can see the time he has spent and the schemes that they come up with. Looking forward to the matchup. Obviously some things that we need to work on after last week’s game. 

Regarding the Washington State game, I loved the effort. There are things we can fix, but I'm glad the guys kept fighting and kept believing in each other. The effort was awesome. 

On a similar journey as Bronco Mendenhall
There’s a lot of BYU guys on that staff. There's a great connection between our staff and their staff. They sacrificed a lot of their time here at BYU. We're always going to support them and I have tons of respect for Bronco. He produces great people in his football programs. It's been a pleasure for me to take over as a new head coach after he established the program. I have a deep appreciation and gratitude for him. We still consider all of those guys BYU guys. We support Virginia and like to see them win. Whenever we win, they reach out to myself and others with congratulations. They are a classy organization. It's because of their head coach. You can tell his players love him.

I like his style of coaching and leadership. He gets the most out of his young men. If you look at the last 16 years in BYU football, there's been two guys in that seat. He was one of them. I'm going to give him the warm welcome that he deserves. Once the game starts, we go back to the game and we focus on the players. We try to stay as focused as possible. Once the game finishes, the appreciation and love will still be there for him and the team. 

I’ve been through something similar. Coming back to coach after being a player here, it's been a really cool experience. I hope the fans will think about the energy and the time and the hard work that Bronco and his staff did here. It deserves gratitude and love. They deserve all the cheers. It's not good to want bad things for good people. This would fit in that sense. It’s good for us to support Bronco. He's a Church member and he’s a leader. We want them to do well in every game, except this one. 

On Virginia offensive coordinator Robert Anae
There's a style that Robert had. Robert requires his offensive line to be physical and utilizes everyone on the field. They score a lot of points. They get a lot of yards. They use so many guys in so many different ways. They have a quarterback that is really efficient in his throwing. They utilize him. He has a bunch of different weapons that he uses. He has always done that. They spread the ball all over the place. It's not uncommon to see a different type of personnel in the back, running the ball. 

On Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong
I think there's a lot of foundation. The core of what they teach, he fits that. That goes before Virginia. He has a high football IQ. You can see when you’re watching him that he has a great presence about him. He is a great leader and has confidence that you want in a quarterback. He throws efficiently and makes great decisions. When you have that, you’re going to score a lot of points and make the other team’s defense look silly. They really stress the defense. Their quarterback watches the defense and finds your one mistake and really exposes it.

On Virginia's defense
They have a really good defense. They have a good size. They have dealt with injuries. They are a great sound football team with great fundamentals. They have good coaches. I like what they do scheme-wise. They utilize their talent. This is a tough team. They are well-coached in every phase. They put in effort and the guys believe in each other. I’m glad we have this match at home. 

On being bowl eligible 
We talk about development and getting our players more experience. First thing, the bowl game gives you an extra game to do that. Those extra practices make a difference. It’s a great springboard going into the off season. Believe it or not, guys can develop from August to December. When you get them in December, it’s like another fall camp. It gives time to do some scrimmaging and helps with development.

Defensive lineman Uriah Leiataua (Video)
On playing a team coached by Bronco Mendenhall
I know that I'm one of the few on the team that was actually recruited by Bronco. I love Bronco, I love his staff, but this is our team now. I love Kalani, I love everything he’s done for us here.

On being more consistent with tackles
That's something we need to we need to work on, especially in practice. We've been trying to address it as players; the coaches have been addressing it. But I think that falls on players, we need to actually do better. I don't think there's any excuses that need to be made. We're in the position, and we know how to take our angles, it just comes down to execution.

On the defensive line
We have rehab every Sunday, and it’s filled with defensive linemen. That’s because we’re sacrificing our bodies. I see what a lot of people say about our D-line. I’m just going to say that our defensive line cares. They believe in the scheme. They will sacrifice their necks, their knees, their whole body for this.

Quarterback Jaren Hall (Video)
On how he hopes fans will welcome Bronco Mendenhall back to Provo
I mean, just love and respect, the steeple of BYU football. Coach Mendenhall spent a lot of years here in this program and did a lot of great things. You know, love and respect and appreciation for the time he spent here.

On the next step from the offense
Just full fluidity from the first snap to the end. Too many times, we'll have gaps in scoring, gaps in executing in the red zone or shooting ourselves in the foot with small penalties. So just simply putting it all together in one night. You can talk about it all you want, but at this point, we’ve just got to go and do it.

On if being bowl eligible changes their mindset
It does change; we get better and be more locked in now. As you get to the middle of the season and towards the end, guys get banged up. The season feels long sometime, so now it's time to lock it in even more. The bowl game means nothing to us right now; we’ve got to go win this next game against Virginia. So that's our mindset.

Wide receiver Neil Pau'u (Video)
On the run/pass balance in offensive play
Our offense is a run-centered offense. We didn't establish the the run game those two games that we lost, we were able to establish it against Washington State. We also like to think in our receiver group that we can open up the offense as well. We’re going to go up and make the plays that are presented to us and we'll go from there.

On the mood in the receiver room
We’ve made the plays when we’ve been called upon to make them. It’s all about opportunity. Do we wish that the ball will be up in the air more? For sure. But we're going to block our butts off and create those gaps and holes for Tyler so he's able to run through them. So it's kind of a team thing. You can only control what you can control.