Kenny Cox | Posted: 15 Nov 2021 | Updated: 23 Nov 2021

Kalani Sitake Media Availability - Georgia Southern

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Kalani Sitake Idaho State media

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)
I'm really excited about the game. We had a good week off. A lot of the guys took advantage of it. We had a good week of lifting and a few practices. We changed up the schedule mid-week. We looked at what the team needed. We played it by ear and changed it up a little bit. We gave the guys some time off. We're looking forward to going out to Georgia Southern. We watched the film. They are motivated. They're coming off a win against Texas State. I see a lot of athleticism. It will be a good game and a lot of fun. 

On the program's success & his interest in coaching vacancies
Right now, I'm just focused on getting our team ready for Georgia Southern. And each game after that. That's been my focus this entire season. I'm taking this week by week and getting these guys ready to play their best. We have some health issues and I'm trying to get guys back. That's my focus. 

On moving up to the Big 12
I think it was just confirming what I already knew. We have a huge fan base. My focus is just getting the team ready for this week. I can't control what happens a year from now. I can't control what happens even two weeks from now. I can only control what happens today. 

On what he has learned when playing in different time zones
There's a lot that goes into the game. We will be going a day earlier. As long as I'm head coach, I want the guys to acclimate to the time difference. A lot can be said about having two nights of sleep in a different time zone. We are flying Delta which will be huge for us. It will be comfortable. We will have a great place to stay. We are staying at the Marriott. Having these great partners will make it easier for us.

On the challenges of facing Georgia Southern
I see speed and athleticism. They are great athletes and they are well-coached. They are motivated. They have gone through some adversity and you can tell that they are close as teammates. They are coming off a win and have some momentum and belief. When you see what they do offensively, scheme is important. They can throw the ball. They utilize their personnel really well. Everyone is a threat to run the ball. The quarterback can run. Defensively, they are tough and can run fast.  

On being rested vs rusty
The approach last week was to stay on top of everything. We didn't take a complete week off. We didn't take total rest, but we are rested. The approach today at practice is to get ready to roll. If we have rust, we are going to shake if off today. Not on Saturday. Our approach is to try to get better every week. 

On getting over the two-game losing streak
We didn't perform at our best and found ways to get better. An easy thing to do when you don't get the result you want, you tend to over correct. We just looked at things that caused us issues. We approached those mistakes to get better. 

Our players are always looking to get better. They can be hard on themselves. I try to help them focus on improvement rather being embarrassed about the loss. We want to improve and get better. We had games that didn't go our way. Sometimes, we still win games and the results weren't what we wanted. We are looking forward to seeing how much better we get this week. 

On Coastal Carolina vs Georgia Southern
They are very similar. They do a lot of different things, but they have similar systems. I can't remember all the details. Scoring wise, our defense did OK. We just made too many mistakes as a team. Those mistakes can be costly. We need to learn from it, even if it happened last year. We didn't dominate the line of scrimmage last year, so we need be physical up front. The guys need to enjoy the physical part of the game. 

On these final two games having an interim head coach 
I can only go off of what I see on film. When you see a team that is close and loves playing the game, I can't speak on everything else. When teams go through adversity, it either breaks them apart or binds them together. We need to have that same mindset and play at our best. 

Tight end Dallin Holker (Video)
On turning around their season from their losing streak
When we lost those games, it was tough on us; it was a good wakeup call for us to keep playing. Lately we’ve been playing our own game. We haven’t really been focusing on outside of things or on the opponent, we just focus on ourselves and play our game the best that we can.

On playing without Neil this weekend
Neil's an amazing player. He does a lot of great things for our team. It’ll be tough without him, but I mean, we have a good team and we're really deep, so we'll be able to just play our best and I feel like we'll be good.

On what the offense did during the bye week to stay locked in
We had some hard practices and weight lifted pretty hard. While we had our practices, we went hard and we were focused. We know our true purpose and what we're trying to do as a team, so we just kept that focus in mind.

Defensive back D’Angelo Mandell (Video)
On coming out of a bye week rested but not rusty
We still practiced most of the days last week. He wanted to make sure that we're still in tip-top shape. A lot of times guys just want to rest and kick back, but he wanted to make sure that everything was still what it’s supposed to be, so that’s why we practiced last week.

On the defense health-wise
I think we’re good. It’s football. People get hurt, people go down, but that's what the next guy’s supposed to be ready for. Be ready to go and ready to play.

On what has been working for the team
Definitely bringing the energy. Those two games that we lost, we lacked energy and bringing it every quarter, so that's what we were trying to do. Each and every practice the past few weeks has been energetic, we’re celebrating the small things when guys make plays. Just be there and get them excited.

On going to Built Bar over the bye week
All in all, the guys were just excited to be together, get a time to kick back and relax. It wasn't just shoes, they had food, mini golf and a DJ so it was a time to just relax, hang out with the guys and have a good time.

Linebacker Ben Bywater (Video)
On the bye week
It was good to have a week off. I was grateful for it. Weeks off like this, they help your body recover. Obviously when you go 10 weeks in a row, you're a little bit exhausted, so it's good to relax and get your minds right. We had a great week of practice last week, so I feel confident.

On turning the season around after their two losses
We got humbled a little bit by Baylor; after that loss, we just kind of realized we’d got to get ourselves back together, get practicing hard and keep doing the things that got us to our first five wins. We’ve got a great coaching staff and they put us in positions to win, so just trusting those guys, trusting the guys around you and getting back to the weight room. So for us to go out there and play well these past three games, I'm super proud of how everyone's played. It's been fun, it's been an exciting season

On practices during bye week
Some things that we did were going back to the stuff that's not always the most fun, going back to one-on-ones, tackling, the fundamentals. I play linebacker, obviously. Some things that we were focused on were wrapping up, tackling, driving your hips, getting off blocks, those are things that you can control. Doing things the right way to get the fundamentals down are going to make you a better football player. When they become second nature, you don't have to think about them.


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