BYU Football Media Availability – Utah Tech
PROVO, Utah – BYU head coach Kalani Sitake and select players addressed the media on Monday in prep for Saturday's game against Utah Tech.
Read select quotes from Coach Sitake, defensive lineman Earl Tuioti-Mariner, defensive back Kaleb Hayes and defensive lineman Lorenzo Fauatea.
Head coach Kalani Sitake
“It’s game week. We had a good bye last week and week off, and got some time for guys to heal up and time to do some extra work. We’re ready to close out our home game schedule in Lavell Edwards Stadium this weekend against Utah Tech. Looking forward to meeting up with players that we recognize and staff that we recognize, it’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re going to try and get this win for our outgoing seniors and a few others that are going to be honored. We’ll see how the game goes, but I feel confident in our preparation and especially coming off a bye week. I feel good about where we’re headed now and looking forward to competing again.”
On facing Utah Tech
“They’re going to have tons of energy coming into this game. I mean, this is the end of the year for them. I know they’re fired up for this game. I know their coaches. I know a lot of guys on the coaching staff and am familiar with a lot of people on the roster. This is a game that they’ve had circled and they’re excited to end their year here.
I have tons of respect for their coaches and their team. I’ve been really impressed watching them on film. They can throw the ball around, run it, and they create havoc on defense. Coach [Paul] Peterson has done a great job getting this team ready.”
On keeping the team focused
“We have guys that understand the game of football and watch teams play at the FCS level. It’s not uncommon to see an FCS team beat an FBS-level team. We just have to keep working and not worry about what everybody else expects us to do. I expect our guys to play their best Saturday and that’s the focus.”
On honoring the seniors this Saturday
“We couldn’t be who we are without those guys. Key players are the glue that keeps this team together and allows our program to keep progressing. It’s always an emotional time when you get towards the end of the year, saying goodbye to people is difficult. We’re hoping to extend that goodbye by winning this game and being bowl eligible.
On the legacy of the seniors
“I can’t say enough about their contribution to our program and their blood, sweat, tears and everything that they’ve put into their effort and to our program. It’s why we’re able to have the success that we’ve had.
They’ve won a lot of games and have also been through some adversity. They’re the ones that helped pull us out of adversity and have been involved in establishing the culture of the program. I’m really thankful to them and they’ll always be a part of our program. We will always want our alumni back here.”
On the future plans of those with one remaining year of eligibility
“They’re still making the decision if they want to [come back] or not. The safe bet for me is just to honor everybody. And then they don’t have to make a decision this week. Some guys are probably going to have the benefit of two senior days I guess. But that way, we don’t have to have a decision this week. They can take their time.”
Defensive linemen Earl Tuioti-Mariner
Reflecting on his BYU career
“It's been a journey from 2017 until now. There's been lots of ups and downs, but it's been a ride and I've loved it.”
On this year’s senior class and what they’ll leave behind
“I feel like we've left a legacy of grit and that we've set the foundation for years to come. A lot of us started in 2017 when we weren't doing too hot, but with Kalani's culture and the way that we've tried to change things around, I think BYU football is going to be a powerhouse football program, just from the culture that we've been able to build.”
On the culture that Kalani Sitake has instilled within the program
"It's a lot more than love and learning. It's the culture of belief, trusting one another and just wholeheartedly knowing that we're going to win these games. I think that's kind of what it's evolved into.”
Defensive back Kaleb Hayes
On the senior class’ impact on him and the program
“I love these boys. When I first got here, they made it easier for me. We have a close brotherhood in the DB room and I just love the experience that they bring. Guys like D’Angelo that have been here four or five years, they’ve all shown me the ropes and I’ve been blessed to be with them. These are the last few games, last few moments, and so I’m excited to play these games with them.”
On his BYU career
“It’s a privilege being able to play for a program like this. I’ve only been here for two years, but it’s been the best two years of my college career and my life. It’s been the best decision I’ve ever made. Thinking about what we’ve been through, it’s just straight love and I appreciate all of that support. It’s sad to think about letting go and moving forward, but I’m glad I got to be here.”
Defensive lineman Lorenzo Fauatea
On his BYU journey
“It has been a grateful journey. There have obviously been ups and downs with injuries, but overall I have just been grateful to be here. I think everything happens for a reason, so just being here today and being able to play football has been amazing.”
On the senior class legacy
“This class has been through a lot, with COVID and that 2017 season some of us were a part of. We have been able to overcome all the tough things we have been through, and now we are leaving everything to the younger guys. Everything we have taught them has been through example, so now it’s up to them to carry it on and create their own legacy.”
On his future plans
“Obviously, I want to try the NFL or any of the other leagues because professional football is the goal, but recently I have gotten into coaching as well. I might be able to be a GA next year to help coach some football if playing professionally doesn’t work out for me.”
On Utah Tech Football
“They’re a good team and I respect the Utah Tech players. They have some dogs on that team who are greedy and ready to play some tough football.”
On team motivation for the game vs. Utah Tech
“We are definitely motivated to get that bowl game, but also just winning, especially for our seniors. It’s our last game in Lavell Edwards Stadium, and last time being able to play football each weekend for some of us, so we are motivated to win.
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