BYU football spring practice roundup – March 15

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BYU head coach Kalani Sitake watches the Cougars during practice. (Ari Davis)
BYU head coach Kalani Sitake watches the Cougars during practice. (Ari Davis)

BYU football continues its spring practices and head coach Kalani Sitake, assistant head coach Ed Lamb, senior wide receiver Nick Kurtz and junior linebacker Va’a Niumatalolo spoke to the media.

Sitake praised his team for being a “mature group,” and added that the coaches are very demanding on the team. He was impressed with the progress through the first two weeks of spring ball. He said the team is improving on their fundamentals, but that he doesn’t “expect perfection right away.”

When asked if he would be modeling himself after legendary BYU football coach LaVell Edwards, whom Sitake played under, he was quick to dismiss it.

“The concepts and philosophies are similar, but I can’t be LaVell,” Sitake said. “In fact, LaVell encouraged me to be myself. As coaches, we’re going to be ourselves and have our own personalities. There’s no way I can act like LaVell during the game – I get too animated and excited.”

Lamb, who is also the special teams coordinator, remains concerned with fundamentals and technique. He said that his players are especially coming along in terms of footwork.

He also said that he’s been “holding (the team) back” in terms of creating a two-deep depth chart because he’s been giving everyone equal reps. Sitake added that sometime within the next two weeks the staff should fill out their initial depth charts.

With the shift to more man-to-man coverage, Lamb said the players are having to stop playing with “zone eyes.”

“The players here are really familiar with a lot of zone concepts,” Lamb said. “When we’ve put in some of our zone systems, they’re really on point with their questions and all the offensive beaters and challenges to those zones. So zone eyes are really what they’re trained on and we’ve got to get them to the point where, when we’re in man-to-man, they’re riveted and locked in. As far as they’re concerned, if they’re man-to-man, then it’s a 10-on-10 football game and they’re completely one-on-one.”

Other Notes

– Lamb said that he “doesn’t think” the Cougars will go live much. Lamb said everything was previously “thud tempo” – players would wrap up a ball carrier, but not drive them to the ground – but now the team is focused on getting players’ “eyes, hips and feet in the right place.”

– Nick Kurtz said that the Cougars didn’t practice often against press coverages last season. The senior wideout said that hurt receivers and made them “uncomfortable” when they were pressed during games. With the defensive switch to man coverage, Kurtz said the Cougars are seeing press coverages in practice every day.

– Va’a Niumatalolo said he wasn’t disappointed when his father, Ken, didn’t become the Cougars’ head coach. “It’s good to have coach Sitake here,” Niumatalolo said. “Coach Sitake is a great coach and I’m happy to have him.”

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