The BYU football team is winding down its spring practices, with just one more remaining. Head coach Kalani Sitake, linebacker Fred Warner and quarterback Tanner Mangum spoke to the media.
Sitake said that he liked what he saw from his team during the spring game on March 26 and added he’s seen the Cougars get better during this month’s practices.
“Overall, the technique was really good,” Sitake said. “Our focus has been on fundamentals and technique this spring and I definitely see a huge improvement from day one to the spring game.”
Sitake is already looking ahead to the fall. With a number of both voluntary and mandatory workouts over the summer, he said he’s not worried about the Cougars working hard without him.
“I imagine these guys will work hard during the offseason,” Sitake said. “They’ll do what they’re supposed to. They’ve got tons of leaders that can lead the way, so I’m not really concerned about it. From what I’m expecting, I know they’ll be able to take care of the offseason conditioning and handle it well.”
Warner, one of the leaders of the defense, echoed Sitake’s sentiments on conditioning, saying he wants to get “bigger, faster, stronger” everyday leading to the fall.
On Saturday, September 3, the Cougars travel to Arizona to take on the Wildcats. Warner said the defense will be ready.
“We’re looking really good,” Warner said of the Cougar defense. “We’re missing a few guys from injuries, but we have a lot of guys returning. I think it will all come together in the fall for sure, but we look really good right now. ”
Offensively, Tanner Mangum said the Cougars “made some good strides” during the spring game, but added they still have work to do as they move to the fall.
“It’s a challenge learning a whole new offense,” Mangum said. “But I think everyone is feeling pretty good about it. Now it’s building off of what we’ve started. Coaches won’t be around as much (in the summer), so it’s going to be on us to build on that and get ready for the fall.”
– Warner said that defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki is also working with the offense. “He’s working on both sides of the ball,” Warner said.
– The Cougars had a junior day during the spring game. Sitake said he wanted recruits to “meet the players, meet the coaches and meet the people involved.” Sitake added that recruiting is a “major thing,” highlighting his personal emphasis on it.
– Sitake mentioned the Cougars were lifting “six times a week” during the spring.
– Offensive line coach Mike Empey said that his players aren’t quite where he’d want them to be, but added he’s happy with the progress from day one. “(We’re) not where I want us to be by any means, but I feel like we’ve covered a lot of ground, we’ve taught a lot of things and asked them to learn new things, so for that I feel like we’re alright.”
– Empey said it was a priority to get the linemen bigger and stronger. He said they’ve been doing “heavy lifting,” not “in-season lifting” all spring.
– Empey declined to comment on the status of center Tejan Koroma. Koroma was at BYU’s Pro Day on March 25 and at the spring game on March 26.