“You can just feel it. Football’s in the air and the guys are ready to roll.”
BYU football head coach Kalani Sitake opened his media session after the Cougars’ first fall practice with those words.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Sitake added. “There’s a goal now. Guys are excited.”
The goal is a victory in BYU’s opening clash with the Arizona Wildcats on Sept. 3 at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Still, Sitake and the Cougars have about a month to get ready for the Wildcats. It’s time the new head coach is grateful for, because his team isn’t quite where he’d like it to be.
“(It was a) good first day, a lot of good things I saw,” Sitake said. “It’s never perfect, but I’m very pleased with the way the guys look. They’re definitely bigger and stronger. I’m excited to put it all together.”
Part of putting it all together for the Cougars will be simulating some live-game action, something that won’t come for a bit in fall camp. Sitake went so far as to call practice without pads “fake football.”
“We’re going to have to hit,” Sitake said. “If we’re going to tackle better, we need to tackle live. We’ll get to that. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to hit somebody and get better, but the only way to get better at tackling and blocking is to actually tackle and block. I can’t sit here and say we’re going to hit every day, every minute. We’ll take our time and do it the right way.”
The Cougars next practice tomorrow, Saturday Aug. 6. Next week they will don pads.
- Both Sitake and Detmer said that Taysom Hill was 100 percent healthy and had no physical limitations.
- Hill said it’s “great” competing and playing with Tanner Mangum, but said he isn’t totally comfortable in Detmer’s offense yet.
- Bryan Sampson, Steven Richards, Tyler Cook and Toloai Ho-Ching are no longer with the program due to to career ending injuries.
- Sione Takitaki was not listed on the official roster. It’s rumored he’s dealing with academic or Honor Code issues.
- Kyle Johnson is not currently with the team due to injuries and Detmer said he was unsure if Johnson would return.
- Linebacker Fred Warner said that Sitake was very “hands on” with the linebackers at practice.
- Mangum was thrilled to have Hill back at practice, saying it was “awesome” to see Hill on the field and added it’s “exciting” watching Hill play.