What will make BYU training camp a success? It’s all about health

BYU coach Kalani Sitake keeps watch on the pitch on the first day of the retreat, Thursday, August 4, 2022 in Provo. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU photo)

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TRY – These Cougars know what they are doing.

A year later a season marked by injuries like the 2021 campaign and with returning production tops most college football, including quarterback Jaren Hall, wide receivers Puka Nacua and Gunner Romney, and an offensive line that features potential NFL candidate Blake Freeland left tackle – the BYU football team opened the fall field Thursday with a “been there, done it” mentality.

Can you blame them?

This wasn’t your traditional opening day, unlike most “early school days”. Instead, the Cougars were already on their knees in the offensive setup and scheme adjustments under offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick, eager to enhance the 10-game winning streak seasons that ended in bitter taste after the Independence Bowl defeat of the ‘ last year against the UAB.

Still, the group is ahead of coach Kalani Sitake can remember in his six years at the helm of the program.

“We started it in the spring and during player training,” said Sitake, who will lead BYU in its final season as an independent FBS on September 3 in South Florida. “The installation is probably more than we ever did on Day 1.

“As for the assignment, I thought our guys did really well. But we need to focus on improving the technique.”

So what are the goals of the fall camp? Is it to refine the attack, rearrange the defense and determine a depth chart, most of which has already been determined, discussed and published?

Or is there a more important concern?

These players and coaches know that one goal stands out over the others.

“For me and the guys who’ve been around, staying healthy and then perfecting your craft,” said linebacker Ben Bywater, the former Olympus star who played three distinct linebacker roles a year ago at due to an injury. “It’s so easy to follow the moves and not improve after a good year. But for me, and I know for the other guys, he’s getting better every single day.

“We’ve always heard that cliché phrase, 1% better, and that for me is staying healthy and then improving and preparing for Race 1.”

Others, in fact, have confirmed that the most important goal is to stay healthy. It’s no secret that the Cougars struggled with injuries last year and still ended a season 10-3, including wins over Power Five opponents Utah, Arizona State, and USC, as well as Mountain West Utah State champion. .

Injuries will follow in a violent sport like football. But what BYU can’t afford to do is lose a player before the games actually begin.

With that in mind, both linebacker Chaz Ah You and defensive linesman Atunaisa Mahe spent the first day of training treating injuries on the sidelines. Others, such as Keenan Pili and Payton Wilgar, were available to practice but limited to limited minutes and reps: the proverbial “throw count”, to borrow a baseball analogy.

“If kids don’t exercise today, 90% of them do it because they haven’t been licensed yet,” Sitake said. “In Chaz’s case, he’s not ready to go and we’re not going to force him. We still have a month, we have some time and we’ll work with our specialists to make sure he’s ready to go.”

Observations of the first day

The offense struggled noticeably during the media viewing portion of training, roughly in the last 20 minutes of the day. This is also partly due to the fact that receivers no. 1 often rotated with Hall and the high-end offensive line, the one that included Kingsley Suamataia revolving with Freeland on the left tackle.

No cause for concern; it’s the first day of practice, even without sanitary pads.

But several defensive players took advantage of it, including freshman Michael Daley. The missionary just returned from Lone Peak made an interception from an overturned pass at the start of the media viewing portion, and also had a touch-sack in another play with reserves.

The depth of the linebacker, with Pili, Wilgar and Bywater, could increase the repetitions in the position for younger players like Daley.

“I’ll be real: I really believe in those guys,” Bywater said. “I’m not just saying that; we have a lot of great guys. Obviously Max Tooley, and then Pepe Tanuvasa are back and he’s playing more as a linebacker. We have Jackson Kaufusi, Tavita Gagnier and Morgan Pyper. And then we have a group of returned missionaries who have come back. introduced: Bodie Schoonover, Tate Romney, Logan Pili … and then I’m sure I’m missing someone. “

BYU linebacker Michael Daley celebrates an interception on the first day of training camp, Thursday, August 4, 2022 in Provo.
BYU linebacker Michael Daley celebrates an interception on the first day of training camp, Thursday, August 4, 2022 in Provo. (Photo: Jaren Wilkey, BYU photo)

New faces

As is usually the case on the first day of the fall camp, several new faces punctuated both the formation and the training camp.

Here are other newcomers to the BYU roster, excluding those that were available in spring workouts like Cal transfer running back Chris Brooks:

  • No. 11 Gabe Jeudy-Lally, CB (Vanderbilt)
  • N. 15 Carter Krupp, DB (freshman)
  • No. 28 Tanner Wall, WR (RS-freshmen)
  • No. 29 Korbyn Green, DB (freshman)
  • No. 30 Kyson Hall, WR (freshman)
  • No. 32 Tate Romney, LB (freshman)
  • No. 33 Nathan Gillis, DB (freshman)
  • No. 35 Zion Allen, DB (freshman)
  • No. 36 Evan Johnson, DB (freshman)
  • No. 38 Preston Rex, WR (freshman)
  • No. 43 Micah Wilson, LB (freshman)
  • No. 44 Michael Daley, LB (freshman)
  • No. 48 Bodie Schoonover, LB (freshman)
  • N. 50 Isaiah Perez, DL (freshman)
  • No. 59 Logan Lutui, DL (Weber State)
  • No. 61 Trevin Ostler, OL (freshman)
  • Know. 65 Talin Togiai, OL (freshman)
  • Know. 66 Sonny Magazine, OL (freshman)
  • When. 68 Peter Falaniko, OL (freshman)
  • Well 72 Sione Weikos, OL (Arizona State)
  • No. 73 Live Legs, OL (freshman)
  • No. 82 Parker Kingston, WR (freshman)
  • No. 85 Anthony Olsen, TE (freshman)
  • No. 86 Dom Henry, DB (freshman)
  • No. 96 Bruce Mitchell, OL (freshman)


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A proud graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Walker has been in BYU for KSL.com since 2015, also mixing prep sports, education, and whatever else his editors assign him to do.

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