PROVO, Utah – BYU football season is upon us. That also means it’s time for the weekly press conferences.
Seventh-year head coach Kalani Sitake and select BYU football players addressed the media Monday.
#BYU Head Coach Kalani Sitake addresses the media via Zoom for USF Week.
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) August 29, 2022
Here are five notable things we learned from the press conference.
BYU’s week of football games is finally back
Pretty easy here. Sitake is really looking forward to having the football season finally here.
Expectations are high for BYU’s 2022 football team. They enter the season ranked in the AP Top 25 preseason poll for the first time since 2009.
“We are excited that football is coming back here. It was great to see Week 0 last week and NFL preseason games, high school football games are underway, we’re right at the start,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. “I like the coming months and what is going to happen with football. I’m excited about that. I think the boys are very excited. We just had to get through the grueling parts of fall camp. And now that we are at this point, I feel very good about our team and our preparation. ”
USF poses similar challenges as Arizona last year
Last season, BYU faced a team from Arizona with an entirely new program. The Wildcats had a new coaching staff and many new transfers.
The same applies to USF. After a two-win season last year, head coach Jeff Scott hired a pair of new coordinators in Travis Trickett as offensive coordinator and Bob Shoop as defensive coordinator.
USF also hired former Arkansas and SMU coach Chad Morris as an analyst. In addition, they have reinforced their squad and have added a lot of new personnel from the transfer portal.
“There are still many unknowns. We don’t know much about what they do on offense or what they do on defense with the coordinators that they have. We will have to be prepared for everything. That sometimes happens early in the season. Last year against Arizona, very similar thing where we didn’t know much before that game. We have an idea, but they could do a lot of different things.”
Payton Wilgar’s shoulders feel better than ever
Heading into Georgia Southern’s game last year, Payton Wilgar was removed from the lineup to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery.
Wilgar’s return gives BYU one of its best defensive players.
Asked by KSL Sports how confident he is in his shoulders, the St. George native gave rave reviews about his recovery.
“I’ve been super blessed with surgery and rehab and I tell a lot of people, you know, it doesn’t necessarily feel like I’ve had surgery. It feels like I’ve taken some time off. And my shoulders feel better than ever at BYU.”
Wilgar noted that he hasn’t been through “a lot of live parts” of tackles from fall camp. So Saturday will be one of the first times I’ve been involved in football.
The former BYU LB is part of the football sports performance staff
Kalani Sitake was asked a question by a reporter about the “sports scientists” who have impacted BYU’s football program during fall camp.
Sitake singled out two men, one of whom is a former BYU linebacker. That would be Coleby Clawson, who was the player who leveled with Oklahoma’s QB Sam Bradford in 2009.
Clawson is the Director of Sports Performance for the Sitake staff.
The other man Sitake singled out was Dr. Skyler Mayne. Dr. Mayne has worked with many athletes in the state in preparation for the NFL draft.
Isaac Rex will play against USF
During Coordinators’ Corner, BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick said tight end Isaac Rex will play the USF Bulls on Saturday.
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) August 29, 2022
Rex has recorded 15 touchdowns the past two seasons for the Cougars and is one of the best tight ends in the program.
Last year, in the regular season finale against USC, Rex suffered a terrible ankle injury that seemed like a setback that would potentially keep him out for at least a month this season. But his recovery has been faster than anyone expected.
No. 25 BYU at USF
Start: 2 pm (MT)
Location: Tampa Bay, Florida (Raymond James Stadium)
Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM – Extended pregame coverage begins at 10 a.m.)
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday 12-3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.