(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – BYU football conducted an open practice in front of thousands of fans during the final week of camp at LaVell Edwards Stadium Thursday morning.
Practice provided the opportunity for backups and other non-starters to get more reps to establish depth and a chance to show what they can do before the season starts. The Cougars will finish fall camp on Friday as they prepare for the home opener next week against Portland State on Saturday Aug. 26.
The following quotes are from BYU post-practice media availability on Thursday.
Head coach Kalani Sitake
Looking to the start of the season
“The goal is to win games and to get mismatches and we think we have some of that, depending on the opponent. The focus is on Portland State and trying to win that game and trying to prepare for that opponent first.”
“We’ve been preparing for this since the spring so we kind of know what our identity is going to be and we’ll work on that and I think it’s coming along really well.”
On Tanner Mangum
“I’ve been really excited about his understanding the offense and just understanding different spots and what he sees from the defense and taking what he can get. I think he’s making wise decisions now and he’s got another nine days to prepare for [the game] but I’ve been really pleased in how he’s matured in the quarterback position but also as a leader.”
"Their job is to disrupt and own the trenches. It’s not a flashy job and it probably doesn’t get a lot of stats but they’re going to do the dirty work and our guys will make plays in the backfield as linebackers and safeties.”
Offensive coordinator Ty Detmer
“We wanted to do a little movement and move the ball with the younger guys. It's probably their last chance to get some reps as we go through the season. The backups kind of get minimal work so we wanted to get them one last shot and keep them on the hook in case something happens early in the season. Overall, we were really simplistic in what we did but wanted to just go out and let them execute and know what to do when they lined up.”
Tight end position
“Moroni (Laulu-Pututau) and Matt Bushman have really done a great job. Tanner Balderree is experienced and understands it. You’ll see him in their quite a bit and then even with JJ (Nwigwe) will mix in and give us some different options as well so we’ve got a pretty good blend right now and feel real good with where they are at and the progress they’ve made.”
“Keep the safety soft and make them play the whole field. That’s the goal is to have a little more explosiveness with that group down the field (tight ends) that teams can’t just come up and play man with.”
On Tanner Mangum
“Tanner is one of those guys where he is going to raise the level of everybody else around him. He is a guy that we feel like is getting it out on time and making good decisions. The other guys are good football players so I wouldn’t say we don’t’ have playmakers. It’s a matter of us getting it to them in the right space and in the right time so he’s a guy that can do that so it will look a little different that way where Taysom just took it on himself. Tanner is probably going to spread it around a little more but be successful in that way as well.”
Linebacker Fred Warner
How close the defense to being ready
“The defense is very close. Anytime you have a long camp, like we have had this year, guys usually want to get it over with and see somebody else. But I feel we have kept the intensity all throughout camp. Obviously, we want to see another team and hit somebody else, but we are really excited.”
Troy getting two picks in the practice
"I always give him a hard time even when he does make plays. He has been doing well all fall camp and seeing him make plays like that is always good. We have confidence in our defensive backs. I think this is probably the best that our DBs have looked in years and they are all young, which is great. We have a lot of confidence in them right now."
Live-action and the physicality
"It’s pretty hard to forget how to tackle when you’ve been doing it your whole life. The coaches usually have to tell us to settle down but we are all just ready to hit somebody. I know I’m the same way, Butch (Pau’u) is the same way. We have to remember to tone it down and keep guys healthy, which is why we don’t do a lot of live stuff. But we are ready to go."