What are BYU football’s top priorities for 2022 fall camp
BYU senior wide receiver Gunner Romney and sophomore linebacker Ben Bywater are now veterans of the college football calendar, so it’s not particularly surprising that they had similar responses when asked about the top priority for the Cougars during the next month of fall camp:
“No. 1 for this team is keeping everybody healthy,” Romney said after the first day of practice in Provo on Thursday.
“Stay healthy, No. 1,” Bywater agreed.
It’s not really surprising that those were the first things that came to mind since injuries were a significant challenge for BYU individually and collectively in 2021.
“I know that was an issue for us last year, so staying healthy is a big time priority,” Bywater said.
Of course, that is easier said than done in a physical game like football.
BYU junior quarterback Jaren Hall talked about how he is personally trying to do everything he can to give himself the best chance to stay on the field all year.
“I didn’t put on a ton of weight, just five pounds, but I transformed some of my weight to firm up,” Hall said. “You can prep your body by eating right and getting enough sleep but you don’t know what is going to happen.”
Perhaps that’s why Hall chose a different priority when he talked about what he thinks the team needs to accomplish during fall.
“The main thing is getting synced up,” Hall said. “I think spring ball always feels a little smoother out of the gate because it’s only been two months since the last season. Fall camp is four-and-a-half months from spring ball so it’s a much longer break. It just about finding your synchronizations with your receivers and where everybody is moving. Today with all the experience guys we have, everyone knew where they were supposed to be so it is just doing it a little quicker.”
For his part, BYU head coach Kalani Sitake looked at the overall picture as he talked about what he believes his program needs to focus on.
“We need to keep competing, earning spots,” Sitake said. “We need to try and develop our young players while at the same time we need to get our team ready to roll.”
He explained that at the beginning of camp the goals aren’t about getting the team ready to face South Florida in the season opener on Sept. 3.
“We’re focused on trying to get our foundation set for our offense and get our identity set for our defense, offense and special teams,” Sitake said. “Then we’ll head towards getting closer to the opponent once we get closer to the game. Right now We’re competing against each other and as far as what we can do without the pads on.”
The Cougar head coach said he felt like he saw most of what he wanted to see on Day 1.
“I liked the competition,” Sitake said. “It’s physical — probably a little bit too physical but it’s all right. These guys will be fine. We’ve just got to wait to do some of the banging until we get the pads on.
“If I’m looking at expectations of what I wanted from Day 1, I felt like we got there. The guys look really, really good. They prepared really well in the offseason. Obviously the camaraderie and the connection that they have and the leadership we have on this team is pretty evident from what I saw. But there’s still a lot a lot of things we can work on things to get better.”
Hall grinned as he talked about getting back out on the field.
“There was a lot of energy,” Hall said. “It was good to be back out playing football. Summer break is really long and there is a lot of time away from the competitive part of football, so it is good to be back.”
Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo