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Don’t stop believing: Air of confidence hallmark of 2022 BYU football media day

By Jared Lloyd - | Jun 22, 2022
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BYU fullback Masen Wake (left) and tight end Dallin Holker share a laugh at media day at the BYU Broadcasting Building in Provo on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
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BYU head coach Kalani Sitake signals to the crowd at media day at the BYU Broadcasting Building in Provo on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
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BYU football coach Kalani Sitake (right) and Director of Athletics Tom Holmoe (center) discuss the state of the program with Dave McCann at media day at the BYU Broadcasting Building in Provo on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.
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BYU cornerbacks coach Jernaro Gilford (left) answers questions at media day at the BYU Broadcasting Building in Provo on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

There were no big announcements. There were no earthshaking revelations. There weren’t even very many newsworthy tidbits.

BYU football’s 2022 media day held at the BYU Broadcasting on Wednesday wasn’t about making waves with splashy statements.

The clear sense from the Cougar players and coaches is that there is no need for such drama.

This team knows what it is and — more importantly — what it can become.

“To take the next step, we just need to get a little better in every area,” BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick said. “We want to be great. I feel like we were really really good last year, but we lost three games. We’re just trying to get better in every area instead of instead of setting one goal or focusing one thing to get better at.”

He explained that this is a program-wide approach with the goal of everyone doing their part to elevate the level of play.

“What we’ve done is we’ve asked every player in our offense to just get a little better,” Roderick said. “We’ve asked each one of our coaches to get a little better. We do a full inventory and self-scout of our staff to learn how we can get better. We’ve hired a couple of people who I think are bringing a lot to our offense. And I think the cumulative effect of everyone just getting a little better is going to make us a little bit better in each one of those areas. And that’s the answer.”

Given the fact that this team has a huge amount of returning productivity, the players have every reason to believe that they can be excellent when it’s time for BYU to take the field.

“I think we’re right there,” Cougar junior linebacker Payton Wilgar said. “Obviously staying healthy is going to be a big part of that and just buying in, but a lot of us have been playing together for a couple of years now and we’ve had the same coaching staff. I think we’ve learned a lot, we’ve grown a lot and it’s really just going out there and performing on Saturday.”

But there has to be a balance between expecting to be good and having that take away from the team’s focus.

“I feel like when you have too high of expectations, they become impossible to reach,” BYU sophomore tight end Isaac Rex said. “Like going 12-0 is obviously a goal, but our focus is more on playing our best in every game. We are focused on the process that leads to the outcome. When you focus on the process, you can control more things than you can by just saying you want to win all your games.”

This team wants to win and is willing to do what it takes but it also believes it should aim to take control and not have the outcome be in doubt down the stretch.

“Last year we had a lot of close games, even when we won,” Cougar senior running back Lopini Katoa said. “We’ve got enough talent to not let that happen. I just think we just need to blow teams out, don’t make it close. Let’s be consistent and score on every drive because we can. We have a lot of weapons. I just think we need to take that next step.”

But at the same time the players can’t get carried away thinking they have arrived.

“Staying humble is one of the biggest things because if you are humble then you’ll realize the things that you need to do to get better,” BYU junior tight end Dallin Holker said. “You won’t get over the top over or overconfident. You’ll always be learning, trying to get better.”

It’s still June, so the season is still more than two months away — but it is a good time to dream about what it would be like if everything came together.

“It would be exactly what you want,” Cougar junior wide receiver Puka Nacua said. “What you do summer workouts for, why you’re grinding and what we sacrifice for is to go out there and make sure we leave everything out there on the football field on Saturday nights. You have to make sure that when the last whistle is blown in December or January wherever we land, that you are OK with that and you can rest. You can reap the rewards of what you have done, the work that you put in. When everybody’s playing well, that’s always a recipe for success.”


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