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Just get points: BYU football plans to take what opposing defenses give it

By Jared Lloyd - | Sep 11, 2023

Courtesy BYU Photo

BYU quarterback Kedon Slovis throws a pass during the game against Southern Utah at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023.

It’s hard to blame the BYU football fans who fear what the Cougar rushing performance against Southern Utah on Saturday indicated about how their team will be for the rest of the season.

“How could BYU have only rushed for 46 yards against an FCS opponent!?” they probably said or at least thought. “The Cougars are going to get creamed by the Big 12 defenses!”

And they may be right. BYU has 10 straight games against Power Five opponents to prove them wrong.

But Cougar head coach Kalani Sitake emphasized during Monday’s press teleconference that he doesn’t have big concerns regarding the BYU ground game.

“We’re going to be fine,” Sitake said. “I have a lot of confidence in our players and our coaches. When you when you evaluate everything, I think the job is trying to fix all the problems but that’s the game of football. Problems happen but I feel really good about where we’re at right now as a team.”

The old adage about offense is that you do what the defense allows you to do and that’s what the Cougars were focused on in the game against the Thunderbirds, according to Sitake.

“Looking at the film, Southern Utah had their mindset that they weren’t going to allow us to run the ball as much as we wanted to,” Sitake said. “So they crowded the box and that’s why the passing game was a lot more effective for us.”

Sitake said the goal for the offensive is balance but if a defense is going to sacrifice defending one thing to try and stop something else, the Cougars are going to take advantage of it.

“I thought that was a great game plan,” Sitake said. “There’s obviously some miscues that I think we can fix, but it doesn’t always come down to just the offensive line or any one unit.”

BYU sophomore wide receiver Chase Roberts said when he sees a defense loading the box to stop the run, he knows there will be opportunities on the outside.

“We always want to be dynamic in every aspect, run game or pass game,” Roberts said. “When they stack the box, we’re going to throw it. When they don’t we’re still going to throw it and run the ball as well. We always want to be a threat at every position. We have the guys to do that.”

Sitake said he doesn’t anticipate making any big changes to try to jumpstart the run game.

“There’s a lot of things that you can do to change it up but again, if a team wants to take away something defensively, than they can,” Sitake said “We’ll just have to make them pay the other ways. When it was time to make some plays, we found ways to get the points on the board.”

Sitake emphasized again that he isn’t tied to running, passing or balance. He just wants to do what works.

“We’ve had games where we can run the ball better and then ones where we throw and games where it’s really balanced,” Sitake said. “All I care about is putting points on the board and that’s what we’re going to focus on.”

That may be the case in the upcoming game against Arkansas, but Roberts said he’s confident BYU will prove it can move the ball on the ground.

“You’ll see we can run the ball as well,” Roberts said. “We’re excited to keep going.”


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