For the second straight week, BYU head coach Kalani Sitake got featured by national media — although not for his coaching acumen.
No, it was his post-game locker room dance moves that got some attention.
He may be willing to let go and have some fun after a pair of big overtime wins against traditional college football powers but he does have his critics as well.
“My daughters keep telling me to stop dancing,” Sitake said with a grin during Monday’s press conference. “I tell them that Daddy is going to dance because the guys want me to. I don’t know if the dance moves are going to get any better — but I know if we keep winning that I’m going to get tons of practice.”
He did elect to go with a different style of dancing after Saturday’s 30-27 Cougar overtime win over No. 24 USC than what he did after BYU’s 27-24 2OT win at Tennessee on Sept. 7.
“I just don’t like the one guy dancing all the time so we did a little bit more team dancing after this win,” Sitake said. “Who knows? There is always country line dancing for after this next one, so we’ll see what happens.”
BYU senior running back Ty’Son Williams declined to critique Sitake’s dance moves, going with the safe response of, “I think he does alright.”
He did say Sitake deserves credit for enjoying these big victories with his players.
“I think it is a great time for us to come into the locker room and all celebrate together,” Williams said. “It’s about being proud of that moment.”
While the post-game celebration was all about making the right moves while having fun, BYU also had a lot of guys making the right moves on the field.
Perhaps no one did as much of that against greater odds than the Cougar defensive line, which often rushed just three guys against five, six or even seven Trojan pass blockers.
“Our coaches put it on us and we accepted the challenge,” BYU sophomore defensive lineman Lorenzo Fauatea said. “If they want a three-man rush, we’ll give them a three-man rush. If it helps our defense out to drop eight and rush three, we got three picks. For us as a defensive line they challenged us to get pressure and as men we won’t back down from a challenge.”
He explained that the key to make USC freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis uncomfortable while being outnumbered was to find the weak point.
“It was basically about whoever had the 1-on-1 matchup to win that 1-on-1,” Fauatea said. “That’s kind of been a theme for us since I’ve been here. If we rush three against their five offensive lineman, it’s usually 2-1-2 and so if you are the nose tackle you had to win the 1-on-1.”
The Cougars ended up getting a couple of sacks as well as forcing Slovis to throw the ball before he wanted to on multiple occasions. Fauatea said that was a credit to the team defensive effort.
“If you are able to do that as a defense, then the offense has to change and do something else,” Fauatea said. “It was really satisfying for us as a defense. If I get a sack, then the whole defense gets a sack. That’s something we always emphasize to each other. We tell the other guys, ‘get me a pick, I’ll get you a sack.’ The coaches give the game plan to us and we fulfill it. It’s really satisfying for everyone.”
His highlight for the game was when he used a swim move to beat his blocker on a third-down play, then got a strip-sack and forced a fumble. The sophomore said those are plays he feels more comfortable making now.
“If you take a chance on some plays, you’ll make it,” Fauatea said. “In my first year, I felt like I had to just play with technique and only do my assignment. This year I want to do the same thing but also put myself out there, make some plays and help out the team.”