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With the season opener against Sam Houston State less than two weeks away, BYU football coach Kalani Sitake and staff are pulling away from a grueling and physical fall camp and gearing up for the home opener. In the coming days, the depth chart will be set, game cutouts and scouting reports will be filed and the squad will be preparing and working on specifics of a game plan. That time has come.
Cougar Insider predictions
Question of the week: As fall camp winds down, give us three quick takes of what you’ve learned:
Jay Drew: Reporters and other media members were able to watch about two hours, combined, of fall camp practices and scrimmages, so in many ways this BYU football team with more than 60 new faces is still something of a mystery.
However, here are three quick takeaways, based on what I saw and what I heard:
• Quarterback Kedon Slovis, running back Aidan Robbins and receivers Keelan Marion and Darius Lassiter are the real deal and will be outstanding additions to the team in 2023. In Aaron Roderick’s offense, those four guys will become household names by midseason.
• The defense is better, but still has a long way to go. Jay Hill’s new schemes are going to take some time to be fully implemented, and his attacking style of play won’t happen overnight. The season-ending knee injury suffered by star safety Micah Harper hurts. A lot. Brace yourselves for a lot of shootouts in BYU’s first season in the Big 12.
• Freshman running back LJ Martin will have an impact in one way or another. Maybe on special teams. He’s that good. Woes in the kicking game have been overstated a bit, perhaps from yours truly, but a missed PAT and/or field goal will cost the Cougars a game, or two, in the 2023 season.
Dick Harmon: First, I think BYU usually goes the way its QB position goes. In this regard, I believe Kedon Slovis is going to be a huge asset to Aaron Roderick’s offense. He’s extremely accurate, can make all the throws, has put in the time to build chemistry and trust with his teammates, and is comfortable with BYU’s system and goals.
Second, BYU’s running back room with Aidan Robbins and freshman LJ Martin should be capable of converting those short-yardage situations that were so frustrating last season.
Third, and this is a simple one, BYU’s receiving corps is deep and talented and will be leaned on heavily to produce points. And they will. Credit Fesi Sitake for his recruiting and development of these pieces of the offense.
Finally, defensively, this will be an upgrade from 2022, but it will take some heat from Big 12 offenses known for big plays.
One of Utah’s best native golfers, Zac Blair, won the Utah Open in a four-hole playoff against a Utes golfer from Spain to give him a trophy alongside that of his father, Jimmy Blair. Former Cougar QB Zach Wilson, now with the NFL’s Jets, is turning heads. In the world track and field championships, BYU star steeplechaser Kenneth Rooks continues to impress. When Big 12 football players were asked where BYU is located, the answers were interesting. Mark Pope added a new assistant coach before the team took off for Europe. A knee injury will sideline star safety Micah Harper for the season. Here is a look at BYU’s nonconference basketball schedule. Nate Austin has returned as director of basketball operations. Pope has his Cougars trying to build chemistry on a trip to Italy and Croatia where they’ll be awash in the legend of Kresimir Cosic.
From the archives
From the Twitterverse
Oklahoma game sold out (@casey_lundquist)
Big 12 talent gap? Really a deal? (@jrossean)
Ready for overreactions to 1st game (@rakoto10)
Holmoe says Big 12 stronger with Utah (Deseret News)
Slovis will join other Big 12 transfer QBs (Deseret News)
Why this BYU lineman is a freak (Deseret News)
Comments from Deseret News readers:
Yep! In the past two years. BYU has had a higher winning percentage against P12 teams and all games the past three years than Utah.
Again!! BYU are the state champions of Utah and the national champions of the West.
Hmm, that’s not what PFF says. Check out PFF’s 2026 draft prospects for tackles page. Interestingly, there are two BYU players in the top 20, but no Utah tackles. What gives? You know exactly what gives. Utah doesn’t have any top prospects at OT in their sophomore class. How is that possible?
He is a better run blocker than any Ute tackle on the roster. He knows how to play football. Do you have a statement from Oregon saying they were going to cut him? If not, on what facts do you base your statement? What do you mean exactly when you say BYU can’t teach him? BYU gave up fewer sacks last year than Utah. That’s all on ESPN statistics for all to see. So, careful with your answer. Either Utah is worse than BYU on the O-line, which means that Utah is a nothing burger, can’t teach football, less than DI FBS level on the O-line, or BYU actually can coach O-line players and compete. Which do you choose?
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