The first day of fall camp for BYU today was more about testing the player’s understanding of the system they’re now playing in. It was a learning period for the 105 players who reported, including defensive back Akile Davis.
“The first day of fall camp was about knowing your fundamentals and going over that kind of stuff,” Davis said. “It was about knowing your assignments and getting the plays down and knowing what to do. It was just about going over the fundamentals.”
How quickly the players can jump into fall camp depends on how well they prepared in the off-season. However, it was also about conditioning and making sure their legs could match what the coaches had in store on the practice field.
“I’ve been loving it because during the summer time we really got after it,” said Davis, who feels he’s been fully prepared. “No day was easy for us in the off-season. Every day we did fast squats and leg work just focused on getting stronger. We were really pushed over the summer and now coming into fall camp I feel explosive, strong, fast, and ready.”
A sophomore this season, Akile Davis made the switch to the defense after being recruited by former BYU coach Guy Holliday to play wide receiver.
“Well, I’m a fulltime DB now that I made the switch from offense,” Akile Davis said. “I’m loving it! Coach Gilford definitely took the patience and time to work with me over spring, and he’s still working with me a lot now but he’s patient. He’s been a little lenient with me because he knows I’m new, but I try not to let that keep me from progressing as fast as I can. I have to compete as one of the best and that means I have to constantly fix my mistakes and progress.
“Playing cornerback is something new and that’s what I’m trying to master now. I like learning new things and DB is new, so I’m really enjoying learning a new position and just trying to get good at it. It’s all about that one-on-one matchup seeing who the grown man is out there and seeing who’s the boss. It’s all good.”
Over spring camp, BYU wide receivers coach Ben Cahoon mentioned that he was trying to keep Akile Davis on the offensive side of the ball. However, it appears that BYU needs more cornerbacks and the staff came calling upon the skill set of Akile Davis to provide more prowess to the Cougar secondary.
“They came to me with it and said that they needed some bigger corners,” Davis said. “So, I said I was okay with that, and me making the switch was 100 percent on me. They didn’t make me do it and said they had a need and asked me if I wanted to do it. I said yes I would and kind of went from there. I’m looking forward to hitting and that should be nothing to me because I’m a natural at that.”
One side of the field is more than likely already locked up by another Davis, Michael Davis, who Akile Davis says is looking really good on day one.
“Mike Davis is looking great!” said Akile Davis. “That’s one guy I look up to being the more experienced defensive back on the team. He’s doing a really good job out there, and he and I are both 6-2, 200-pounds, so he’s someone that I watch really hard. I try to mimic a lot of what he does and ask him a 100 questions to try and pick his brain.”
If Akile Davis manages to get the starting job on the other side of the field, BYU fans could see Davis and Davis locked up on receivers, which would be fun to watch given the two are comparable in size and stature.
“That would really mess everybody up!” Akile Davis said with a laugh. “I think that would be really a neat situation to see Davis and Davis out there on opposite ends of the field. I’m just doing all I can to get better every day, and I know Mike [Davis] is as well. We out there going 100 miles an hour taking it all in and doing what we can to get better. It’s all good and we’re making progress.”
Of those who currently play his old position on the offensive side of the ball, Davis feels BYU has a bevy of talented pass catchers. Nick Kurtz is currently still rehabbing an injury and is expected back in time for the season-opener against Arizona. When asked which in the receiver’s group looked good, Davis couldn’t just name one.
“I really like Jonah [Trinnaman] and what he’s been doing out on the field,” Davis said. “I like what Moroni Laulu-Pututau is doing out there, Talon [Shumway], Micah [Simon], Inoke [Lotulelei], and Mitchell [Juergens]. I like them all. All the receivers are looking really nice out there to be honest with you. They all are looking really explosive and came ready to play this fall.”
Coming from DeSoto, Texas, Akile Davis has enjoyed his time in Provo, Utah. He especially likes the new coaching staff under Coach Sitake, which has made his time at BYU that much more enjoyable.
“Oh, most definitely I’m enjoying my time here at BYU!” Davis said quickly. “I love the new coaching staff and they’re my favorite. They let me be me and I can be myself around them. I can go up to their offices and literally just hang out and talk with them. That’s one thing I love about our coaches is how much they love being around us players on and off the field. So, yeah, I’m loving it here and I love these new coaches.”