BYU head coach Kalani Sitake held his weekly press conference on Monday to talk about his team's narrow 20-19 loss to Utah and look towards the UCLA game this coming Saturday. When asked about the mood of his team, Sitake said his team was already moving on.
“It’s been good. We have been able to get some good work and a great lift session this morning," Sitake said. "The guys are ready to go. Whenever you come off of a loss, especially like that, you want to get to work and these guys have made the transition and we are on to game week now.”
The back-to-back ejections of Kai Nacua and Austin McChesney found Sitake heated on the sideline and his feelings on the call(s) had not changed as of Monday.
"Nope. It is exactly how I felt when I saw it on the big replay — the super big screen gave me a great view of it," he said. "And then when I wasn't looking at that, there were two other screens to look at. So no, I saw what I saw, and, I mean, it doesn't change anything, you know? We will just keep working. We will just keep moving."
Debate has ensued about if BYU might be able to appeal the ejections and the first half suspensions for the UCLA game, especially in the case of Nacua. Sitake said that Nacua's fate was sealed on Saturday night.
"The way it was explained to me was that the appeal was basically Saturday night," Sitake explained. "So the rule is that if there is no replay available, then they would review it. This one, there was a replay official available. They made that decision; it was set in concrete Saturday night. That's just the way the protocol is."
The press conference then steered the attention towards the UCLA Bruins, who BYU will face in their season opener on Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Coach Sitake said he thinks very highly of the UCLA program.
“Coach Mora does a great job," Sitake said. "His team is always ready and they have a great quarterback and they have a bunch of great athletes on their team..that’s never really changed. They are a little bit more physical now, so we are looking forward to the game this Saturday. I have nothing but respect for their coaching staff and that program. They do it the right way.”
UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen has been the face of the Bruins program since arriving in Westwood as a true freshman last year. Coach Sitake had high praise for the sophomore signal-caller.
“Well he can throw. That guy was a true freshman [last year] and came in to college football and doesn’t seem so young," Sitake said. "He manages the game really well and I’ve been really impressed with him. Seeing him play last year and now starting the season this year, I think he has already been in some tough positions and he has been able to get him and his team out of it. That Texas A&M game was impressive to watch. I think this game will be difficult, but I think our guys are up for the task.”
Finally, Coach Sitake addressed some concerns about his own offense which has struggled out of the gate, only scoring 18 and 19 points against Arizona and Utah, respectively. He said that he believes his offense is on the cusp of breaking out.
“We have capable players and we have guys that are capable of making plays," stated Sitake. "We are right there at the edge of it and we just have to keep anticipating that our guys are going to make big plays and make big things happen this weekend. We have the players, we have the talent and a great coaching staff to go along with it. I anticipate a good game."