BYU heads east to Landover, MD this Saturday for a neutral site matchup with the West Virginia Mountaineers at FedEx Field. Kalani Sitake said they will leave a day earlier than normal to help get their players acclimated to the time change. He said he expects a high-powered Air Raid offense from West Virginia in the game. Coach Sitake addressed the concerns with the quarterback situation and says that Taysom Hill will remain as the team's starting quarterback. He also addressed the issue of fans booing the team last Saturday and said he is happy that the team has fan support and that it is not his job to tell fans how to act.
Coach Sitake addressed the concerns of why his team has dropped their last two contests and said that it takes a total team effort to win games.
"There are a lot of plays we left out there and we’re looking forward to putting together a complete game in all three phases. We’ll have a better result if we do that," Sitake explained.
When asked if his offensive line was being physical enough, Sitake said he felt his team did leave that impression with UCLA.
"We can always be physical," Sitake said. "I don’t know if there’s a limit to being physical. Talking to Coach Mora and the UCLA guys, they thought we were a physical team. I don’t think it’s a matter of physicality. They’re a good team. We went against a quality [defense]."
Concern abounds regarding the sputtering nature of BYU's offense. Sitake said laying the blame at the feet of one player, in this case Taysom Hill, was incorrect and placed the blame on the program as a whole.
"You can place the blame on a lot of different places, but overall, we have to do a better job, [both] coaches and players," Sitake stated. "Our goal is to put forth our best effort and make sure that we’re all clicking. We haven’t played our best football yet and we lost two games by a total of four points. This deep [into] the season, we should be playing a lot better, a lot more sound in every phase, and that’s a goal this week. We’ve got to play our best football and it’s got to happen this week."
Sitake was asked further regarding Taysom Hill and he went to bat for his senior signal-caller.
"I know everybody looks at one position and likes to blame it on one person, but there are so many different things that go into it with the quarterback," Sitake said. "The worst thing you can do is panic and make a change on stuff that you’re seeing on the field when it’s not just that one spot. There are a lot of different variables that go into it: protection, routes and the timing.
"Looking at it again, it’s what we thought—it would have been a premature decision to make [a quarterback change] then. I’m glad we didn’t. We have a great coaching staff and they evaluate everything. In order for us to be able to evaluate everyone, everyone’s got to do their part first. When you have some mental breakdowns along the way, it’s tough to blame it all on one person."
Asked point-blank if Taysom Hill would remain as BYU's starting quarterback, Sitake was resolute in his reply.
"Taysom will be the starting quarterback," Sitake state. "It would be foolish right now to make him a scapegoat when it wasn’t entirely his fault. It’s a wrong assessment from a lot of people."
Sitake was upbeat about his offense, saying that the evidence of an effective attack has been witnessed on the field in brief glimpses.
"I would like it to be a cleaner game on the offensive side. We’ve shown flashes," Sitake said. "We’ve been able to score points when we need to in a two-minute situation and we need to see more consistency from every position. When we’re clicking, it works well."
Sitake expressed concern that his team is still trying to find an identity to hang their hat on at this point in the season, especially on offense. He said he's hopeful that an identity is established in short order.
"We have to find our identity in every phase and have something to hang your hat on," Surmised Sitake. "We don’t have that offensively right now. When we need to get a play, you usually go to your go-to play(s) and we’re still trying to find that. It’s way too late [for that] going into game four so we need to establish that soon."