BYU Preparing For Utah State With Sense Of Urgency
PROVO, Utah – The key word used by BYU head coach Kalani Sitake in his Monday press conference was urgency. With a short week to recover from a major loss to Washington and prepare to play in-state rival Utah State, there’s no time to waste.
“”I’m really excited about this week,” said Sitake. I’m glad that the game is a day earlier and that our guys get to go out there against a rival that we’re familiar with. There’s a lot of urgency from players and coaches to get to this next game.”
They Know Each Other Well
After getting beaten 40-24 by the Aggies last season, Sitake is excited to see how much his team has grown over the last year. He said a similar thing before the game against Wisconsin which the Cougars won 24-21 on Sept. 15.
Being an in-state rival with the Aggies, Sitake and his staff know Utah State head coach Matt Wells and his staff well.
“They have a high-scoring, power offense and a good defense too,” said Sitake. “I know a lot of coaches on that staff and they’re going to be ready. This is going to be a big game for them just like it is for us. There is a lot going into this game.”
After a solid outing against the Huskies last week, quarterback Tanner Mangum says it was still “disappointing” to come away empty-handed with a 35-7 loss. But it’s a new week, and he says his focus is entirely on Utah State.
“Once you hit Monday, it’s onto the next,” said Mangum, who completed 18-of-21 passes against Washington last Saturday. “We’re not going to dwell on Washington, we’re not going to talk about it more than necessary, we’re just going onto the next. That’s how it has to be every week, we have to take it one week at a time, one game at a time. I think that’s key to our preparation, to just give everything you’ve got to Utah State.”
A Big Loss On Offense
The Cougars will have to prepare for the game without their leading receiever, Moroni Laulu-Pututau, who announced on Twitter that he tore his ACL and will be out for the remainder of the season
“”He really wanted this game because he’s from Logan,” said Sitake It’s just unfortunate. He’s had some really tough battles with injury. Starting to see him emerge as a receiver and blocker at tight end has been really good for us as a team. It’s always hard when a guy goes down but we’ll get him back next year.”
The Defensive Mentality
Defensively, the Cougars will be facing an Aggie offense that has put up some enormous numbers early in the season. Utah State is averaging 51.5 points per game, good for fourth in the nation. According to defensive back Austin Lee, the key to slowing down the Aggies will be trust and communication.
“I think as a defense we have to put ourselves in the right positions,” said Lee. “We have to trust the process as far as the schemes that our coaches are teaching us, trusting that players will be in certain situations and will be doing their assignments. When that doesn’t happen that is when there is miscommunication, we aren’t disciplined and big plays can happen.”
The Cougars’ game against Utah State will kick off Friday night at 7 p.m. at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
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