Cougars, Sitake Ready For Bowl Prep

Dec 3, 2018, 2:54 PM | Updated: 2:55 pm
Head coach Kalani Sitake of the Brigham Young Cougars looks on in a game against the Utah Utes at R...
Head coach Kalani Sitake of the Brigham Young Cougars looks on in a game against the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium on November 24, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – Like “everybody else,” BYU head coach Kalani Sitake was nervous before finding out his team’s bowl fate. Now that he knows the Cougars will be facing Western Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, he can start the planning for the game.

“I was just like everybody else, just really anxious. We want to plan and know who we’re facing and where we’re going. It was nice. I was just like everybody else, I got the notice yesterday. So really excited and looking forward to the time that we get to practice and the time that we get to spend with this team and then have one more opportunity to play the game,” Sitake said in his Monday press conference.

Snow? Big Deal.

Although Boise probably isn’t the first choice for most teams to play a bowl game in December, Sitake doesn’t mind heading a little bit north for the Cougars’ final game of the 2018 season.

“Let’s get some snow out there and we’ll play the game. When you get to play a football game it doesn’t really matter, as long as there’s no lightning we’ll keep playing. I don’t really worry about the elements, our guys are ready for all of it,” said Sitake, who almost mentioned that his wife was glad that the Dec. 21st game will be before Christmas.

Opportunity For Development

Certain Cougar players will be out, like defensive lineman Corbin Kaufusi and running back Matt Hadley, who fractured his leg in the Utah game. Other players, like running back Squally Canada are expected to return and help the Cougars develop their young players in the additional practices they received with their bowl bid.

“This is an opportunity for us with a lot of time to get ready for the game to work hard, get better, provide our younger guys to get better, to learn the scheme a bit more and work on our depth and have an extra spring ball, really. So we’re going to try to develop our guys quickly and utilize all our time in practice,” said Sitake.

Sizing Up The Broncos

Facing Western Michigan, a team led by players who faced Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl two years ago, Sitake respects that leadership and maturity shown by the Broncos this season.

“There’s guys there that have played in some big time games,” said Sitake. “They’ve put a lot of points and they beat a team that we lost to in Northern Illinois.”

The Broncos defeated NIU 28-21 on Nov. 20.

Recruiting At The Same Time

While they’ll be busy prepping for the final game of the season, the BYU coaching staff will also be encumbered with recruiting. Sitake says that it may be frantic, but that it’ll get done as well.

“A lot of our guys are local, we’ll be able to take care of in our home visits in the evening. We’ll have to have coaches fly and do home visits and get back here and practice. We won’t have a bunch of coaches gone, we’ll have a few of them go on home visits,” said Sitake.

The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is set for Friday, Dec. 21st at 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

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