Kalani Sitake Doesn’t Want Zach Wilson To Slide On Designed Runs

Sep 3, 2019, 1:08 PM | Updated: 1:09 pm
Wilson, Zack

BYU Holds it's first scrimmage at Lavell Edwards Stadium Saturday, August 10, 2019. 
Wilson, Zack BYU Holds it's first scrimmage at Lavell Edwards Stadium Saturday, August 10, 2019. August 10, 2019 Photography by Gabriel Mayberry/BYU © BYU PHOTO 2019 All Rights Reserved (801)422-7322

PROVO, Utah – BYU quarterback Zach Wilson has drawn comparisons to Johnny Manziel from Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt heading into this week’s game between the Cougars and the Volunteers.

The calling card for Johnny Manziel when he was at Texas A&M was his ability to run the football. Last week in Wilson’s first game back from shoulder surgery, he had four designed runs in Jeff Grimes’ offense. Wilson was also the leading ball carrier for BYU with eight carries in the loss against Utah.

Does BYU head coach Kalani Sitake feel that number of carries and designed runs are too high for Wilson, or does Sitake want Wilson’s running abilities to be a key piece to the Cougar offense?

“He’s healthy, he can handle it. I just think that he shouldn’t slide as much because it doesn’t really help him. Just go play football because he can make people miss. I’m not really interested in seeing quarterbacks slide a lot because they’re getting protected that much,” Sitake said.

A head coach asking his quarterback to not slide might sound surprising, but when you go watch the broadcast from last week against Utah, you can understand Sitake’s commentary. Wilson on one of his eight runs slid and was hit hard by Wilson’s second cousin Julian Blackmon and there was no flag thrown from officials.

On another run, Utah defensive end Mika Tafua pulled Wilson down by the facemask and that wasn’t flagged either.

So now Sitake is wanting his quarterback to just run.

Wilson had a big 26-yard run against Utah last week that showcased his explosive playmaking ability that he can bring to the run game.

Last year, Wilson rushed for 221 yards and had two touchdown runs in his seven starts.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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