BYU Wide Receivers Impress During Spring Practice

Mar 9, 2020, 10:48 PM
Neil Pau'u - BYU Cougars...
Neil Pau'u makes a catch for BYU against UMass, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachussetts. (Courtesy of Jaren Wilkey, Deseret News)
(Courtesy of Jaren Wilkey, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – The BYU Cougars football team began its second week of spring football inside the indoor practice facility.

They finished the evening with some 11 on 11 team drills, one drive resulted in a short touchdown pass from Zach Wilson to Neil Pau’u in the back corner of the end zone. 

Pau’u has been one of the standout offensive players for the Cougars through spring practice. He’s made multiple tough catches in the portion of practice visible to the media. 

“The competition has made it really good for him,” said head coach Kalani Sitake. “He’s taken advantage of it, whether he wanted to or not. He’s a guy who’s been on the field quite a bit. I don’t think it’s that brand new to him.” 

Coach Fesi Sitake had high praise for the receiver group, including Pau’u who will be heavily relied upon to fill the shoes of departing seniors Micah Simon, Aleva Hifo, and Talon Shumway. You can hear the full interview on the Cougar Sports Saturday podcast feed. 

“The guys’ ability to make plays,” said wide receiver coach Fesi Sitake when asked about the most impressive thing from the first week of practice. “There were a lot of 50/50 balls that could have gone either way and the defensive was in a great position, but the guys were resilient and came down with the play.”

Winning those contested jump balls has been an emphasis from Sitake in spring practice. We’ve seen several contested receptions from the top three receivers through the first couple of practices. The top three receivers right now according to Sitake are Neil Pau’u, Dax Milne, and Gunner Romney, who had a nice reception from Jaren Hall who escaped the pocket and hit Romney on the run for an intermediate completion on the sideline. 

“I think there’s a pretty big gap I’m trying to fill after those three,” mentioned Sitake.

One name mentioned today on the defensive side of the ball was senior safety, Troy Warner. He made an outstanding pass break up on a short third-down pass over the middle during the final team portion of practice. He laid out to break up a pass thrown by Zach Wilson.

Kalani Sitake mentioned him several times when speaking with reporters. “He’s having a great spring and I don’t know how much more he really needs.”

Prior to going on the air with’s Mitch Harper on Saturday from the Orleans Arena, news broke that junior defensive lineman Devin Kaufusi had entered the transfer portal. It was shocking news. Hard to believe that such a household name would transfer from BYU. 

Nothing his official at this point, but it does seem like Kaufusi has played his last down for the Cougars. 

Kalani Sitake seemed to address the situation with Kaufusi without specifically naming him when asked by reporters.

“If they don’t want to be here, it’s not going to work,” said Sitake. “That doesn’t mean it has to be negative. I care about them, and if I care about them, then I’d like to see them have success somewhere else.”

Coach Sitake did mention that Devin Kaufusi wouldn’t be playing this spring regardless of what transpired that led him to the transfer portal. 

The linebacker room has thinned out significantly since the end of last season. Jackson Kaufusi saw reps today at the running back position. It remains to be seen if that’s permanent. 

Tyler Allgeier will not be playing linebacker this season as well per Sitake. He is full-time in the running back room. Still no announcement on who will be taking over for AJ Steward who left BYU earlier this year to take the same position at Arizona. 

One final note from today’s practice. Alema Pilimai has been moved from tight end to the defensive line. 

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BYU Wide Receivers Impress During Spring Practice