COUGAR TRACKS

Anonymous Coaches Scout BYU Football For 2022 Season

Jun 8, 2022, 2:43 PM | Updated: Jun 15, 2022, 11:42 pm
BYU Football, Kalani Sitake, Utah State, Celebrate...
Opposing coaches anonymously dish on BYU football in the 2022 Athlon Sports College Football Preview. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – Who wants some BYU football gossip?

The annual Athlon Sports college football preview is always a good source this time of the year. Athlon’s 2022 college football preview is now on sale, and in it, they have anonymous opposing coaches weighing in on teams around the country.

The regional cover of Athlon’s preview in the intermountain west region (Utah and Colorado) features BYU QB Jaren Hall. Joining Hall on the cover is Utah star Cam Rising and Colorado safety Isaiah Lewis.

After back-to-back double-digit win seasons and an invitation to the Big 12, there’s a lot to like about BYU these days. So what are opposing coaches saying?

Here are excerpts from the anonymous coaches scouting reports on BYU in Athlon’s preview.

BYU football is operating like a Power 5 now

Kalani [Sitake] has changed the identity of this program. If they didn’t get the Big 12 invite, it’s possible he could’ve gone and found a Power 5 job after last season. The biggest criticism is that their success was riding the hot hand [Zach Wilson], but they came back and looked great last season, too. … They’re investing in the program in ways they’ve needed for a long, long time. It looks like the administration knows they have a really great staff and head coach, and they want it to look Power 5 for the first time. It’s way overdue.

There’s no question that the Big 12 invitation changed the game for BYU. How would Kalani Sitake have approached the Oregon interview if BYU remained an Independent long-term? It’s an interesting thought. But now that BYU is P5, Sitake, an admitted BYU fan growing up, leads his alma mater into a world they’ve always desired.

BYU is showing a commitment to Sitake’s football program like never before. Sitake received an extension that keeps him the head coach through 2027, and all of his assistants received pay raises. In addition, the support staff is building up to a level that looks and operates more like a Power 5 program.

Jaren Hall is “another legit guy” at QB for BYU

The quarterback is another legit guy, fits their system, makes smart throws, but I think they’re going to have to push him a little bit because they’re missing the back [Tyler Allgeier], and it’s gonna hurt at first.

Losing the single-season rushing leader in program history in Allgeier is a big blow. But, BYU left spring practices optimistic about the running back position due to the arrival of Cal grad transfer Christopher Brooks. Brooks appeared to know his assignments within BYU’s offense during spring.

Is Brooks good enough to be a 1,600-yard back? Admittedly, those are some lofty expectations. But with the seasoned and talented offensive line he will have in front of him; it’s not unreasonable to think Brooks could be a 1,000-yard rusher for BYU in 2022.

The take of Jaren Hall being “another legit guy” shows that people within college football see the talent Hall possesses. Hall hasn’t captured the preseason buzz like many QBs, but he has a chance to become a first-round NFL draft pick next season if he puts together a big year.

Long-term recruiting in the Big 12

One thing to watch for in the long term is how they recruit and develop their lines and their team speed.

BYU’s offensive line appears ready for life in the Big 12 Conference. Offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick even called that unit “Big 12 ready.” The defensive line brings everyone back from last year except Uriah “Lopa” Leiataua.

With that continuity returning on the defensive line, if healthy, it’s the same group that held Pac-12 Champion Utah under 20 points last season (17).

BYU has young pass rushers within their pipeline that could be difference-makers when the Cougars hit the Big 12 era. Those players include Aisea Moa, Logan Fano, Michael Daley, Bodie Schoonover, Tate Romney, and John Henry Daley.

From a speed perspective, BYU signed many players in their 2022 recruiting class with a track & field background. Including defensive back Evan Johnson from California, who ran a 10.4 100-meter in April.

But there’s no question the intensity will have to level up for BYU football in the Big 12. BYU AD Tom Holmoe summed it up to KSL Sports at the Big 12 Spring Meetings in Texas last week, “It’ll be way more passionate — not to take away from what we’ve done in the past — but it be a week in and week out at a standard that will be different than most people in Provo are used to.”

Athlon Sports College Football Preview is available at all major retailers and online at AthlonSports.com.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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Anonymous Coaches Scout BYU Football For 2022 Season