Experience Puts BYU Football Farther Ahead Than Typical Camp Day Ones

Aug 4, 2022, 4:05 PM
BYU Football, Fall Camp...
BYU football completed day one of fall camp practice with Jaren Hall leading the way. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football enters the 2022 season as the most experienced team in college football. It’s a testament to the success Kalani Sitake’s program has built in recent years, putting together double-digit-win seasons over the past two. But also the ability to get a lot of players playing time.

That is due to the rash of injuries BYU suffered last season. That caused many players to be elevated and to see time, but there’s also a willingness to give guys snaps, especially on a defense that rotates a lot of guys to keep players fresh.

That experienced roster took the field on Thursday for the first time in 2022 at fall camp. Compared to previous day one’s, with how much experience BYU has on the roster, they are much farther on installing their schemes than in previous years.

“Yeah, [we’re] further ahead; I think that was done by design,” Sitake said after day one. “We started that from spring and then in the off-season with the player-run practices. So the install, yeah, from day one, it’s probably more than what we’ve done.”

Jaren Hall: “You can tell these guys are experienced.”

The leader of the program entering this season is quarterback Jaren Hall. A fifth-year junior from Maple Mountain High School, Hall dreamed of playing for BYU growing up as a kid. He completed his first offseason, where he knew he was the starting quarterback. Having that security plus a deep understanding of Aaron Roderick’s playbook, having been with him every year since Roderick arrived at BYU in 2018, Hall sees the experience around him.

“We are still taking it a week at a time with our install. We’ve still got some young guys that have got to learn, so we do it for them,” Hall said Thursday. “But you can definitely tell these guys are experienced. The first guys out have all been out for two to three years, whether here or played at other schools. So it’s a really experienced offense and we can move a little quicker when we’re out there.”

During the media observation portion of practice, what appeared to be the first team offense featured players such as Blake Freeland at left tackle, Gunner Romney and Puka Nacua at wide receiver, Isaac Rex at tight end, and Cal standout Christopher Brooks at running back.

Despite the experience, there are still elements of a day one. Over the off-season, coaches were permitted by the NCAA to have some hands-on coaching this year. A different wrinkle to building up towards fall camp. Still, a lot of work to improve on despite the experienced roster.

“Tthere’s a chance to see mistakes technique-wise. But, assignment-wise, I thought the guys did really well,” Sitake said. “Just going to need to focus on getting the technique better and when we get the technique right, we’ll have more success and win more.”

BYU football fall camp outlook

BYU football will conduct day two of fall camp practice on Friday. The season opener against South Florida is on September 3 in Tampa.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for 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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Experience Puts BYU Football Farther Ahead Than Typical Camp Day Ones