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BYU Football DC Ilaisa Tuiaki Issues Apology To Heckling Fan

Oct 18, 2022, 9:59 AM | Updated: 10:19 am
BYU Football, Ilaisa Tuiaki...
BYU football defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki apologized to a heckling fan after the Arkansas loss. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – BYU defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki apologized for engaging with a heckling fan after Saturday’s loss to Arkansas.

The embattled Tuiaki was talking with the Voice of the Cougars Greg Wrubell on “Coordinators’ Corner,” where he issued the apology.

“Came down to the field, and obviously, emotions are high for everybody. There’s a gentleman sitting in the south endzone, just right over the goalpost that he and I had an exchange,” Tuiaki said. “I thought that was unbecoming and wanted to apologize to that gentleman. What you said is correct. I have got to be better. And so we will go out there and we will fix what we need to and we will be better.”

A member of the KSL Sports team was in the south endzone when the exchange happened. A BYU fan, standing next to what appeared to be an elementary-aged kid, pointed directly to Tuiaki and yelled, “Not good!” Tuiaki, a seventh-year defensive coordinator at BYU, then engaged the fan and asked him if he wanted to make some tackles. Other local media members were in the south endzone as that took place.

BYU’s defense is coming off a performance that Tuiaki called the toughest of his seven years as a defensive coordinator. In the 52-35 loss to Arkansas, BYU gave up 644 yards of offense to the Hogs.

BYU football is feeling the pressure 

Social media and message boards are abuzz with BYU fans wanting a change at defensive coordinator. BYU head coach Kalani Sitake was asked on Monday if he felt pressure to make a change at defensive coordinator heading into this week’s game against Liberty.

“I feel pressure on everything. That’s this job. The expectations of our fans are high, and I don’t have a problem with that,” said Sitake. “When your defense is giving up that many points and that many yards, there has to be accountability. There has to be pressure on everybody. That’s my job as head coach.”

Tuiaki has expressed that he supports Sitake’s next steps, whatever those may be.

“We spoke after the game and I encouraged him. I told him, whatever you need to do, we need to do it,” Tuiaki said on Coordinators’ Corner. “We need to do whatever your vision, and I’ve got your back and we move forward, and we roll.

“If his vision is for me to clean toilets every single day, and it’s going to make us win games, then you’ll see me in there giving my best efforts in whatever the smallest task is. So we’ve just got to have that attitude and that effort to move forward and I think that’s where we’re at right now.”

BYU vs. Liberty

Location: Williams Stadium (Lynchburg, Virginia)

Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. (MT)

TV: ESPNU

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM)

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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