Everything BYU’s Kalani Sitake Said At Big 12 Conference Media Days

Jul 13, 2023, 12:17 AM

ARLINGTON, TexasBYU football head coach Kalani Sitake spoke during the opening day of the Big 12 Conference‘s media days and previewed the Cougars’ first year in the league.

Kalani Sitake at Big 12 Conference Media Days

The league’s media days are being held at the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, from July 12-13.

RELATED: BYU Football Releases New Roster For 2023 Season

During the first day of the event, Sitake spoke with the media from the main stage on the Cowboys’ turf. The Cougar football coach detailed his gratitude for BYU’s new conference, what playing as a Power Five program will be like, welcoming Big 12 teams into LaVell Edwards Stadium, his quarterback, Kedon Slovis, his hiring of Jay Hill as associate head coach and defensive coordinator, recruiting, and more.

Sitake expresses gratitude to Big 12 & Brett Yormark

“I just want to take this time in my statement to express my gratitude and appreciation for being here at media days. This is a lot of fun,” Sitake opened his remarks. “Being an independent, I wasn’t able to experience this as a head coach, so this is my first time. I was actually getting some pointers and some trips from Kedon Slovis. He’s been through more media days than I have.”

Sitake went on to thank the Big 12 and the league’s commissioner, Brett Yormark.

“Want to express our gratitude from our program to the Big 12 conference and Commissioner Yormark,” Sitake said. “I’ve been really impressed with his leadership and I’m excited to follow his leadership and I love the innovative and creative ways of approaching college football, and looking forward to following him as a leader.”

Sitake on BYU QB Kedon Slovis

The head coach is entering his eighth season with the Cougars, but will welcome a new starting quarterback to the program in the fall. Former USC and Pitt quarterback Kedon Slovis attended the Big 12 Media Days alongside Sitake. The head coach joked that Slovis has had more experience with Power Five media days than he has had. Sitake also discussed the signal-caller’s experience playing on the field as a member of multiple P5 programs.

“I think the high level of experience that that quarterback position — I know a lot goes to what he’s done on the football field, but the things that I’ve been impressed with Kedon is the stuff he does off the field, the connection he has to his teammates, to his coaches, to our fans. I’ve been impressed with that,” Sitake said of Slovis. “I think that’s going to help take him to another level of playing. I want to make sure we give him a comfortable pocket, but I know if it’s not too comfortable he can find ways to extend the plays and hopefully find success. There’s a lot of things that he brings to the table with his leadership and with the experience that we’re going to lean on heavily.”


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Sitake on recruiting as a Big 12 program

BYU has utilized the transfer portal to bring in talent, like Slovis, since the end of the 2022 season. Sitake credited BYU’s move to the Big 12 for an “uptick” in recruiting.

“I mean, it’s already been that way since the announcement of us joining the conference. We’ve seen an uptick in recruiting,” the former BYU fullback said. “I think it increases, maybe gets a little bit of curiosity for people that never thought about BYU as a destination to play. What they do is look into it and find out what they’re aligned with what I’m aligned with and the mission — we’re a faith-based institution so we’re affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and a lot of people don’t know much about the church or about our mission, but our football program is right in alignment with the mission of our church, and that’s proclaiming our belief in Jesus Christ as our savior.”

Sitake on home field advantage at LaVell Edwards Stadium

Sitake also talked about LaVell Edwards Stadium and the Cougars using their home field in Provo as an advantage against conference foes.

“Well, I’m going to go back to the BYU fans. They’re amazing. I am one, so the energy and the excitement that they bring to the games, I think it’s a good experience for visiting teams, as well,” Sitake said. “I hope it becomes an advantage for us and continues to be an advantage, but when you have fans that love their teams, it’s going to be difficult to go into those stadiums and come out with a victory.”

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Everything BYU’s Kalani Sitake Said At Big 12 Conference Media Days