Ben Bywater Previews 2023 BYU Football Ahead Of Season Opener

Aug 28, 2023, 11:46 AM

SALT LAKE CITYBYU linebacker Ben Bywater joined KSL Sports Zone to preview the Cougars’ 2023 football season, which kickoff this week against the Sam Houston State Bearkats.

On Monday, August 28, the junior joined David James and Patrick Kinahan for his weekly appearance on the The Players Club on DJ & PK.

Bywater previewed the 2023 season and answered questions about changes about BYU’s defense and offense. The Cougars will host the Bearkats for their opener at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday, September 2.

Ben Bywater Previews 2023 BYU Football

Bywater and the Cougar defense will be led in 2023 by new defensive coordinator and former Weber State head coach Jay Hill. The linebacker was asked what the differences were between Hill and BYU’s previous defensive staff.

“I would say the biggest thing is attention to detail, and just the intensity, right? Like you can feel it when you get a new boss who comes in, who changes the culture and he’s changing the way we’re doing things,” Bywater said of Hill. “It’s exciting cause everyone jumps on board. You know, it’s pretty cutthroat. I mean, the way that it’s been, it’s just been so different from what I’m used to and it’s good. You know, it’s exciting, because we’re going out every day, busting it and we’re freaking balling. Like it’s been it’s been hard, for sure. It’s been a big adjustment. But I mean, you know, it’ll make you a better football player. So, Jay Hill has been great. He brought in a great staff as well. And, you know, I think we’re gonna prove a lot of people wrong this year. And, you know, I’m really excited cause he’s built a great culture, and the standard is set. You know, the standard is the standard, whether the ones, twos, or threes are in there. You know, he holds everybody accountable.”

Bywater continued by explaining how the Cougars plan to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season behind their new defensive scheme.

“We got great defensive line coaches, Coach Po’uha from Utah and then we got Kelly Poppinga. They’re doing a great job. It’s just with our D-line, teaching technique,” Bywater told James and Kinahan. “Our play calls, you know. We’re doing a lot of different things. I think we’re gonna cause a lot of havoc in the front seven. So, we’re bringing pressure from a lot of different areas. I think we’re gonna have a great year as far as sacks and getting pressure you know. Not as not as much drop eight, as we are accustomed to. So it’ll be a nice change up for the fans.”

RELATED: 60 in 60: #16 BYU’s Ben Bywater (Linebacker)

Another change that the Cougars will have this season is at the quarterback position. Following a couple of years with Jaren Hall as QB1, BYU’s offense will be directed by former USC and Pitt signal-caller Kedon Slovis.

Bywater spoke about what it’s been like to go up against Slovis in fall camp and what BYU fans can expect from the senior quarterback in 2023.

“Kedon Slovis is super accurate. I mean, finding a guy that can spin the ball as accurately as he can is a tough thing to do. So, I feel really lucky that we got him on our team. He’s a really good dude,” Bywater said. “He’s a good decision-maker. Yeah, he runs the show back there.”

Bywater highlighted the pair of Slovis and BYU’s offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick as one of the reasons to expect success from Slovis this season. Under Roderick, BYU’s last two starting quarterbacks, Zach Wilson and Jaren Hall, were drafted into the NFL.

“Pairing him with Coach Roderick, that’s a match made in heaven. Those guys are going to be electric together, two great minds,” Bywater said. “Kedon’s played a lot of college football. He’s seen it before, you know. He knows how to recognize disguises and coverages. So, I’m super bullish on him as well…finding a fit, finding an offensive coordinator that believes in you, finding the right guys, the right supporting cast that plays a big role in it as well…I think we got a good supporting cast around for him and I think he’s gonna thrive. I’m super excited. It’s been fun going against him. He’s making me better and our defense better and I’m excited for, you know, him to go and show what he’s all about.”

To hear Bywater’s entire conversation with James and Kinahan, listen to the audio player above. Listen to DJ & PK on weekdays from 6-10 a.m. (MDT) on KSL Sports Zone (97.5 FM and 1280 AM).

About Ben Bywater

Prior to his time at BYU, Bywater was a standout player for the Titans of Olympus High School in Salt Lake City.

Coming out of high school, Bywater was rated as a three-star prospect by 247Sports. Bywater was also recruited by Air Force, Arizona State, Stanford, Utah, Utah State, Washington, and Washington State.

The junior linebacker has played for the Cougars for the past four seasons. During his first two years on the field, Bywater recorded 15 total tackles and nine solo tackles.

In 2021, Bywater had a breakout season and totaled 102 total tackles, 57 solo tackles, and one sack. Last season, the linebacker had 98 total tackles, 31 solo tackles, one sack, two pass breakups, three interceptions, and a touchdown.

Bywater was named to the Pro Football Focus Preseason All-Big 12 Third Team ahead of the 2023 season.

Kyle Ireland is a Sports Producer and Locals in the NFL Insider for KSLSports.com. He’s also co-host of the Yards After College Podcast. Follow him on X/Twitter (@kyleireland), Instagram (@kyleirelandksl), and Threads (@kyleirelandksl).

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Ben Bywater Previews 2023 BYU Football Ahead Of Season Opener