BYU Football Sets Expectations For 2024 As Winter Conditioning Kicks Off

Jan 11, 2024, 10:54 AM

BYU Football, Helmet, Winter Conditioning...

BYU football kicks off winter conditioning for the 2024 season. (Courtesy of Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

(Courtesy of Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

Winter conditioning is one of the most challenging portions of the BYU football off-season.

The 2024 BYU football team returned to classes this week. As school returned after the holiday break, it meant the start of winter conditioning.

BYU Football begins winter conditioning

BYU Football released a video of strength conditioning coach Ryan Phillis laying out the expectations for the upcoming 2024 season to the players inside the Indoor Practice Facility.

“We know what to expect this offseason; accountability, discipline, toughness, performance, attitude, all of those come into play,” said BYU’s Director of Football Strength and Conditioning Ryan Phillis.

Winters are defined by the work college football teams put in with their strength and conditioning coach. This will be the first winter with Phillis, who didn’t join the BYU football program until last summer.

Phillis was previously at Louisville, Purdue, Virginia, Mississippi State, and Virginia.

BYU brought in a new assistant strength coach on Phillis’ staff, Tim Ismail, from Army West Point.

This offseason is filled with motivation for BYU as the Cougars finished their first year in the Big 12 with a 5-7 overall record. It was the first losing season for BYU since 2017.

“Every single thing comes into play this offseason,” Phillis said. “If you don’t think it does. Line up on Saturdays and see what the outcome is, OK? You need to be able to trust the guy next to you. You need to be able to trust him. OK? If you don’t hold each other accountable, you sure as heck can’t trust that guy. I promise you that.”

BYU is looking to bounce back from a 5-7 season last year

BYU comes into 2024 with some change, but it’s a year filled with retention as winter conditioning begins.

Head coach Kalani Sitake and offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick retooled the offensive staff. Darrell Funk and Steve Clark were dismissed. So far, only one of those two spots has been filled as TJ Woods was hired as the offensive line and run game coordinator.

BYU still needs to hire a tight ends coach.

Roderick’s offense retained everyone they hoped to have in 2024 except running back Aidan Robbins. The former Louisville and UNLV ball carrier declared for the NFL draft.

Everyone else returns, including quarterback Jake Retzlaff, who started in the final four games last season.

Retzlaff will be in a quarterback competition with transfers Gerry Bohanon, Treyson Bourguet, and returning lettermen Ryder Burton and Cade Fennegan.

The defense had no changes to the staff as Jay Hill enters his second year as BYU’s defensive coordinator.

BYU’s defense got some unexpected returns from Second Team All-Big 12 defensive end Tyler Batty and captain linebacker Ben Bywater. Both will be leaders of the defense. Plus, they added four-star Weber State transfer linebacker Jack Kelly.

On special teams, coordinator Kelly Poppinga has the task of replacing All-Big 12 punter Ryan Rehkow, who declared for the NFL draft.

BYU has two options to replace him in Rehkow’s younger brother, Landon Rehkow, and Pitt transfer Sam Vander Haar, an Aussie rules kicker.

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 Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Football Sets Expectations For 2024 As Winter Conditioning Kicks Off