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The quarterback spot will always draw attention in BYU camps, and USC/Pitt transfer Kedon Slovis impressed in his first practice sessions with the Cougars this week. Meanwhile, new BYU defense coordinator Jay Hill builds his base defense and is impressed with the speed this side of the ball.

Here are some of our BYU football camp Spring Stories:

  • Slovis turns heads in first spring practice (Jay Drew)
  • Why New Faces Help Recruiting (Dick Harmon)
  • Factors Suggest Offensive Rolling (Jay Drew)

Predictions by Cougar Insiders

Question of the week: What three things does BYU need to accomplish in spring soccer training sessions?

Jay Drew: The Cougars completed the first of 15 scheduled spring drills Monday night, then head coach Kalani Sitake, offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick and defensive coordinator Jay Hill took turns addressing the media.

Sitake said the priority over the next six weeks will be figuring out which players deserve to be on the two-deep table, which are right there and can add depth, and which aren’t worthy of being in the to stay close. So this is what the Headmaster wants to achieve.

Roderick said he’d like to improve offense timing as transfer quarterbacks Kedon Slovis and Jake Retzlaff need to find a rhythm and synchronize with their new teammates.

Hill has perhaps the biggest task as he breaks in a fairly new defensive coaching staff. His priority is to take a lot of fast, explosive guys and get them to play within his system and conform to his plans.

In my opinion, the Cougars need to identify a #2 quarterback, find defensemen capable of putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and figure out who can play linebackers while starters Max Tooley and Ben Bywater recover from surgeries.

Dick Harmon: The first priority for Jay Hill is establishing his culture and scheme of defending BYU. Sitake has made major changes in defense personnel and expects hiring to be transformative, and it begins in the Spring Ball. Kalani Sitake has not fired four coaches with the expectation that Hill’s hiring would be transformative and will begin in the spring. Hill must decide who can play to his standards and develop depth and talent. Second, it’s almost as important that Aaron Roderick primes Kedon Slovis to be an “operator” on his offense and then picks a backup QB.

The third most important spring development has to be BYU’s defensive line. It needs to evolve into an offensive pressure unit capable of bringing down pockets and pressuring QBs and creating enough disruption for BYU linebackers to play. This means Tyler Batty, Blake Mangelson, John Nelson and Atunaisa Mahe will have to be pushed hard, and edge rushers and defensive ends Aisea Moa, Michael Daley and Bodie Schoonover will have to compete with Boise State’s Jackson Cravens, Isaiah Bagnah and Weber State raise transfer Nuuletau Sellesin. Mahe just squatted a whopping 600 pounds, an impressive feat for any student-athlete anywhere.

Sitake is flexible with scholarships, hard end-of-spring changeovers, fall practice, and fall semesters as an independent. As a Power Five team in the Big 12, his scholarships are locked for four years. He will have to be much more selective when awarding scholarships. Expect heated battles in March.

Cougar Stories

BYU men and women competed in the WCC basketball tournament for the last time, both losing on Monday. You can read here how Mark Pope’s side made a remarkable comeback in the second half, falling short against No. 1 seed Saint Mary’s. On the women’s side, the Cougars lost to Gonzaga, as Jeff Call reports here.

From the archives

From the Twitterverse

extra points

Laura Gustin sets rebound record (Deseret News)

Roderick prepares Slovis for the NFL (KSLsports)

Questions at WR Key in Spring (Salt Lake Tribune)

fan analyst

Comments from Deseret News readers:

I’m pleasantly surprised at how much the coaches rave about the improvement in athleticism in all positions. Sounds like BYU got a lot sportier this year. The most pleasant surprise for me is how good the situation is along the OLine. Great news!

– Be fair

The last time Slovis played in LES, USC was in the Pac-12, BYU was independent, and he threw a pick to seal BYU’s first home win over USC

Next time he plays in LES, BYU will be in the Big 12, USC is going to the Big Ten, and Slovis will be starting for BYU.

Who could have foreseen all this in such a short time?

— BlueCoug

Last line of article: The Cougars fell short, but at least they went down with a flourish.

As long as BYU (coaches and players) accept that mentality, the Cougars will fight. It’s been a pattern all season: start slow, dig a hole for yourself, then expend all your effort to climb out of that hole… but alas, with too little, too late, miss. Holding on to moral victories (going swinging down) is an obstacle to victory.

Inconsistent play is not what champions do. Yes, every team has their moments and flaws in executing smart game plans, but winning teams keep those in-game episodes to a bare minimum. You can’t be mediocre (or worse) for 25 minutes, play hard for 15 minutes… and expect to win a 40-minute competition against good teams. BYU’s season record is the only proof you need of inconsistent execution.

About Next Year’s Team: Only Williams and George are seniors, but don’t expect BYU to suddenly be a winning team since the remaining players are a year older and more experienced. As a minimum, coaches need to find at least three talented 1st strings in the forward and middle (with size). BYU coaches can’t be satisfied with just bringing in players to fill the team’s roster. Yes, it’s a tall order, but the lack of enlistment size forcing BYU’s small-ball approach (2 year olds) is the single biggest contributor to the decline of BYU and its 19-15 season. BYU’s recruiting efforts must now increase significantly.

– dazzle


9th-10th March | 5 p.m. | Baseball | vs. Creighton | @Omaha, Nebraska

March 10 | 11 am | Women’s Tennis | vs. Boise State | @Provo

March 10 | 2 p.m. | Athletics | NCAA Indoor Championship | @Albuquerque, New Mexico


Saint Mary’s guard Aidan Mahaney (left) and BYU guard Dallin Hall face off during the WCC tournament semifinals game Monday, March 6, 2023 in Las Vegas. After order was restored, the Gaels defeated the Cougars.

David Becker, Associated Press

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