BYU head football coach Kalani Sitake has been coaching at the collegiate level since 2001, which means he’s seen a lot of different things.
But sometimes he still finds a unique situation.
He referenced that on Wednesday when he got asked about the situation of wide receiver Dylan Collie, who started at BYU, transferred to Hawaii and then returned to be a Cougar for his final season of college football.
“This is the first time — but if there are those out there who can have that experience, I’ll take them,” Sitake said with a grin.
Collie had 118 receptions for 1,300 yards and nine TDs with the Warriors and has already displayed his crisp route running during fall camp.
“Dylan has so much experience that it helps out with all the young guys,” Sitake said. “It’s good to have him along and I like the way they are working.”
With all of the transferring that is going on now in college football, this might turn out to be a more common situation in the future.
Sitake said he would always look at the possibilities if a former Cougar was interested in returning, although a number of factors might come into play.
“With the numbers, it is always difficult — particularly at the last second,” he said. “If it worked in the system and if they could fit here at BYU with what our mission is, I’m not against good football players. We have to develop guys into where they have five-star potential. All the guys we sign we think are big-time guys, so if there is a chance that a guy might want to come back. I’ll be happy to oblige.”
Adapting to rule changes
Sitake also has been asked about a number of the new rule changes, including the impact of having more players on the training camp roster.
“It’s a huge help,” Sitake said. “It allows us to have more bodies and more guys compete. It’s five more guys but we will take as many as they give us. The five help out a lot. I wish it was 15 more.”
He also said that everyone will be adapting to the new kickoff rules and that could change how things go on special teams.
Sitake knows that making adjustments as rules change is just part of football.
“Whatever rules they come up with, we’ll just have to adjust,” he said. “They have new dress rules and all that. We will just follow them and keep going. The principle of obedience keeps testing us, but I think we are answering the call OK.”
The coach of the coaches
Sitake explained that instead of doing a lot of position work right now, he is focusing on coaching up the rest of the staff.
“With my job as the head coach, basically my position group is the coaches,” he said. “I’m responsible for them and I work closely with them, but I also what them to feel that they have ownership in their group. But I’m going to voice my opinion because I’m the head coach. I can complain and applaud all I want. That’s the wonderful part of this. But I have good coaches who work hard and they appreciate feedback.”
BYU’s running back unit has had a tough time with injuries.
Sitake talked earlier in the year about how Trey Dye has too many health concerns to participate right now, so he is helping as a player-coach.
Two other running backs — juniors Kavika Fonua and KJ Hall — have also been unable to get on the field to this point in fall camp.
“(Fonua) is still trying to rehab, so we will see how fast that goes,” Sitake said. “As of now, he’s not going to be ready for the first game. KJ is in the same mix as Kavika. I think KJ is probably further along. If we get them back towards the end of camp, then we will see. We hope we do.”