PROVO — It’s clear that the BYU football program is making an even greater effort to connect with its fan base.
The school announced Monday that BYUtv will televise the annual spring game, which is actually a practice and scrimmage. The March 25 event will begin at 1 p.m. MDT at LaVell Edwards Stadium and is free to the public.
Many schools put on a formal spring game but BYU’s lack of depth prevents it from simulating a game.
“I’m OK with it. Our fans want to see what BYU’s about,” coach Kalani Sitake said about the scrimmage being televised. “We have to look at our depth and see what we can do. We still have three more practices after that. We’re going to focus on getting out there and practicing, more than anything. It will be a little bit of a scrimmage but not much of a game ... I think it will be good for our fans to have access to the program and to the team.”
Before then, on Friday, BYU will travel to St. George to hold an open practice at Dixie High School starting at 3 p.m. and interact with fans afterward.
“To be out there and available for our fans in St. George," Sitake said. "Last year when we first got here, they really wanted us to do a fan fest down there. We couldn’t make it last year. This is a way to thank them for their support. We have a lot of fans in that area. A lot them can’t come to practices and be around us as much as they want. We’ll go down there and it will be a good change of scenery for our players. I think we’ll be able to accomplish a lot of things and have some good team-building activities.”
Sitake explained that practices last season were closed to maintain a competitive advantage while new offensive and defensive schemes were installed.
“For the most part, the foundation is set,” Sitake said. “We want to get our fans involved and get everyone excited about the fall.”
From a recruiting standpoint, the trip to St. George could be beneficial.
“The bulk of our recruiting is built on LDS athletes and a lot of them live in the state,” Sitake said.
Tight end Moroni Laulu-Pututau is looking forward to this weekend’s road trip to southern Utah.
“I’m pumped. I love these trips. You never know what happens. Crazy stuff happens,” he said. “It’s good bonding. It really does help the chemistry on the field, I think. You get rid of tension between defense and offense. That’s good.”
TRUE BLUE HERO: For years, BYU has regularly honored families dealing with challenges as part of a program called “Thursday’s Hero.” That tradition continues but now it’s called “True Blue Hero.”
On Monday, the Cougars spent time with 4-year-old Andelyn Hadfield, the daughter of former BYU tight end Andy Hadfield (2001-03). Andelyn, who is battling neuroblastoma, has a cancerous tumor by her left kidney.
After practice, linebacker Butch Pau’u, with all of his teammates and coaches looking on and cheering, talked to Andelyn, who was sitting on her father’s lap, and told her they love her and are supporting her.
Pau’u presented Andelyn with a bunch of gifts, including a football, hats, shirts and tickets to a game this fall.
HALL’S PROGRESS: One of the running backs who has impressed during spring drills is sophomore KJ Hall.
Hall, the son of former Cougar star Kalin Hall, saw playing time late last season. He rushed 35 times for 184 yards and two touchdowns and caught five passes for 78 yards.
While Hall is currently a walk-on, Sitake said Monday that he is “high on the list” to receive a scholarship.