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What we learned from BYU football media day

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Dave McCann, BYU assistant head coach coach Ed Lamb and defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki sit in director’s chairs on a set that looks like a football field during BYU football media day at the BYU Broadcasting Building in Provo on Thursday, June 17, 2021. A screen with the BYU football “Y” logo, “MEDIA DAY” and a football player is in the background.

Dave McCann talks with BYU assistant head coach coach Ed Lamb and defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki during BYU football media day at the BYU Broadcasting Building in Provo on Thursday, June 17, 2021.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

This article was first published as the Cougar Insiders newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox each Tuesday night.

BYU head football coach Kalani Sitake and athletic director Tom Holmoe set the tone of the annual football media day June 17 by explaining how a new college football playoff system could favorably impact the program and the new NCAA rules that will help players with opportunities for their futures in or out of the sport.

Offensively, there is reason to believe that Jaren Hall will be the favorite to start at quarterback and the wide receiver corps will be the deepest in memory. Defensively, coaches believe they can reload and have an impact in 2021.

Here are links to our coverage of players and coaches who took part in the annual event:

  • Three takeaways from the state of the program (Brandon Judd)
  • What players, coaches revealed about QB derby (Jay Drew)
  • Players, coaches bullish on the state of the program after 11-1 (Jay Drew)
  • How BYU and Utah arehandling name, image opportunities (Ryan McDonald)
  • How Neil Pau’u got a second chance at his career (Jay Drew)

Also, a recent Supreme Court ruling will impact the future of college athletics. Here is analysis by Doug Robinson and commentary from Holmoe by Jay Drew.

Cougar Insider predictions

Question of the week: How will the upgraded football locker room impact recruiting?

Jay Drew: In short, the new locker room at the Student Athlete Building, with all its newfangled bells and whistles, puts BYU back in the game as far as football recruiting is concerned.

Locker rooms mean a lot to these guys. They spend a lot of time there.

And when word got out recently that BYU’s locker rooms were less up-to-date than Weber State’s, and those at other smaller schools, the Cougars had to do something.

 It is all part of the increased focus on the student-athlete experience at BYU, which will (hopefully) extend to the other sports. After all, sports such as men’s and women’s volleyball and women’s cross-country have performed much better than football in the past decade or so.

So, I see the impact on recruiting being significant in this facility upgrade in the ever-growing arms race. Kudos to Cougar Nation for donating the funds to make it happen.

Dick Harmon: Once upon a time, 16 years ago in the Gary Crowton era, BYU had a great, modern football locker room. But the upgrades were few and it became outdated. This new deal is top of the line — not Nike University of Oregon or Alabama — but it robs from the best Power Five and Group of Five features and are rolled into one that fits BYU.

Yes, it will significantly make BYU more attractive because of two things: 1. Kids these days like bling and swag and this kind of locker room screams loud all of that. 2. It really, really hit a home run that Kalani Sitake’s staff sought out opinions through surveys from all the players on every aspect from nameplates to shelving compartment to materials, charging ports and colors. This is a player’s room, designed by players. It signals their opinion matters.

Cougar tales

In basketball, Mark Pope has landed three players from Africa in the two seasons he’s been a BYU recruiter. Jeff Call explains a common trait of these players — they understand sacrifice. Gideon George will try out for the Nigerian national team, according to this report by Call. 

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Comments from Deseret News readers

Regardless of who is named the starter at the beginning of the season, in DI football it takes at least 2 quarterbacks to get through a season. Depth is the ingredient that separates the Alabamas and Ohio States from the rest of the field.

Hall’s ability to run probably will get him the start ahead of Romney, but in Romney’s previous games he was cool and confident and made key plays when they were needed. Either one of these guys is capable of beating Utah BTW.

— Ghost Writer

I thought Zach was the wrong choice last year. I will not suggest or second guess the pick for 2021. But with this schedule BYU may need more than one quarterback to make it through the season.

— Rick For Truth

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Sept. 4 | 8:30 p.m. | Football | vs. Arizona | @Las Vegas