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Who is Kalani Sitake’s best assistant coach?

Top to bottom, this might be the best coaching staff BYU has had in a long time

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BYU head coach Kalani Sitake is flanked by members of his staff during a press conference the week of the Independence Bowl.

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake is flanked by members of his staff during a press conference Dec. 15, 2021, in Shreveport, Louisiana.

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BYU’s spring football practice sessions have been a productive bounce for quarterback Jaren Hall. Now that he’s healthy and has time to develop chemistry with his receivers, he is showing his elite athleticism on the field with Aaron Roderick’s offense.

BYU enters its third week of spring football and here are some of our targeted stories:

Cougar Insider predictions

Here is the question of the week: Who is Kalani Sitake’s best assistant coach or coaches and why?

Jay Drew: Man, this is a tough question. Top to bottom, this might be the best football coaching staff that BYU has had since I started covering the team in 2008. I say that knowing that former offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes was excellent and will probably be a head coach soon. I also thought Robert Anae was better than he was given credit for, but that’s probably a topic for another day.

I am going to say that second-year offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick and special teams coordinator/safeties coach Ed Lamb are the two best assistant coaches on the staff right now, followed closely by Ilaisa Tuiaki and linebackers coach Kevin Clune.

Lamb is sort of the brains behind the operation, I’ve been told. Sitake is obviously the heart and soul of the staff, and the emotional/motivational leader. Roderick is kind of a mixture of both. Players absolutely love him. His offense last year was outstanding, his play-calling above average.

Tuiaki is probably the most underrated coach on the staff; his defenses have consistently been solid, even through injuries and departures.

Dick Harmon: Yes, this is a hard one. Obviously, you have to look at Lamb and his value as a leader/organizer/personnel director for Sitake. Then you must credit Aaron Roderick for creating an effective offense. Tuiaki deserves more credit than criticism if you look at his work against the Pac 12 last year when his defenders were healthy. I like Fesi Sitake as a position coach and recruiter, and Clune and Darrell Funk have brought decades of experience to the staff. I personally like Steve Clark’s personal touch with players and his work with tight ends is impressive.

But if you get to the nitty-gritty, there are two positions that are performing higher than I’ve seen in decades from BYU. One is the receiver group. BYU may have had the best fleet of receivers ever in the past two seasons. This is on Fesi. The other is the cornerbacks. In both recruiting and onfield performance, the corners have been as consistent as BYU has had since 1996. This is on Jernaro Gilford. I think because of the unique challenge in bringing corners to BYU who are generally not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Black and not accustomed to the Utah culture, Gilford’s value is tremendous for Sitake. Gilford deserves a big raise, especially after landing Diablo Valley DB Roman Rashada this past week.

Cougar tales

Jeff Judkins’ women are headed to Ann Arbor for a first-round NCAA matchup against Villanova as a No. 6 seed on Saturday. Mark Pope’s squad will host Long Beach State Wednesday in an NIT first-round game as a No. 2 seed.

At the NCAA Track and Field Championships, Courtney Wayment won her third NCAA title.

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Comments from Deseret News readers

The defense actually started reasonably strong in 2021 before injuries piled up. They should start even stronger in 2022 having nearly everyone back and healthy again with more experience and some good young talent being added. The offense will be the strongest unit as long as Hall stays healthy. We may miss Baylor Romney as a proven back-up. Time will tell how the back-up QB battle sorts out.

— Cougarbib2

Once the Big XII expanded, the remaining schools are actually quite excited about the new prospect of having a conference where everyone has a seat at the table and UT and OU aren’t dictating how things will be. The only possible exception to that is Kansas, who thinks they belong in the B1G (but their football program says otherwise). I live in the heart of Big XII country and there is actually a lot of excitement around here about just that. In fact, BYU made a LOT of friends in the Dallas/Fort Worth/Waco area at the Baylor homecoming this past season as there were about 15,000 to 20,000 BYU fans there. The sports station that covers Baylor was talking about how well the BYU fans got along with the community. They talked about the fact that BYU fans donated a semi-full of food for the Baylor homecoming food drive and that the BYU players joined the Baylor players on the field for a post-game prayer. Baylor fans and players are looking forward to coming to Provo this coming season and I’m guessing their fans and players will be a class act. That’s anecdotal, but now that the dust has settled, it looks like things will be just fine in Big XII country. I mean there are two future Big XII schools in the top four of the NCAA basketball brackets and there was one in the football playoffs. So folks are getting used to the idea that the Big XII is going to be just fine. But who really knows how things will be beyond today?

TXAfganVet

Up next

March 16-19 | TBA | Women’s swimming | NCAA Championships | @Atlanta

March 16 | 6 p.m. | Men’s tennis | vs. Idaho | @Provo

March 16 | 7 p.m. | Men’s basketball NIT | vs. Long Beach State | @Provo

March 19 | 11 a.m. | Women’s basketball | vs. Villanova | @Ann Arbor, Michigan