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Sitake provides alumni bash

Kalani Sitake will preside over the final week of spring football with a closed scrimmage Thursday followed by an open alumni game featuring some of the stars from yesteryear. What he’s found is an emerging, experienced offense with both size and speed and a reworked, healing defense with some exciting new faces recently signed as they have returned from missions.

How good will this team be in 2022? That remains to be seen, but it will be fun to watch the Cougars, led by QB Jaren Hall and a bevy of outstanding sure-handed receivers.

Here is a roundup of our spring football stories over the past week:

Cougar Insiders predictions

This week’s question: As spring football winds down, what do you think of the alumni game the athletic department/football staff will stage on Thursday? On another note, who is the prime figure/story of spring football in the Cougars camp?

Jay Drew: At first I was kind of skeptical of the alumni game taking the place of a regular spring game or scrimmage this year for BYU fans. But I gotta admit, the idea has grown on me. I find myself actually looking forward to it, to see what kind of spectacle it becomes — and how many hamstrings are tweaked. It is not an adequate replacement for a spring game with current players, but it will have to do. My guess is that fans would vote for an instrasquad game, even an intrasquad scrimmage, nine times out of 10. 

Honestly, I can’t remember the last time BYU had a full-fledged game to wrap up spring ball. Perhaps fans have grown accustomed to a reasonable facsimile.

As for the other question, I think the prime story that has emerged from spring camp is that the Cougars are bigger and stronger than they’ve been in years. There are some bonafide physical specimens walking around the student-athlete building these days. Kalani Sitake’s emphasis on weight room work appears to be paying off. We will see.

The prime figure? Easy. It is Jaren Hall. I can’t remember the last time there was no starting quarterback battle to speak of in Provo, but that’s the case in 2022 as the job is clearly Hall’s. All indications are that he is up to the task.

Dick Harmon: An actual spring game or scrimmage open to the public is an event that has been chipped apart since the days of Bronco Mendenhall. It has continued to be whittled down under Kalani Sitake. There are a few reasons. Protection from injuries is one, fielding an actual entertaining product for fans when you’ve watered it down and taken out stars is another.

I do think it will be fun to see Max Hall go up against Kevin Feterik — two successful figures from the past. There will be some plays made, some guys injured and muscles pulled. But the thing that impresses me is the passion some former players have to return and do this — even traveling from Arizona and California to do it for Kalani Sitake and his staff. Could you imagine the embarrassment if they tried this, put out the call and only six to 12 guys responded? Here is a link to the roster of this alumni game

As far as the prime figure? I’d agree with Jay about Hall — he looks impressive. But when I speak to coaches and players and ask what they know now that they didn’t four weeks ago, they all say Chris Brooks, the transfer RB from Cal, has had a huge impact on the offense in a short time.

Cougar Tales

Washington State ended BYU’s run in the NIT by upsetting the Cougars in the Marriott Center in the quarterfinals. Here is Jeff Call’s report on that upset and Mark Pope’s assessment after that loss on the future of the program. 

From the archives

‘Miraculous comeback’ has BYU runner Meghan Hunter back in the fast lane
Why BYU football recruiting faces successes, more challenges

From the Twitterverse

Extra points


Comments from Deseret News readers

“Hardly a surprise that Conover has separated himself. He’s very accurate, a natural processor and with 2 years to digest the playbook and watch film cut ups with coach Roderick, the separation was foregone. Only concern for him is the aggressive approach. It’s a two-edged sword. Something that got Wilson in trouble from time to time. Sometimes you just have to let it go.

“Glad to see Coach Roderick has put all options on the table offensively. Continue to believe he will need to up the use of his tight ends/fullback as both run blockers and receivers to win against this schedule.”

— Atkins

“I don’t know how coaches want to approach next season but I’m hoping they look to use it as a prep time for getting the new RM players (Tanner Toolson, Tanner Hayhurst, Richie Saunders and Dallin Hall) ready for playing in the Big 12 in 2023. I would give them every opportunity to play a lot and form some chemistry. We need to form a strong nucleus of young players and then add pieces to them like Jake Wahlin in 2023-24 followed by Colin Chandler in 2024-25.

“Would be good to keep working on developing Fouss and Atiki as the primary 5’s. The returning wings guys from this year I would keep as my backups, nice to have some experience in support roles. Would be good to find a PG in the portal and a stretch 4 who could consistently hit the 3 and help take some pressure off of Fouss and Atiki down low. We need consistent production from every position and if the guys we have now aren’t going to bring it every game then we need to find guys that will.”

— Grunchie Ralph

Up next

March 31 | TBA | Track and field | Hal Wing Collegiate Invitational | @Orem

March 31 | 6 p.m. | Football | Alumni game | @Provo

March 31 | 5 p.m. | Softball | vs. New Mexico | @Provo

April 1 | 7 p.m. | Softball | vs. New Mexico | @Provo

April 2 | 7 p.m. | Softball | vs. New Mexico | @Provo

March 31 | 3 p.m. | Baseball | vs. Saint Mary’s | @Moraga, California

April 1 | 1 p.m. | Baseball | vs Saint Mary’s | @Moraga, California

April 2 | 1 p.m. | Baseball | vs. Saint Mary’s | @Moraga, California