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What stands out most about this BYU football team?

BYU wrapped up fall camp this week and now turns its focus on season opener at South Florida

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BYU running back Chris Brooks carries the ball during final scrimmage of fall camp at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

BYU running back Chris Brooks carries the ball during final scrimmage of fall camp at LaVell Edwards Stadium Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, in Provo.

Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo

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

BYU officially brought fall camp to an end this week and now pulls all the levers on game preparation for the Sept. 3 opener in Tampa with South Florida.

Here are some of our camp stories leading up to Sitake’s coaches and players putting on their game faces, preparing a depth chart and travel roster.

  • Hopes high for receiving corps (Jay Drew)
  • Brooks ignoring all the hype (Jay Drew)
  • Cougars expect hot, muggy opener (Jay Drew)
  • *What’s the status of Chaz Ah You? (Jay Drew)
  • Some bold predictions by media (Dick Harmon)
  • Defense making noise (Dick Harmon)
  • How new NIL deal benefits players (Jay Drew)
  • Meaningless preseason ranking is still news for Cougars (Dick Harmon)
  • Safeties room looking deep, athletic (Jay Drew)

Cougar Insiders predictions

Question of the week: At the conclusion of fall camp this week, work begins on South Florida. What stands out about BYU’s football team so far?

Jay Drew: Although media access to BYU’s fall camp has been as limited as I can ever remember it being, a couple of things stand out about this team. First, there is as much team speed — from the receivers to the corners, safeties and even linebackers — as the Cougars have ever had. Some of the newer guys can really, really run.

Second, there are no glaring holes in the two-deep. BYU should be able to sustain injuries this year better than last — except at the quarterback position. A Jaren Hall injury feels like it would be devastating. 

Third, it appears the Cougars have put a major emphasis on identifying their pass rushers and putting them in positions to succeed. Kalani Sitake has preached the importance of the defense wreaking havoc for several years now, and I think the fruits of those labors will pay off in 2022.

Dick Harmon: Limited access means a lot of guessing, but in talking to sources on the team, there is a lot of confidence and hope in this season. Because there are so many experienced players returning, this camp was accelerated and a lot of work was accomplished fast. The corners are the real deal and man coverage could be as good as the program has seen since 1996. Because BYU can play man cover defense, it should open up things to bring more pressure — and that’s what this team needs. If it leads to disruption and gaining turnovers, this could be a special season. 

The hype for this offense is legitimate and that’s due to Jaren Hall, his protectors/blockers and the skill of the receiving corps. It’s hard to remember a time BYU had this many quality, athletic, speedy targets. Chris Brooks is the real deal. This should be fun to watch with a schedule to match. Get the popcorn ready.

Cougar tales

Here’s a collection of interesting stories, trends and developments with football and basketball.

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Extra points


Comments from Deseret News readers:

Conover should play the entire game against UTTech. He should also play clean up two or three games if, as claimed, BYU is as good as the hullabaloo. They SHOULD be better than last year, which means they could beat Baylor at home, Oregon on the road and Arkansas at home. Now, if they will not go to sleep on the lesser population they could put together another 10-2 or better year. Dreaming it anyway …

— Demitri

Harmon includes the link to his No. 13 strength of schedule claim above. The same link includes a No. 107 ranking for the Utes that UteFan has been frothing about for a couple of weeks.

This ranking is based on the win/loss records last year of teams on this year’s schedule. The Cougs opponents last year? 93-60. ... the Utes opponents last year? 71-80. Utes opponents (nine of which will come from the ever-so-tough Pac-12) this year had the 107th worst winning percentage out of 130 teams. Oh my!

Yep, that’s not a perfect measure, but at least it is hard data and not just speculation based on conference affiliation and projected 2022 performance.

— Coug4life

Up next

Aug. 26 | Noon | Women’s volleyball | vs. Rider | @Provo

Aug. 26 | 4 p.m. | Soccer | vs. Ohio State | @Columbus, Ohio

Aug. 26 | 7 p.m. | Women’s volleyball | vs. Duke | @Provo

Aug. 27 | 7 p.m. | Women’s volleyball | vs. Washington State | @Provo

Sept. 3 | 2 p.m. | Football | vs. South Florida | @Tampa, Florida


The Cougars put the wraps on fall camp Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, in Provo. Beginning Thursday, BYU will turn its full attention on season-opening game at South Florida.

Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo