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Kalani Sitake and defensive coordinator Jay Hill added another staff member to BYU’s defensive coaching staff with the hire of Justin Ena from San Diego State. Ena has had an impressive coaching career at multiple stops along the way.
In the other big news since the bowl win over SMU, the Cougars signed former Pitt and USC quarterback Kedon Slovis, a coveted transfer portal product.
Cougar Insiders predictions
Give your assessment of senior transfer QB Kedon Slovis and what kind of impact he might make for offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick.
Jay Drew: I think the acquisition of former USC and Pitt quarterback Kedon Slovis will be a favorable one for the Cougars. It was obvious since the middle of the season when Aaron Roderick showed he had no faith in backup QB Jacob Conover that BYU would be in the market for an experienced, savvy QB out of the transfer portal, and I don’t think it could have done much better than Slovis.
Sure, he wasn’t as good at Pitt as he was at USC, but I think BYU’s offense fits his style better and he will flourish in Provo. Also, BYU fans should trust Roderick; he’s shown the ability to develop quarterbacks, tailor his offense to their strengths and put up good numbers.
I still think the Cougars need to get a high-caliber receiver out of the transfer portal, if they can, an addition that will make Slovis’ time at BYU even more productive.
Dick Harmon: Two things stand out about Aaron Roderick choosing to bring in Kedon Slovis. First, it does mean his trust level in Conover was fragile. Second, Slovis is a quality QB who has faced three seasons of Power Five competition. Back in high school, USC saw something in Slovis and he was productive as a Trojan. At Desert Mountain High in Arizona, he passed for 5,549 yards and 50 touchdowns with 11 interceptions in two seasons and he was coached by NFL Hall of Famer Kurt Warner.
Finally, Slovis has a very strong and accurate arm. He has the kind of range Roderick likes for his offense so he can stretch a defense and find vulnerabilities. He’s proven able to do that with Jaren Hall and Zach Wilson. This solid move will play dividends as Roderick develops the QB room. It’s nice to have a bowl MVP in Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters in the wings to fiddle with in some formations.
BYU basketball began WCC play with a 2-0 record for only the fourth time in school history, and when the Cougars visit Loyola Marymount this week their seven-game win streak will be tested. The Cougars seem to be a team that wins despite struggles with turnovers, a trend that hasn’t abated. In this piece, Jeff Call sets expectations for BYU’s final season in the WCC.
BYU’s women’s team defeated Saint Mary’s and created a 3-0 win streak on the strength of Nani Falatea’s 24 points.
BYU lost a freshman offensive lineman Sione Veikoso in a construction accident in Hawaii over the holidays. The death of Veikoso sent the team into mourning as the new year arrived.
From the archives
From the Twitterverse
Utah hasn't beat a non-Pac-12 team in a P5 conference since 2017. 0-5. BYU is 4-2 vs non-Pac-12 P5 teams in the same timeframe. With all due respect.— Robby McCombs (@rtmccombs) January 3, 2023
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Comments from Deseret News readers:
Cougar fan here ... but I must say BYU is never going to be a top team in the WCC until they learn from their mistakes they’ve been making all season long in the turnover game!
Yes, we’re 2-0 in the conference, but look who we’ve played. It’s good to get a win against Portland, but they are a sub-.500 team and were without their two leading scorers against the Cougars. Don’t expect any wins against the top three or four teams in the WCC when we hand the opponents 19 turnovers in a game. That’s 19 additional offensive opportunities to score that the opposition wouldn’t have had otherwise! This Cougars team is not skilled or consistent enough to give away the ball so often to teams that will make them pay for their sloppy ballhandling, dribbling and careless passing.
Slovis’ numbers at Pitt were down. Let’s look at why they were down.
He transfers to Pitt on Dec 21, 2021, to play for then-OC Mark Whipple, who made Kenny Pickett a first-round NFL draft pick, and to play with Addison Jordan, a top-tier NFL WR.
Whipple resigns to go to Nebraska and USC pays Jordan $3.5M to transfer. (More than JuJu Schuster makes in the NFL.)
New Pitt OC Frank Cignitti Jr. brings in a new offense that is completely different.
Slovis gets hurt in the second game of the season, an overtime loss to Tennessee, and isn’t ever quite right for the next month and a half. His completion percentage drops and yards per game drop. The fit isn’t good either, hence the transfer to a place where the offensive system is established and the fit is good.
That being said, nobody knows how he will do at BYU, but I trust John Beck’s opinion that it is a good fit for both sides. BYU does need an experienced QB. The uncertainty of it all is why we watch.
Jan. 5 | 9 p.m. | Men’s basketball | vs. Loyola Marymount | @Los Angeles
Jan. 6 | 5 p.m. | Swimming | vs. University of Denver | @Denver
Jan. 7 | Noon | Gymnastics | Super16 Vegas Meet | @Las Vegas
Jan. 7 | 2 p.m. | Women’s basketball | vs. San Diego | @Provo
Jan. 7 | 6 p.m. | Men’s basketball | vs. San Diego | @San Diego
Jan. 7 | 7 p.m. | Men’s volleyball | vs. Lewis | @Provo