Quarterback Kedon Slovis took the brunt of the blame for BYU’s abysmal offensive showing in the 44-11 loss to TCU last week, saying after the game that “it starts with me” and that he has to “play a lot better” if the Cougars are going to win Big 12 games.

He’s not alone.

“Yeah, we have good guys on this team. I appreciate their accountability. It starts with me. I told the players Monday the product on the field is my responsibility and it hasn’t been good enough. I will never blame them. I will always stand here and take any questions and take any heat that comes.” — BYU OC Aaron Roderick

Since the Cougars lost their second game of the season and looked almost inept on both sides of the ball at Amon G. Carter Stadium, receivers Kody Epps and Keanu Hill and even offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick have stepped up and called themselves out for not getting the job done.

“I am looking so inward right now,” said Epps, who had two catches for 14 yards in his first significant action of the season. “I have to play extremely better. I take a lot of accountability for the struggles we had (against) TCU. … I have to play better.”

Backsliding BYU (1-2, 4-2) faces another team desperate for a win, Texas Tech (2-2, 3-4), on Saturday at 5 p.m. at LaVell Edwards Stadium with the prevailing notion among many fans that bowl eligibility may be on the line for the Cougars.

The drubbing in Fort Worth exposed issues in all three phases of the game, coach Kalani Sitake said Monday. On Wednesday, Roderick said the most glaring one in his eyes is the offense’s inability to convert on third down.

“Yeah, we have good guys on this team. I appreciate their accountability. It starts with me. I told the players Monday the product on the field is my responsibility and it hasn’t been good enough,” Roderick said. “I will never blame them. I will always stand here and take any questions and take any heat that comes.”

October represents an important stretch of games for Hill, who caught just one pass for 2 yards against the Horned Frogs, and isn’t off to the kind of start he envisioned. The junior from Bedford, Texas, (Trinity High) has also battled nagging injuries all season, as Epps has.

Hill’s father, Lloyd, was an All-American at Texas Tech and played for the Chicago Bears. His uncle, Roy Williams, played for Texas and the Dallas Cowboys.

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He said Monday that before he can focus on winning bragging rights from his dad and uncle, he’s got to get his own game on track. One of the problems last week was that BYU’s receivers struggled to get off the line of scrimmage against TCU’s man-press defense, and didn’t get a lot of separation downfield for Slovis to find them open.

“There are things we can do better as a whole and as individuals,” said Hill, who has just 10 catches for 118 yards and a touchdown this season. “We gotta do our job as far as getting open, and another thing is even if we are not open, just making the tough catches. … That’s one thing we gotta work on.”

Redshirt sophomore Chase Roberts leads the Cougars in catches (27) and receiving yards (421) and has been the most consistent, and most healthy, receiver through the first half of the 2023 season.

“We don’t really think of it that way, but Chase has been very productive and he is playing good football. He has been a bright spot in a situation that has been difficult,” Roderick said.

Epps’ struggles with a hamstring injury since fall camp have been well documented. As for Hill, Roderick said the Texan has been “pretty banged up” but has persevered.

“For a few weeks now, he’s not quite 100% but he is just a really tough kid,” Roderick said. “He keeps wanting to play every week, but he is limited right now. … He is just battling through it.”

More help could be on the way for the offense in the form of Aidan Robbins, the transfer from UNLV who got off to a slow start in Provo and has been sidelined by a rib injury. 

Cougars on the air


Texas Tech (2-2, 3-4)
at BYU (1-2, 4-2)
Saturday, 5 p.m. MDT
LaVell Edwards Stadium
TV: FS1
Radio: 102.7 FM/1160 AM


“I think there’s a good chance he will play this week, and we (have) missed him,” Roderick said. “Aidan is a great player, and he did a great job in fall camp and obviously we watched very closely what he did last year. He rushed for a thousand yards last year. So we would love to get him back and are looking forward to his return.”

Roderick said a good way to take some pressure off Slovis and the receivers is to get the running game going. The Cougars rank dead last in the Football Bowl Subdivision in yards per carry, 2.38.

“Yeah, (Slovis) didn’t have a great game (against TCU),” Roderick said. “But nobody did. Saturday was not a good day at all. It starts with me, and I take responsibility for it. I have a lot of belief in him and expect him to bounce back and play well.”

BYU quarterback Kedon Slovis yells before a play during game against TCU, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Fort Worth, Texas.
BYU quarterback Kedon Slovis yells before a play during game against TCU, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Fort Worth, Texas. | LM Otero, Associated Press