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The way-too-early question in Kalani Sitake’s shakeup of his strength and conditioning staff is if the moves will help the squad avoid a rash of injuries that have plagued his program over the last few years. Every team has injuries and maybe there is no avoiding that, bad luck, collisions and impact injuries simply are part of the game. But soft-tissue injuries, sprains and muscle pulls could be part of how one trains and diets and if that’s the case in Provo it must be fixed.

Players say they have noticed some changes in how they feel in this piece out of the first week of spring drills.

Cougar Insider’s predictions

Question of the week: After three spring practice sessions, does it look like Aaron Roderick and Fesi Sitake will stick with the receivers in camp or look for help in the transfer portal?

Jay Drew: A few weeks ago, it was evident that BYU needed to bring in another experienced receiver, and that fact became even more clear when spring camp opened and receiver Kody Epps was not out there participating. Epps had shoulder surgery a bit ago and will miss spring practices, but should be back in time for fall camp. The only other receivers with experience back are Chase Roberts and Keanu Hill.

So yes, BYU coaches need to hit the transfer portal hard for a receiver or two, which receivers coach and passing game coordinator Fesi Sitake has said they will do as they look to replace Puka Nacua, Gunner Romney and Brayden Cosper.

Dom Henry has done some good things through the first week of camp, so there’s that. Hobbs Nyberg and Parker Kingston could also see time at the slot — in addition to returning punts and kickoffs. Sitake went hard after some transfer portal guys in January and February, to no avail. He said after spring camp ends they will reassess the position, but expects to jump back into the madness for another pass-catcher, or two.

Dick Harmon: It appears Chase Roberts, Keanu Hill and Hobbs Nyberg are capable of making plays with Kedon Slovis and it is expected Kody Epps will be back for fall. I like Dom Henry and Talmage Gunther. Parker Kingston is coming on and is fast. The issue is BYU can’t have enough receivers if you remember how Puka Nacua, Gunner Romney, Roberts and Epps were hurt for parts of last year.

The real key for Roderick is he has to have a few receivers who can take the top off a defense and force safeties to respect the deep ball. This opens up everything. We saw Romney and Nacua do just that while Epps made a living as a slot, picking holes and gaining extra yards. Is Henry going to be that guy? Is Kingston? We’ll need to see more from our limited practice availability to judge. But the coaches know.

If a transfer portal star with proven deep skills emerges, I think BYU will make a move to shore things up, adding a layer of talent to ensure they have enough weapons for Big 12 play. Depth is a real thing BYU needs to address. Imagine, if Epps isn’t ready to go in Game 1? What if he returns as your expected No. 1 guy and then can’t go through fall camp or play in September? You will need proven help from the portal.

Cougar tales

Casey Clinger took second place in the NCAA indoor championship 5,000 meters, while Olympic dreams for a former Cougar great Easton Allred are dashed by a rare disease as reported in this piece by Doug Robinson; and Kyle Van Noy opens up about this time at BYU.

From the archives

Related
Ty Detmer has no time for grudges with BYU — or anyone else
BYU football spring camp preview: Cougars enter Big 12 with lots of questions on defense

From the Twitterverse

Extra points

Why the Pac 12 struggles to get a TV deal (ESPN 960)

Whats next for BYU basketball? (KSLsports)

Why Whiting excited for women’s hoop (Deseret News)

Fanalyst

Comments from Deseret News readers

Probably BYU’s first few years in the Big 12 will be similar to Utah’s in the Pac 12, with rough sledding as they skill up to heavier competition. Recent history suggests some positive possibilities, such as 6-1 against the P12 in the past two years, including a win over the 2021 Pac 12 champions.<strong> </strong>

— Florwood

“Ty Detmer has no time for grudges with BYU — or anyone else”

No one has time for grudges in their life. Something we should all strive for! Thanks to Ty for reminding us that, in life, being a great person is more important than being great at what you do!

— Krylon

When the Pac implodes I do hope Utah is left out in the cold. As their fans tell us all the time, they are the best team ever and the Big-12 simply isn’t good enough for them. Heck, they would likely turn down the SEC, since they are so, so much superior to the likes of also-ran schools like Alabama, Georgia, and LSU.

And as for basketball.... the Utes cannot even beat a 10 seed in the Pac tournament. How are they going to play against the Big-12 basketball behemoth? BYU is gonna take their lumps, for sure —not gonna lie. But they at least have a chance of being good within a couple of years. The U? Please.

No, keep the Utes far, far away from the Big 12 or any other conference. Maybe the Sun Belt?

— Sliverinyourthumb

Up next

March 15 | 2 p.m. | Women’s tennis | vs. Fresno State | @Fresno, California

March 15 | 6 p.m. | Softball | vs. Utah | @Provo

March 16-18 | 7 p.m., 2 p.m. | Baseball | vs. LMU | @Los Angeles

March 17 | 7 p.m. | Women’s Basketball | vs. Rice in WNIT | @Provo

BYU coach Amber Whiting calls out from the bench during a game against Utah at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022. The Cougars will face Rice in the WNIT Friday night in Provo. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News