ARLINGTON, Texas — The five football players selected by BYU to represent the school at the Big 12 football media days this week did a lot of talking Wednesday at AT&T Stadium, and hung around doing interviews well after the time they were asked to give.

The Deseret News spoke to all five, and we asked a lot of football-related questions, as can be expected. 

Seeing as how it was the first time since 2010 that BYU has participated in a conference’s football media day — having been independent before July 1 — we asked the players for their overall take on the long day of Q&A, and if they could remember the strangest question they received out of the hundreds they answered.

Here’s a rundown:

Quarterback Kedon Slovis

The transfer from USC and then Pitt said he couldn’t remember being asked for advice on how to handle media days from head coach Kalani Sitake, instead saying that Sitake was “in his element” and didn’t need any help from the well-traveled graduate transfer.

“Kalani doesn’t need any advice,” Slovis said. “If anything, he gave me advice. He’s the best. I actually asked him in the car on the way here, ‘Hey, if I get this question, how do you want me to answer it?’ He is such a great human, and the way he goes about life, he is so humble.”

As for the experience, Slovis said it was more memorable than anything else he’s done with the media.

“Yeah, I mean, when I was at USC, we weren’t in Jerry’s World. Just a little bit bigger stage here, and a lot more people are here, I think,” he said. “It has been really exciting. And just to see this kind of atmosphere and excitement is crazy. There were no (new) schools coming into the (Pac-12) conference, either. So this is pretty special.”

Slovis couldn’t immediately recall any strange or unusual questions.

Linebacker Ben Bywater

“I would sum up the day as extraordinary, even electric,” Bywater said. “Legendary. Electric. Yeah, use that word — electric.”

Bywater said he was asked for “two truths and a lie,” which is apparently a new game sweeping the country. He said he was unfamiliar with that, but decided to play along.

“I said I’ve been to 17 countries, I have more than 50 pairs of shoes, and I had a skater face growing up (in Salt Lake City),” Bywater said. “And the 50 pairs of shoes was a lie. I have like, five to 10 pair, is all.”

Bywater said the trip on a charter jet and talkfest was his last major event of the summer. Now it is time to get back to work.

“Man, just locking in time,” he said. “I am just going to be in the weight room, in the film room, from now until fall camp, just trying to get better.”

BYU linebacker Ben Bywater speaks to reporters during the Big 12 football media days in Arlington, Texas, Wednesday, July 12, 2023. | LM Otero, Associated Press

Receiver Kody Epps

Epps spent a lot of time talking about why he entered the transfer portal in early May, then withdrew and returned to BYU two days later. The Deseret News will publish an article on that later this week.

But Epps also spent a lot of time expressing gratitude for being chosen to represent BYU.

“Man, it is something I don’t take for granted. I texted coach A Rod (Aaron Roderick) and I gotta text coach Fesi (Sitake). I said thank you so much for allowing me to be here. And I texted coach Kalani (Sitake) and said thank you so much for allowing me to be a leader out here.

“To be able to come out here and represent not only the university but my teammates, my coaches, my family and (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), because that’s the brand of BYU, is so special to me. It is a blessing and something I am going to remember for the rest of my life.”

Related
BYU football: Coach Kalani Sitake charms, entertains reporters at his first Big 12 football media day
‘Nothing on the board’: Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark says westward expansion is not imminent for ‘hipper, cooler, younger’ league

Epps said the strangest question came from some young reporters named Jonathan and Chase.

“They have a booth of beef jerky, and they asked me, ‘What is your beef? Who do you have a beef with in the world right now?’”

His answer: “I told them typically people who can’t drive. But I never do anything crazy about it. It is kind of an internal beef. It kinda irritates me sometimes. … But hey, anybody that is a Cougar fan, you are a great driver.”

BYU wide receiver Kody Epps speaks to reporters during the Big 12 college media days in Arlington, Texas, Wednesday, July 12, 2023. | LM Otero, Associated Press

Defensive end Tyler Batty

Along with doing at least one interview in Spanish, which was the language he learned on his mission to Madrid, Spain, Batty said the day was “awesome” and one he will never forget.

“It has been great to be here,” he said. “This is totally different than anything we’ve ever experienced before, in my four years. This is crazy. But we are super stoked to be here, to be in the Big 12, and everything has been first-class and awesome.”

Batty said the strangest question was being asked if Disney were to make a movie about somebody on the BYU football team, who would it be, and why.

“And that kind of left me at a loss for words. I went with Kody (Epps) because he’s a nice, feel-good, charismatic guy and I can see a nice, good Hallmark kind of movie coming out of Kody. But that was a tough question.”

Punter Ryan Rehkow

Rehkow, who is 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds, fielded a lot of questions about him being the only specialist appearing at media days, but took them in stride and had a good time answering them.

Related
Big 12 hitches its wagon to Cowboys’ star
View Comments

“Yeah, it is pretty cool,” he said. “I am asking everybody, ‘Do I really belong here?’ But we will take it, and it is an honor. … Physically, I fit in. They say, BYU sent a punter? Really? And I say yeah, they wanted me here, for some reason.”

Batty and Rehkow are both married, so the punter and defensive end fielded some questions about that, which as BYU fans know is not that uncommon in Provo.

But the strangest question the recent graduate of BYU’s Marriott School of Business fielded caught him a bit off guard.

“The hardest one was, ‘What are the three things you will remember forever?’ That is like a deep question, and we were getting pretty surface-level questions, and then they just threw that in there,” he said. “I said, ‘omigosh, I gotta reflect into my inner soul right now to give them a good answer.’”

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.