Having had a day and a half to analyze all that went wrong for the offense in last Saturday’s uninspiring 14-0 win over Sam Houston, BYU football coaches on Monday said the problems were humbling and even embarrassing at times, but can be fixed.

What head coach Kalani Sitake and offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick didn’t do in various interviews on Labor Day was offer excuses for getting only 12 first downs, 257 total yards and just one play of more than 20 yards.

“After talking with the coaches and players, there were very fixable things where we can be in a better position to have more success in all three phases. We feel like the mistakes, the miscues, and not being able to take advantage of opportunities, were costly, but things are very fixable.” — BYU football coach Kalani Sitake.

“There’s no time for that,” Sitake said.

There were also no major changes to the depth chart released Monday as the Cougars began preparations for Saturday’s encounter with Southern Utah (0-1), which served notice last Thursday that BYU’s Week 2 game will be no cakewalk with a 24-21 loss to Arizona State.

In fact, the only depth chart change came at kicker, as Will Ferrin is now the designated starter after he and Matthias Dunn shared that designation in Week 1. Ferrin booted both PATs against SH. His lone field goal try was blocked, but the player who blocked it was offsides, giving BYU a first down, and the Cougars ended up scoring their second touchdown on the possession.

Kody Epps and Keanu Hill are still listed as co-starters (with Parker Kingston, JoJo Phillips and Keelan Marion) at two of the three receiver spots, although neither Epps nor Hill played in the opener.

Epps has hamstring issues, while Hill’s injury is undisclosed. Both players went through pregame warmups Saturday night, then watched the game from the sidelines.

“Kody and Keanu are veteran players, guys we really count on,” Roderick said on his Coordinators’ Corner show. “Sure, (their absence) had an impact. … But first of all, no excuses. We just didn’t perform the way we were supposed to.”

Cougars on the air

Southern Utah (0-1)
at BYU (1-0)
Saturday, 1 p.m. MDT
Provo, Utah
TV: Big 12 Now on ESPN+
Radio: 102.7 FM/1160 AM

Will the returning starters who combined for 75 catches for 1,031 yards play against SUU this week?

“I hope to get them back soon, but I don’t know,” Roderick said. “Not sure right now.”

The OC did say that running back Hinckley “Folau” Ropati has been lost for the season with a knee injury, having undergone surgery last week.

Speaking of the running back situation, UNLV transfer Aidan Robbins got just seven carries for 23 yards Saturday and was replaced late in the third quarter by true freshman LJ Martin, who shined. Robbins is still RB1, followed by RB2 Deion Smith and RB3 Martin.

Running backs coach Harvey Unga said Wednesday that returner Miles Davis and Utah State transfer Enoch Nawahine are probably next in line for carries, after the top three.

Sitake said it is “tough to evaluate” Robbins’ performance on just seven carries, and hinted that some of the struggles rushing the ball can be attributed to breakdowns in other areas, such as the offensive line.

“I like his attitude, I like his buy-in. I like his belief in the system,” Sitake said of Robbins. “He is going to have to keep leading us and helping our team. We feel like we have a good corps of running backs that we can use. Some weeks you are going to get more carries than (others) until we can get guys to really take the initiative and take ownership of the position.”

Roderick said the Cougars are going to need all three running backs, maybe more, as the season progresses.

“There is no way we are going to go the whole season with just one guy,” he said. “It is too physical of a game. … Once in a while you have a season like Tyler Allgeier did (in 2021). But you are usually going to need two or three guys.”

Basically, Sitake, Roderick and the only offensive player who addressed the media Monday — Cedar City native Mason Fakahua, a fullback — said the issues that plagued the offense are correctable.

“After talking with the coaches and players, there were very fixable things where we can be in a better position to have more success in all three phases,” Sitake said. “We feel like the mistakes, the miscues, and not being able to take advantage of opportunities, were costly, but things are very fixable.”

Sitake allowed that having so many new faces on offense “could be a factor,” but many of the mistakes came from veterans who have performed well at BYU and also at other schools.

“I know some guys are embarrassed by the way they performed on offense,” Sitake said. “Let’s just keep building on (the positives). We gotta find ways to get better. You don’t get better by sitting around feeling sorry for yourself. So everyone is a veteran now.”

Of the 11 offensive players who touched the ball, only four were on the team last year: Fakahua, Parker Kingston, Miles Davis and Chase Roberts.

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“We have to be accountable and honest about it,” Roderick said. “We looked ragged at times. Our execution was not at the standard we are used to here, and so we will get back to basics this week and we will get things right. It is my job to get them back on track.

“I still have a lot of belief in this team,” Roderick continued. “I have no doubts that we are going to be a great offense this year.”

Obviously, well-traveled quarterback Kedon Slovis struggled in his BYU debut, throwing 13 incomplete passes. The USC and Pitt transfer admitted as much in the postgame news conference.

Roderick said that will change.

“Kedon has proven to be a good player, and we need to get a little bit better execution around him and I think we will see his play take off as the season progresses,” Roderick said. “I mean, he didn’t have his best game, but it is hard to play when you are having the kind of ragged play around him that we demonstrated the other night.”