PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Are you ready for some football? BYU is. It’s only June 22nd, but the Cougars held their annual football media day today, and they’re anxious to put last year behind them.
“We’ve been wanting to get to the next season ever since last season ended”, said head coach Kalani Sitake. “For our guys, its just the anticipation is really up there to show what we can do.”
Senior QB Tanner Mangum added, “I think the mood right now is excitement, optimism, just a fresh start, we’ve got a clean slate.”
And defensive lineman Corbin Kaufusi said, “We’ve got a lot of stuff we have to prove, and I’m excited about that. It’s kind of fun to come in as the underdog, the Rocky Balboa.”
“We have a chip on our shoulder, an ax to grind,” said Sitake, “All that fun stuff you can use, I think that’s an easier way to motivate your players when people are doubting you.”
Most of the attention will be on the offense, where there are big expectations. That falls to new offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes.
“There should be an expectation for our offense,” said Grimes. “I would rather be at a place where they expected us to win games and play at a really high level than be at a place where not really many people cared about the team and the offense.”
BYU fans care about the offense, and they want more of it. They’re anxious to see what Grimes’ new offense will look like.
“I think they’ll see an offense that goes out and plays with energy and passion the way that this game calls you to play it if you’re going to play it well, and I think they’ll see a team that plays tough and physical and disciplined” he said.
Of course everyone wants to know, who will be the starting QB this year? But Sitake didn’t have any answers.
“You didn’t expect me to name a quarterback today, so I’m not going to give it to you, but we don’t know yet.”
“We’re all fighting for that, that’s part of the goal,” said Mangum, who was the starter last year until he got injured. “In the quarterback room we all understand that’s what we’re vying for. Fighting for each other’s job, but at the same time we’re on the same team and we want to help each other be better.”
Being better is the main goal for the Cougars in 2018, and even though the season is still 70 days away, they are ready.
“Yeah, I’m ready to go, lets put the pads on,” said Sitake. “I wish I was still playing. I feel that way in my mind, but my body is like, ‘What are you talking about?'”