PROVO (ABC4 Sports) – These are tough times at BYU, and Kalani Sitake is taking the blame.
The Cougars are on a 3-game losing streak, they are 2-4 on the season, and things may get worse before they get better.
BYU faces #14 Boise State on Saturday at home before travelling to Logan to take on Utah State.
Sitake says if fans are looking for someone to blame, look to him.
“This is a team I’m hands on with everything.,” Sitake said. “So anything that is not functioning well is my fault. That’s how I look at it. I think it’s important for the team to know that this doesn’t define us. It’s how you respond to the tough times that people will remember the most. That’s what character is all about. I’m looking forward to fighting my way out of this.”
BYU players say they are the ones that didn’t make enough plays to beat Toledo or South Florida the last two games. But they respect and admire what Sitake is trying to do.
“For any of you fans out there or anybody who isn’t sure how we feel about him, that’s why we love Kalani,” said defensive lineman Bracken El-Bakri. “I wouldn’t want to play for anyone else. If I were ever to hear anything or anybody say anything about Kalani, makes me really angry. Because I feel a great loyalty to him because of that aspect of how he treats us.”
Sitake is in the final year of his contract and has not yet been offered an extension, so the team feels the sense of urgency to turn the season around quickly.
“His job, and obviously he doesn’t have the extension right now, so his job is on the line,” said linebacker Chaz Az You. “So, for him to put himself under the bus like that and kind of take the blame for the way that we’re playing, that shows a lot of love.”
Sitake did not say if Jaren Hall would be able to start at quarterback against the Broncos. Hall, who started his first game against USF after Zach Wilson broke his thumb, suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter against the Bulls.
If Hall is not cleared to play, Baylor Romney would make his first collegiate start.
“I’m comfortable with the coaching that he is receiving,” Sitake said. “I thought he came to the game with great poise. We can work with guys that have a lot of confidence.”
Whoever starts at quarterback, Sitake said his team will give a good effort.
“No one on this team is going to quit,” he said. “So, we’re looking forward to playing a ranked team in our house, and we’re excited for that moment.”
BYU hosts Boise State Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. at LaVell Edwards Stadium.