Tuesday, December 24, 2019
The Kalani Sitake Show
I work with a youth group in my church, as an advisor for 14-15 year-old boys. We had the opportunity to take the boys to attend a live taping of the weekly BYU Football with Kalani Sitake show in BYUtv studios. Five years into Sitake's coaching tenure, I'm still not convinced he's the right man for the job. On the other hand, I don't know who else would be. To be the head coach of a BYU athletics program, a coach must live the highest standards of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A head coach must attend church regularly, cannot drink or smoke, and must pay a full 10% tithing on all income. Many members of the Church throughout the world do these things as part of our faith, but not many of them are FBS football head coaches.
On the set, Kalani was charismatic and friendly. He took questions from the audience during commercial breaks and gave guidance to some younger children in attendance. After the taping, we all had a chance to go down and meet the coach.
You can see me because I am a)not blurred out, and b)not Tongan. The rest of the faces are blurred out because most of them are minors and I'm not putting them out on the interwebs.
The funny thing about this bipolar season is that the defense has been not great for a good part of it. But of the departing seniors playing their final game tonight, the two that I think have a legitimate shot of playing on Sundays are both defenders. Go figure. First, safety Austin Lee has received an invite to participate in the East-West Shrine Game, where he'll have a chance to show the coaches his nose for the ball. The other is do-everything DB Dayan Ghanwoloku. Dayan has started just about everywhere in the secondary and has some solid coverage skills. He's not the fastest guy around, so maybe he'll project as a safety. I'll miss those two and their playmaking abilities.
I certainly miss high-level quarterback play. In the past decade, we have been having a recurring nightmare: a freshman quarterback comes in, plays really well, gets our hopes up, and then regresses over the next few seasons. Jake Heaps did it. Tanner Mangum did it. Zac Wilson looks like he might be on the same path. After looking great last year, Zac has created some doubt about his decision-making in his sophomore season. Adding to the doubt is the fact that backup Baylor Romney has outplayed Wilson this season. (Wilson missed four games with a broken thumb.) Romney is--you guessed it--a freshman. Ty Detmer was once thrust into the game as a freshman when the starter got hurt. Two years later, Detmer won the Heisman as a junior. We seem to have some promise at QB right now, but I won't be predicting a Heisman any time soon.
The Cougs currently have a 5-game win streak over the Rainbow Warriors, but Hawaii always makes me nervous. I think it's a little PTSD from 2001. That year BYU, led by Doman and Doak Walker Winner Luke Staley, was 12-0 and ranked #9, angling for the first BCS bid ever by a mid-major. They went into Honolulu for the season finale and left with a 72-45 beatdown. Let's hope for better results tonight.