Provo • BYU football coach Kalani Sitake said Monday that the entire team has to share the blame for the 40-24 loss at Utah State last Friday, and that includes the coaching staff.
Some questionable administrative decisions were made, he acknowledged. Most notably, some offensive play calls were puzzling, including the decision to pass the ball on first down with a 21-7 lead. The throw deflected off a USU player’s back and was returned for a touchdown.
Another ill-advised pass was intercepted by USU’s Dallin Leavitt with 33 seconds remaining and turned into a field goal. A running play on 4th-and-4 at the USU 42 was stuffed for no gain.
“You guys know I have been disappointed in the [offensive] production,” Sitake said. “There’s a lot of things come into the production of an offense, not just solely the play-calling. It is everything combined. There is a piece of blame to go in a lot of different places, and our goal is to get those things shored up. Obviously, you want to improve in every aspect. So play-calling would be one of them and that goes with the game plan and the scheme and personnel and all that involves. I hate to just pick on one thing and give it too much blame or too much credit.”
Praise for Utah State
Sitake hesitated to focus on BYU’s plethora of mistakes and turnovers in the loss at Utah State because he said it “would be too disrespectful” to the Aggies.
“You have to give them credit. They made some plays and they caused some turnovers,” Sitake said. “Their crowd made some noise that caused us to get false start penalties. They were prepared. They had a good game plan. They won the game, so I don’t want to say, ‘oh, we gave this game away.’ They did some really good things to earn the win.”
Burt back to running back
Riley Burt warmed up with the running backs Friday night before the Utah State game, but did not see any action. Monday, Sitake confirmed that the sophomore is back playing running back after having been switched to defense before the LSU game.
“There are a lot of things going into his background as to why he isn’t getting more reps,” Sitake said. “But we are probably looking forward to seeing him on the field a little bit more.”
Overall, Sitake is pleased with how the running backs have performed.
“Ula [Tolutau] is starting to answer the call. His body is feeling better,” Sitake said. “Squally Canada is doing better. Kavika [Fonua] has been slowed down with injuries. We have to adjust, but the running backs we have, they have a solid offensive line to run behind, and so that should help them out.”
Junior scatback Trey Dye is also still in the mix, while KJ Hall is out with an arm injury.
Defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki said on his weekly Coordinators’ Corner radio show that defensive tackle Tevita Mo’unga is out for the remainder of the season with an undisclosed injury. Mo’unga played in three games and made seven tackles. … Sitake said the Cougars practiced and watched film on Saturday, so Monday was like a Tuesday in terms of preparation for Friday’s game. … Boise State is the first of three teams the Cougars will face coming off a bye. Next week’s opponent, Mississippi State, has a bye this weekend and San Jose State will have a bye before traveling to BYU on Oct. 28.