Provo • Kalani Sitake has had many conversations with athletic director Tom Holmoe through the course of one of the worst seasons in school history, the second-year BYU football coach said Monday during his last formal press conference of the year.
“I know where we sit, and I know how to get it fixed, and how to improve,” Sitake said after the Cougars dropped to 3-9 with an embarrassing 16-10 loss to UMass last Saturday. “And that’s the goal, to improve on it. But the main focus right now is to win this [final] game. Because that could help out a lot.”
BYU has lost nine games for the first time since 1955, when it went 1-9 and only defeated Los Angeles State, 33-0. It hasn’t lost 10 games in a season since it went 0-11 in 1949.
The Cougars will travel to Hawaii on Wednesday night, practice in the Islands Thursday and Friday and take on the Warriors (3-8) on Saturday at Aloha Stadium.
BYU at Hawaii
When • Saturday, 7 p.m.
TV • CBSSN
There are no indications that Sitake’s job is in jeopardy — Holmoe rarely speaks to the media and has not publicly said anything negative about the program’s situation the entire season — but the coach acknowledged he is aware that there are plenty of critics regarding his performance this season.
Offensive coordinator Ty Detmer, also in his second year, is also under fire, again, after the offense digressed from its 31-point performance against UNLV on Nov. 10.
Sitake described the conversations with Holmoe as “good” and chose his words carefully on Monday after fielding questions about the dismal season and the Cougars’ history with former rival Hawaii.
“Tom has been around. He’s been an AD for a long time,” Sitake said. “I value his opinion and his advice. So, yeah, he and [Associate AD] Brian [Santiago] have been good resources for me. We have been in communication quite a bit.”
Asked whether those conversations have been positive, Sitake hesitated slightly before answering.
“Yeah, I mean, it is just part of communication,” Sitake said. “I think it covers all the bases, so yeah, it is not. .. It is just part of life. You just communicate. So, it is hard to say, like, ‘are all your communications with your friends all positive?’ The point is you communicate, you talk. So that’s what it comes down to.”
Sitake said the Cougars are leaving Wednesday and will spend Thanksgiving in Oahu because past history has shown that when BYU teams have arrived three days before the game they tend to play better in Hawaii.
“The focus will be on trying to get this win and trying to send the seniors out on a win and also try to set the tone for next season and something we can work off of,” Sitake said.