With a new era being ushered in at BYU, there will be plenty of story lines to watch during fall camp.
Provo, UT – It’s only been 10 weeks since BYU last played, but this is a much different program than the one that left the Las Vegas Bowl with a loss to rival Utah.
The Bronco Mendenhall era is now a thing of the past, and the Kalani Sitake era has begun to the open arms of fans, players, alumni, and administration. Not even an hour after the clock hit 00:00 in the bowl game, Athletic Director Tom Holmoe announced that Kalani Sitake would be handed the reigns to his alma mater.
That was just the beginning of an eventful offseason.
Since that time, BYU has completed their football staff, signed the school’s highest ranked recruiting class since 2010, retained Taysom Hill’s services, and reinvigorated the BYU fanbase.
The new era has created intrigue heading into spring ball which will take place over 15 practices during the month of March and will finish with a spring scrimmage held at LaVell Edwards Stadium on March 26th.
Among the storylines for spring ball is the return of star running back Jamaal Williams. Williams withdrew from school before the 2015 season and spent the year rehabilitating his injured knee and will be ready to participate in spring camp. Williams currently sits at 2,526 career yards and will be eying the BYU rushing record of 3,455 previously set by Harvey Unga.
Williams will be aided by new offensive coordinator Ty Detmer who will be implementing a pro-style system, opposed to the spread option system that was run under former play caller Robert Anae. Detmer hopes to transition to the offense that BYU has run historically which relied heavily on a power run game and use of big, pass catching tight ends.
Tanner Mangum will get his feet wet and have the opportunity to get physical, first team reps while Taysom Hill continues to rehab from his season ending lis franc injury. While the quarterback battle won’t be a major storyline during spring camp, it will be a stepping stone to the fall camp show down when both players are expected to be able to participate 100%.
Defensively, BYU will begin to part ways with the infamous 3-4 system that the school has been able to use to develop an array of talented linebackers.
Defensive Coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki will be aided in the transition by Kalani Sitake who has coached 4-3 systems during his previous stints at Utah and Oregon State. This change will be without star DT Travis Tuiloma who suffered a lis franc injury in the final series of the game against Utah and will be unable to participate in spring ball. In addition, heralded 4* DT Handsome Tanielu will be unable to participate as he has not yet enrolled in school.
The lack of these two player will allow younger players to learn the system and develop familiarity heading into fall camp.
Even with the change of the defensive scheme, the secondary will see a similar lay out, possibly playing more man coverage under secondary coach Jernaro Gilford. BYU has much more depth than usual at the corner position and will see plenty of battles between Michael Davis, Micah Hannemann, Dayan Lake, Michael Shelton, and 4* recruit Troy Warner. There is a possibility that one or more of these players may see a move to safety in order to get the best 11 players on the field but the definite plan remains to be seen.
There will be plenty to learn about this staff for the players, media, and fans. The road to Glendale begins tomorrow, look to ESPN 960 for all your fall camp coverage throughout the month.