The BYU Cougars practiced inside the the Indoor Practice Facility on Monday morning as week four of spring camp began with their 10th of 15 practices. The theme as the Cougars enter the final third of their spring practices is to continue to build towards a climax during the program’s annual spring game April 7 at LaVell Edwards Stadium (11 a.m. MDT).
“One more practice done and I feel good about it,” Head coach Kalani Sitake stated when evaluating the day. “Obviously, nothing is perfect, but we have some good film to build on and some guys are stepping up and making some plays. I’m really pleased with the progress we are making right now in spring ball. We are trying to finish off the last two weeks strong.”
BYU has been moving multiple players to new positions to this spring and former Jordan High School star Austin Kafentzis is on the move again moving to the defensive backfield as a safety after stints at quarterback, wide receiver and running back. Tight end Matt Bushman mentioned it is never fun to see offensive players switch to defense but that he was happy for Kafentzis.
“He’s just an athletic guy,” Bushman said. “I know his dad played in the NFL for a couple years at safety, so hopefully he can get a couple of tips. He’s just an awesome athlete, so I think that he will step up and do well.”
Coach Sitake explained the reasoning for the position change in more detail.
“We thought he could be on the field a lot more…in the safety position, there are some opportunities for him to run with the twos” Sitake explained. “We thought it would be good for him to get some reps and I think he is a great athlete. He did some great things in the scrimmage for not being a safety very long. The goal is to get the best 11 on the field. We are trying to get the best guys that give us the best chance of winning. He’s done a great job there and the coaches are really excited about this move.”
Two other players on the move this spring include Dayan Ghanwoloku, who is working at safety after playing at cornerback the past two seasons, and Zayne Anderson, who is playing the “Flash” linebacker position vacated by likely NFL Draft pick Fred Warner.
Dayan has done a great job at safety. We also asked Zayne (Anderson) to move to flash and he’s doing a great job, a lot further along than we thought he would be,” Sitake said. “A lot of the guys are stepping up. I think everyone is getting better and it’s what we hope for — if they weren’t, then I would be concerned.”
When asked to evaluate the team’s second scrimmage after having the weekend to digest the film, Sitake was upbeat about his team and their body of work to this point.
“I think we have a chance to be really good,” Said Sitake. “I’m not making promises. It will take hard work and effort over the next little bit. I’m really pleased with the way the guys are working and the way they are connecting with our coaches. I’m really excited about the path we are on right now, but we still have a long way to go.”
Sophomore offensive lineman Tristen Hoge has been running with the first string throughout spring camp after sitting out last season following his transfer from Notre Dame. Now practicing his second offense since arriving in Provo, Hoge said that things are rolling along quite well in his opinion.
“I feel like it’s gone really well with the coaching adjustments,”Hoge said. “I feel like myself and my team have been acclimating really well to the new coaches and the new scheme. I’m really proud of how far we’ve come. We’ve still got a long way to go, but that being said — we’re making strides. I’m proud of everyone.”
You can listen to the full post-practice interviews with Sitake, Bushman and Hoge here:
BYU will practice again on Wednesday morning with media availability afterwards. Friday is when the program’s annual Pro Day will be held at the Indoor Practice Facility. The event will feature NFL Combine drills in front of NFL scouts and team officials involving former BYU football players. It will be televised live on BYUtv.