BYU football: BYU football’s wish list headed to the Big 12

BYU has about 230 days to prepare for the 2023 football season opener as a member of the Big 12 Conference.

It will take a lot of work. Growing pains are expected. Fan expectations need to be calibrated with reality. There is a lot for the program to compete week in and week out against Big 12 opponents.

It took former Mountain West Conference members TCU and Utah nearly a decade in the Big 12 and Pac-12 to recruit enough talent and depth to reach the upper echelons of their respective leagues, with The Horned Frogs reaching the CFP Championship this season. .

I polled former BYU players, asking them if they had a magic wand to wave what the top three things on their wish list would be for Coach Kalani Setaki in the next 200 days.

At the top of the list are resources and better recruiting success. Former cornerback Derwin Gray, who played in BYU’s 1990 win over defending champion Miami, said, “If you get into a water gun fight, you’re going to lose. You need the resources to compete and win.”

This is what they said:

Derwin GrayAuthor, formerly BYU, Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panther DB, Pastor of Transformation Church, South Carolina

  1. In entering the Big 12, Sitake and his staff must create a culture of uncommon beliefs, uncommon enthusiasm, uncommon effort, and uncommon discipline.
  2. It would be great if Sitake could put together some excellent defensive maneuvers, defensive ends and pop through the transfer gate.
  3. The lifeblood of college football is recruiting, and entering the Big 12, I’d like to see Sitake land the nation’s best LDS players and the major non-LDS elite in the 2024 and 2025 recruiting cycle.

Renault Mahiformer RB coach under Sitake and player for the Philadelphia Eagles

  1. Give sitaki to his players. Ask about Jerez Tonga. Getting into school was a nightmare. Some players who need a Sitake will not be allowed in, even after performing a full-time assignment for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  2. Let him own his program. The most successful programs allow the head coach to have a say in anything that touches the program. I hope he has complete freedom of control.
  3. appropriate funding. From recruiting to training to anything soccer related, it needs to be properly funded. It’s hard to recruit against the big boys when your budgets are with the young boys. I don’t know the numbers, if the rumors are true I hope the Big 12 can turn that around.

David Nixonformer BYU linebacker, former Oakland Raider, Houston Texans and St. Louis Rams and current BYUtv analyst

  1. Hire a consultant with extensive Big 12 coaching experience to help with the transition and what to expect.
  2. Detailed workout regimens prepare players’ bodies for the grind of a P5 conference schedule.
  3. Recruitment. Discover the perfect balance between portal transportation and high school kids; How to build a sustainable team with experience and depth.

Riley Nelsonformer BYU QB, current KSL Radio game color analyst

  1. a QB. Hopefully Kedon Slovis is the guy everyone hopes he is, and if he isn’t, someone else will step up. A good QB greatly increases your team’s margin of error and can cover up many shortcomings. At all levels of football in today’s game, the player below the position has the greatest influence on a team’s success.
  2. humility. There is no such thing as the real thing. As much as we all want to believe the latest schedules are similar to what BYU will be up against, it’s treading into a whole new arena. The Independence schedules, especially recently, have been better than the G5 could have been, but the P5 conference schedule is a different level. Utah and TCU have jumped with BCS wins in the very recent past and struggled for many years. The program needs to accept the challenges ahead with humility and courage. This will result in the fastest rate of improvement and adjustment needed to continually compete.
  3. patience. As much as I love to dream of BYU being at the top of the conference and competing in the expansion playoffs in its first few years in the conference, history has shown it to be an extremely rare exception, with no real precedent. It will take longer than most of us think.

Callen Hallformer running back, father of QB Jaren Hall

  1. Three huge players from three techniques.
  2. Multiple playmakers 6ft4 with sub. 4.4 Speed.
  3. Four backing up Darwin Gray and Mike Davis.

Mitch Mathewsreceiver on the game-winning Hail Mary to win over Nebraska in 2015

  1. Big O line.
  2. Big D line.
  3. I as a receiver.

Margin hookExecutive Director, Sky’s The Limit Training for Wide Receivers

  1. Speed.
  2. Depth.
  3. Speed. Explosive plays are a must.

Eric Drag12 TD catches in 1992

  1. Depth.
  2. Depth.
  3. Depth.

(“I’d also include more solidity up front on both sides of the line; I think the changes they’ve made to defense will do that. They need to put more pressure on.”)

Bronson Koufosiformer Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets defensive end

  1. Most of the physical men are in the trenches.
  2. Elite pass rush.
  3. Immediate impact players from the transfer/recruitment portal.

Brian Smith, writing for Fan Nation, which is associated with the University of Central Florida, said the Big 12 newcomers should look at how Georgia is doing to understand the distance between the Bulldogs and TCU’s national championship.

He mentioned important things Georgia did: 1) Spending money. 2) you have a top-notch strength and conditioning program; 3) Hire a great staff. 4) All of the above attract top recruiters.

Well, that’s all true. But Texas has the most money and hasn’t made a CFP. Texas A&M University was ranked #1 in the recruiting class in 2022 and has had a losing record.

The truth is that it takes a lot of resources, talent, many intangibles, momentum and luck. But among all of these, recruiting has to be at the top.

As Dr. Gray said the other day on ESPN 960 AM, “You can’t do without a recruiting coach.”

TCU found out Monday night at SoFi Stadium.

“If you don’t have good players, you don’t stand a chance,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart told The Athletic.


The Big 12 Conference logo is seen on the goal line stand before Duquesne plays TCU in an NCAA college football game on Saturday, September 4, 2021, in Fort Worth, Texas.

Ron Jenkins, Associated Press

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