3 Biggest Questions Facing BYU Head Coach Kalani Sitake Ahead of Big 12 Media Days

    As BYU head coach Kalani Sitake prepares for Year 2 in the conference, what are some of the biggest questions for him at Big 12 Media Days?

    Big 12 Media Days are just around the corner with BYU head coach Kalani Sitake coming off his first season in the conference. That season didn’t go as planned, with the Cougars’ campaign ending with the program’s first losing record since 2017.

    After a down season and a full year of experience in a new conference, what are some of the biggest questions in store for Sitake at the Big 12 Media Days in Las Vegas?

    Three Most Significant Questions for Kalani Sitake at Big 12 Media Days

    1) Has Jake Retzlaff Proved Enough To Be Named the Starter?

    Kedon Slovis started the season as the Cougars’ starting QB but was replaced by Jake Retzlaff in the last four games. Neither player instilled confidence in their ability to be the starter going forward, with Slovis completing 57% of his passes with 12 touchdowns to six interceptions. In comparison, Retzlaff completed 50% with three scores to three picks.

    Slovis exhausted his eligibility, but Retzlaff returns to Provo this season as the presumptive starter. However, USF transfer Gerry Bohanon joined the Cougars this spring to offer some competition behind center.

    2) Has the Addition of TJ Woods Helped Improve the Run Game and Blocking?

    The Cougars finished last in the Big 12 in rushing last fall, averaging a mere 104.3 yards per game on the ground.

    In an effort to change that, Sitake added TJ Woods to his staff as offensive line coach and run game coordinator. A former OL coach at Utah State (2011-2012, 2019), Wisconsin (2013-2014), Oregon State (2015-2017), WKU (2018), UNLV (2021-2022), and Georgia Southern (2023), Woods brings a wealth of experience in an area of need.

    Coaching under Clay Helton’s pass-happy offense last season, Woods didn’t fair much better than BYU in the run game. The Eagles finished last in the Sun Belt in rushing (117.2 yards per game) but finished first in passing (302.2).

    3) Is BYU’s Strength of Schedule Concerning?

    No gifts were given to the Cougars when it came to scheduling the upcoming season. According to CFN’s 2024 strength of schedule metric, BYU has the 21st-toughest slate of opponents.

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    Forgoing its independent status before last season means the BYU schedule featuring a gauntlet of Big 12 teams. Nine in-conference opponents combined with SMU and Wyoming in non-conference leaves the Cougars in a difficult spot this season.

    Big 12 Media Days Schedule: Kalani Sitake, BYU Head Coach

    • Date: Wednesday, July 10
    • Time: 3:00 p.m. ET
    • How to watch: ESPN+

    Sitake is 61-41 in eight years at the helm in Provo, leading the Cougars to a winning record six times. His only two losing records were in 2017 (4-9) and last season (5-7). BYU went 2-7 against conference opponents in its first year in the Big 12.

    He followed up his first losing season in 2017 with five consecutive winning records, but that was before BYU joined the Big 12. With questions across the offense as a whole and a top-25 toughest schedule as the conference expands further, it will be an uphill battle for Sitake to get the Cougars back in the right direction.

    College Football Network has you covered with the latest news and analysis, rankings, transfer portal information, top 10 returning players, the 2024 college football season schedule, and much more!

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