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Report suggests BYU will make QB change vs. Hawaii

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After two straight losses by at least 25 points, BYU is reportedly making a change at quarterback this week. According to a report from Jay Drew of The Salt Lake Tribune, BYU will start freshman Zach Wilson this week when the Cougars play Hawaii at home.

The change is not one that should be all that shocking considering the play of Tanner Mangum in recent weeks. A couple of unfortunate turnovers in BYU’s loss to Utah State led to BYU head coach Kalani Sitake to leave the door open for changes with starting positions, quarterback being the most likely change for a team in need of a spark.

Wilson has attempted just six passes this season with four completions for 64 yards and a touchdown. He has also rushed four times for 25 yards, supposedly giving another element to the BYU offense that Mangum has not been able to provide.

BYU enters the week with a record of 3-3. With some challenging games remaining in the second half of the year, Sitake needs to make decisions he feels puts BYU in the best spot to get to the six-win bowl requirement in order for BYU to have the opportunity to play in a bowl game at the end of the year.

A home game against Hawaii, who enters this weekend already at 6-1, could be a rough time for a transition, but if Wilson is the spark BYU needs, then the Cougars could be going bowling.

BYU snaps No. 6 Wisconsin’s home winning streak in non-conference play with 24-21 upset

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It has been a rough day of college football for a handful of Big Ten teams. None will suffer a loss as damaging as the one No. 6 Wisconsin (2-1) took at home against BYU (2-1). The Cougars pulled off an upset of Wisconsin, 24-21, that was essentially sealed in the final minute when Wisconsin kicker Rafael Gaglianone pushed his game-tying field goal attempt wide left.

The loss by Wisconsin was the first by the Badgers at home against a non-conference opponent since losing at home against UNLV on September 13, 2003. Wisconsin had won 41 consecutive home games against non-conference opponents.

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake chose to use two timeouts before Gaglianone’s late field goal try despite having 41 seconds remaining on the clock, potentially giving BYU’s offense chance to do something with the football in the event the game had been tied. But Sitake’s decision to play for no worse than overtime paid off in a big way.

BYU also did a good job of not letting Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor hurt them. Taylor rushed for 117 yards on 26 carries, but Taylor was held out of the end zone all day long and there was never a run that really hurt BYU. Wisconsin running backs Taiwan Deal and Alec Ingold did account for three rushing touchdowns.

It was BYU’s Squally Canada who led all players with 118 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Tanner Mangum completed just 12 of 22 pass attempts for 89 yards, and wide receiver Aleva Hifo threw the game’s only touchdown pass of the day with a 31-yard pass.

BYU’s special teams pinned Wisconsin inside their own 10-yard line for the final offensive possession by the Badgers in the fourth quarter, which seemed to play into BYU’

s favor with the game thrown into the hands of Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook. Hornibrook did use safe passes and a couple of runs to his advantage to move Wisconsin into position for the game-tying field goal try. But that was a tradeoff that BYU likely would have taken every time.

The loss by Wisconsin will drop the Badgers off the playoff radar for now, but Wisconsin will have opportunities to hop right back into the discussion as the season progresses. With the games still to play for Wisconsin, the Badgers have a chance to not stay off the radar for too long, but this loss does do some damage to their profile well ahead of the first release of the College Football Playoff rankings. Meanwhile, BYU should be getting some consideration for the top 25 in the polls on Sunday.

Wisconsin opens Big Ten play with their first road game of the season next week. The Badgers travel to Iowa City to play the Iowa Hawkeyes in primetime. BYU will return home next week for a matchup against FCS McNeese State.

Reports: Oregon State DC Kalani Sitake to be BYU’s next head coach

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BYU may have missed out on luring Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo to Provo to take over the Cougars football program, but reports are suggesting the next head coach of BYU has been found. Oregon State defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake, according to Dick Harmon of Desert News, will be the next head coach of BYU.

Sitake played fullback for BYU in the late 1990s and graduated in 2000. He got started in coaching the following year in 2001 as a defensive back and special teams coach at Eastern Arizona College. The next season he returned to BYU to fill a role as a graduate assistant, working with the defense. He then went on to coach two years as a offensive assistant at Southern Utah before joining Utah in 2005 when Kyle Whittingham took over the job as head coach following the departure of Urban Meyer to Florida. He joined the staff as a linebackers coach and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2008. At the time, Sitake replaced Gary Andersen, who moved on to become the head coach at Utah State. Andersen eventually moved on to coach at Wisconsin and returned to Oregon State this past year. Andersen made room on his staff for Sitake.

The hiring of a former BYU football player and assistant should make for an easy transition to the job as head coach. Although Sitake will now be taking on a number of new responsibilities as a head coach of the program, the familiarity with the BYU program and the way the program runs should be a benefit for Sitake as he takes over. Coaching at BYU comes with a different set of expectations and limitations, similar to the job of coaching a military academy. Throw in the relative uncertainty of BYU’s future as an independent, there could be some unforeseen challenges to come, but having a coach who understands BYU should help ease some of the concerns, and it may already be having an impact on support for the program.

UPDATE: Oregon State swipes defensive coordinator from Utah

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Oregon State head coach Gary Andersen committed a Pac-12-on-Pac-12 crime by stealing the Utah Utes’ defensive coordinator away from the program.

Kalani Sitake spent the last 10 seasons as a member of Utah’s coaching staff. He rose from being the program’s linebackers coach to defensive coordinator. Sitake eventually earned an assistant head coach title in 2012.

After an extended stay in Salt Lake City, Andersen was able to pry the talented play-caller to Corvallis, Oregon, to become a key component to his new staff.

Utah’s defense finished in the middle of the Pac-12 pack in most of the major statistical categories this season, but Sitake’s approach is very aggressive. Utah led the conference with 52 sacks.

Sitake’s experience stopping Pac-12 offense was also a vital component for Andersen.

Dave Aranda previously served as Andersen’s defensive coordinator at both Utah State and Wisconsin. The new Beavers head coach obviously wanted to go in another direction, though.

Plus, Sitake is an important addition for Oregon State recruiting. During his time at Utah, the Tongan native recruited the Los Angeles area, Utah and Florida.

Utah’s defensive line coach, Ilaisa Tuiaki, will join Sitake, according to SI.com’s Thayer Evans.

UPDATE [8:45 p.m. ET]: Oregon State’s athletic department officially announced six different additions to Gary Andersen‘s staff.

Kalani Sitake (defensive coordinator/assistant head coach), Chad Kauha’aha’a, Derrick Odum, Ilaisa TuiakiT.J. Woods and Evan Simon (strength and conditioning coach) will comprise the bulk of the team’s support staff.

“One of my top priorities has been to put together a staff that helps student-athletes succeed academically, socially and athletically,” Andersen said in a statement from the school. “These coaches all put the student-athlete first and are all proven professionals in their respective areas, excelling at the highest level. They have demonstrated the ability to recruit nationally and that experience ensures that we will be able to bring in student-athletes that fit Oregon State University, our community and our program.”

Broyles Award nominees include Kiffin, Venables, 38 others

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With the next round fo the coaching carousel about to get underway at full speed, some programs may want to pay attention to the list of names nominated for the Broyles Award. The Broyles Award is presented annually to the top assistant coach in college football, and the list of 40 nominees for this year’s award includes some names with previous head coaching experience and others about to be in line for a head coaching gig somewhere around the country.

Current head coaches who previously won the Broyles Award include Auburn’s Gus Malzahn, UConn’s Bob Diaco and Duke’s David Cutcliffe. Last year’s Broyles Award winner was Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, who many feel could be ready for a head coaching offer in the next round of the coaching carousel.  This year Narduzzi is not a finalist for the award, but Spartans co-offensive coordinator Dave Warner is.

“This will be one of the most challenging years ever for our selection committee to choose the top 5 finalists and winner, so many assistant coaches did outstanding work this year,” David Bazzel, Broyles Award executive director.

This year’s Broyles Award winner will be announced on Tuesday, December 9 by The Rotary Club of Little Rock and sponsor Delta Dental. The award is named after former Arkansas head coach Frank Broyles, who had a solid track record of pumping out quality assistant coaches. Some of the assistants who coaches under Broyles include Barry Switzer, Jimmy Johnson, Hayden Fry, Joe Gibbs, and Jackie Sherrill.

Broyles Award Nominees

Alabama – Lane Kiffin, Offensive Coordinator
Appalachian State – Dwayne Ledford, Co-Offensive Coordinator
Arizona – Jeff Casteel, Defensive Coordinator
Arkansas – Robb Smith, Defensive Coordinator
Arkansas State University – Walt Bell, Offensive Coordinator
Boise State University – Mike Sanford, Offensive Coordinator
Boston College – Don Brown, Defensive Coordinator
Brigham Young University – Nick Howell, Defensive coordinator
Clemson – Brent Venables, Defensive Coordinator
Colorado State – Dave Baldwin, Offensive Coordinator
Duke University – John Latina, Run Game Coordinator/OL
East Carolina University – Lincoln Riley, Offensive Coordinator
FIU – Josh Conklin, Defensive Coordinator
Georgia Southern University – Doug Ruse, Offensive Coordinator
Louisiana – Marquase Lovings, Running Backs
Louisiana Tech – Manny Diaz, Defensive Coordinator
Louisville – Todd Grantham, Defensive Coordinator
Memphis – James Shibest, Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends
Miami – Mark D’Onofrio, Defensive Coordinator
Michigan – Greg Mattison, Defensive Coordinator
Michigan State University – Dave Warner, Co-Offensive Coordinator
Minnesota – Tracy Claeys, Defensive Coordinator
Mississippi State – Geoff Collins, Defensive Coordinator
Missouri – Dave Steckel, Defensive Coordinator
NC State – Desmond Kitchings, Running Backs/Recruiting Coordinator
Ohio State University – Tom Herman, Offensive Coordinator
Ole Miss – Dave Wommack, Defensive Coordinator
Oregon – Scott Frost, Offensive Coordinator
Penn State University – Bob Shoop, Defensive Coordinator
Stanford – Lance Anderson, Defensive Coordinator
TCU – Doug Meacham, Co-Offensive Coordinator
Temple – Phil Snow, Defensive Coordinator
UCF – Brent Key, Offensive Line Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
UCLA – Noel Mazzone, Offensive Coordinator
Utah – Kalani Sitake, Defensive Coordinator
Utah State University – Todd Orlando, Defensive Coordinator
UTSA – Neal Neathery, Defensive Coordinator
West Virginia University – Tony Gibson, Defensive Coordinator
Western Michigan University – Kirk Ciarrocca, Offensive Coordinator
Wisconsin – Dave Aranda, Defensive Coordinator