‘We are heading in the right direction’: What 15 spring practices taught coaches about BYU’s defense in 2024

BYU defensive end Logan Lutui, left, defensive tackle Bruce Mitchell, center, and defensive end Tyler Batty, right, tackle Oklahoma State running back Ollie Gordon II (0) Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023, in Stillwater, Okla. | Mitch Alcala

BYU’s defense improved in 2023 after bottoming out in 2022, a cellar-dive that cost then-defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki his job.

But the unit under Tuiaki’s replacement, Jay Hill, still wasn’t good enough to get the Cougars to a bowl game in their first season in the Big 12. Of course, the offense wasn’t good enough, either.

“With the way recruiting went last year, we feel some of our best players are still to join us, and it is going to create a lot more competition. But if you are recruiting the right way, that is how it is always going to be. There is always going to be competition coming in.”

BYU DC Jay Hill

Which brings us to 2024, with BYU’s 15 spring football practices having concluded last Saturday in Provo. Will Hill be able to put a Power Four conference-ready defense on the field this season in year two of his rebuilding project?

“Well, we gotta continue to get bigger and stronger, for sure,” Hill said. “That’s a critical part of summer conditioning. We gotta continue to get better ownership of the defense, because right now we are not there yet. We did take steps forward, but we are not where I want to be.”

The former Weber State head coach admitted that he will probably never be satisfied, but the ceiling is pretty high for a unit that lost a few key contributors but has a pretty good nucleus returning.

“I don’t know that we are ever going to be exactly where I want to be, but we are heading in the right direction,” Hill said. “For us to compete for the Big 12 title, we gotta continue to take big steps forward.”

That’s right — although the…

Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/heading-direction-15-spring-practices-030000362.html

Author : Deseret News

Publish date : 2024-04-04 03:00:00

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