We have the best strength staff (and) strength coach in the country. Nu'u Tafisi? I'll back him up 100 percent. —Kalani Sitake
PROVO — Fans and even some former players, most notably former Cougar linebackers Brady Poppinga and Jordan Pendleton, have recently criticized BYU's strength and conditioning program, which is headed by Nu'u Tafisi. The Cougars have suffered at least 36 notable injuries so far this season, with several people, including Pendleton and Poppinga, insinuating on Twitter and other forums the rash of injuries is in direct correlation with the Tafisi's program.
During Monday's press conference, BYU coach Kalani Sitake adamantly defended Tafisi and his program.
"We have the best strength staff (and) strength coach in the country," Sitake said. "Nu'u Tafisi? I'll back him up 100 percent. The guy played at Cal, he worked at Boise State — look at his resume; Boise State, Utah and he went to USC, and he's doing a great job with our guys right now."
MORE INJURIES: Last week the number was at 35 regarding the number of injuries that have caused players to miss game time this season, and it grew to 36 following BYU's 41-20 win over San Jose State. Grant Jones is the latest player to go down, with Sitake stating Monday the senior linebacker's injury is season-ending.
"It's unfortunate. He's really started coming along well — especially at that linebacker position," Sitake said. "It's sad to see it end this way, but he'll have surgery soon."
The good news is running back KJ Hall and linebacker Fred Warner are being considered "day-to-day" after sustaining injuries during Saturday's win. Both could play Saturday when BYU travels to Fresno State.
"There's still a chance for both Fred and for KJ to play," Sitake said.
ASK A FAN: Sitake was asked about keeping in touch with fellow coaches during the season, stating, "You're always going to keep in touch and see if there's any advice you can get from others, but I think we have a lot of guys that know what's going on here."
As for seeking advice, Sitake quipped it doesn't end with asking coaches, "If I have any questions I can just ask a random fan."