Jeffrey D. Allred,
Brigham Young Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake walks onto the field at the end of the Massachusetts Minutemen game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. Massachusetts Minutemen won 16-10.
It’s important for our players to feel settled and have a little bit of a holiday on Thursday, Thanksgiving, and try to win this game. That’s the ultimate goal. —BYU head coach Kalani Sitake

HONOLULU — BYU coach Kalani Sitake has made it clear this week that the main goal when the Cougars take on Hawaii is to win the game.

The team arrived here Wednesday night to get acclimated to Hawaii's three-hour time difference.

BYU was scheduled to hold a practice on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, and is scheduled to practice here again Friday. In between, the Cougars will get some beach time, too.

“We’ve decided to leave Wednesday. Looking at our history in Hawaii, a lot of the times when we’ve done well is when we arrive Wednesday evening,” Sitake said earlier this week. “The goal is to win the game … This is a regular game. It’s not a bowl game where there’s a lot of time to have a lot of entertainment. We’ll try to make the best of it while we’re there. You’re in Hawaii, let (the players) have some time to enjoy the beach a little bit. … It’s important for our players to feel settled and have a little bit of a holiday on Thursday, Thanksgiving, and try to win this game. That’s the ultimate goal.”

BYU offensive coordinator Ty Detmer booked flights for his wife and children for this road trip.

“My wife was like, ‘We’re not spending Thanksgiving by ourselves,’” Detmer said. “So we’re flying our kids out. It’s their first time in Hawaii, so they’re really excited. I’m not as excited because I’ve got to work still and I know what’s waiting for us.”

BYU AND HAWAII TO RISE AGAIN?: Like a lot of people, Hawaii wide receiver Dylan Collie, who transferred from BYU, is surprised to see the Cougars struggle so much this season.

“The talent is abundant. You have Fred Warner, Tanner Mangum, Micah Simon, Micah Hannemann, Butch Pau’u. You have guys that make plays,” Collie said. “It’s just a matter of, it’s the same position we’re in. That first year (under a new coach) is exciting and fun and you’re rallying around a new coach and a new culture and sometimes you can become complacent. That can affect you in different ways. For them and for us, we need to overcome those complacencies to be able to create a winning culture and a winning season. I don’t think it will be long before that winning culture is back here in the Islands and back in Provo.”

UMASS AND HAWAII DEFENSES SIMILAR: BYU freshman tight end Matt Bushman compared Hawaii’s defense to the one the Cougars faced last Saturday against UMass.

The Minutemen blitzed BYU and sacked freshman quarterback Joe Critchlow seven times in a 16-10 victory in Provo.

“They’re kind of like UMass. They play a lot of man-to-man defense,” Bushman said. “This whole season, we’ve struggled with man-to-man defense. We have to find ways to get open. Hopefully we can run the ball better. Once we start to run the ball, it opens things up.”