I didn't want any preconceived notions. I didn't want to come in looking at a guy with the thought he was a certain way — capable of this, but not capable of that. I think that would have been unfair. —BYU WR coach Fesi Sitake
PROVO — He didn't know a lot coming in and a lot of that lack of knowledge was intentional.
BYU receivers coach Fesi Sitake was named as such in late December, replacing Ben Cahoon during the almost complete overhaul of the offensive staff this offseason. Since that time the former Weber State offensive coordinator has done a lot of work, although none of that work involved reviewing last season's film, nor learning much of anything about the group he was about to inherit.
For Sitake, he wanted a clean slate heading in, much like new assistants, such as offensive line coach Ryan Pugh.
"I didn't know much about any of them at all, and that was an intentional thing heading into this spring," Sitake said. "I didn't want any preconceived notions. I didn't want to come in looking at a guy with the thought he was a certain way — capable of this, but not capable of that. I think that would have been unfair."
Through two days of spring practices, Sitake has received a crash course on his group, while administrating certain techniques he believes will help all 12 receivers currently listed on the team roster.
Taking the luxury Sitake hasn't allowed himself shows a group that includes some good experience, but no certain receiver returning as an established star, much less a noted and consistent playmaker. Top options last year included Aleva Hifo, Talon Shumway, Beau Tanner and Micah Simon, who has liked what he's seen from his new position coach thus far.
"It's only been two days (practicing), but everything in the meeting rooms, and all the things we've talked about before — it's been good," Simon said.
Simon himself showed signs of being a primary playmaker last season, with his 27 receptions placing him second on the returning group of receivers. Leading the way was Hifo, who caught 37 passes, and Shumway, who had 25, while battling through injuries for much of the season.
The returning group is relatively large, with the only notable loss being that of speedster Jonah Trinnaman, who hauled in 24 passes throughout the 2017 season. They'll add some new faces in the fall as well, which includes top 2018 class signees Gunner Romney and Brayden Cosper.
As far as what Sitake wants to teach the group he has this spring, Simon noted he's big of flat-out competing, while also stressing execution and energy. He's also striving to fix certain bad habits within his group.
"Just some of the stuff transition-wise — coming in and out of breaks. They're not as fluid as they should be," Sitake said of the specific habits he's working on fixing. "The other thing is I just need them running in and out of the huddle, even when they're not involved. They need to be set, and they need to finish what they're doing, no matter what the play is."
The focus on all those things will help elevate his group to "that next level," Sitake believes, and came off the practice field after day two enthusiastic with what he's seen so far.
"We took a huge step today in the right direction," Sitake said. "I think they're starting to get more confident in running the plays with someone in front of them...you throw a guy in front of you, and guys start to panic a little bit. We saw that the first day quite a bit, but it got much better today. We have a long way to go, but I'm happy with the progression."
Sitake also showed appreciation for new offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes, and how he goes about his business.
"He's a really good blend of someone who is demanding, and commanding with how he goes about his job but is also very humble and approachable," he said. "He's got very high expectations, and he makes it clear. When he feels certain things aren't being achieved, he's certain to point it out immediately and in a constructive manner. We never meet just to meet. There's always purpose and I really like how we're improving as a staff and as a team."
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