PROVO, Utah – BYU soccer offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick is aware of the problem in entrance of the 2022 version of the Cougars.
“The problem resides as much as the expectation,” Roderick mentioned to KSL Sports.
“You know, prior to now couple of years, it was enjoying with a chip on our shoulder to show one thing. Whether it was the COVID yr or it was final yr. …We performed with that chip on our shoulder to show that we have been good. We’ve confirmed we’re good,” mentioned Roderick. “So now the problem is, can we do it once more? Can you reside as much as the expectations that folks have for you and that you’ve for your self? I’m enthusiastic about that. I’d a lot slightly be on this place, although, than going right into a season with a bunch of query marks and doubts.”
BYU soccer has gone from a crew mired in mediocrity within the early years beneath Kalani Sitake. To now’s a crew that has produced 21 wins in two seasons and is gearing up for a brand new period within the Big 12 Conference.
It’s a big change. But the expectations have elevated from merely getting to 6 wins for Sitake to earn a contract extension. Sitake is locked in as BYU’s headman and the workers beneath him, with Roderick main the offense, all returns. They are one in all solely 5 teaching workers’s in school soccer to convey everybody again for the 2022 season.
Where will BYU go from right here? Fall camp practices will start to color that image for the 2022 season and past.
The first apply of Camp Kalani kicks off on Thursday afternoon.
Here are among the issues I will likely be anticipating throughout Camp Kalani this month.
1. New wrinkles to the offense
BYU might have among the best offenses in school soccer this season. Led by quarterback Jaren Hall, BYU soccer averaged 33.1 factors per recreation final season. With all of the returning expertise that is again, plus Cal switch Christopher Brooks filling the large sneakers left behind by Tyler Allgeier, it isn’t unreasonable to suppose BYU improves on that quantity.
But what wrinkles will BYU throw into the offense that would see that quantity go greater? BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick is at all times searching for methods to evolve. So throughout the media commentary parts of apply, it is going to be fascinating to see what potential adjustments Roderick throws into his offense.
2. Jacob Conover
Camp Kalani 2022 is the primary time in 5 years that BYU enters a season with none quarterback battle or manufactured debate. Jaren Hall is the clear-cut starter. Who is behind him? That could be third-year freshman Jacob Conover.
Conover earned the second-string job in spring practices. Being the backup QB would not appear to be a highlight position getting into camp on the floor, however this can be a large camp for Conover. It’s a possibility for him to show that he is the QB of the longer term when BYU kicks off life within the Big 12 in 2023. Assuming Jaren Hall is not again for an additional season.
Conover has all of the expertise to turn out to be the following beginning quarterback for the BYU soccer program. After spring practices this previous April, Conover admitted that he handled nervousness final season. However, he felt that he conquered that in spring ball.
Aaron Roderick had nothing however excessive reward for the work Conover put in throughout spring practices.
Camp Kalani is at all times an ideal spot to get a primary glimpse of the newcomers at BYU. Some newcomers I’m intrigued by embody Vanderbilt switch cornerback Gabe Jeudy-Lally. Jeudy-Lally involves BYU with a singular story. He’s a scholar off the sphere and a beginning cornerback within the SEC on the sphere.
Jeudy-Lally has expressed how grateful he’s to be at BYU already. This low season was at instances difficult for Jeudy-Lally as he has household residing in Ukraine by the battle with Russia.
— Gabe Jeudy (@GabeJeudy) July 22, 2022
He offers Jernaro Gilford’s cornerback room one other starter to associate with D’Angelo Mandell and Kaleb Hayes.
Another newcomer to maintain an eye fixed out for at cornerback is Korbyn Green. Out of the freshmen signees BYU added in February, Green has the perfect ability set to probably make an influence immediately. But Gilford will create the chance for all the brand new DBs to compete instantly.
BYU has a pair of linebacker/edge rushers getting back from missions that will likely be intriguing to observe for in Bodie Schoonover and Tate Romney. Both gamers are going to be key elements for BYU sooner or later.
Preston Rex is a flexible athlete who will compete at security. Rex, the youthful brother to tight finish Isaac, got here again from a mission and has put in plenty of work to be bodily prepared for camp.
The pace from former Roy High QB Parker Kingston might be onerous to maintain off the sphere. Kingston will compete within the loaded large receiver room, but it surely would not shock me if he earns some alternative within the return recreation.
4. Health of Keenan Pili, Isaac Rex, Payton Wilgar
The well being standing of gamers akin to linebackers Keenan Pili and Payton Wilgar, together with tight finish Isaac Rex, will likely be areas of focus. All three gamers are potential NFL draft picks sooner or later and have been vital to BYU’s success the previous two seasons.
Kalani Sitake mentioned that Rex is “mentally prepared” to go for camp but additionally famous, “we will have to simply actually be good with protecting him on a great pitch rely.” Rex suffered a leg harm in opposition to USC final season.
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) August 3, 2022
Pili had a season-ending ACL harm in opposition to Arizona State final yr, drastically altering how BYU’s protection operated a season in the past. Payton Wilgar performed in 10 video games, however he was coping with a nagging shoulder harm that prevented him from enjoying at his finest.
Wilgar had shoulder surgical procedure within the low season.
The excellent news for BYU this yr is that they’ve the depth behind these guys to face up to any potential setbacks. But when Rex, Pili, and Wilgar are wholesome, it solely strengthens BYU’s probabilities of one other memorable yr.
5. Key personnel alongside the BYU soccer defensive position
The defensive position is an intriguing spot for BYU getting into camp. Everyone returns from final yr’s group besides Uriah Leiataua.
At the defensive finish spot, search for the next gamers to compete (listed alphabetically): Tyler Batty, Fisher Jackson, Blake Mangelson, Aisea Moa, Alema Pilimai, Alden Tofa, Earl Tuioti-Mariner.
If the season began as we speak, the starters would in all probability be Batty and Mariner. Batty offers BYU the perfect probability of manufacturing a 10-plus particular person sack chief. BYU hasn’t had a participant do this since 2015. Earl Mariner’s return to benefit from a COVID season is an underrated piece to this defensive position. He’s one of many higher go rushers on the crew, however he has handled many accidents in his profession. A cousin to former BYU defensive lineman Travis Tuiloma, Mariner might be the man that makes probably the most vital leap this season.
In the inside of the defensive position, BYU brings again Gabe Summers, who gamers and coaches name “Gumby” for his flexibility. In addition, Atunaisa Mahe returns after being sidelined in spring because of harm and skilled Caden Haws is again as effectively.
John Nelson is an underclassman who might take an enormous step ahead alongside the defensive entrance this yr. Watch for him and Joshua Larsen. Larsen has remodeled his physique right into a participant that’s now 6-foot-4, 300-pounds.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.