BYU football: Chase Roberts, other receivers eager to show last week against Baylor were no fluke if stars Puka Nacua, Gunner Romney can't play

BYU football: Chase Roberts, other receivers eager to show last week against Baylor were no fluke if stars Puka Nacua, Gunner Romney can’t play

BYU redshirt freshman wide receiver Chase Roberts enjoyed his decisive game against Baylor, and all the spoils that came with it, for about 24 hours.

Once Monday rolled around, however, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound returning missionary from American Fork High turned his attention to Saturday’s (1:30 p.m. MDT, Fox) showdown with No. 25 Oregon, and achieving l ‘hit as squarely as a pitch from quarterback Jaren Hall.

“Yeah, I’m sure, after a good game (it will happen),” Roberts said after practice on Wednesday. “Jaren Hall targeted me quite a bit. So I’m sure they’ll have an eye on me. But the good thing is we have all these other receptors that will trigger if that’s the case.

“If not,” Roberts continued, “then we’ll do our thing. And no matter what, we’ll score.

“They look much better than last week. It’s day to day. It’s really a game time thing. They look really good, and it’s literally day to day. … I just know that they run (in training) and look good. – BYU wide receivers coach Fesi Sitake on WRs Gunner Romney and Puka Nacua

Of course, one of the reasons Roberts managed to catch eight passes for 122 yards and a touchdown against Baylor was the absence of BYU’s top two receivers, Gunner Romney and Puka Nacua, with injuries.

Fesi Sitake, BYU’s passing game coordinator and receivers coach, said Wednesday that Nacua and Romney did individual drills in practice this week, but they were still game decisions for Oregon. .

“They look much better than last week. It’s day to day. It’s really a game time thing. They look really good, and it’s literally day to day,” Sitake said. “…I just know they’re running (in training) and looking good.”

Roberts isn’t the only BYU receiver to come up against the Bears; Redshirt second Keanu Hill (four catches, 57 yards), redshirt rookie Kody Epps (three catches, 28 yards) and redshirt junior Brayden Cosper (two catches, 13 yards) also made timely plays and extended.

“Really, it was just gratifying. Very proud of these guys. I had no doubts,” Sitake said. and being prepared. It was really fun watching them play games, lots of clutch plays, having a lot of fun. It was definitely a memory I’ll never forget and I know they won’t no more.

BYU wide receiver Chase Roberts makes a touchdown in the corner of the end zone at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday September 10, 2022.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Sitake acknowledges Roberts’ talent won’t surprise Oregon, but says life won’t necessarily get tougher for the catcher.

“I think it’s getting easier,” Sitake said. “When you play football, despite the opponent, the atmosphere, all that, that first big decisive game, in my opinion, just a little (takes) that weight off his shoulders. And each game brings different challenges. I Not going to say it’s going to be a breeze from here on in. But I guess he’s got this game away and he’s good.

Roberts said he was “just here to play football” and felt no added pressure to replicate what happened last week.

“Something Gunner said to me was, ‘It’s just a game, get out and play,'” Roberts said. “I just feel cold, just comfortable. I’ll go out and do my thing.

That said, Roberts thinks Oregon’s secondary is a step up in competition from what Baylor’s less experienced defensemen showed last week.

“They’re some of the most athletic football players I’ve seen in movies, just their measurables and all. We’re going to give it our best shot,” he said of the Ducks. “Obviously , they want to beat us and so we’re just going to go out and play our game, play football, and hopefully it’s a good fight and we can bring it to them.”

Sitake agreed with the young receiver, saying Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez, a transfer from Colorado, is an NFL prospect.

“Really good, very athletic,” Sitake said. “They’re big. They’re physical. … They’re experienced. They’re good players. We’re going to have a really good challenge this week – not just in terms of personnel, but schematically. They also play a lot of men’s coverage, so we going to be tested, and I know our guys are excited about the opportunity.

Romney, Nacua and Cosper faced many large and noisy crowds during their days at BYU and, for Nacua, her days in Washington. But guys like Roberts, Epps and Hill didn’t. Roberts says it’s not a big deal.

“I think staying cool and calm and collected is always the kind of phrase we say,” Roberts said. “And Jaren (Hall) is the epitome of that. So it’s good to have a quarterback who sets the tone a bit. And then the receivers, everybody, kind of have that behavior and we’re able to stay cool, calm, collected all game.

To simulate the atmosphere and noise at Autzen, the Cougars pumped music and crowd noise through strategically placed speakers around the practice field and indoor practice facility. And it’s been unusually rainy in Provo this week, especially when BYU practiced outdoors.

“It’s just one of those things you have to train for,” Sitake said of the noise. “Luckily the weather has been very similar to the Pacific Northwest so I don’t know what the football gods are doing but they are clearly sending us some rain that we could need.

“It’s tough,” he continued. “You can’t fake Autzen, but we’re trying to do everything we can and we’re doing a good job with that.”


Cougars on air

No. 12 BYU (2-0) vs. No. 25 Oregon (1-1)

Saturday, 1:30 p.m. MDT

Autzen Stadium

Eugene, Oregon

TV: Fox

Radio: KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM


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