How BYU football is enjoying the Independence Bowl experience


The cougars arrived in Shreveport, La., on Tuesday and managed to get all the activities and game time together before Saturday’s game.

(Jaren Wilkey | BYU) The BYU soccer team participates in a welcome dinner at the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., December 14, 2021.

Some of the players on the BYU football team had never even heard of Shreveport, La., until they found out that they were going there to play. Independent Bowl Game against the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“Honestly, I don’t know where Shreveport is,” senior defensive midfielder Uriah Leiataua said Monday. “I haven’t even looked it up yet.”

But when the Cougars got there on Tuesday, they began to revel in the experience of a new city.

For some, this will be their first visit to Louisiana. However, coach Kalani Sitake did visit the state on a trip to the Sugar Bowl. And there’s one thing he’s always thinking about.

“I’m looking forward to the delicious food out there,” Sitake said this week. “You can’t get this body without eating. I plan to gain weight during my time out and then try to lose it all by 2022.”

When Sitake thinks back to the Sugar Bowl experience, he says, “The game was fun, but the food was unbelievable.” Many of the Cougars also look forward to filling their bellies during the trip.

Freshman defensive midfielder Tyler Batty confidently told all the players how risky it was to try a new dish. “Whatever you put in front of us, yeah, we’ll give it a try,” he said. And although they eat well at home, it’s when they travel that they get the chance to show off their culinary curiosity.

“I think everyone is excited to get down there and try some new things,” Batty said. “And for those from the south, [they get to] go home and go back south and enjoy some favorites. So I think everyone is definitely getting a little excited [of the] taste of the south. ”

Food isn’t the only part of the dining experience for Cougars. In addition to receiving a bunch of gifts – Independence Bowl participants receive a gift set, a Fossil watch, a New Age helmet and a commemorative soccer ball – they will also get access to several movie theaters. Leiataua said the team will see the new Spider-Man movie on Friday.

“‘Spider-Man’ will be enchanted,” says Leiataua.

BYU will of course have practice sessions and film screenings and media obligations throughout the week. But for the whole team, it’s another opportunity to be together and strengthen relationships.

“It is always exciting to go to different places and see different things,” said Gunner Romney. “We still have practice, still have schedules, but there is a lot of free time out there. So it was really just an opportunity to bond with your teammates and create more brotherhood than we had. ”

Quick hits

• BYU overturns three football commitments from the University of Virginia – Joe Brown of Lone Peak and The McKenzie Twins by Pine View.

Clark Barrington will return to Provo.

• Gordon Monson wrote about bowl options across Utah, including how BYU may have gotten a “rough deal.”

• Kalani Sitaki signed a New contract “unprecedented”.

• Female volleyball lost in five sets to Purdue in the NCAA Tournament.

Other Voices

• Women’s basketball dropped in AP Poll, while men’s no longer ranked, through Deseret News.

• Analysis of recruitment about BYU Football Tournament 2022, through KSL.

• Decisive time appears for BYU soccer players as the match draws near, through Daily Herald.

• Five things the cougar must play in the Independence Bowl, through Daily Cougs. How BYU football is enjoying the Independence Bowl experience

Beth Allcock

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