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Arizona vs. BYU: Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake talks Rich Rodriguez and the Wildcats

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What does the first-year head coach think of the Wildcats?

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

With fall camp complete and the season opener just a few days away, the BYU Cougars and first-year head coach Kalani Sitake have zeroed in on game planning for the Arizona Wildcats.

Sitake, on a Facebook Live interview on BYU Football's official Facebook page, shared his thoughts on Arizona, and like with any coach facing a Rich Rodriguez-led team, his first thought concerned the Wildcats' offensive system.

"They're difficult, especially with all their skill and how they spread the ball offensively," he said. "Rich [Rodriguez] has seen every defense out there so they know how to attack you. I think for us it's a matter of executing and making sure we're assignment sound. That type of offense tests you with the ground and the throw game, so we have to be a disciplined defense in order to defend them and defensively they're a good team too."

What's the most challenging part of defending an Arizona team?

"The pace combined with the talent," Sitake answered. "It's a nice system and you need a quarterback that knows how to handle it, and they have two of them, so I imagine they're going to be difficult to defend, but I think if we do things as a team offensively and special team-wise I think we should be okay."

Rich Rodriguez hasn't named a starting quarterback yet, perhaps making Arizona even more difficult to prepare for, but Sitake said BYU is ready for both Anu Solomon and Brandon Dawkins.

"I'm not really worried about it; I'm anticipating the best quarterback possible," Sitake said. "We're preparing for both. Just like Tanner [Mangum] and Taysom [Hill], they have their strengths and weaknesses, but I think they're really strong in that system they run, and I think they're very similar in a lot of ways — one might throw better than the other and the other might be a better runner."

Sitake is worried about the pace of Arizona's offense, though.

"I don't think you can really simulate all that, especially with what we're trying to establish with our offense and defense to begin with," he said. "There's some things we did creatively trying to simulate it, but you can't really feel it until you get into the game. So we'll have to test our depth."

Sitake admitted that he's not sure what type of depth the Cougars have on defense, but they'll "have have to find out" because Arizona's pace will force them to rotate several players in and out of the game.

And what BYU can't afford to do is let the Wildcats dictate the tempo of the game.

"If you try to play their type of game and match them with plays, it's going to be a problem," Sitake said.

Sitake also downplayed the notion that BYU, with a brand new coaching staff and changes in scheme that come along with that, has the upper hand in terms of preparation.

"I don't know how much of a surprise it's going to be," Sitake said. "[The Wildcats are] preparing for everything, they're watching film, they're seeing and hearing some of the stuff that [the media] is leaking out, and I'm sure they're preparing for all of it. And as a coach you try to prepare for everything, even stuff that you don't know if they even have, but you're just going to prep for it."

After all, Sitake mentioned, both teams are going to be caught off guard at some point.

"That's the fun of game one," Sitake said. "You don't know what's going to happen, and there will be a lot of adjustments made during the game from the first series to the next... We'll see who can make the best adjustments during the game."

You can follow this author on Twitter at @RKelapireUA