Positive cases and COVID-19 protocols have shaken up schedules for most men’s college basketball teams in Utah this week. BYU, Dixie State, Utah and Weber State now have more games canceled or postponed.
The headline news is that BYU will now play at No. 1 Gonzaga, set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday on ESPN. The Cougars (9-2) have yet to play a conference game after two contests last week (Pepperdine and San Diego) and one this week (Pacific) were canceled due to COVID-19 issues with opponents.
The West Coast Conference announced it worked with BYU and Gonzaga (10-0) to schedule the game, moving up their contest originally set for Feb. 6. That date will remain open for each team to adjust to future changes.
Utah’s home game Wednesday against Oregon State has been postponed due to COVID-19 issues at OSU. The Utes (4-3) are next scheduled to host Oregon on Sunday.
There’s been no such luck like BYU’s for Weber State (4-3), which had its second straight conference series dropped due to issues with the opponent; this time, two home games against Eastern Washington scheduled for Jan. 7 and 9. Last week, Weber State scheduled a home game with Utah Valley on the fly (a 70-62 win on Jan. 2) after its series with Idaho State was canceled.
Despite zero positive tests since August, Weber State has seen six of its games canceled due to COVID-19 issues — single games against Dixie State and Utah State, and two-game series with EWU and ISU. It has currently been able to recoup two, adding impromptu matchups with Boise State and Utah Valley.
The most recent cancellation puts WSU coaches and staff at work to again find more games, especially because the Wildcats are also up against a scheduled bye week. That means WSU currently has no games scheduled until a series against Southern Utah on Jan. 21 and 23 — a potential gap of 18 days between games.
The Big Sky Conference is currently working under a blanket policy that games lost to COVID-19 are considered canceled and will not be rescheduled. That apparently includes usual travel pairs like Weber and Idaho State, who could somewhat easily agree with each other to arrange a bus trip to make up a lost game or two, currently being unable to do so.
Dixie State (4-2) had its WAC debut home series this weekend against New Mexico State postponed to March due to issues at NMSU, opening a possibility of Dixie and Weber rescheduling their Nov. 28 game that was lost to COVID concerns.
WAC teams stand to make a good list of potential nonconference opponents Weber State can call about, largely because every WAC team now has a hole in their schedule created by Chicago State withdrawing from the season after schedules were already made.
BYU PROMOTES TWO
After third-year offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes departed for the same role at Baylor, BYU football announced the promotion of quarterbacks coach and passing-game coordinator Aaron Roderick to offensive coordinator, and that receivers coach Fesi Sitake will add passing-game coordinator to his responsibilities.
Roderick, a former BYU receiver, is a 21-year college coach with 10 as an offensive coordinator. Sitake, the former OC at Weber State, will be in his fourth season at BYU.
In the announcement, BYU also said Eric Mateos, who coaches the team’s heralded offensive line, Steve Clark (tight ends) and Harvey Unga (running backs) will remain at BYU.
USU BUILDS STAFF
Utah State football has announced a series of hires to work under new head coach Blake Anderson.
Anderson, who is likely to serve as USU’s offensive playcaller, hired Eric Banda as defensive coordinator. Banda coached safeties at Miami from 2016-20, and was co-defensive coordinator the last two of those seasons.
Former USU quarterback Chuckie Keeton — who has been an offensive graduate assistant at Oregon State, USU and Texas Tech — will coach running backs. Kyle Cefalo, who worked with Anderson at Arkansas State, is USU’s new receivers coach and passing-game coordinator. Former Aggie defensive end and tight end DJ Tialavea will coach tight ends.
Former USU defensive lineman Al Lapuaho will now coach that unit, and Nick Paremski, a 17-year veteran most recently at Arkansas State, will coach linebackers and special teams.