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Provo • Va'a Niumatalolo, a junior linebacker on BYU's football team, says it would have been cool to have his mother around campus to make some home-cooked meals.

Other than missing that little extra, the son of Navy football coach Ken Niumatalolo says he is fine with the fact that he's being coached in spring practices by Kalani Sitake, and not his own father.

"I am all good," Va'a Niumatalolo said Tuesday after the Cougars' seventh spring practice of the Sitake era. "I am happy with coach Sitake. Like, whoever the new coach was, I was excited for. I am just here to play football. … I mean, coach Sitake is a great coach, and I am really excited to have him here."

Ken Niumatalolo was offered the BYU coaching job last December, but chose to remain at Navy and was promptly rewarded with a raise and other perks for his loyalty. A few days later, Sitake was given the reins in Provo, replacing Virginia-bound Bronco Mendenhall.

"It was definitely crazy at the beginning [of the hiring process]," said Va'a Niumatalolo. "I am glad that things settled down."

The linebacker, who joined Mendenhall's program in 2011 as a redshirt walk-on and then served a two-year church mission in St. George, said his father talked extensively with him and his family before making the decision to remain in Annapolis.

"It was a big decision, whatever decision he made," Va'a said. "It just came down to praying and whatever worked out."

Va'a was put on scholarship when he returned in 2014, but hasn't cracked the starting lineup at BYU. He played in only three games last season as a redshirt sophomore after forcing a fumble in the 2014 Miami Beach Bowl.

"Whatever the team needs me for, I will do," he said.

Right now, that includes living without home-cooked meals.

Camp update

As Sitake's first spring camp reaches its midpoint, the rookie head coach said Tuesday he is happy with the progress being made as players transition away from many of Mendenhall's methods and schemes to his plans and designs. He attributed that to having a "mature group" that gets what it takes to win college football games.

"A lot of them served in the jungle [on church mission] for two years, so practicing for me is not going to be too hard," Sitake said.

The coach said that unlike when he started at Oregon State as the defensive coordinator last spring and had to "start from scratch," this club is filled with "proven leaders" and veteran players.

"We just have to keep building on their talents and strengths, and right now leadership is one of them," he said.

Coaches are starting to look toward the spring game on March 26 at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

"The goal is to get out there and be alive and have some guys tackle people and entertain a little bit, not give away the game plan," Sitake said. "So, all that stuff. It will be boring, but exciting."

QB battle has started

Media members are allowed to view just the first 30 minutes of practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but already it is apparent that the quarterback competition between senior Taysom Hill and rising sophomore Tanner Mangum is real. Still recovering from a Lisfranc foot sprain, Hill is doing more in practice than anyone expected, Sitake said.

"He is doing more, but I kind of expected that," he said. "I hope that makes sense. He is not going to do the bare minimum. That's not Taysom. But I have to reel him back quite a bit. He just wants to get out there and go. … It is going to be a battle from now until September, just trying to keep him reeled up."

He's no Cupid

Several BYU players have announced their engagements recently, including linebackers Phillip Amone and Harvey Langi. Asked about that on Tuesday, Sitake said he hasn't had a part in it.

"I am not Cupid, so I am not the one dealing with that," he quipped. "When it comes to dating, I am not the expert, I can tell you that."

Twitter: @drewjay