BYU Football: Twitter reacts as Kalani Sitake defends LDS Missionaries on national television

BYU head football coach Kalani Sitake joined a panel of five other head coaches along with Brian Griese as the moderator in “The Film Room” on ESPNews during Monday’s national championship game between Alabama and Clemson. The Tigers went on to win the game in a classic come-from-behind victory.

During the broadcast, Sitake found himself defending his players and the school after Syracuse head coach Dino Babers started talking some mission smack.

This isn’t anything new to BYU fans, players, and coaches as analysts and opposing coaches have been bringing the missionary topic up for decades. This past season, ESPN’s Desmond Howard made waves when he said BYU’s missionary program gives the Cougars an unfair advantage because of the age difference and maturity of players which is generally two years older than the average college football player.

Leading up to the season opener, Arizona head football coach Rich Rodriguez had this to say during his weekly press conference before playing BYU:

“They’re (BYU) grown men. We’re going to have 18-year-old kids — some of our guys haven’t shaved yet — and we’re going up against some guys who got families and kids; they got to get day care stuff. It’s going to be a different challenge for us.”

This time it was Babers who threw the first jab saying, “It’s a lot easier to protect (your quarterback) when the O-line is a little bit older than everyone else,” as he started laughing along with a couple of other coaches.

But Sitake quickly put them in their place saying:

“Hey, they didn’t go on a mission to Gold’s Gym I can tell you that. Those guys are riding bicycles and eating ramen noodles for two years. … If it was a great system to develop athletes, Alabama would be doing it. And not one of their guys is going on a mission. Case closed.” 

Below is the full video posted by KSL sports reporter Jeremiah Jensen.

Of course, Twitter had some great reactions as well as it all unfolded.

There were plenty of fun moments too over the four-hour broadcast.

Sitake even highlighted a connection with Alabama Offensive Coordinator Steve Sarkisian who was a former BYU quarterback. Sarkisian led the Cougars to a 14-1 record and a 19-15 win over No. 14 Kansas State in the 1996 Cotton Bowl to become the only FBS team (at that time) to win more than 13 games in a season.

Follow Fan Insider on Facebook and on Twitter.