BYU football: QB Olsen shines, suffers injury during BYU's spring game

Published: Saturday, March 30 2013 5:25 p.m. MDT

Ammon Olsen (15) runs with the ball during the BYU Blue and White football game at BYU in Provo on Saturday, March 30, 2013.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

PROVO — On a warm, sunny Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium, sophomore Ammon Olsen was enjoying his chance to shine in his unofficial debut as a BYU quarterback.

"It was so fun to finally get to play in front of the crowd and play tackle football," said Olsen, who took snaps with the first team offense during the Cougars' Blue and White game.

Quarterback Taysom Hill, wearing a green jersey, stood on the sidelines and did not play in the spring game as a precautionary measure.

"It's been a lot of momentum leading up to this day," said Olsen, who hadn't played in a game-like atmosphere since 2009 at Southern Utah, prior to his LDS mission. "I think we played pretty well as an offense. Obviously, there's a long ways to go, but it was fun."

Fun, that is, until Olsen suffered a knee injury during his second series after absorbing a hard hit. Olsen went down awkwardly, and the crowd of more than 12,000 at LaVell Edwards Stadium held its collective breath.

As Olsen was being attended to by medical personnel, BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson walked onto the field, showing his concern.

"The good thing is, (Olsen) got up pretty quickly thereafter," said first-year quarterbacks coach Jason Beck. "You figured it wasn't too bad, or else they'd take some time to really check it out."

Olsen was helped to the sideline, where he received further treatment.

Coach Bronco Mendenhall said preliminary indications are that Olsen suffered a partial PCL — not a more serious ACL or MCL — tear in his left knee. Doctors are anticipating that it "is not likely to require surgery. It's usually a six-week recovery. That's the early prognosis," said Mendenhall.

Olsen has been scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday to find out more about the extent of the injury.

Beck said it was a situation that couldn’t have been prevented. "I think it was a fluke injury," he said.

Prior to the injury, Olsen completed 6-of-11 passes for 96 yards, including a 49-yarder to wide receiver Cody Raymond, and guided the Cougar offense on an 11-play, 80-yard touchdown drive on the opening series.

After the spring game, Olsen walked with a limp and said he was experiencing stiffness in his knee.

"I think I just got rolled up on," said Olsen, who ran BYU's scout team offense last season. "I don't think it's super-severe, but you never know with knee problems."

"Hopefully, it's a just couple of weeks and he'll be back and healthy," Beck said. "Obviously, he's key to what we're doing. He's battling for the first spot or at least the second spot. He's going to be an important guy for our team."

Hill started two games last year before a knee injury ended his season last October against Utah State on a play that came after a miscommunication from the sidelines. Hill has been considered to be the likely starting quarterback next fall, but Olsen has also been impressive during spring drills.

"Right now, it's kind of neck-and-neck," Beck said of the quarterback race. "We're not ready to name a (starter) at this time. But they're both playing well, which is a good situation to be in."

Olsen said he and Hill are pushing each other to be the best they can be.

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