Everywhere BYU coach LaVell Edwards has gone this week, the question has been the same: Who will start at quarterback for the Cougars in Thursday night's Freedom Bowl? Edwards isn't saying.
"We'll decide when the game starts," he says repeatedly. "It probably doesn't matter. They'll probably both play anyway."Edwards, however, did tell one reporter that he knows who will start; he just isn't saying. Asked why he is so reluctant to publicly name a starter, Edwards said, "Just to keep up the interest. It seems to be a big issue, so I decided to keep it up. There's really no reason. I guess that's my excuse."
Edwards will keep his secret until game time, but his quarterbacks apparently won't. According to the Sean Covey and Ty Detmer, the two quarterbacks in question, the starter will be . . . (drum roll, please), ta-dum . . .
"I think it will be Sean," says Detmer. "The coaches haven't said anything. I'm just basing it on the way practice has gone."
Covey is more certain. "I'm starting," says Covey. "They talked to me a week after the Miami game and told me I was starting and that things were the same."
BYU quarterback coach Norm Chow seemed to indicate as much last week when he said, "I don't anticipate any change."
Covey, a junior, has started every game this season except one (he missed the New Mexico game with an injury). Detmer, a redshirt freshman, relieved Covey in seven games, either because of injury or ineffectiveness. After Detmer relieved Covey in the regular-season finale against Miami because of ineffectiveness, Edwards refused for the first time to confirm Covey as the starter for the next game, which seemed to leave the door open for Detmer.
Curiously, both Detmer and Covey have nearly identical statistics - Covey completed .545 percent of his passes, Detmer .542; Covey threw 10 interceptions, Detmer threw 10; Covey threw 13 touchdown passes, Detmer threw 13. But Covey, who attempted 319 passes, threw for 2,607 yards, and Detmer, who threw 153 passes, threw for 1,252 yards.
Says Edwards, "Sean threw only five interceptions all season until the Utah game, then he threw five in the last two games. Ten interceptions is still better than the other guys have done around here lately, and yet everyone's on his case."
Covey, in the meantime, has not been happy with being yanked from the action. "It's never fun getting pulled," he says. "I'm not used to it, and I've been upset about it. But I'm not going to second-guess the coaches. I've learned to cope with it."
As for Thursday's Freedom Bowl matchup with Colorado, Covey says, "I feel I've got a lot to prove - to myself."