PROVO — BYU’s spring practices are at the halfway point, and three quarterbacks have been getting the reps with the offense — redshirt freshman Jaren Hall, sophomore Joe Critchlow and redshirt freshman Baylor Romney.
Sophomore Zach Wilson, who ended the season as the starter, is sidelined for the spring while he recovers from shoulder surgery.
“Jaren’s doing some really good things. It’s really cool that he’s playing baseball and being able to handle the load of playing football in the spring,” said coach Kalani Sitake. “He’s doing a great job with it. I’m really pleased with his progress. I would say he’s the leader out of the group right now in mid-spring.”
Quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick has been impressed by what he’s seen from the quarterbacks this spring.
“They’ve been doing a great job of taking care of the football. All three of the guys that have been taking reps have been taking care of the ball and throwing a lot of completions,” he said. “Jaren had a really good day (Thursday) and Joe made a couple of nice plays as well. Baylor does something every day that keeps him in the mix. He’s a super athlete, a super-athletic kid. He’s intriguing.”
'SCORE-FIRST' OFFENSE: During the first half of last season, the Cougars employed a run-heavy offensive attack. That changed when Wilson became the starter in place of Tanner Mangum.
Does Sitake still consider his offense a run-first offense?
“No, it’s a score-first offense. I’m not going to limit us to running the ball; whatever can get points on the board. Aggressive-minded football is what we want,” he said. “After what we did in the bowl game, we build on our strengths, which are our quarterbacks. Our quarterbacks are throwing quarterbacks. We’ll see how it shakes out, but that’s the way I’m leaning right now.”
Roderick said the offense has made significant strides during spring ball.
“We’ve made a lot of progress. It’s true that we’re missing a few guys (due to injury). But there are a lot of guys we’re counting on out here,” he said. “Most of our offensive linemen are playing and we’ve got a good group of receivers that we’re going to count on this year.”
MANAGING POSITION CHANGES: Just like every spring, several players experience position changes as coaches experiment with optimizing the talent on the roster.
For example, JJ Nwigwe moved from tight end to defensive line while Austin Chambers has moved from offensive line to defensive line.25 comments on this story
When discussing potential position changes, Sitake said it ultimately comes down to what the player wants to do.
“It always goes with the players. They want to get on the field," he said. "Giving them honest feedback is the most important thing right now and letting them know where things stand and what it’s going to take for them to succeed and win the starting spot. We’re going to keep it real with those guys. For the most part, they come to the realization that it’s a good move. But in the end, it will be their call.”