Get ready for a deluge of articles about BYU quarterback Taysom Hill over the course of the next four weeks as the Cougars open their 2013 preseason football camp on Saturday in preparation for the Aug. 31 opener at Virginia. Hill is already under the microscope as the season approaches, and it can be argued that if he has a good year, the Cougars will also. If not, BYU could miss a bowl game for the first time in the Bronco Mendenhall era.
The top task for BYU will be keeping him healthy.
I have even been working on an article about that exact thing. It will run on Saturday. The Cougars report for camp on Friday, and the first practice is Saturday afternoon. Newcomers will begin practicing at 3:30 p.m. and will be joined by the veterans at 4 p.m.
My research during media day in June turned up one thing you probably don't need to know about Hill, courtesy of receiver JD Falslev. Apparently, Hill has a favorite candy.
"The kid loves licorice. He eats more licorice than any person I could ever imagine," Falslev said. "Mostly red, but any kind, really. He loves licorice. He can eat anything he wants, and he still looks like that. I eat a Twinkie, and I feel like I put 10 pounds on. He eats 10 bags of licorice, and nothing happens."
I ran into Hill and Falslev at Sleepy Ridge Golf Course in Orem a few weeks ago, and both players told me the other is a better golfer. But it became apparent that the two are close friends, so on media day I went to Falslev for some insight on the sophomore from Pocatello, Idaho.
"I have seen a lot of great competitors over the years, but I have never seen one like Taysom that competes day in and day out, every single time.
At the end of the day, what makes Taysom Hill is what kind of guy he is. Whether it is on the field, whether it is off the field," Falslev said. "With Taysom Hill, you know what you are going to get. There are no gray areas, or anything like that. It is nice and comforting to know that. That you can expect that.
The kid just works so hard. He doesn't take days off. He stays positive and cares about everybody around him, and holds them to high expectations.
He cares about people. He's a good dude."
Falslev says when he hangs out with Hill around Provo it is interesting to watch fans recognize the future of BYU football and clamor for his attention, or at least a photo with him.
"The fans love him because they can see the drive in him," Falslev said. "They can see the competitiveness in him, the competitive greatness in him. And they thrive off of that. They love it.
It is fun to see a guy get some recognition who has worked really, really hard to get what he's gotten ... I mean, when people ask me if I am nervous about the quarterback situation, I say no, because if you prepare yourself mentally and physically, you are not nervous.
He has prepared himself so well. He is going to do everything he can to help us have a great year."
Hill said it was nice to be listed No. 1 on the depth chart released at the end of spring camp because it has given him more license to arrange workouts and practice sessions this summer. It has given him more credibility with his teammates, he said. However, he insisted that he's not taking anything for granted, and will approach fall camp as if he's still trying to win the job.
"For myself, and for the other guys, that is our nature, is to compete. We are out there competing against ourselves. We want to be the best that we can be, and those other guys push us and help us accomplish that," Hill said. "I have really high expectations [for the season]. I think we have the potential to do that. We had some moments when we were really good this past spring. We were playing against a defense that is pretty good. But that's the expectation, and I expect our offense to be back to where BYU usually is -- to what everybody expects their offense to be. That's where we see it going."
I will have more from my interview with Hill after the article comes out Saturday.