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Jay Drew
Jay covers BYU athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow him on Twitter @drewjay.

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Focus will be on backup QBs at BYU scrimmage today

Let the battle begin.

The battle to be BYU's starting quarterback?

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Nope, that's set. And so is the backup -- that's going to be James Lark, at least through the first half of the season.

The Cougars scrimmage today at LaVell Edwards Stadium, and much of the attention will be focused on what happens after Riley Nelson and James Lark play -- if they play much at all.

As I noted in today's article in The Salt Lake Tribune, today is extremely important for the three quarterbacks vying to become the third-stringer this year: Jason Munns, Taysom Hill and Ammon Olsen.

As both offensive coordinator Brandon Doman and coach Bronco Mendenhall acknowledged, the QB who emerges will have a leg up on the race to be next year's starter.

"I will take whatever reps I can get. It is not my job to complain about whether I get them or not. I want them, and if I get them, that's great," Munns told me after practice on Wednesday. "I'm not placing any more importance on it than usual. I mean, you gotta look at it one practice at a time. Our next practice is this afternoon, and that's as far ahead as I am thinking. We have to figure out what we did wrong this morning and correct that this afternoon.

A year is a long way away and we go practice by practice."

Munns said he learned years ago to just be grateful for what he has and not worry so much about what he doesn't have -- which in his case is playing time.

"When opportunities are presented to you, no matter how often or how rare they are, you just make the most out of them. Because you don't know when you will get another one."

I asked Munns if it has been frustrating to see other quarterbacks transfer in and perhaps take away some of those opportunities.

"It is frustrating no matter who is taking the reps, and you are not," he said. "You have respect for all of them. We love each other, but everyone wants that rep. So regardless of who it is, you want the rep and you will fight for it."

What are Munns' strengths, in his opinion?

"I have been at this now four or five years in this program. I feel I have a great understanding of what it is we are supposed to represent, and on the field I feel there are a lot of things that I haven't been able to show yet, that I haven't quite had enough opportunity to show what I am capable of, and so for the time being I am going to keep battling and keep trying to be the type of person off the field that this place needs to represent it," he said.

Is there a chance he could ask to play a different position?

"All I have played my whole life is quarterback, and at this point in my life, that is truly what I feel I am, and that's what I would like to keep doing," he said.

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Here's more from Doman about how the offense is coming along:

Doman on the receivers:

"It is unfortunate that Dallin Cutler hurt his hamstring, because I think he was making a lot of strides. Alex Kuresa is coming along. He just doesn't know how to play the position yet, but athletically he should have the ability to really help us as a wide receiver.

Dylan Collie is doing a good job for being a brand new guy. So we do have some depth. We just don't have much experience, so we are getting a lot of mistakes, still. It was nice to get Cody [Hoffman] back today. Our offense was quite a different today with him out there."

Doman on whether the RM receivers Mitch Mathews and Brett Thompson have been slowed by mission rust:

"Yeah, they are just not quite ready, both in knowledge and making plays. Ultimately, coaches develop players and make players, and then players make plays. We still haven't developed them into players yet, because they are not making the plays we need them to make. So as that progresses, I am hoping that we see those two guys rise up."

Doman on whether the battle to be the third-string QB -- and get a leg up next year -- is wide open:

"It is right now."

Doman on where freshman running back Jamaal Williams is at through six days of camp:

"We are lucky he is here, quite honestly. At the end of his high school season he had a lot of very good colleges trying to get him away, and he stuck with his commitment. We are seeing why those colleges were coming after him. He's got a lot of ability, and he might help us this year, as well."

Doman on having a lot of seniors, and what that's like as a player:

"It means a lot. I think with Riley I am having to take him down a bit, because it means so much. He's been getting after the guys a lot, and he is already a keyed up guy. But it makes a major difference.

Our team has acted like this, or looked like this, or been this united in just the workload alone, or the grit portion of playing this game, we haven't looked like this since I have been here. So I think a lot of it is attributed to him."



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