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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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Battle to be next year's starting QB at BYU starts in January, Hill says

Reporters were allowed to interview BYU freshman quarterback Taysom Hill on Monday, since the Cougars had played their first game. I was most interested in getting Hill's take on why he decided to transfer to BYU after originally signing out of Pocatello's Highland High with Stanford.

What didn't make my collection of notes in today's Tribune is Hill's answer when I asked him if he believes he has the edge to be the starter next year after already getting more meaningful plays in a game that the other guys in the race.

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His reply:

"That's a tough question. ... You know, Jason Munns and Ammon Olsen are both really competitive. They are both really good athletes. And right now, with the role that I have in this Wildcat, I am definitely gaining some experience in that regard. But it is going to be a battle, and I don't think it will be won this season.

It will start in January, so we will work through this year and see what happens as this season progresses. Hopefully I can get some quality time and get some good experience going into 2013."

It will be interesting on Saturday to see how offensive coordinator Brandon Doman uses his quarterbacks in the second half if the Cougars get up a bunch on Weber State.

"They are a good program and things, but hopefully we have an opportunity where we get some playing time, and hopefully I am on the receiving end of that," Hill said. "Obviously, I want to play as much as I can. But ultimately that is going to be up to coach Doman and coach Mendenhall."

Having coached at Northern Arizona, which is an FCS school (formerly NCAA Division I-AA) like Weber State, Mendenhall said Wednesday that the difference between FBS schools and FCS schools is depth.

"I don't think we were really afraid or intimidated to play anyone. We were concerned a little bit more about depth, more than anything else," he said. "In terms of our first 11 out there, on either side, we didn't think there was a giant discrepancy ... I think depth is the biggest thing."

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Having left Stanford, in part, because the Cardinal don't let freshmen enroll in January, like BYU does, Hill said joining the team in January definitely helped him be more ready to see playing time this fall.

" It was a big benefit coming home in January, when I did. And getting in the weight room, running, and just knowing physically and athletically that I can play with these guys.

And then going through spring ball with the offense, I am comfortable with the things that we are doing, and my role with the team. So with all these different things put together, I have confidence in the things that we are doing, and a lot of trust has been shown from our coaching staff and the players around me," he said.

Still, he said, it was difficult to leave Stanford.

"Especially with the success that Stanford was having, and things like that. But as I looked back, and even before my mission, and the things that happened while I was serving in Australia, and things that have happened now, it is clear to me that this is where I needed to be, and I made the decision, and I haven't looked back.

I have really, really enjoyed my experience at BYU, and I plan on it continuing to get better and better," Hill said.

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Hill's first college pass went for an 18-yard touchdown pass to Kaneakua Friel in the Cougars' 30-6 win over Washington State.

His description of the play:

"My plan originally was to run it. It was 4th and 1, and I knew we had to get the first down. I had the edge and I knew I could have run for the first down.

I was getting ready to tuck and run, then I looked up and I saw Kane and he was wide open, and luckily I was able to throw it over and not do anything to special, and get the touchdown.

I hope I have more [easy] touchdown passes like that. But I don't anticipate it."

Hill said coaches found the perfect time to call the play.

"I was antsy the whole game, ever since the game started. I knew at some point we were going to run it, so I was just waiting to get called up. I wasn't very nervous. Like I said, I felt prepared, and I felt confident with the preparation that I had started in January, ever since I started working out.

So with the preparation since January, through spring ball and fall camp, and practice and the plays that we ran, I needed to go execute. We needed to go get that first down, and it turned into a touchdown, which, was fantastic. We couldn't have drawn it up any better."



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