New BYU quarterbacks coach Jason Beck said during football media day in June that the two-deep chart at quarterback is pretty much set heading into fall camp: Sophomore Taysom Hill is the starter and redshirt sophomore Ammon Olsen is his primary backup.
Beck said that senior Jason Munns, Snow College transfer Christian Stewart and freshman Billy Green -- who graduated early and participated in spring ball -- would battle the first week of fall camp for the third spot.
"Christian Stewart finished spring in that [third] spot," Beck said. "We will give Munns some reps to see if he can push Stewart so we can kind of solidify that third spot. Munns got dinged up [suffered a concussion] the second day of spring, so we really didn't get a chance to look at him much."
Saturday, Hill, Olsen and Stewart got all the reps during the team session. Green and Munns just watched.
Olsen showed no ill effects from the knee injury he suffered during the spring game. A couple of times, the shotgun snaps back to him on Saturday were so bad that he didn't have time to get a play off after corralling the football.
"He is back, fully recovered," Beck said. "When it happened, it was kind of a 3-4 week deal for him to get back. But he is 100 percent, and working hard. He's out there doing well. Yeah, he is healthy."
It was just one practice, but the team drills showed that it is going to be extremely difficult for Beck and offensive coordinator Robert Anae to get Munns and Green any meaningful snaps, let alone Stewart, a walk-on who prepped at Timpanogos High. The fact that Anae is trying to incorporate his uptempo plan into the offense can't help; Hill said Saturday that he needs all the reps he can get in the system.
Offensively, I think everybody, they like it, and they believe in it," Hill said of Anae's offense after the first practice. "Coach Anae posed a question to us last night, and asked, 'do you trust me?' And we all immediately said yes, because [we have] that trust. We trust what he is doing and as far as an offense goes, we trust him and we like it. And we feel like we are going to do really well in it."
The Cougars are back at it Monday night, but the media will only be allowed to watch the last 30 minutes or so. Hill said Saturday's practice was the longest he can ever remember.
"For me, personally, I felt like I was in shape," he said. "There are a few guys that weren't in shape, and need to be in better shape, but as a whole, we played really well. Man, that was a tough practice. I was impressed with the way our guys came out and continued to battle and progressed through practice."
I asked Hill what he thought of Anae's assessment that he looked like an NFL safety.
"Well, I feel like I am about where I was last season. But coach Anae saw me just after surgery, so I was just trying to get myself in the best shape and condition that I could be in. And if that looks like an NFL safety, I will take that as a compliment."
Junior receiver Ross Apo made a nice catch during the team session, but also dropped a pass into the end zone from Hill. Overall, the BYU quarterback said Apo has worked extremely hard in the offseason to earn his starting spot back from Skyler Ridley, who was listed ahead of him on the depth chart released after spring ball.
"I expect [Apo] to go out and make plays. He made plays today, and I expect him to continue to do the same," Hill said. "Ross was my lifting partner for the last two or three months, and that is the hardest I have seen Ross work. Granted, last season he had a shoulder injury, so he wasn't able to work out as much as he did this year. He is in great shape. He is going up, fighting for balls, and you will continue to see Ross do that."
Mentioned in my article Saturday night that All-Independence cornerback Preston Hadley is now a "student assistant coach" in the program. Former players Cameron Comer, Jordan Smith and Reed Hornung are also working in that role this fall, much like ex-quarterback Max Hall did last year.
Other former players in attendance Saturday: Brandon Bradley, Corby Eason, Brian Logan.
Of course, former players Matt Edwards and Andrew George are now graduate assistants, working with the offense. The defensive graduate assistants are Jason Kaufusi and Jason Walker.
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