BYU football: All Cougar QBs equal, but Hill more equal than others
Provo • Every starting offensive position on the BYU football team is up for grabs, the new coaches on that side of the ball have said since they were hired in the last few months.
But it was obvious on Monday as spring camp started that the quarterback position is going to be Taysom Hill's to lose, regardless of what was coming out of the mouths of head coach Bronco Mendenhall, offensive coordinator Robert Anae and quarterbacks coach Jason Beck.
Hill got the first snaps in team drills, and did not show any signs that he was hampered by the devastating knee injury he suffered almost five months ago to the day. Senior Jason Munns and sophomore Ammon Olsen also got some reps, while freshmen Billy Green and Tanner Mangum, and Christian Stewart, a transfer from Snow College, mostly watched.
Beck said the order was determined by the amount of playing experience each quarterback brought to camp, which is why Hill went first. And Hill went hard, did everything everyone else did, and said after practice that he always believed he would recover this quickly and be in this spot on March 4.
"The doctors are hesitant letting me go 100 percent, full-strength, so I have kind of limited myself a little bit," Hill said. "But for the most part, I feel like I am doing everything 100 percent."
Anae's take on how the sophomore who started two games last fall looked: "He's on restriction, but boy, they didn't restrict him too much today. He ran around, did some good things, made some good reads."
But, Anae added, the starting quarterback competition "is wide open, it really is. I thought all the quarterbacks, at least for the most part, were moving pretty fast."
Asked if his new "go hard, go fast" offense will benefit if a starting QB is named before spring camp ends, Anae said it is too early to tell.
As for Hill, he's staying away from making bold predictions, but was obviously pleased that he got the first reps Monday, and that the offense moved the ball.
"We had the defense on their toes a couple drives, and everything was coming in fast, and a couple more practices, as we get more comfortable and used to it, it is going to be tough to stop," he said.
So does Hill think it would be beneficial to be named the starter when camp ends April 5?
"Right now, I mean, I was taking reps with the ones and things, so that allowed for some continuity," he said. "But yeah, maybe. I think we will let the coaches decide what is best in that situation."
Mendenhall acknowledged, if only slightly, that some might view Hill as having a leg up on the race.
"It would start with Taysom Hill just because of some experience from a year ago," Mendenhall said. "But that's really not enough to say, then, that he's the heir apparent, or he's the established quarterback. But if you had to say, 'is there a pecking order?' We would start there first. But there's not a huge lead over anyone else."
Several offensive players, such as receivers J.D. Falslev (left foot) and Cody Hoffman (shoulder) and lineman Ryker Mathews (both hips) had surgery and won't participate in spring ball.
Junior college transfer Trenton Trammell injured his left knee midway through practice, but the seriousness of the injury will not be known until some imaging work is done.
Having mentioned Friday that he wants a contract extension, Mendenhall said Monday he has "made it really clear" that he wants to stay at BYU, but doesn't want to talk about it during camp.
"Really, all I have done is express my interest to the administration," he said. "The rest of it, you will have to talk to them and see. ... The details and the time frame will have to come from the administration."
Quarterbacks at BYU spring camp
Player Year Ht/Wt
Jason Munns Senior 6-5/250
Christian Stewart Junior 6-2/190
Taysom Hill Sophomore 6-2/218
Ammon Olsen Sophomore 6-3/209
Billy Green Freshman 6-2/196
Tanner Mangum Freshman 6-3/195