Provo • If he is healthy, redshirt sophomore Beau Hoge will be BYU’s starting quarterback Friday night when the beleaguered Cougars face surging UNLV at Sam Boyd Stadium, offensive coordinator Ty Detmer said Tuesday.
Hoge has by far the most game experience of the three quarterbacks competing in practice this week to replace junior Tanner Mangum, who suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury in Saturday’s 20-13 loss to Fresno State.
“He is the guy,” Detmer said. “If he is feeling good enough to go, then he will probably be the guy.”
BYU did not make Hoge, Joe Critchlow or Kody Wilstead available to the media after practice Tuesday. Detmer said evaluating Hoge solely on his 3-of-10 performance against the Bulldogs would not be fair, due to the Kentucky native being “in and out with the injuries” in that game and previous games.
Hoge was limping noticeably before BYU’s final possession. He sustained an ankle injury and a concussion in the Utah State game Sept. 29.
“We are evaluating all the guys,” Detmer said. “With Beau, he hasn’t been 100 percent, really, since Utah State, or before the Utah State game. We want to make sure he is right.
“With Joe, and Kody is up at this point in the season, you kinda want to see where guys are and get an evaluation on some of them. But we gotta play the guy we feel like is going to win the game for us, too. That is first and foremost. We are just evaluating that situation and will see where it falls come Friday night.”
Detmer reiterated what coach Kalani Sitake said Monday — the priority to win is greater than the priority to start developing players for next season even though the Cougars will finish with a losing record and not go to a bowl game for the first time since 2004.
“It is not, ‘OK, seniors are done and we are going to go play all the young guys,’” Detmer said. “That’s not how it works here and not our mentality as coaches. So we are going to go try to win the game, but if there is an opportunity for [younger] guys to be in the game, we want them to go in and execute and play and see what they bring to the table. But that is kinda on the back burner of your mind.”
News that Wilstead, the St. George product and returned missionary who has yet to play this season, is in the mix to play came as a surprise Monday when Sitake listed him with Hoge and Critchlow. But Detmer said the former Pine View High star doesn’t want to redshirt.
“He wants to have an opportunity if one is there,” Detmer said. “It is not the worst thing to keep that in your pocket for a little while. You look at Tanner, if he is not able to return next year, he will still have a redshirt year [available] and be able to do that. … If they were concerned about it, then we would probably err on the side of doing what they want.”
Scout team update
One of the five quarterbacks who has taken snaps this season, redshirt sophomore Koy Detmer Jr., is quarterbacking the scout team in practices, Ty Detmer said. Backup safety Young Tanner, brother of receiver Beau Tanner and a QB in high school, also is helping out by simulating the style of the opposing QB for that particular week of preparation.
“We are kind of all hands on deck on that part of it,” Ty Detmer said.
Hall hopes to play
Running back KJ Hall, who hasn’t played since the first half of the San Jose State game due to an undisclosed injury, wants to play this week in Las Vegas, his father’s hometown, Detmer said.
“We are waiting to see how he progresses the next day or two,” Detmer said. “You always want to be careful with a guy who hasn’t practiced much. We will see how he feels tomorrow and if he can get some work in or not.”