Provo • For the record, redshirt junior quarterback Beau Hoge did not want to see offensive coordinator Ty Detmer get fired last November.

“I love that guy a lot,” Hoge said. “Great coach, great person. I was close to him. It hurt all of us to see that, but this is a business, and tough decisions have to be made. We have to roll with the punches.”

That said, Hoge also acknowledges the more versatile offense being installed by new offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes and new quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick probably suits his skill set as well as, or better, than Detmer’s.

Hoge is a contender to be the Cougars’ starting quarterback when they open the season Sept. 1 at Arizona. The son of former NFL running back Merril Hoge is more of a dual-threat QB than senior Tanner Mangum, who beat him out for the starting spot last fall, or sophomore Joe Critchlow, who started the last three games in 2017.

Mangum still is recovering from an Achilles injury that ended his season Nov. 4 at Fresno State and has been limited in spring camp, but he is ahead of schedule by most accounts. He said Monday he will be 100 percent before fall camp begins in early August.

Perhaps surprisingly, the majority of the reps so far have gone to Hoge and freshman Zach Wilson, signaling they might be better fits for the new offense than Critchlow or Mangum, who are traditional pocket passers.

“It is a close race,” is about all Roderick would say Thursday about the competition.

Grimes said, “I think some guys are beginning to take a step forward, but I want to watch today’s film before I say too much about that.”

Hoge said the competition is intense but friendly.

“This offense plays to whatever strengths the quarterback has that is in it,” he said. “It has that flexibility. If we need to be more pro-style, we can be more pro-style. If we need more spread, there is definitely that element to it as well.”

What do they call it?

“We refer to it as our offense,” Hoge said. “No name so far. Just our offense.”

Grimes said they are “still working on that,” when he was asked Thursday if it has a name.

Hoge said he likes it because it is detail-oriented and flexible.

“The coaches do a great job of making sure we know exactly what we should be doing and how to do it,” he said.

As a newcomer, Wilson can’t talk to reporters yet, per long-standing BYU rules instigated when Bronco Mendenhall was the coach. Critchlow said there “are similarities and there are differences” to what he ran under Detmer.

“Our coaches emphasize that the quarterback is leading the show,” Critchlow said. “We are all competitive and we are all running with that. It is producing great results as well.”

Critchlow and Hoge both said coaches haven’t given any indication what the depth chart looks like at QB, but both admitted Wilson is a threat to win the starting job.

“He doesn’t play like a freshman,” Hoge said. “He’s the man. He’s really good.”

Hoge suffered a toe injury and concussion in the loss to Utah State and returned to action when Mangum sustained the Achilles injury against Fresno State. But he still was battling the toe injury and had to leave the Fresno game early, then missed the rest of the season.

He said he is “100 percent healthy now” and the toe injury didn’t require surgery. As far as the concussion, he said he passed protocol a week after the Utah State game but couldn’t play because of the other injury. He collaborated with doctors from the Pittsburgh area that his father knew from his struggles with concussions during his playing days.

Wilson, Hoge and Mangum all spent a lot of time in the winter working with Dustin Smith of QB Elite (QBE), a quarterback and receiver development program in Utah.

“He’s helped us with our mechanics in terms of creating torque with our lower body and our shoulders and stuff like that,” Hoge said. “Just little nuances that will make us all better quarterbacks this fall.”

Regardless of who wins the starting job.


• Junior quarterback is the son of former NFL running back and ESPN NFL analyst Merril Hoge and hails from Fort Thomas, Ky., near Cincinnati

• Played in three games as a freshman in 2015 before redshirting in 2016

• Made his first college start as a redshirt sophomore in 2017 against Wisconsin and his second start against Utah State before suffering a concussion and toe injury

• Has completed 19 of 39 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions in his BYU career to date