Offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick was the first to join the Zoom press conference following Friday’s practice — the final spring football practice.
The assistant coach sat down and immediately said: “My starting quarterback — just kidding.”
From that moment, it became clear Roderick wouldn’t be naming a starter in the biggest offseason position battle. In fact, he didn’t even provide a depth chart and said he’s not ready to whittle down the competition to be just between two guys. Right now it’s between four: Baylor Romney, Jaren Hall, Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters and Jacob Conover.
At this rate, BYU’s next starting quarterback may not be named until the 2021 season opener against Arizona in Las Vegas on Sept. 4.
Although the depth chart isn’t taking shape on paper, Roderick said it was starting to take shape in his mind.
“I’m going to meet with each of those guys next week and talk about how we’re going to go forward, but there will still be some competition in the fall,” Roderick said. “We’re not ready to name a starter yet. We’ll go at least, I’d say, at least a week to 10 days in the fall before we make any decisions like that.”
While sharing reps between four different players tends to water down everything, Roderick isn’t too concerned. He’s able to do so because of the experience in the quarterback room.
Although technically sophomores, this was Romney’s fourth spring camp and Hall’s third. Maiava-Peters and Conover have both been with the program for a year.
Maiava-Peters got some limited game minutes in 2020 as the Cougars’ third-string quarterback, while Conover greyshirted the season.
“Normally, spreading the reps around with four guys would be pretty thin, but when you consider the accumulation of reps those guys have had and the time they’ve been here, I think we can take this a little further,” Roderick said. “So, that’s what we’ll do.”
The final practice consisted of normal group and individual work, a 7-on-7 session, time when each of the quarterbacks got a turn driving the team and red-zone drills.
While spring camp usually concludes with a game, Roderick believed the practice they had served the team better.
Also, making it through all 15 spring practices, unlike last year, helped coaches to pick up on more improvements.
“From last year to now, they’ve always had that talent, but they’re all ready to take the reins,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. “Like I said, we’re going to play the best one. Good competition. Look forward to seeing it play on, even in the summer.”
What did help motivate the team, particularly the quarterbacks, was watching pro day unfold earlier Friday and seeing former Cougar quarterback Zach Wilson dazzle NFL representatives and scouts at the Indoor Practice Facility.
A year ago, Hall and Romney were battling alongside Wilson for the starting gig. Now, Wilson seems destined to be the second quarterback selected in this year’s NFL draft.
Seeing how quickly things can change — and improve — for someone helped motivate the players heading into the final spring practice.
“It’s just a big confidence booster to know that anybody, any time can get to that level,” Hall said. “It’s fun to see it for him — we’re proud and excited for Zach, and looking forward to his future there. But for all of us, it shows that if we put the work in, that that’s very well something we can achieve.”