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Who Does BYU Start Against Liberty: Wilson, Hall, Romney Or Critchlow?

The Brigham Young Cougars pose with the wagon wheel following their 42-14 win over the Utah State Aggies in an NCAA football game at Maverik Stadium in Logan on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. (Colter Peterson, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – Different week, same question for BYU Football. “Who’s going to start at quarterback?” We’ve been here before, and the answer did not disappoint.

Normally, this question would bring a head coach and his offensive coordinator some accelerated hair-graying stress, but the Cougars have discovered quite a luxury.

Three different quarterbacks have started, and WON a game this season. Zach Wilson, Jaren Hall, and Baylor Romney have combined for a feat that hasn’t happened since 2012 when Riley Nelson, Taysom Hill, and James Lark all teamed up in that effort.

Still need proof that Hall and Romney have what it takes? Both were in the Top 10 in ESPN’s Week 10 Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) after the Utah State game, with Hall leading the nation.

Let me repeat that. Hall LED THE NATION. Romney wasn’t too shabby either, coming in at No. 10.

Keep in mind, we’re only eight games in to this BYU Football season. Could there be a fourth starting QB with a win in 2019?

Don’t push it.

For the sake of the coaches’ hair status and stress levels, let’s hope BYU doesn’t have to call upon Joe Critchlow (who by the way is 2-1 as a starter).

No, it won’t be Joe. So who then?

Let’s recap the current quarterback setup for Wilson, Hall, and Romney, who were all listed on the BYU depth chart this week as possible starters.

Zach Wilson

His speedy recovery and rehab from a broken thumb suffered against Toledo in late September has been somewhat remarkable. It’s also a testament to how much Wilson wants to get back on the field.

He’s throwing in practice, but for the good of BYU and Wilson, I think it’s wise to give him at least another week of recovery.

When Zach Wilson can have a full week of first-team practice reps, then he’ll be the guy.

Maybe it’ll be next week against Idaho State. Then again, maybe BYU should start Joe Critchlow against a struggling FCS foe.

Jaren Hall

Hall looked dynamite in the first half of action against Utah State in Logan. His throws were on target, his running ability caused the Aggie defense all sorts of problems, and his leadership was solid.

Unfortunately, Hall took another shot to the head and suffered a perceived concussion for the second time this season.

Hall has earned the right to play and be the back-up.  He has earned the respect of his teammates and coaches.

Unfortunately, he probably hasn’t earned the green light from doctors to play Saturday.

Watch for Hall to return in a few weeks. With Liberty, Idaho State, and UMass all on the schedule, there’s no real reason BYU should run Hall out on the field and risk anything long term.

Baylor Romney

Here we land on the answer to this week’s question.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your BYU starting quarterback against Liberty on Saturday will be… Baylor Romney.

In fact, I knew Romney would be the starter the moment I heard BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes say Romney’s foot injury would “not prevent him from playing this week.”

Romney, who I’m guessing has a resting heart rate of around 12, has become the most pleasant of surprises for BYU this season.

The third-string sensation calmly won his only start against then No. 14 Boise State and followed that up with a cool, collected 21-0 second half offensive output at Utah State.

The guy just doesn’t get flustered. He doesn’t disappoint coaches. He executes the plan. He makes good decisions.

Most importantly, he wins.

If it weren’t for his lingering foot injury, I’d say he’ll be the clear starter for the next few weeks.  But without some quarterback speculation, it just wouldn’t be quite as fun now, would it?

As for who should play backup to the starter, that answer is easy – Joe Critchlow – for one simple reason. He’s healthy.

I’ll see you next week for another edition of “Who’s the BYU starting quarterback?”

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