Unrivaled: Does BYU Really Have A Three-Way Battle At Quarterback?

Aug 14, 2020, 9:57 AM
Photo courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey...
Photo courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

PROVO, Utah – BYU quarterback Zach Wilson has had some bumps in the road during his time with the Cougars but heading into his junior year it is widely accepted that he is the starting quarterback.

He has started 16 games with a record of 8-8 which by far makes him the most experienced quarterback on the roster.

Last year, Wilson missed four games with a hand injury and returned with a 2-2 record against a lackluster schedule of beating Idaho State and UMass but then losing to a San Diego State team with its backup quarterback and then falling to Hawaii its bowl game.

During those four games, the Cougars were led by Baylor Romney and Jaren Hall with the team going 2-2 – but it was Romney who earned the best win over a then-undefeated Boise State team.

All signs should point to Wilson being the starter since he regained the starting job last year once he was healthy. Plus, this is the first offseason in which Wilson has been fully healthy. He spent a lot of time this summer training with former BYU quarterback John Beck in California to improve his game.

Quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick gives a glowing review of Wilson during fall camp from what he has seen and the improvements that have been made with a full offseason.

“He has improved in every area and it is pretty impressive what he has done with his offseason. It is the first real offseason he has had in three years. He had a total transformation of his body, he looks really good,” Roderick said. “He is big and strong and has worked hard at every part of this game. He is throwing the ball well and is making great decisions. You can tell he is taking to heart some of the mistakes he has made in the past.”

Equal Reps For Three Quarterbacks

So far during fall camp, Roderick is giving all three signal-callers taking equal reps, plus giving freshman Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters some action. For having an experienced player returning like Wilson back this seems odd unless there is going to be a quarterback competition.

“So far it has been equal reps from Zach, Jaren, and Baylor, exactly equal so far,” Roderick said. “Then I have been mixing in Sol-Jay where I can and he has been getting reps every day as well. He is an exciting young player and when he goes in we keep joking something exciting is going to happen.”

Not only is Wilson sharing time with two other quarterbacks but also freshman Maiava-Peters is not getting playing time but is making Roderick blush in his comments.

KSL Sports Scott Mitchell has a theory that the freshman from Hawaii has a shot at significant playing time this fall.

“There is the quarterback,” Mitchell said. “He is the quarterback. He is the guy and by the time they get midway through this season, he will be in there playing.”

So, Who Is The Quarterback?

Roderick and BYU are clearly looking for their quarterback for the 2020 season as they are not sure who that should be. Wilson, Romney, and Hall all played last year and with that experience of live game action, they are all in the running to be the starting quarterback.

KSL Sports BYU Insider Mitch Harper feels the staff is just feeling out who could be the guy once the season opens up against Navy on Labor Day.

“I think that Roderick is being truthful here because there is so much time between now and kickoff that they want to explore what Baylor Romney looks like with the first unit and what Jaren Hall looks like with the first team unite,” Mitchell said. “I think the battle for second-string is even more tightly contested between Jaren Hall and Baylor Romney.

“I still believe that Zach Wilson will be the guy, but [the staff] wants to give them these opportunities to see what these guys look like with the first-team offense. I think they know internally and all signs point to Zach Wilson.”

It all should add up for Wilson to continue to be the starting quarterback since he has the experience and when healthy has been the starter for BYU. This all may just be a way for the coaching staff to create some camp competition to get the best football from all of these guys to get a more solidified depth chart at the most important position.

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