Zach Wilson’s Massive Improvement Explained By His Offensive Coordinator

Apr 30, 2021, 10:30 AM | Updated: 10:33 am
Aaron Roderick - BYU Football - Zach Wilson...
BYU's Aaron Roderick was named 2020 QB Coach of the Year. (BYU Photo/Nate Edwards)
(BYU Photo/Nate Edwards)

SALT LAK CITY, Utah – If one asked any NFL Draft pundit a year ago about BYU quarterback Zach Wilson, none would say he would be the No. 2 overall pick and a first-round selection.

Most would have likely recommended at least another year in college.

Fast forward to one year later – literally the world is a much different place and Wilson is heading to New York City as a member of the New York Jets after being taken No. 2 overall.

A lot of work went into Wilson’s meteoric rise from a guy with potential to being the de-facto savior for the Jets. There were the references during games this season about Wilson driving to California for the weekend to be with former Cougar QB great John Beck.

It also helped that BYU was able to play a complete season last year when others couldn’t, and he took full advantage, showing off his skills. Even against lesser competition, Wilson stood up and made plays that wowed NFL higher ups.

Coach Roderick On What Changed

BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick joined KSL’s UnRivaled live from the NFL Draft to give his thoughts on his former quarterback. Over the past few years, Roderick was the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach and worked very closely with Wilson and helped him progress to the player he is now.

Roderick explained what made Wilson so much better from 2019 to 2020 and all it had to do was to be better from years past. Pretty simple but it was just learning from mistakes and just being healthy.

“I think it was a couple of things, the first thing was his sophomore year, he wasn’t healthy and he played injured,” Roderick said. “He had a shoulder that wasn’t right. He came back from surgery, too. It just wasn’t right yet and then breaks his hand in the middle of the season, has pins in his hand, and only misses a couple of games.”

Roderick added, “I think we have to allow for quarterbacks to grow and make some mistakes and that was always a guy who wasn’t afraid to try anything. He was also really good at learning from his mistakes. So I thought I think what you saw this year was a healthy guy who had also learned a lot of football in his first two years in college.”

Roderick finished by saying, “Then the game just really came together for him and slowed down. The other part of it was he had a lot of good players around him this year. We were executing at a much higher level as a team than we were his first two years.”

Sometimes for players all it takes is a little bit more to click to figure things out. For Wilson, it was a combination of being healthy, working with a professional coach with Beck, and soaking in everything and continuing to learn from his coaches.

The next step will not be easy going to the NFL and specifically to a Jets team that picked No. 2 for a reason. Wilson will have to keep learning from his mistakes as Roderick said and that can lead to success at the next level.

Tune into KSL Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 7-9 p.m., or subscribe to the podcast. Also, download the all-new KSL Sports app on iOS or Android.

  • BYU Cougars Scoreboard

  • BYU Cougars Team Leaders

  • BYU Cougars Standings

KSL Unrivaled

Cam Rising - Utah Utes vs. ASU...
Michelle Bodkin

Previewing Utah’s 2022 Schedule With Unrivaled: Arizona State

This week we will move back up to the early phase of Utah’s schedule with the fourth game of the season against embattled Arizona State on September 24th.
15 hours ago
BYU Football - Big 12 Conference...
Jeremy Mauss

Who Is Going To Be The Blue Blood Of Big 12 Football?

What team will be the king of Big 12 football?
8 days ago
Rudy Gobert - Utah Jazz - Washington Wizards...
Jeremy Mauss

Would You Miss Rudy Gobert If He Were Traded?

How much would Utah Jazz fans care if Gobert was in a different uniform next year?
8 days ago
TJ Pledger - Utah Utes vs. Arizona Wildcats...
Michelle Bodkin

Previewing Utah’s 2022 Schedule With Unrivaled: Arizona

This week we will move next door to the ninth game on Utah’s schedule against Arizona on November 5th with Arizona Star beat writer, Michael Lev.
8 days ago
BYU Football - Kalani Sitake...
Jeremy Mauss

BYU Football Should Be Able To Win The Big 12 Sooner Than Later

Cougar football should be able to compete with the best of the Big 12 immediately.
12 days ago
Jeremy Mauss

Gordon Chiesa: A ‘Wild Card’ Utah Jazz Hire Could Come From College Ranks

Would Danny Ainge go back to the college ranks to hire the next Utah Jazz head coach?
19 days ago
Zach Wilson’s Massive Improvement Explained By His Offensive Coordinator