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BYU’s Three QBs Making Starter Decision ‘Really Difficult’ On Coaches

Aug 17, 2021, 3:07 PM | Updated: 3:08 pm
BYU Football - QB Battle...
The three BYU football quarterbacks vying to be the starter in 2021 (Baylor Romney, Jacob Conover, and Jaren Hall) -- Photos courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey
(Baylor Romney, Jacob Conover, and Jaren Hall)

PROVO, Utah – The quarterback battle for BYU football in 2021 moves into week three of Camp Kalani.

Will it be dual-athlete Jaren Hall? Maybe the poised Baylor Romney? Or is it heralded freshman Jacob Conover?

With one scrimmage in the rearview mirror and another nine practices so far in camp, the decision won’t be an easy one for BYU head coach Kalani Sitake and his coaching staff.

“All three are showing great separation from the rest. It’s really close right now,” Sitake said on Tuesday when asked by KSL Sports if any of the QBs have created separation since the first scrimmage. “There’s gonna be some moments where we’re gonna have to make some decisions on how to, you know, function from here on out. But they’re making it really difficult on us and that’s a really good sign.”

The significance of starting QB decisions

In the hierarchy of decisions in a football program, head coach vacancies are always the most scrutinized. After that, it’s probably coordinator hires, and then it’s picking the starting quarterback. A lot of pressure is tied to picking the right signal-caller.

Make the wrong decision; it could produce disastrous results and lead to jobs being on the hot seat. Just look at 2017. Make the right decision in a QB battle? Sitake and his staff did with Zach Wilson; it can lead to a wave of good fortunes for a program.

“If you’re having a difficult time like we are, that means that you’ve got a good group. So it’s two things, either you don’t have a good group, or you have a good group. And we feel like we have a lot of confidence in these three guys. We feel really comfortable with the guys that are behind them and the guys that we’re seeing improve and get better. So I feel really good about the whole room; I know A-Rod (offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick) does,” said Sitake when asked what makes QB battles significant.

Sitake added, “Then it’s just a matter of the guy winning out the spot outright. As long as they keep performing and doing well, and all three of them individually, then they’re going to make it really hard for us. But for the coaching staff, we have to figure out who the guys are that are going to have the most success. That’s what we’re trying to figure out in the next few practices.”

BYU’s veteran QBs run the offense efficiently

Sitake has taken an approach similar to his mentor LaVell Edwards to empower his coordinators to make critical decisions. Roderick has a lot of autonomy when picking the QB, as he also gets feedback from Passing Game Coordinator Fesi Sitake. Like Sitake, he sees good things from all three.

“I will say this when Jaren and Baylor look like veteran QBs; they run our offense efficiently. And then Conover is just a guy he’s got his moments where he’s like –I don’t like to compare him to anybody– Zach (Wilson) when he was young,” Roderick said after Saturday’s scrimmage. “Some of the plays [Conover] makes are really big plays. Then some of the mistakes are just young mistakes. They’re just things that get fixed with time. But the upside is really high. So he’s an intriguing dude. He’s a good player.”

Roderick added, “It’s just fun having the contrast there of the two veterans that really know what they’re doing and run the show with a young guy that’s got a super bright future and is a really explosive kid.”

BYU Football starting QB decision this week?

It’s a good dilemma for BYU to have three QBs they believe can win ball games right now. Kalani ultimately votes off on any decisions from Roderick and his cousin (brother) Fesi. So who gets the starting nod on September 4 against Arizona in Las Vegas will be a big decision for all three coaches.

Will the decision come at the end of this week?

“Hard to forecast. I can’t just say it right now when we’re going to have that done,” Sitake said. “I know it’ll be done before the (Arizona) game, but the sooner, the better for all of us.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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