BYU's second string QB will be joining former BYU head coach Gary Crowton in Cedar City this next season, as he returns to where his pre-mission collegiate career began.
BYU suddenly finds itself with an opening at the QB position. Not at the starting position, naturally, as soon-to-be junior Taysom Hill is well ensconced as the starter, barring serious injury, for the remainder of his career in the white and blue. However, backup quarterback and fellow junior-to-be Ammon Olsen will be transferring from BYU to SUU for next season. His inability to unseat incumbent start Hill, as well as the splash (relatively speaking) hire of Gary Crowton as the Thunderbirds' new offensive coordinator were the primary motivators for the transfer.
Despite being the second teamer, Olsen hardly sniffed the football field this past season, only attempting three passes in the 2013 season, for a grand total of one completion for his BYU career. Before joining BYU after his LDS mission, Olsen played in six games as a freshman for SUU, passing for 113 yards on 8 of 14 completions with two touchdowns. If he has any aspirations of playing at the next level, the transfer will definitely give him more of a chance to showcase his skills. Even though he will be playing against FCS competition, there is a precedent for former BYU quarterbacks finding success and exposure by transferring. Plus, Olsen will not need to sit out a year when transferring to an FCS squad, and can compete for playing time right away.
Despite his lack of playing time at BYU, Olsen is no stranger to success. As a prep quarterback for Alta High in Sandy, UT, Olsen completed 63.1% of his passes for 3,209 yards and 36 touchdowns and rushed for 860 yards and 11 touchdowns. A legitimate passer with great scrambling ability, he led his team to the 2008 class 5A state title. Crowton is known for his love of the passing game, and play action, and Olsen's skill set complements the offense that Crowton loves to run. If there is one positive to be said about Crowton's BYU tenure, it was definitely the vertical passing game, predicated upon play action, and Olsen should thrive in his offense.
He also possesses prototypical size (6'3" and 205 lbs) and decent arm strength. He has the measurables to garner looks from NFL scouts, and although Russell Wilson and Drew Brees are definitely causing more organizations to look away from the traditional prototypical paragon of quarterback size, QBs like Olsen will always find themselves with ample opportunities to prove themselves at the next level.
BYU, in the meantime, finds itself with a battle to select a backup quarterback, that regardless of talent, will probably not be in the running to unseat Hill in the 2014 season. Despite his regression under Anae, represented by a drop in accuracy and an adjusted QBR free fall from 83.4 to 66.8, Hill remains the most dynamic player on the offense, and a key cog as BYU looks to implement the read zone. So, while competition between returning senior Christian Stewart of Orem, Utah and Billy Green of King's High School in Woodway, Washington may be fierce, it shouldn't so much as nudge Hill at the top of the depth chart.
Regardless, BYU remains relatively deep at the quarterback position, and despite the loss of a talented reserve player like Olsen, should remain so for the foreseeable future, although quarterback now becomes an area of concern for the 2015 class.