BYU concluded Spring practices with a public scrimmage this past Saturday, and we now begin the wait until Fall camp kicks off in early August.
Spring ball is an easy time to overhype things, so it’s important to take things with a grain of salt during the March and April practices.
Without going overboard on anything, here are 3 things we learned from BYU’s 15 Spring practices:
4 Quarterbacks will compete for the starting job
BYU went into QB with 8 quarterbacks and a 9th, Jaren Hall, returning from his mission in the summer. After spring, it appears that four QB’s will duke it out for the starting job in BYU’s opener versus Arizona.
True freshman Zach Wilson was one of the stars of camp, as the early enrollee received praise from media and coaches with his play and unusually high leadership ability for an 18 year old. Even though he is only a true freshman, don’t be surprised to see Wilson get the nod as BYU’s starting QB at some point this year.
In addition to Wilson, Tanner Mangum, Beau Hoge and Joe Critchlow are all firmly in the race. Mangum was limited after recovering from achilles surgery, but he is expected to be 100% by fall camp. Beau Hoge has the athleticism that Grimes ideally wants to go along with experience, and Critchlow’s strong scrimmage performance shows that he will be a factor as well.
At this point, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will take the first snap September 1 in Tucson.
BYU will likely go with a committee approach at running back
Squally Canada had a really nice Spring ball, but the emergence of Zach Katoa to go along with Ula Tolutau’u will give BYU three different backs that they can rotate. Katoa redshirted last year and tore it up on the scout team, and his strong spring will have him in the running back rotation come fall.
With Katoa’s emergence and Canada and Tolutau’u expected to play big roles, it seems unlikely that BYU will continue pursuing Cal grad transfer Tre Watson.
BYU may have enough at cornerback to keep position changes intact
Dayan Ghanwoloku and Troy Warner were BYU’s starting corners last year, but were switched over to safety before the start of Spring ball. Warner sat out as he recovers from a foot injury, while Dayan got reps at safety and kick returner.
Many believe that safety is the best and most natural position for both Dayan and Troy, but BYU’s depth at cornerback, or lack thereof, may prohibit a switch by one or both.
Spring is a time where hype abounds, but it seems that BYU may have enough talent at cornerback to keep both guys at safety. Upperclassmen Chris Wilcox, Trevion Greene and Michael Shelton got significant reps and showed that they may be capable to handle the load.
Greene saw limited action last year, but the JUCO transfer has the measurables at 6-3, 190 pounds that coaches love to work with. In addition to the three listed above, Austin McChesney, Keenan Ellis, Isaiah Armstrong and Matthew Criddle all contributed during Spring ball and will factor into the rotation as well.
If BYU coaches trust the names above during fall camp, we could see last year’s starting cornerbacks as BYU’s new safety duo once September rolls around.