Let the footballs fly

Coach Anae is opening up the competition between six quarterbacks currently in the program. While Taysom Hill played with the first-team offense on day one of spring camp, mostly due to him having played in six games last season, the starting quarterback position has been left wide open. The competition will help the players' overall development.

Wednesday is the second day that the Cougars will go to work under new offensive coordinator Robert Anae. BYU's newly rehired offensive-minded coach has opened up the competition for the starting quarterback position.

"The coaches have told us that we're coming in with a clean slate, and that everyone has the opportunity and things," said Taysom Hill. "The time that I've had off with my injury with my knee, I felt really good [on Monday]. I did everything [on Monday]."

"More than anything it's a clean slate and we're competing against ourselves," said Ammon Olsen. "The goal is to play our absolute best shoulder to shoulder, and who can do that with this team and with this new offense is going to start. That's all we're looking for. It's been good and we're just seeing who can take the leadership role and play their absolute best in this offense."

This is actually a good thing. The competition will drive the quarterbacks in a greater effort to be better. Even Hill, who might have somewhat of an inside track to be the starter, feels it will force him to not sit back and take things for granted.

"Yeah, for sure," Hill said. "All of us didn't get here at a Division I university without competition, and that's where we thrive. We're all used to it and we've all competed for a job before. I'm looking forward to it and it will be fun and that's football. We have the opportunity to go and compete against one another for the starting job."

It will be interesting to see what adjustments are made for Wednesday's practice following Monday's practice. Film of each quarterback has undoubtedly been mulled over by the coaches, but here's how the first day looked to Total Blue Sports.

Taysom Hill: Hill threw the ball well and connected downfield a few times with his receivers. When the throw wasn't there, Hill did resort to taking off with his legs, which was followed by a quick whistle from the offensive coaches.

Ammon Olsen: Olsen has a strong arm and throws a nice ball. He made several attempts to stretch the defense downfield, but couldn't connect with the receivers, having overthrown the ball. If Olsen can establish that deep-threat chemistry by connecting with receivers, he could a contender to start.

Christian Stewart: If there was a surprise on day one, it was Christian Stewart. Stewart has very good mobility, but maybe isn't quite as fast as Hill. However, he showed very good ball placement downfield and threw with a nice touch. Coach Mendenhall singled him out by name on day one, which usually never happens.

Jason Munns: The senior made some nice throws, receiving second-team reps behind Hill on day one, and those were acknowledged by Coach Beck. It will be interesting to see if Munns falls in the same pecking order on day two, which could be the case.

Tanner Mangum: Mangum showed good mobility, and when things broke down he had no problem using his legs. The former Elite 11 MVP does possess a good arm, but was very reserved in throwing the ball downfield. This has more to do with college football acclimation than anything else.

Billy Green: During his first ever college spring camp, the true freshman played it safe, which is to be expected. Green threw the ball to receivers in shorter routes or to his outlets. Once he becomes acclimated to the speed of this level, builds chemistry with his receivers and gets comfortable, he'll begin to open up more in the passing game.

"All the quarterbacks, we all get along really well," Hill said. "Jason Munns has been here for several years and he's going into his senior year, so he's kind of the veteran and a great source to rely on and things. It's been nice because we've all started equal and we're all learning the offense. I'm sure it's nice for guys like Billy Green and Tanner Mangum and those guys to learn the offense this year. They have the opportunity to come in and learn it just like those guys who've been here in the past.

"Ammon Olsen is good and he played at SUU and there's some talent there. Christian Stewart is a J.C. transfer that just got here. You know, these guys are all here because they're good, and so we've got some good guys with us competing."

With the change in coaching responsibilities, BYU now has a coach that solely focuses on working with the quarterbacks. However, Hill says he hasn't seen too much of a difference with how things work now that Jason Beck is the quarterback coach.

"I think it's still pretty similar," Hill said. "Coach Doman, he kind of took over the quarterback responsibility. Obviously, he had more on his plate as the OC. That allows Coach Beck to be with us more personally maybe. For the most part, Coach Doman spent a lot of time with us and it's pretty similar in that regards.

"Coach Beck is a great guy. Obviously, we haven't had a whole lot of opportunity to work with him, but the time that I've had personally to spend with him has been great. He's knowledgeable and knows what it's like to be a quarterback here at BYU and can relate to us in that way. He knows his stuff and is personable and we've been able to get that connection already."

Olsen agrees with Hill's assessment of Coach Beck.

"He's a great guy," said Olsen. "The last few days have been really good with him. He knows his stuff and has taught us a lot of stuff, especially a lot of new stuff with the offense the last few days. You can tell he's a calm guy under pressure and he's a great coach. I'm excited to learn from him and work with him the next few years. It's going to be fun."

With the new coaches currently developing BYU's offense, Hill has seen a difference in how the offense operates.

"I think it's a different offense," said Hill. "You know, Coach Anae is run and gun and we want to run a play and get back on the line of scrimmage and run another one. So, when we're running that offense, they're coaching a different way. It was great [Monday].

"It's pretty basic right now and we'll probably stay that way in spring before we really start to open it up."

In the meantime, Coach Anae has stated that he isn't worried about having a starting quarterback named following spring camp. And quite honestly, Hill isn't worried either.

"I was taking reps with the ones, so that allowed for some continuity already," Hill said. "I think we'll let the coaches decide what's best in that situation."

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