Fall Practice Preview: The Quarterbacks

There is not even a hint of a quarterback controversy at BYU heading into fall practice. John Beck is in total control of the offense and Jason Beck is the experienced backup. The only question is which of the freshmen will distinguish himself as the Cougar QB of the future.

Through the Refiner's Fire

John Beck (6-1, 215, Sr). has taken his lumps as a quarterback at BYU. He was thrust into action as a true freshman less than a year after returning from an LDS mission; he had three different quarterback coaches in three years; and he had to learn a new offense as a junior. Now, he is a senior and ready to right the ship.

All indications point to a very productive season for Beck. He has all the physical and mental tools a quarterback needs. He has a very strong arm, a quick drop and can make correct reads going through multiple progressions if need be.

As mentioned in TBS' receivers preview, Beck will have a plenty of talented targets and a very solid offensive line this fall. With Beck's experience and all the returning starters, the offense is set for a special year.

The Other Beck

Jason Beck (6-2, 207, Sr.) enters his third season with BYU. He knows the system and will be a solid backup to John. Jason has game experience and will be able to keep the offense moving if John were to leave the game.

Jason knows the system and the reads and has had ample opportunity to develop timing with to the Cougar receivers. He is valuable insurance at the central spot on the offense.

New Faces

During the last three years there have really been only three quarterbacks of note practicing for the Cougars in John Beck, Jason Beck and Matt Berry. With four new scholarship quarterbacks ready to compete for a future starting role, there will be renewed interest in the third and fourth team reps.

The first candidate will be Max Hall (6-1, 185, Fr.) from Mesa, Arizona. Hall signed with Arizona State out of high school and redshirted a year before leaving on an LDS mission. He decided to transfer to BYU after returning from the mission field. Hall is about as fundamentally sound as any quarterback with no in-game experience since high school. Hall came up through a very strong Mountain View High School program, which happens to be John Beck's high school as well.

Next would be Jacob Bower (6-4, 220, Fr.) from Meridian, Idaho. Bower is a true freshman coming off his LDS mission and has perhaps the biggest upside of any of the incoming quarterbacks. Bower has the best arm-strength of the new quarterbacks, but is not as well-seasoned as Hall. Fall practices will prove pivotal for Bower as he is tested at the college level for the first time.

Sam Doman (6-4, 200, Fr.) from Canby, Oregon is athletic like Bower with a little less arm strength. On his high school film, Doman looks remarkably similar to his cousin, former Cougar quarterback and current BYU quarterbacks coach Brandon Doman.

Unlike the other three freshman, James Lark (6-3, 205, Fr.) from St. George, Utah comes to BYU straight out of high school and will not compete for the starting slot in 2007. He will have the chance to get an early lead for the job when he returns from his mission. Lark said previously that he wants to use this year to understand what it takes to be a quarterback at BYU so he can come off of his mission ready to compete.

Bottom Line

John Beck gives every indication of having a breakout year similar to that of Steve Sarkisian in 1996. Beck dwelt in the shadows of the great Cougar quarterbacks during his first three years at BYU. Now, he is ready take his place among the likes of Steve Young, Ty Detmer, Jim McMahon. It is not unreasonable to expect anything less than a stgellar senior campaign from Beck. He expects nothing less of himself.

The real intrigue of fall practices will surround the freshmen competing for the starting position in years to come. The talent is there and TBS will keeping a close eye on which of the newcomers stands out from among the rest.


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