PROVO – BYU practiced held their 11th fall camp practice Monday afternoon as they continued their preparations for the 2018 season. Offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes broke the news that the quarterback battle has been whittled down to two guys, with Tanner Mangum and Zach Wilson set to square off to determine who will start September 1 against Arizona.
“Those two guys have been neck and neck since the day that we started and have outperformed all the other guys,” Grimes said. “So those two guys will be the one getting pretty much all the reps with the one’s and most of the reps with the two’s.”
Wilson ran with the first-string offense in practice on Monday with Mangum seeing reps with the second-string in the 11-on-11 drills during the portion of practice the media was allowed to observe. The defense ruled the day in the scrimmage as they had multiple pass break-ups in addition to “whistle sacks” and tackles for loss. The offensive line saw more shuffling with Austin Hoyt getting reps at left tackle again, among other jostling on the front.
One potential addition along the offensive front is redshirt senior Ului Lapuaho, who has missed the majority of the last two seasons with multiple surgeries to his legs. Head coach Kalani Sitake said that he didn’t have any updates on Lapuaho but said “hopefully we get him (back) very soon.”
Sitake said he was pleased with the outcome of Saturday’s closed scrimmage, stating that the quarterbacks were “live” for about half of the 120 plays that were run but they were not told ahead of time when they would be live. He said that he and his staff were able to glean enough information from the film to begin formulating their two-deep and start identifying players who might be assigned to redshirt.
Tanner Mangum told the media that for him “nothing changes” with regards to his play as he seeks to hold on to the starting job he lost when he ruptured his Achilles tendon last November. He said his mindset is to continue “to attack everyday…to take it one play at a time, one day at a time.”
Joe Critchlow will battle for the third-string quarterback job with returned missionary freshman Jaren Hall according to Coach Grimes. Being that he lost out on a chance to start it would be understandable if he were upset, but quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick praised the sophomore for how he handled the news.
“Like a pro,” Was Roderick’s response when asked how Critchlow took the news. “Joe is an awesome kid, a great character guy. I can’t say enough good things about him. Joe is a good player. I know we could win games with Joe [at quarterback]. I just feel like Tanner and Zach have had an edge over him this far.”
Jeff Grimes broke down the statistical notes from the scrimmage to the media, noting that the run game in Saturday’s scrimmage “was not bad” in his opinion as they averaged 4.8 yards per carry. He said he’d like to see that number over “five yards per carry-plus, ideally” but added that the run game efficiency was 62-percent on the day.
In the passing game, Grimes said the quarterbacks completed 67-percent of their passes and 63-percent on third down, which he noted was a “pretty good day overall throwing the ball.” Grimes said that the protection had some issues but said blame for that rested with some offensive line snafus and route-running. He added that there were no turnovers on the day as well.