BYU began spring ball with eight quarterbacks listed on their roster released by their sports information staff. It was revealed Monday morning that redshirt freshman Kody Wilstead will exit the competition.
“Kody’s asked for a release and we’re going to grant him that,” head coach Kalani Sitake said. “We want him to have success and we’ll support him any way that we can. I talked to him as a head coach and I’ve been able to sit down with him and have a really positive conversation.
“He wants to get on the field and play as soon as possible. I think he’s looking for a different place to do that. He loves football. He’s been a great support to us and a he’s a great teammate. I wish him the best.”
Coach Sitake said that he sees the high number of players at quarterback as a good thing.
“I’d rather have too many than none. I want the best players here and if it hurts peoples feelings then so be it. That’s part of football. We will always have a good group of quarterbacks and the best one will play.”
Freshman Zach Wilson enrolled in school in January and has turned heads early on in spring ball. Coach Sitake was asked about his play and said he’s been impressed so far by Wilson and the works the position group is putting in as a unit.
“People are forgetting he is supposed to be in high school right now. I’ve been really impressed with his knowledge of the game. He understands the system and is able to compete,” Sitake said of the former Corner Canyon star. “At the same time, he has had a lot of the older guys take him under their wings. It’s nice to see these guys compete, but it’s also nice to see them work together. They want to do what’s best for BYU. There are no secrets. They share everything they can and just settle it on the field which is the way I want it to be.”
One quarterback that remains in the competition but is limited due to injury is 2017 starter Tanner Mangum. He has been observed throwing in non-contact drills and was asked what he’s been cleared to do in spring camp.
“I’ve been doing 7-on-7 all spring. With the help of Dr. Faux and the training staff, we had a timeline of everything that I was going to be able to do. We’re following that to a T,” Mangum explained. “Obviously, it’s frustrating not being able to do everything, but just to be able to do something is a blessing. It’s an opportunity to go out and play. I’m just taking advantage of every rep I get and taking advantage of every opportunity – whether it’s skelly or throwing drills – or what it may be, I’m just having fun and enjoying it.”
Mangum added that while he can’t take snaps in 11-on-11 team portions of practice, he’s still getting his reps in mentally while watching his teammates run plays.
“For me, it doesn’t mean I’m taking plays off. Every play is a mental rep. I’m going through it in my head. I’m going through every progression. I make the most of skelly with the 7-on-7 reps that I get working through routes on air and concepts.”
With so many quarterbacks competing, one might expect there would be friction in the position group as guys jostle to position themselves. Mangum said that while each guy is competing and looking to show what they can do, there’s also a friendly nature in the group.
“I still make the most of everything I get, but as a whole, as a unit, we’re all supporting each other,” Said Mangum. “That’s something that I really like about this group is that we’re helping each other out, coaching each other up and making sure that we’re all succeeding. It’s a competition, but at the same time there’s a lot of camaraderie.
Listen to post-practice comments in full from Kalani Sitake, Tanner Mangum and Corbin Kaufusi here:
BYU will be back on the practice field Wednesday with a closed practice before holding their first scrimmage of spring on Thursday morning at LaVell Edwards Stadium.