BYU couldn't beat Colin Kaepernick.
So the Cougars are trying to do what would seemingly be the next best thing: They'd like Taysom Hill to become a lot like him.
Hill, BYU's junior quarterback, revealed Tuesday that he and head coach Bronco Mendenhall (who happens to be paying a lot more attention to the offense this year) sat down recently and watched a digital slice of life of Kaepernick's final year at Nevada.
He led the school to one of the great seasons in its history, and handled BYU in 2010, 27-13, with a September showcase at LaVell Edwards Stadium of 196 yards passing (16-of-25 accuracy) and 82 yards rushing. He's gone on to become one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL and the 26-year-old has already played in a Super Bowl.
"It's based primarily on the run game and scheme-wise it's similar," Hill said of some of the generic comparisons to Kaepernick, who stars for the San Francisco 49ers.
Mendenhall quipped when asked about it that he'd like Hill to study a little more how Kaepernick was a big quarterback as well, but tended to get out of bounds at the end of runs to avoid extra contact.
Mendenhall joked that he would constantly rewind runs until HIll said he "got the point."
Kaepernick is 6-foot-6, a couple of inches taller than Hill.
But Hill weighs in right now at 228 pounds (he was asked about it Tuesday as well), which would be about 25 more than what Kaepernick is listed as during his senior year at Nevada. He's listed at 230 these days.
HIll said he's also watched tape of the expected standbys: Drew Brees and Tom Brady, a pair of NFL stars whose mechanics and choices at the line of scrimmage are common staples for quarterbacks studying at all levels.
Hill said he feels like his timing and decision-making — two points of emphasis for him this month — have improved. Mendenhall believes Hill's foot speed is comparable, but he'd like to see his quarterback continue to build on efficiency and productivity like Kaepernick.
Kaepernick completed 65 percent of his throws his senior year (compared to 53, 54 and 58 his first three years) and threw 21 touchdowns compared to eight interceptions.
He threw for 3,022 and ran for another 1,206. All very solid goals for BYU's unchallenged starter.
"I'm not content. But I'm pleased with the way that I'm playing," Hill said.
He points out the staples of BYU's offense, under second-year offensive coordinator Robert Anae, are virtually the same as last year. But the Cougars have added more motion, trying to make themselves a little less predictable.
∫Not talking Williams: Mendenhall knew Jamaal Williams' name was coming up Tuesday.
It was revealed in the last few days, through police records, that the starting junior running back was charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol last month when he was the passenger in a car pulled over for speeding in Utah County (the driver was not charged with an alcohol violation).
"We had a fantastic practice today, which is why I'm sure you're all here today...great weather outside, about 71 degrees..." Mendenhall said as a couple of dozen reporters approached him as they usually do a the football offices after practice.
It was the first time reporters had access to the 10th-year coach this week.
"Don't know when, don't know how," Mendenhall said when asked how he found out about the violation. "But it's been addressed so long ago now, between he and I, that I really don't intend to address it again. He's in great standing with our program — was, and is now. And will be going forward."
Williams was cited and released Feb. 16 by a Utah County Sheriff's deputy. He has pled not guilty and his hearing is May 7.
Williams was not made available to reporters, though he did practice in full.
After the initial question, Mendenhall was asked if Williams could expect to miss any future game time.
"There's no follow-up," Mendenhall said. "I already answered it."
∫Behind-the-scenes guru, Duane Busby, has retired. He's been with Mendenhall for his entire stint as head coach in Provo as a director of football operations — having a thumb on virtually everything off the field for player issues to travel.
Mendenhall called him irreplaceable, and a trusted friend and advisor.
"Duane is understated, so he asked me specifically not to make a bigger deal of it. So that's as big of a deal as I can make," he said.
∫Of note: BYU football receiver Eric Thornton has decided to leave the team. Meanwhile, offensive linemen Brayden Kearsley (academic issues) and Ryker Mathews (offseason rehabilitation) are starting in their first spring practices this week.