Jake Retzlaff likely to start again for BYU football against Iowa State
Did you like what you saw from BYU junior quarterback Jake Retzlaff against West Virginia last week?
Get ready to see more of it this week against Iowa State, according to Cougar offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick.
“Right now we’re planning on Jake starting,” Roderick said after practice on Wednesday. “(Senior quarterback Kedon Slovis) is improving and made a few throws today. He is healing but he’s not there yet and we are unsure if he will be available on Saturday or not.”
Roderick said that although Slovis got hurt against Arkansas, it wasn’t until last week that the senior just couldn’t go, necessitating the change.
“It just hit a point where he couldn’t throw,” Roderick said. “He was in a lot of pain last week. He couldn’t grip the ball and was having trouble throwing, so we just had to pull him back.”
But BYU had hoped to give Retzlaff a shot at some point to see what he could do.
“We were hoping to get a chance to see what he could do in these four games anyway,” Rodericks said. “There was never a plan necessarily to have him start in those games, but we wanted to at least get him in some. It’s unfortunate for Kedon but it’s turned out to be a good opportunity just to see what we have.”
How did Roderick think the junior did in his first action?
“I thought he played pretty well,” Roderick said. “Obviously we didn’t score enough points and it was super-disappointing to only have seven points, but he did a lot of good things. I felt he did a good job. I would say it was a solid performance, but we just need to do a better job as an offense.”
Roderick explained that while the play-calling has been adjusted slightly due to the QB change, it hasn’t changed the whole scheme.
“He does some things differently than Kedon,” Roderick said. “Last game, you saw him run around a little more than what you’ve seen this year and he’s a little bit different player. But you can’t change too much at this time of year either. Then you mess up all the other guys around him. So we’re trying to play to his strengths as well as we can, without wholesale changes to the offense that would throw the other 10 players off.”
Of course, the Cougar offense as a whole has plenty to work on as well, particularly when it comes to being physical.
“That’s a team-wide deal offensively,” Roderick said. “We have not been as physical as we have in the past. The last three years we have hung our hat on a physical run game and play-action pass, throwing the ball down the field off our run game. It has not been as good as it should be this year and we’re still trying to fix it. All you can do is keep working at it and that’s what we’re doing.”
He stopped short of saying that the Cougars aren’t putting in enough effort, focusing more on the execution level.
“You have to play with effort, but a lot of it is just being in sync,” Roderick said. “It’s 11 guys working in unison on the same page. It starts with effort, though. You have to play hard to get on the field for us.”
And that includes when things aren’t going well.
BYU junior offensive lineman Connor Pay said the Cougars certainly didn’t play with the effort they needed when they got frustrated in the loss to the Mountaineers.
“It was just kind of boiling up and we needed to push through that a little better than we did,” Pay said. “We’ve got to be better about getting through that. I’ve got to be better about pushing through that. Definitely the effort needs to increase for sure.”
BYU sophomore wide receiver Keelan Marion said he has noticed that the BYU offense isn’t clicking as much as it should be, but the only way to get there is to keep working.
“Everyone has to keep pushing,” Marion said. “There is no quitting on this team. Everyone is pushing the gas pedal to the floor. We’re going to keep rolling and try to get better on Saturday.”