BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes said he feels pretty fortunate this year to have had three quarterbacks who have all proven they can make plays on the field.
“We’ve learned that we have three guys we can win with and that is a real luxury,” Grimes said after practice on Wednesday. “I don’t think I’ve ever been in a situation where I felt like we had three guys that I would feel completely good about going into a game. While there are some differences in each of them, all of them afford us the ability to play in our offense and not have to change a whole lot. We might emphasize certain aspects of our offense with one or the other but we can run the same offense. The fact we can play with all of them is obviously a blessing. All of them have stepped into the limelight and played really well under the lights.”
Cougar sophomore quarterback Zach Wilson explained that having all that talent in the quarterback room is reassuring but it also brings out the competitive side in him.
“It’s always nice,” Wilson said. “You want to be a team guy and have depth at every position. You always want your team to be successful but at the end of the day I don’t even want to think about getting injured because it could open the door to lose your job. Tom Brady always says that he works so hard on his body because he’s not going to give anyone the opportunity to take his position.”
All three of the top BYU quarterbacks have been dealing with a variety of injuries, so it has been a shared experience for Wilson, freshman Jaren Hall and freshman Baylor Romney.
“It’s been tough on all of us,” Wilson said. “It’s one of those things that is part of the game of football. All of us are out here practicing, trying to get healthy and trying to do the best we can with our opportunities.”
Grimes noted that those injuries meant he had limited options as far as who to play at quarterback during BYU’s last game, the 13-3 loss at San Diego State.
“Injuries were a part of the decision in the last game so thinking about making changes a moot point,” Grimes said. “I have a lot of confidence in all of those guys and Zach’s at the top of the list for a reason. We’re not looking to put a quick hook on him or anyone else.”
Since a lot of the coaching staff was busy recruiting last week, Grimes took some time at the beginning of this week to go back over some of the plays that didn’t work so well against the Aztecs.
“We spent some time on Monday and watched about 25 plays from that San Diego State game because I wanted them to have a fresh mind on the reasons why we didn’t do as well as we could have in our last game,” Grimes said. “We know our bowl opponent now and we’re getting refocused on football, so I said it would be really easy to sweep that one under the rug and move on. But if you do that then you don’t gain the opportunity you have to learn from it.”
He said he wanted to emphasize the breakdowns from the offense so they could be worked on.
“We had 25 first downs and more than 400 yards in that game, I think more than anyone else had against them,” Grimes said. “But we made some critical mistakes, namely turning the football over. We had a couple of penalties and then didn’t make a couple of plays when we had opportunities to. Some of that credit goes to San Diego State but I think we certainly could’ve played better.”
Wilson said he felt like that was the right move to make sure that the team learned the lessons that needed to learn.
“It was good he did that because it gave us that refresher,” Wilson said. “He pulled up a bad play and pointed out the little pieces, the five or six mistakes by five or six guys not doing their job. It translates to the team because it is us hurting ourselves. You can’t have a successful play if one guy does his thing wrong. Having five or six guys not doing their part shows that we’ve got to hone in during practice and make sure we are taking it seriously. We have to eliminate those mistakes, eliminate those things that are stopping us in the red zone or not finish drives. We’ve got to be more efficient.”
Grimes said he has seen the desire to be better translate into this week of practicing.
“I’ve seen a real focus and a renewed hunger to improve,” Grimes said. “We’re glad to have a chance to prove ourselves again.”