BYU's spring football is headlined by a quarterback battle

Two quarterbacks are battling for BYU's starting spot during spring training.
Jake Retzlaff fires a pass pregame against West Virginia
Jake Retzlaff fires a pass pregame against West Virginia / Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Following a rocky opening season in the Big 12, the Cougars finished with a 5-7 record in the 2023 season. The Cougars were missing a few key aspects of a competitive football team. BYU was just like the box of Apple Jacks in my cupboard when I'm all out of milk--simply not bowl-eligible.

People like to throw blame around when their team disappoints. Many of those games were winnable, and BYU didn't have the right pieces to pull through when it mattered most. The offensive line was about as tough as a Kraft single slice of American cheese and fell apart when met by any force. The receiving group couldn't find any separation from opposing defensive backs, and the defense struggled to slow down offenses as the game progressed.

But the key to any football team's success is the man behind the center: the quarterback. With Kedon Slovis heading to the NFL (and turning heads in the combine), the natural heir to the throne was Jake Retzlaff, who filled in last season while Slovis battled injuries. Retzlaff endured some growing pains over the year, but showed some promise as a reliable option at QB.

Gerry Bohanon
Gerry Bohanon started for South Florida last season / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

Then, the transfer portal poked its head into the open, and BYU landed an experienced quarterback in former Baylor starter, Gerry Bohanon. Similar to Kedon Slovis, the Cougars faced Bohanon with his previous teams before he transferred to Provo. He was at Baylor and South Florida before finding his way onto BYU's depth chart, and has impressed coaches early into spring football.

Naturally, a quarterback competition has begun as the Cougars' spring football gets into full swing. When asked about the competition, offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick noted,

"[The quarterback battle] will go into the Fall. It's is going well. It's only 15 practices and we'll get about double that in Fall Camp, so we're still working our way through it. Both of those guys did a lot of good things this Spring.

They're actually more similar than they are different. They're both athletic. They both can make the throws that we need them to make in this offense and they're both really smart. Of course, Gerry has a little more experience overall. Jake has the advantage of knowing our offense a little better than Gerry does. It's been a really good battle."

Aaron Roderick, BYU OC

Bohanon has more experience, and that has been clear during spring training. Despite his limited knowledge of the Cougars' offense, he's been impressive.

Notably, Retzlaff has yet to throw an interception during camp. While some have speculated this might be credited to conservative play, coach Roderick insisted this is not the case, telling the media that they had been running the offense like they always do, including throwing the ball down the field regularly.

From what we've heard, the team is far from making a decision on the starting spot, but competition will bring out the best of both players. These players are teammates, and improvement from both players will be ideal for the team as a whole.

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