PROVO — Is BYU’s best quarterback option against Boise State Friday night to have junior Tanner Mangum take a support boot off his left foot and play?

It has been under consideration this week after Mangum was cleared to practice.

If Mangum plays, it could be the most challenging game he's ever played.

Former Cougar and NFL quarterback John Beck understands what that challenge is like and says it's one of the toughest things he's physically ever done in his life.

In 2006 Beck suffered a high ankle sprain to his right push-off ankle during the season opener against Arizona. He played the next week against Tulsa, alternating run and pass plays with BYU backup Jason Beck (no relation).

John Beck received shots of numbing medication and again tried to make a comeback at Boston College, but left the stadium on crutches and was completely sedated on the plane trip back to Provo. He then sat out the Utah State game the following week.

Few, if any, really understand what Beck gave BYU football that season. It took every part of his athletic ability, mental strength, and creativity to stand in the shotgun formation and try to play a game within a game in excruciating pain.

Beck had to guess on every throw whether the ball would come out with the torque he was accustomed or if he’d overshoot or undershoot his target. At Boston College, he once saw zero coverage against receiver Zack Collie, checked down and fired what he thought would be a sure touchdown. In a flash of energy the moment the ball left his hand, he got more out of it than he thought he had and overthrew Collie by four yards.

Today as a private quarterback coach in Southern California, Beck preaches the importance of the throwing platform (feet and legs) and how much energy is produced in the throw from planting the lead foot and pushing off the back foot to create an athletic move.

“Some of the throws I spend the whole offseason making and felt comfortable and consistent with suddenly became inconsistent to me,” said Beck. “It was because of my drive leg, my platform.

“What felt like being on target, it was hard to gauge what you’d get on those downfield throws. For me, those first four games I played, it was hard to feel consistent. Second, all the things you could do athletically to make plays, you all of a sudden can’t use within the pocket. Things like sliding around, shuffling, stepping up or sprinting out.

“Then, the defense knows you can't do certain things, so they adjust their defense to take advantage of it. Sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and try anyway.”

Beck said against BC, knowing this, offensive coordinator Robert Anae put in a naked bootleg play specifically to take advantage of the defense vacating one side of the field because they had no respect for that kind of play. It took everything Beck had to pull it off, but it was a counter move.

“We put a couple of naked keepers in because they’d overplay some of our runs."

Beck said it is a mindset.

“You just try to fight through it. There were times in games because I thought I’d numbed my foot up, I was surprised at how much pain I could still feel. Like, in the Boston College game, I took some shots that made the ankle feel exactly how it did when I injured it. I remember thinking, ‘Is it in this much pain because I just reinjured it, or is it in this much pain because the numbing medication is wearing off?'”

It becomes games within a game inside your head all the time, said Beck.

“You are always having to play a mental battle within the game of what’s going on, the ebbs and flows, the ups and downs, the momentum shifts, the turnovers, the bouncing back, the mental game. You are going through so much, it adds in a second mental game.

“You have to block out so much because it will hurt like crazy. You play a game of what can I do and what can I not do. You are going to miss throws and in your head you know it is because you are trying to gauge what you have with your platform.”

It is within this realm that BYU head coach Kalani Sitake and offensive coordinator Ty Detmer are deciding whether to pull the trigger and put Mangum back on the field Friday night. It will be a game-time decision.

On his weekly KSL radio show, Sitake joked that he might bring Mangum out on the field in a wheelchair just for effect.

This week’s picks:

San Diego State 34, UNLV 24: Rocky Long defense upends Rebels.

Alabama 42, Texas A&M 21: Crimson Tide ready for NFL division play.

Washington 37, California 34: Huskies handle Bears.

TCU 38, West Virginia 31: Gary Patterson has Frogs rolling.

Wisconsin 34, Nebraska 28: Badgers feed on Cornhuskers.

Washington State 38, Oregon 31: Mike Leach humming Pirate tunes.

Ohio State 27, Maryland 24: Buckeyes' defense too tough.

Auburn 42, Mississippi 14: Tigers emerging on offense.

Notre Dame 27, North Carolina 17: Domers flex some muscle.

Utah 24, Stanford 21: Thank heavens for Darren Carrington II.

Colorado State 28, Utah State 21: Rams too explosive.

Boise State 24, BYU 21: Cougar QB questions skew matchup.

Last week 10-3; Overall 41-17 (.706)