PROVO — BYU players reported for fall camp Wednesday in advance of the Cougars’ first practice Thursday.
BYU opens the season Sept. 1 at Arizona.
Players received their equipment, attended position group meetings and participated in a team activity Wednesday. A total of 110 players will suit up for fall camp.
One of the main storylines of fall camp revolves around the quarterback race. Multiple QBs are vying for the starting job, including senior Tanner Mangum, sophomore Joe Critchlow and freshman Zach Wilson.
The quarterbacks have been competing since spring.
“We’re all aware it could be anyone’s job. We’re all good players, good quarterbacks capable of playing and leading this team,” Mangum said during media day in June. “It’s a matter of doing the best you can individually to be efficient and lead the offense. We push each other in a healthy way. We want each other to succeed.”
Assistant head coach Ed Lamb recently told a group of alumni in Cedar City that another starting quarterback candidate, junior Beau Hoge, could switch positions.
Lamb also said the coaching staff wants to decide on a starter as soon as possible.
“We may want our first opponent, Arizona, to not know who our quarterback is,” Lamb said, according to The Spectrum. “People know who Zach Wilson is, he was heavily recruited and he can run fast, so if he is in the mix, it makes their preparation a little bit tougher. But in our building, we need to know who the guy is about Day 2 or 3.”
The Cougars are coming off a 4-9 season in 2017, their fewest victories in a single campaign since 1970.
What went wrong last season?
“It’s hard to pinpoint one thing,” Mangum said. “As far as learning from it, a big thing is helping our offense be on the same page across the board, working on that chemistry with the receivers. We all understood that we have to pick it up. We have to focus on the details that were missing last year. It’s up to us to execute.”
During the offseason, coach Kalani Sitake hired a new offensive coordinator, Jeff Grimes, and several new assistants.
Mangum, who has returned from an Achilles injury, is optimistic that he and his teammates can put last year’s results behind them.
“It’s a tough emotional blow going through a tough season. It was a big disappointment,” he said. “We were excited and had high expectations and we fell short. Then an injury on top of that makes it even worse. You have to realize it didn’t go the way we expected. What am I going to do next? What’s the next step? I’ve been focusing on the present and not letting the past keep me down.”