PROVO — Coaches and players of any program often don't reveal the entirety of what goes on behind the scenes regarding any particular issue, and that fact was revealed Wednesday in an earnest interview BYU Sports Nation conducted with BYU running back Beau Hoge's father, Merril.
The big news out of the first day of fall camp was that Beau was making the move from quarterback to running back, with the comments largely positive from both coaches and players. Since the move, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound athlete from Kentucky has quietly been receiving reps exclusively at running back, oftentimes impressing with his play during open sessions.
On Wednesday, Merril, who played running back in the NFL before becoming an analyst for ESPN, revealed quite a different story than the narrative provided thus far, whereby both Beau and coaches seemed to approve of the move.
“I think it’s a waste of talent. I don’t think it’s a smart move,” Merril said. “I don’t know why a linebackers coach is even part of the evaluation.”
Ed Lamb is BYU's linebackers coach and assistant head coach, who Merril said was pretty much entirely responsible for the position change. The idea for the switch was presented following spring practices, with Merril recounting the conversation he had with his son, feeling he was pulling a joke, initially.
“He said, ‘I didn’t come here to play running back. It was to play quarterback,’” Merril said of the conversation. “… So he went to talk to (the coaching staff) and it fell on deaf ears. In fact, it was a bit disturbing because they put him off for so long to talk to him. I’ve just never heard of something like that. I just think it’s weird that you do that.”
Merril continued to offer pointed comments at Lamb, who he suspects made the move in part to accommodate Joe Critchlow, who Lamb recruited while at Southern Utah.
“It doesn’t smell good,” Merril said.
Merril said during the interview that he has been around football for most of his life, both as a player and as an analyst, and said the situation BYU's staff has put Beau in is extraordinary.
“The only option he had, really, was to do it. They wouldn’t let him compete,” Merril said. “And that’s what probably shocked me more than anything. When he went in to talk to them, they said they wouldn’t let him compete at it … So I told (Beau), in 44 years I’ve never heard of a coach not allowing a kid to compete.”
On Wednesday evening, Beau Hoge took to Twitter to clarify how meetings went with coaches when he switched to running back and offer his endorsement of those coaches.