It’s kind of fun to play Dr. Frankenstein with an offense, even if it’s just for a few plays here and there.
Just ask BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick.
After Thursday’s spring ball session, he said he saw some good, some not so good — a regular expectation of what happens in spring.
Roderick is experimenting with myriad new weapons in BYU spring football drills, tweaking plays here, fiddling and experimenting with others there, exactly what a fragment of these offseason sessions are all about.
After Thursday’s practice, Roderick met with reporters and was asked if he had a better idea after a few practices how he’d deploy some of the newfound talent in his arsenal.
“Yeah, I do, but I’m not going to tell you about it. That’s all I’m going to say,” he answered.
One of those bodies is a player made available to all reporters on Monday, second-year freshman receiver Kody Epps.
The way BYU handles post-practice interviews is to grant individual requests for specific players or coaches and then make a few players available to everyone in a kind of cattle call group interview.
Epps got that call on Monday.
On Thursday, I asked Roderick to break down what he’s seen in Epps this spring. The shifty freshman was one of the featured targets of Alabama’s star QB Bryce Young when the two played at Mater Dei High School in Los Angeles.
Roderick wasn’t shy in his praise of Epps, even if he hasn’t been able to contribute since coming to Provo due to a foot injury that required surgery this past year.
BYU WR Kody Epps was Heisman winner Bryce Young’s top target as a senior at Mater Dei HS. Epps had 93 catches for 1,735 yards and 28 touchdowns that season.— Robby McCombs (@rtmccombs) December 12, 2021
“Kody is just a good all-around football player,” said Roderick, who is looking for bodies to replace Samson Nacua and Neil Pau’u (he does get back Puka Nacua, Gunner Romney, vets Keanu Hill and Brayden Cosper, and emerging players Hobbs Nyberg and Chase Roberts).
“He’s got a great feel for the game,” Roderick said of Epps.
“You can tell he comes from (a great background). He’s been a very polished kid since he got here and he gets better every day. He gets open. Has a good feel for space on the field, when to motor down and be open for the quarterback. He’s really an easy guy to throw to and he’s an all-around player. He’s got a really bright future.”
Roderick said the fact Epps had to sit out this past year has nothing to do with his minuteman preparedness, a trait he’s shown since he got on campus.
“He learned the offense as fast as I’ve ever seen. His freshman year he was ready to play. He is one very squared-away guy.”
Another player who is making the use of added reps is freshman quarterback Jacob Conover, whose name came up in the post-practice session when some asked Roderick if Conover’s approach to spring practice was more mature.
Roderick was quick to dispel any idea that Conover lacked maturity with his approach.
“He’s always had a mature approach. It was just a matter of getting more offerings every single day,” Roderick said.
“Every rep counts for him and for everyone. So, he was mature in high school and he’s a very serious guy, serious as a player and how he prepares. He works as hard as anyone. He just needs more time, more reps.”
The theme for BYU’s offense, expected to be the strongest unit on the team, is to play with confidence.
“At the same time, have a grounded sensibility and understanding of things that have tripped us up in the past and try to improve on those things that have made us a good team,” said Roderick.