BYU football: Redshirt freshman Jacob Conover takes the lead in the backup QB race
Cougars offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick says Conover has ‘separated himself’ in the derby to be starter Jaren Hall’s backup
Redshirt freshman Jacob Conover has emerged as the likely backup at quarterback to Jaren Hall at BYU, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick said Monday night after the Cougars’ third-to-last practice of spring camp concluded in Provo.
Conover, the former four-star recruit from Chandler, Arizona, entered spring camp nearly a month ago in a three-way battle for the backup job with Boise State transfer Cade Fennegan and sophomore Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters.
“Jaren is playing really well. Jacob has separated himself a little bit as the No. 2 (QB). Cade and Sol-Jay are improving every day. I am still giving them reps, so that’s where we stand right now,” Roderick said when asked for a quarterback update.
“The reps are accumulating now. (Jacob Conover) has been here long enough that it is starting to show that he knows what he is doing. In his overall time here, he has had a few more reps than maybe Sol-Jay and Cade have. So it just kind of comes with playing. The game seems to be slowing down a little bit for him, and he’s a talented guy.” — BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick
In the media-viewing portion of Monday’s practice, Hall and Conover took all the reps while Fennegan and walk-on Nick Billoups signaled in plays.
Generally, the defense shined the last half-hour or so.
Asked what Conover has done to separate himself, Roderick said the fact that Conover has more experience in BYU’s system is starting to show.
“The reps are accumulating now. (Conover) has been here long enough that it is starting to show that he knows what he is doing,” Roderick said.
“In his overall time here, he has had a few more reps than maybe Sol-Jay and Cade have, so it just kind of comes with playing. The game seems to be slowing down a little bit for him, and he’s a talented guy.”
Conover has been in the program for two years. He didn’t play at all in 2020 and only played in two games last year, completing 5 of 9 passes for 45 yards against Utah State and going 0 for 1 against Idaho State on Nov. 6.
Hall’s primary backup in 2021, Baylor Romney, retired from football to take a job with software giant Adobe.
Roderick said the Cougars’ offense in 2022 will be “open to every possibility” and that “you are going to see some cool things. We are going to make use of every good player we have.”
As far as starting receivers are concerned, Roderick said Gunner Romney and Puka Nacua are clearly the top two guys in the room, followed by a group that includes Kody Epps, Brayden Cosper, Keanu Hill and Chase Roberts.
“I would say those guys are all ready to contribute this year,” Roderick said. “Puka and Gunner are kind of on another level, and then those (other) guys you are going to see play and contribute.
“How big of a role they have is up to them, but all of them are going to have big careers here and have bright futures.”
Linebacker enters transfer portal
In another BYU football development Monday, Cougars linebacker Viliami Tausinga announced he has entered the transfer portal.
Nothing but love cougar nation 🤙🏾 #Newchapter pic.twitter.com/XCw2SlzCTb— ✳️🚦 (@ViliamiTausinga) March 29, 2022
A former three-star recruit from East High in Salt Lake City, Tausinga signed with BYU in 2018 and then went on a mission to Tonga for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He grayshirted in 2020 and was added to the roster in 2021 before the season but never saw any playing time and contributed on the scout team.