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Here’s why BYU needed a JC quarterback

By adding Kedon Slovis and JC transfer Jake Retzlaff, offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick has shored up his QBs room

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Aaron Roderick, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, talks to media during BYU football media day.

Aaron Roderick, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, talks to media during BYU football media day at the BYU Broadcasting Building in Provo on Thursday, June 17, 2021.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

This article was first published in the Cougar Insiders newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox each Tuesday night.

Fresh off a split at home against No. 8 Gonzaga and Pepperdine, Mark Pope will take the Cougars basketball team on the road against Santa Clara and San Francisco. The mission is to find more consistency and begin another win streak.

Cougar Insiders predictions

Question of the week: BYU recruited a JC quarterback to shore up its QB room heading into the Big 12. What does this say about Aaron Roderick’s QB depth and competition and will it work?

Jay Drew: I think the signing of Jake Retzlaff out of the junior college ranks is a pretty good sign that BYU OC Aaron Roderick wasn’t satisfied with the depth in the quarterbacks room beyond transfer portal acquisition Kedon Slovis. It’s a great addition, and gives the Cougars another experienced QB — Retzlaff enters BYU with two good years of JC ball under his belt — in the likely event that Slovis gets banged up and doesn’t make it through the season unscathed.

Because Retzlaff has three years to play two and can redshirt this season if he plays in four games or fewer, I think it is a good move and will work. The juco transfer can afford to be patient, knowing Slovis is gone after the 2023 season. 

As for the other QBs in the room, I think New Mexico Bowl winner Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters can still be a valuable piece as a wildcat QB and in other situations that call for a running QB. I keep hearing good things about Cade Fennegan, too, but maybe coaches don’t feel the same way. We will see.

Dick Harmon: Bringing in Jake Retzlaff was a must for Aaron Roderick. Remember what Tayson Hill, Zach Wilson and Jaren Hall had in common with Tanner Mangum, Riley Nelson? They all got injured and missed games. Hall missed BYU’s last two bowl games. Injuries to QBs are very common and this should give Retzlaff, Cade Fennegan and others hope for playing time. Also, it adds some competitive fire to the QB position, which is what Roderick designed for Wilson with Hall in 2020 in the offseason.

Retzlaff has some very impressive numbers — better than Steve Sarkisian had out of El Camino Junior College in 1995. Retzlaff passed for 4,596 yards, 44 touchdowns with 14 interceptions with a 63.3 completion percentage and has three years to play two. It’s a short-term no-brainer and he very well could end up finishing the 2023 season as a starter if Kaden Slovis is injured. Good move. 

Cougar tales

In one of the most disappointing losses in years, BYU had No. 8 Gonzaga on the ropes with a 10-point lead late in the second half, only to lose. The Cougars had the last possession with just over six seconds to play and the called play simply exploded into nothing. This loss will sting.

From the archives

From the Twitterverse

Extra Points

Fred Warner named All Pro (KSL Sports)

4-Star Kozlowski talks BYU offer (Vanquish The Foe)

Latter-day Saint basketball players all over the world (The Church News)

Fanalyst

Comments from Deseret News readers:

Seems like each player, especially newbies, is learning and embracing his role.

Dallin Hall is getting comfy at 1.

Fousse is showing ability in the low box; last year was no fluke.

Atiki is soaking up Pope’s tutelage like a sponge.

Saunders is a combo of energizer bunny and Tasmanian devil.

Jaxson looks like any minute will bust out as a legit star.

Gideon knows the game like a veteran

I think Knell should redshirt. Waterman will get hot again. I say congrats to Pope for his foresight and ability to put guys in good spots and floor rotation.

— Mowgli

Fun fact:

BYU basketball competition ... and BYUs 14-7 record

1. BYU is 11-2 in Q4 and Q3 games and DII.

2. BYU is 3-5 (Only eight games out of 21) vs. top teams and yes BYU has a losing record vs top teams.

3. BYU is in fourth place in the WCC (WCC is rated the 10th best conference in the nation).

BYU is ranked #91 in the Nation in the NET ... a NCAA bubble team needs to be in the 40s to upper 30s to get on the bubble watch.

With BYUs remaining 10 games ... mathematically BYU has zero chance of gaining enough NET points with the WCC to make it. ... BYU has to win the WCC Tournament ... something they haven’t been able to do for 23 years.

— Dryfly22

Up next

Jan. 19 | 11 a.m. | Women’s basketball | vs. San Francisco | @Provo

Jan. 19-20 | Noon | Indoor track and field | @United States Air Force Academy, Colorado

Jan. 19 | 9 p.m. | Men’s basketball | vs. Santa Clara | @Santa Clara, California

Jan. 21 | 2 p.m. | Women’s basketball | vs. Santa Clara | @Provo

Jan. 21 | 6 p.m. | Men’s basketball | vs. San Francisco | @San Francisco

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BYU head coach Mark Pope calls out from the bench during game against Gonzaga at the Marriott Center in Provo on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023. The Cougars hit the road for games against Santa Clara and San Francisco this week.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News