Brandon Doman coached BYU’s offense through good times and bad. Under his tutelage as quarterbacks coach (2005-10), he mentored John Beck and Max Hall and prepared them for jobs in the NFL. Both threw for over 11,000 yards and Hall’s 32 wins in Provo remains the most of any Cougar quarterback in program history.
When Doman was promoted to offensive coordinator (2010-11), his options were significantly different. His starting quarterback was a true freshman, and the backup was a newly returned missionary. The offense that had flowed so freely with Beck and Hall turned stagnant and difficult for the inexperienced newcomer, and eventually both the freshman and Doman were replaced.
Fast-forward to 2023, and BYU (5-3, 2-3) is near the bottom of the barrel in total offense with grad-transfer Kedon Slovis eight games into his lone season in Provo. The Cougars play at West Virginia (5-3, 3-2) Saturday (5 p.m. MDT, FS1). Doman wonders if it’s time for BYU to consider another option because the 2024 season isn’t going to get any easier.
“I know there is allegiance to what they are doing with Slovis and there are many factors at play with regard to the lack of success the offense is having,” Doman told the “Y’s Guys” podcast this week. “I know they want to get to a bowl game, but they need to be very careful.
“This is a one-and-done senior quarterback that has not been in the program prior to now. Do they have a quarterback for next year? They don’t want to get into this cycle of having unprepared quarterbacks,” he continued. “If they are lacking success going into this game and are unproductive through halftime, I’d give another guy a chance to play.”
The “other guy” would be junior college transfer Jake Retzlaff, who is biding his time through a redshirt season. However, NCAA rules allow athletes to play in up to four games without burning a year of eligibility.
It was always offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick’s plan to redshirt Retzlaff, but to also find some playing time so he will be better prepared for the starting job next year. Retzlaff has yet to see the field and BYU has four games remaining in the regular season.
“If he is the guy for the next two years, get him in,” Doman said. “They are playing for a bowl game and I think that is important for the overall mojo of the program, but not at the expense of getting a quarterback ready for (2024). If Slovis plays well and they are in the game (on Saturday), I wouldn’t take him out. But if he’s struggling, I’d give another guy a shot.”
Cougars on the air
BYU (2-3, 5-3)
at West Virginia (3-2, 5-3)
Saturday, 5 p.m. MDT
Milan Puskar Stadium
TV: Fox Sports 1
Radio: 102.7 FM/1160 AM
ESPN rated Retzlaff the No. 1 junior college quarterback after his 2023 season. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound sophomore threw for 4,596 yards and 44 touchdowns at Riverside City College. He also ran for 515 yards and six touchdowns.
Switching out Slovis, who has thrown for over 11,000 yards as a Division I quarterback, for a player who has never played a down in Division I football is a risk, especially on the road. But considering BYU’s consistent issues on offense and the future of the program, it’s a move Doman believes should be seriously considered to avoid a similar scenario next season.