After battling it out the past month or so to be BYU’s starting quarterback this fall when the Cougars begin their second season in the Big 12, an interesting thing has happened to incumbent Jake Retzlaff and newcomer Gerry Bohanon.

They’ve become very good friends.

“I love the guy,” Retzlaff said Saturday after the 15th, and final, practice of 2024 spring camp.

“Jake and I have grown close,” confirmed Bohanon.

In far less surprising news, offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick and head coach Kalani Sitake said the starting quarterback derby, competition, race, battle or whatever else you want to call it, will go into preseason training camp, which begins in early August.

Fifteen practices established little in that regard, aside from the notion that Retzlaff knows the offense better — having started in four games last year — and Bohanon is completely healed from the shoulder injury that caused him to not throw the football at all for six months.

In the half-hour that reporters got to watch practice Saturday, Bohanon threw a touchdown pass to Parker Kingston and also a beautiful ball to Kingston that was not hauled in. Retzlaff, meanwhile, threw a couple nice passes to Devin Downing, who made one spectacular diving catch.

Immediately after the session at BYU, seven of the first 10 questions Roderick fielded were about the quarterback competition.

“It will go into fall, yeah,” Roderick said of the competition.

Later, Sitake gathered with media members in the lobby of the football offices for a more formal debriefing of the ninth spring camp he has conducted and said there is not a huge hurry to make the pick because his team is mature enough to handle a QB competition — which can be divisive for some teams — for the next four months.

“The sooner the better would be nice, but I think someone has got to take it. … You can see the positives from both of those guys,” Sitake said. “In the meantime, other guys are stepping up like (Treyson) Bourguet and (Cade) Fennegan. … (They should) just keep competing. I think it has done some really good things for Jake and some really good things for Gerry as well.”

Redshirt freshman Ryder Burton was the only other QB who got reps in the last half-hour of practice Saturday. Sitake was asked if the Cougars are in danger of losing some QBs to the transfer portal.

“Attrition is always part of the game, so now with the portal that makes it even harder, but that is what they are allowed to do it. We have just gotta work with the guys that are going to be here.

“We feel good about the guys who are going to be here, and we are just going to go from there. I don’t know the exact number (they will have in the fall). I know we have to have four to be able to play.”

Roderick said there are no plans to add another quarterback, receiver or running back.

“We are a little bit low at (offensive) line right now, just numbers-wise,” he said, repeating an early statement that they are searching for a couple more offensive linemen from the portal, which reopens May 1. “We like the guys we have, but (we are) just down a couple numbers, so if we can find an O lineman or two, we will.”

Sitake had said last week that the QBs were “neck-and-neck,” but that Retzlaff knew the offense better. Roderick concurred Saturday but didn’t tip his hand one way or the other in regards to a leader coming out of spring, saying “we are still working our way through it” and that 15 spring practices was not enough to make a determination.

“I thought both those guys did a lot of good things this spring,” Roderick said.

He said Bohanon and Retzlaff “are more similar than they are different,” which is to say both are athletic, smart and “can make the throws that we need them to make in this offense.”

Asked for the No. 1 criteria he will use in naming the starter, Roderick referenced turnovers, and mentioned that Retzlaff did not throw a single interception in 15 spring practices.

“The guy that takes best care of the ball and moves the team and moves the team the best (will get the nod),” Roderick said. “It is those two things combined.

“You can take care of the ball if you are really conservative and don’t ever do anything with it, so we want to find that balance of being aggressive and still moving the team but also taking care of the football.”

Retzlaff, who turned 21 earlier in the week, said not throwing a pick in the practices is something he prides himself on but stressed that he still took chances, threw deep balls and moved the team well.

“That is something you work on, is not throwing interceptions,” Retzlaff said, “but that’s not something I did. That’s something we did as an offense.

“We had very little turnovers this spring as an offense. Give props to the guys up front for protecting me and making it easier for me to see downfield and receivers being in right spot. It is easy to say that is a quarterback thing, but that is a team thing. I am just happy to be part of that.”

Bohanon said coaches “are doing it the right way” by giving both QBs equal reps and rotating them in with the ones and the twos consistently.

“We are getting the same exact opportunity,” said Bohanon, who has actually faced BYU twice — in 2021 at Baylor and 2022 at South Florida. He transferred from Baylor to USF after spring camp of 2022 when he lost Baylor’s starting QB competition to Blake Shapen.

He said he isn’t surprised that the derby will move into fall camp.

“Jake is a good player. I mean, being able to come out and compete with him every day has been fun,” Bohanon said. “We have been able to elevate each other’s games. We learn from each other’s reps.

“That’s how you want to go about it. Honestly, it wasn’t a surprise because we both did some really good things, but we still have to make sure that we are growing and getting better every day.”