Kalani Sitake and his BYU football team will enter the offseason with eyes on making the Cougars more competitive in the Big 12 with better depth, more experience, a revamped coaching staff and a change in strength and conditioning philosophy. Will it pay dividends? It has to after a losing season and a struggle to win in the Big 12.

One of the biggest questions is who will replace Kedon Slovis at QB. Slovis was injured last season after leading the Cougars to a 5-1 record early. Jake Retzlaff, a JC transfer, took the reins and had a sharp learning curve in the process. Equally challenging is rebuilding BYU’s offensive line with new coach TJ Woods after the firing of Darrell Funk. BYU’s O-line underachieved last year and was a huge problem in offensive struggles to run the ball in BYU’s inaugural Big 12 season.

Cougar Insiders predictions

Question of the week: BYU did not announce a starting QB coming out of spring practice. What are the pros and cons of not naming a starter for the 2024 season at this stage of the year? Who do you believe will be the starter?

Jay Drew: First, I think BYU coaches made a wise decision in not naming a starter coming out of spring practices. There’s just not a big enough body of work for either Jake Retzlaff or Gerry Bohanon yet to identify the best starter. Not having a true spring game also made making a decision more difficult.

The pros of not naming a starter include the ability to keep both guys working hard, the less chance that one will enter the transfer portal when he doesn’t get the job, and the message that it sends to the rest of the team that these competitions are taken seriously.

The cons are that one guy is not able to take on a bigger leadership role and kind of rally the troops throughout the summer, that one guy doesn’t get as many reps as possible early in fall camp, and the chance that seeps in of the whole derby dividing the team.

I actually asked Kalani Sitake about that possibility last Saturday, and he said this team is mature enough to not let that happen.

My prediction: Jake Retzlaff.

Dick Harmon: For decades, we’ve seen starters named or expected to be named and we’ve also seen competition carry on through the summer months into fall camp at the QB position. There is value in both decisions. I’d like to see more of all of the QBs in different situations, but there wasn’t enough media availability and no spring game.

From what I have seen, both Bohanon and Retzlaff have had their moments. I had a chance to watch some great passes from Western Michigan transfer Treyson Bourguet. It’s the right decision to extend competition into fall to keep all engaged and battling to impress. It makes it fair for Bohanon, who is still learning the offense.

From what we’ve observed and been told, Retzlaff and Bohanon have become close friends. Bohanon has impressed the entire team with his engaging personality and positive attitude. Aaron Roderick is lucky to have that kind of force in the room and he’s going to take advantage of it in the offseason. I think Roderick’s declaration at the end of spring ball that Retzlaff had gone 15 practices without an interception tells us he is throwing Retzlaff a positive nod, however unnamed as the starter.

My prediction: Jake Retzlaff.

Cougar tales

Six former BYU football players made impressive impacts at the Big 12 Pro Day festivities over the weekend. The running backs, tight ends, receivers and defensive backs had their performances early in the session. As spring football wound down, defensive coordinator Jay Hill reflects on the progress of the defense in this piece by Dave McCann.

From the archives

Related
‘I can hang with these dudes’: Freshman tight end Ryner Swanson already shining for BYU
BYU spring football concludes with emphasis on tweaking details, strengthening culture

From the X-verse

Extra points

Fanalysts

Comments from Deseret News readers:

I worry that Sitake is too concerned about his “feel good” culture and not concerned enough with a “WINNING” culture. Not everyone is going to “love” each other, but they can sure learn to “respect” each other and that comes down to being the best you can be on the field.

— AZCoog1

Mark Pope is an amazing guy, approachable, engaging, very much a BYU guy and loves the culture and program he’s got. He even did a YouTube video with me to solve the question of whether LeBron is better than Jordan, which is only even a question because my kids didn’t grow up in the Jordan era.

He’s not going anywhere. He’s making enough money and is treated well at BYU. USC tends to run coaches pretty hard, like the football coach who was getting on the bus after a loss and the AD fired him on the team bus. That’s what one might have to put up with to earn the big bucks, but you don’t need to put up with it.

Pope’s salary is speculated to be upwards of $2M per year, a few coaches in the Big XII are up to $3.5M, he might not be that high, however the USC salary is also $3.5M.

— JoshFromLondon

Up next

  • April 3 | 1 p.m. | Women’s gymnastics | Boise State | @ Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • April 4 | 4 p.m. | Softball | UCF | @ Orlando, Florida
  • April 4| 4 p.m. | Women’s tennis | Oklahoma | @ Norman, Oklahoma
  • April 4 | 5:30 p.m. | Baseball | Texas | @ Austin, Texas
  • April 5-6 | Track and field | Triton Invitational | @ San Diego
  • April 5 | 11 a.m. | Track and field | Weber State Spring Open | @ Ogden, Utah
  • April 5 | 4 p.m. | Softball | UCF | @ Orlando, Florida
  • April 5 | 6:30 p.m. | Baseball | Texas | @ Austin, Texas
  • April 6 | 10 a.m. | Softball | UCF| @ Orlando, Florida
  • April 6 | 11 a.m. | Women’s tennis | Texas | @ Austin, Texas
  • April 6 | Track and field | Utah Spring Classic | @ Salt Lake City
  • April 6 | 1:30 p.m. | Baseball | Texas | @ Austin, Texas
  • April 6 | 4 p.m. | Men’s tennis | UCF | @ Lake Nona, Florida
  • April 6 | 7 p.m. | Men’s volleyball | USC | @ Los Angeles
  • April 8-9 | Women’s golf | Texas Showdown | @ Dallas