"The Quarterback Factory" was once a well-known nickname for BYU.
Today, it's pretty hard to say (with a straight face) that BYU still is.
Ever since Max Hall graduated in 2009, Cougar quarterbacks have completed an average of 57.7 percent of passes, while Hall completed over 67 percent his senior year. No quarterback at BYU has started for an entire season of play since then, nor has any one player thrown for more than 19 touchdowns in a single season.
In short, the Cougs haven't had a consistent, reliable quarterback in nearly three years. And as anyone with a decent knowledge of football knows, in order to be a great team, you must have a good quarterback, as well as a good defense. BYU has good receivers in Cody Hoffman and Ross Apo along with a stellar defense, but the talent level at quarterback seems to be declining.
Here's an odd fact: No Cougar quarterback that has entered a season as a starter (since 2009) has finished the year without having to sit out a game with injury. You can easily place the blame on the offensive line for not protecting the QB or even the offensive coordinator for putting his quarterback in a situation where he can be hurt, but for some reason, BYU never had this problem with a reliable QB taking snaps.
Let's take a look at BYU's future at QB, which may halt this alarming pattern. Next year, camp will likely start with another quarterback battle between Taysom Hill, Ammon Olsen and Jason Munns. Hill, a freshman who won two games this year as a starter, will likely win, and start from 2013-15. Although he has a strong arm, he's a mobile QB that likes to make big plays on his feet. Brandon Doman knows this, and will try to set up quarterback running plays (which will likely lead to injury).
Once Hill leaves in 2015, current high school standout Billy Green will take the reigns. After a probable redshirt year in 2013, he will gain two years of valuable backup experience and start until 2017. Green is what the Cougars need to bring back their offense, as he is a more traditional pocket-passer with a killer arm. Also, he could be a valuable recruiting tool to non-LDS players, as he is not a member himself.
After the Green years, BYU will likely start Tanner Mangum, last summer's top-performing passer at the Nike Elite 11 Quarterback Camp. On an LDS mission right now, Mangum may redshirt in 2015 following his return, and back up Green in 2016-17. After that, he will probably start for the next two years, and as another pocket-passer, he could be a great fit for BYU.
Unfortunately, it is doubtful that this will all happen. Unless BYU makes some obvious changes on offense, it is unlikely that they will ever go back to the dominant program they once were. It would be great if they did, but two years ago we all thought that Jake Heaps would win a Heisman this year and go straight to the NFL, right?
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