BYU quarterback battle close as spring practice ends

BYU quarterback battle close as spring practice ends
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PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Jake Retzlaff and Gerry Bohanon aren’t just competing for the starting quarterback job at BYU, they’re also good friends.

“Gary’s a great dude,” said Retzlaff. “I love hanging out. I love talking to Gary, picking his brains, he’s just a great dude.”

“We joke around a lot,” Bohanon said. “We spend quite a bit of time together. But then we go out there and compete against each other. That’s what you want, though. Guys that make sure we’re uplifting each other, and trying to bring the best out of each other.”

This is Bohanon’s third school after Baylor and South Florida, and he’s adapting to life in Provo.

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“It’s smooth,” he said. “I tell anybody, it’s a very peaceful place. Just a lot of positive energy in what I feel like is a positive place. Everybody loves BYU, loves sports, so it makes it really comfortable.”

Coming out of spring practice, Retzlaff and Bohanan are neck and neck with the competition expected to continue well into fall camp. But close as the competition is, it’s never been contentious.”

“I’m not actually competing against him because he’s never on the field against me,” Retzlaff said. “This is not ping pong where we play each other every day. It’s never about the other guy in a competition. It’s about yourself.

“The key is seeing the type of character you have in both quarterbacks who are competing, and the way they handle it,” said head coach Kalani Sitake. “I mean, you can see that they’re working together. They talk often and they’re good friends.”

“They’re actually more similar than they are different,” said offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick. “They’re both athletic, they both can make the throws that we need them to make in this offense, and they’re both really smart. Of course, Gary has a little more experience overall. Jake has the advantage of knowing our offense a little better than Gary does.”

Last year, Retzlaff was thrown into the fire as a freshman for the injured Kedon Slovis, and predictably struggled. Retzlaff completed just 50 percent of his passes, throwing three touchdowns and three interceptions. But he learned a lot from the experience.

“I was planning on redshirting my freshman year,” Retzlaff said. “But obviously, coming in at the end of the season, it was it was fun to get that experience, and just be able to run the offense. That game experience is just invaluable.”

Bohanan, who has thrown for 3,464 yards and 26 touchdowns in his college career, missed all of last year with a shoulder injury at South Florida, so he was just happy to be back on the field this spring.

“It was just different coming off an injury, coming off not playing,” Bohanon said. “So I would say that was different. I hadn’t got practice reps since 2022 until this spring.”

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From now until the start of fall camp in August, both Retzlaff and Bohanon have a lot to work on to earn the starting spot.

“In Gerry’s case, it’s just getting more comfortable with our with the language of our offense,” Roderick said. “Then in Jake’s case, it’s just continuing to take great care of the ball. Jake had zero interceptions the whole spring.”

When would Sitake like the quarterback situation resolved?

“The sooner the better would be nice,” he said. “But I think that is just someone that will take it.”

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