Ari Davis | Posted: 4 Mar 2019 | Updated: 24 Dec 2020

BYU begins spring football practices

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PROVO, Utah – BYU football opened spring football with its first practice Monday afternoon.

Practice went just shy of two hours in the Indoor Practice Facility with the 2019 squad getting its first reps of the new year together.

The team will practice for the next four weeks during spring ball, with a public open practice scheduled for Saturday, March 23. More details on the spring open practice will be released at a later date. 

BYU opens the 2019 season in LaVell Edwards Stadium on August 29 against Utah, as a part of a home schedule that also includes USC, Washington, Boise State, Liberty and Idaho State. 

The following quotes are from Monday's post-practice media availability. 

Offensive Coordinator Jeff Grimes
On what he wants to get out of the next month
We want to advance a little further in our knowledge of the system with all players and we also have a lot of young guys who are in position to either compete or become a solid backup and we need those guys to develop.

On the quarterbacks
All of them aren’t in position to get all of the reps. We are splitting up the reps between three guys right now and we will go from there. Joe did a nice job and seems more comfortable. He took charge and was at ease. Jaren did some really good things as well. He has a lot more to learn because he picked up a little later, but he’s doing a nice job and has always been a mature and responsible guy. Baylor did a nice job as well and did a lot for us last year on scout team and now has an opportunity to get some reps. The guys have a lot to offer as runners and throwers.

On missing players
I feel comfortable with the guys we have. I see it as a great opportunity for the other guys to progress. There is the saying in football “next man up” and it doesn’t matter who is taking the snaps, that guy is expected to do the job and meet the standard.

Open-competition approach
If you have proven that you will make a change then you’re credible. They know that we will make a change, like we did last year, and they know that we will play the best guys. I think it gives the young guys hope and the older guys know that they have to earn their job every day.

Offensive Line Coach Eric Mateos
On transition to BYU
It’s been lovely. It’s been a great and fast two weeks. I’m trying to get my hands and mind around everything they have already been doing and trying to figure out the twists that I will put on it. It’s been productive and we’ve really worked hard as an offensive staff to figure out what we’re doing as for as maintaining the same continuity as last season.

On initial thoughts on group
They’re great people and really eager to learn. It’s apparent with our group and it goes 9,10,11 guys deep. I feel like we have 10 guys that are super hungry. They are hungry to be impactful in this part of the country and nationally, so it’s been easy.

On his philosophy as offensive line coach
My philosophy is confidence, play fast and know what you’re doing. Keep it simple so guys don’t have to think a whole lot. Play violent and strain. I think the difference between the average offensive lines in the country and the really great lines are the guys who know what they are doing and do it really fast. Everyone has strong and big guys, but it’s the guys that strain to finish that are really elite. That’s what we have to get this group to – a unit that is constantly trying to strain.

Impressions of BYU before being hiring
My impression was how tough the guys are. The reputation (of BYU) is one who has very efficient, tough, smart and mature 20-year-olds and that’s very valuable. That’s what I’ve known about the school and they have exceeded my expectations.

Quarterback Jaren Hall
On splitting time between baseball and football
It’s fun, I wouldn’t say it’s complicated. I’ve been doing it for a long time and I love doing it, so it makes it worth it. I’m just going from one sport to the other and staying busy. I love it, it’s a privilege. I spent a lot of time with football last year learning the plays, so I feel like I’ve got it down pretty well. And then baseball is a pretty simple game in it of itself, so it helps a lot and I have time to learn.

On having so many quarterbacks in competition
It’s a great problem to have – it’s fun. There are a lot of guys in the small room now so the only concern we have is getting a bigger room with more seats. Every rep is crucial and makes a difference in the end. When spring ball ends and the season rolls around every rep counts and you can’t take any off.

On his friendship with Joe Critchlow
Joe and I have spent a lot of time on the sideline together signaling plays. We had some good jokes and laughs together and I’ve gotten to know Joe really well. With all of the quarterbacks there is a lot of camaraderie and we’re all brothers. We’re all working toward the same purpose: to win games, so we love each other and it’s fun.

Quarterback Joe Critchlow
On the start of spring camp
It feels great to be back. I think everyone on this team is anxious to build on what we did last year. We got a lot of great players back. We lost a lot of great players, but we’re excited that we started today and looking forward to get better. 

On the quarterback group
There are a lot of QBs. I feel like that’s been a pretty common thing here at BYU, we have a lot of quarterbacks. The competition is always great and the quarterbacks are always great guys too. We compete hard with each other and we all get better. It’s a good atmosphere to be a part of. There’s a core group of guys who are more familiar with the offense, that was around the team last year, and I feel like it’s a good chance for us to step up and show some responsibility and lead this team while Zach Wilson is injured. 

On opportunity to perform during spring ball
Any time that you get an opportunity to lead the offense that’s a chance to show yourself and prove yourself on the field. That’s the opportunity that I feel like I’m taking advantage of and it’s a responsibility that I have to lead the team. 

On goals during the offseason
I feel like the offensive unit as a whole has met a lot and we’ve had a lot of player-run practices with just us. We’ve been working a lot on just building that chemistry as an offense. It’s an awesome opportunity to have the same offensive coaches as last year, so we’re familiar with the offense and it’s something that we can build on going into the fall.