Kalani Sitake Shares His Take On BYU QB Competition Entering Spring

Feb 13, 2024, 11:23 AM

BYU Football, Kalani Sitake, QB Competition

PROVO, Utah – The dominant storyline entering BYU football spring practices this year will be at quarterback.

Everyone will keep their eyes on who emerges as the next QB1 to replace the void left behind by Kedon Slovis, who is preparing for the NFL Combine.

Jake Retzlaff is assumed to be the favorite as he has returning experience from his four starts last year. But he posted a 0-4 record in those games.

Gerry Bohanon joins the program as a one-year transfer. The former Baylor and USF quarterback began his college football career the same year as former BYU star Zach Wilson in 2018. Wilson is heading into his fourth year in the league next fall.

It’s been a long road for Bohanon, who is motivated by an opportunity to compete. Until November of last year, Bohanon didn’t believe football was in his future anymore after suffering a torn labrum in 2022 as USF’s starting QB.

BYU returns Cade Fennegan and Nick Billoups for another season. Both are entering their fourth seasons in Aaron Roderick’s quarterback unit. However, Fennegan has appeared in only one game, while Billoups hasn’t taken a snap in a game yet.

Last month, Western Michigan transfer Treyson Bourguet enrolled at BYU as a preferred walk-on. He has starting experience from his two seasons in Kalamazoo.

Then there are a slew of young signal-callers looking to make a name for themselves. Those players include a pair of redshirt freshmen, Ryder Burton and former Utah Gatorade Player of the Year Cole Hagen. Plus, true freshmen Noah Lugo and Dane Christensen are navigating their first semester as BYU students.

It’s not often that BYU has this wide-open of a quarterback battle. You have to go back a while. I estimate it’s the most wide-open quarterback battle for BYU since the 2002 season. That’s when Bret Engemann, Todd Mortensen, Matt Berry, and Lance Pendleton competed for the job.

Engemann eventually won the QB1 nod, but all four quarterbacks saw playing time during that 5-6 season.

Retzlaff and Bohanon appear to be the top candidates to claim the spot, but it’s anyone’s guess who wins this battle when spring ball kicks off on February 29.

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake echoes that sentiment.

Kalani Sitake on the next BYU starting QB: “No idea who that is right now”

“I don’t know who’s gonna be the starting quarterback,” said Sitake. “I have no idea who that is right now.”

Sitake has consistently advocated for letting the “cream rise to the top” and having daily competition during the offseason and fall.

The ninth-year head coach feels that adding Bohanon brings that dynamic to the quarterback battle.

“I’m really excited about him,” Sitake said about Bohanon. “I think he brings a lot of competition to that quarterback position, which we need.”

Sitake sees differences between Gerry Bohanon and Kedon Slovis

Bohanon’s arrival marks the second consecutive year BYU has brought in a one-year quarterback. Slovis had mixed results but posted a winning record as the starter at 5-3 before being sidelined with injuries.

 

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“The one-and-done’s is really hard when we had that with Kedon [Slovis]. We put a lot on Kedon to learn the offense as soon as possible. I think this one’s a little different because, you know, Gerry is really familiar with the offense. A lot of the stuff is stuff that he already knows. He’s worked with it [at Baylor], you know, thousands of reps with certain plays that we run. They are very similar and make a lot of similar checks. So I think it’s a little bit different where he, from day one, knew a little bit more about the offense than your normal transfers.”

There will be no shortage of storylines around BYU’s quarterback competition when they take the practice field for spring ball later this month.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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Kalani Sitake Shares His Take On BYU QB Competition Entering Spring