BYU Football: Baylor Romney Should Start Week One for BYU
Updated: May 9
When looking at the statistics and game play, it is hard to honestly believe that Wilson is the best Quarterback.
Rust. Shaking off the shoulder injury. Getting back to game speed. Those are the excuses that everyone seems to be giving Zach Wilson for his sub-par play last season. While some of those excuses may be valid and true, at some point, you would think that fans and coaches would realize that perhaps Wilson isn't the best quarterback on the roster.
Wilson finished with a 3-5 record as the primary starter with one loss coming to Toledo, two blowout losses to Utah and Washington, and the other two losses were in the final two games of the season to MWC teams.
While he is coming off of an injury and is "rusty", having a QB rating of 126.8 while only completing 61% of his throws for 187 yards, two touchdowns and an interception is not good for a game. It is worse when that game that I mentioned was against Idaho State.
Again, the excuse of him being rusty or coming back into game action can be a valid argument, but then that also needs to be given to Baylor Romney and Jaren Hall who both went through the same thing. If we do that however, we see that both of them played exceptionally well. So why does Wilson get a pass? Why don't we give that excuse to Romney and then wonder how good he can be if he was the full time starter?
I'm not discounting what the coaches have seen in practice. In fact, I trust them 100% (okay maybe 99%). Zach Wilson was the best player in Fall Camp last year. However, practice and games are completely different worlds, and yet I feel like everyone is discounting that and going back to what they saw in the 2018 season and in 2019 Fall Camp.
I want Zach Wilson to be great. If he is the starter I hope he throws for 400 yards per game. But last year the best quarterback was Baylor Romney, and quite honestly it is not even close.
Let's do some quick side by side comparisons of games that I believe are on the same level.
USC and Boise State: Wilson played for USC and Romney played against Boise State.
USC: 60.55% Completion, 280 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 3 sacks (includes OT)
BSU: 57% Completion, 221 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 2 sacks
Hawaii and Utah State: Wilson played Hawaii and Romney played only one half against Utah State.
HAW: 60% Completion, 274 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT, 1 sack (and a fumble)
USU: 62.5% Completion, 191 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 0 sacks
Idaho State and Liberty: Wilson played in ISU and Romney played against Liberty
ISU: 61.3% Completion, 187 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 3 sacks
LIB: 69.7% Completion, 262 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT, 1 sack
It is clear to see that Romney is the better quarterback statistically in these games, outside of USC game in which you can make an argument for either player. The fact is, Romney outplayed Wilson in ONE half against Utah State than Wilson did in a FULL game and two overtime periods against Tennessee. Liberty was probably the tougher game between them and Idaho State, and yet against, Romney was clearly the better quarterback of the two.
In fact, if we throw out UMass, Wilson has 7 TD's and 9 INT's in eight games. Romney had 7 TD's in less than three games.
What About His Injuries?
One of the other big arguments that I've come across is, that Wilson wasn't throwing with his injuries while the other quarterbacks were. This is absolutely true, but that shouldn't really affect his decision making or mechanics. Not playing for awhile would affect his accuracy but that hasn't been the biggest issue I've seen. In fact, when Wilson makes the right play, his accuracy has been pretty good.
When reviewing his film, he is throwing off of his back foot or running out of the pocket way too often, which limits the kind of throws that he can make. When a quarterback rolls right, suddenly the left side of the field becomes nearly impossible to throw to. He is also selling out to a particular throw, often times into tight coverage when other receivers are wide open. Those mistakes aren't "rust", they are bad decision making.
In the play below you will see Wilson sell out to his left to his receiver who had no chance of converting the play even if he had caught the ball. Had Wilson even glanced up the field he would have seen Bushman wide open for what would have been the game sealing catch.
I understand this play was drawn out for Wilson to go left, but when he clearly saw that that this play was not going to be executed Wilson needs to have the composure to at least look up the field for Bushman even with two defenders closing in. It's a tough play to make, but that is the kind of play that a starting QB needs to make in clutch time.
Soon after this play Wilson made another mistake. With time running out and needing a touchdown, Wilson threw the game sealing interception to Hawaii when he threw into double coverage. Yes, this was desperation time, but Wilson never took his eyes off of Bushman. Every defender on the field could have read what he was going to do, and they did. Had Wilson looked to his left however, he would have seen Shumway WIDE OPEN at the 25 yard line with the only defender between him and the endzone five yards away from him. While he may not have scored, Shumway would have been well inside the 20 yard line with 20 seconds and two timeouts left.
I like to think of myself as a college football expert and the statistics speak for themselves. I to this point have not been wrong in selecting the better quarterback between Nelson and Heaps, Nelson and Lark, Nelson and Hill, Mangum and Hill, Mangum and Wilson and now Wilson and Romney.
Again, I hope I am actually wrong about this and that Wilson will emerge as an all time great for the Cougars, but with a sample size this large, it is starting to look questionable.
The Mangum Syndrome?
Let me first say, I don't try to burn bridges, or tear players down, but I do share the facts. Being an independent writer with no actual financial ties to BYU I can do that. The fact is, people fell in love with Tanner Mangum because of the Miracle at Memorial and the Hail Mary against Boise State. Those two wins made Mangum look like the next Boscoe or Detmer.
But then he lost games to East Carolina, Fresno State and a really bad California team. His best win after those two hail mary's was against Wyoming in the Poinsettia Bowl. Yes, I know BYU beat Wisconsin in 2018, but in that game he only completed 55% of his passes for 89 yards and no touchdowns. I can't give him much credit for that win besides not messing up and throwing INT's.
Perhaps we are going through the same thing with Wilson. After his 18-18 game against Western Michigan there has been this sense of greatness surrounding Wilson. Again, I hope to be proven wrong, but to this point, he hasn't matched what Baylor Romney has done, and it isn't even close.