Zach Wilson joined Kirk Herbstreit, Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer, David Pollack, and Joey Galloway on the ESPN College Football Playoff Top 25 show to discuss his outstanding start to the 2020 season. If you missed the interview, here is everything Zach Wilson said on the show:
Rece Davis: Zach, you guys have really played well. Your schedule got turned upside down, you were supposed to play six P5 opponents over the course of the season. What’s it been like making sure that you maintain the proper intensity level dealing with the schedule you’re facing now?
Zach Wilson: Just not taking football for granted. We’re just excited to be here, excited to play no matter who wants to step up and play us. We’re happy to be here and we’ll play whoever. We had a great schedule in line and our AD and coach have done a great job getting us another schedule. We’re just happy to be playing football this year.
Rece Davis: We just had a really big discussion about how to evaluate teams and how important it is to use the eye test this year instead of just strength of schedule and things of that nature. From your perspective, what’s the best way to evaluate BYU this year?
Zach Wilson: You’ve gotta look at the execution overall, not necessarily who you are playing on offense or defense, just the consistency of the team. Honestly, about the strength of schedule, you look at the teams that we’ve played this year and some of the teams we played last year, we had some losses against teams that we should have beaten, we were just inconsistent. The consistency of the team this year is one way to look at just how much more dominant we’ve been. I’ve excited for what we have to come.
Rece Davis: I talked a little bit about last year, you had to play through some injuries. How would you describe where you are as a quarterback both from a physical standpoint and a mental standpoint compared to prior years?
Zach Wilson: Last year just felt rushed, rushed probably was the biggest thing. The offseason flew by, I didn’t have a lot of time to train and get healthy. I was so looking forward to this year because it was finally the first time that I felt like my arm was 100% and I had some time to train, get some speed back, and work with the receivers. Physically and even mentally, your confidence shoots through the roof when you feel like you went from being on a leash last year to getting held back and now this year, you can let it rip and make any throw on the field. That mentality just changes having high confidence and being healthy.
Jesse Palmer: Watching you play, the ball never touches the ground. You are making all the throws, your accuracy has been off the charts, I think you’re completing 78% of your throws and you’re in an offense that pushes the ball deep down the field. I know you have tremendous study habits, I know you worked so hard this past offseason, is there one thing mechanically or one thing in your game that you really tried to improve upon before heading into this season?
Zach Wilson: Accuracy was one of those things. I worked a lot with John Beck this offseason on just repetition of routes. Routes that I’m going to be throwing multiple times in a game. Me and the receivers working on them, I was out there working on them, I was out there throwing off balance. Just the repetition was a huge thing. The more you throw that comeback to the sideline, the more consistent you’re going to get. I feel like that was a huge part of the game I was able to add by having an offseason.
Kirk Herbstreit: We had you in the Navy game. Part of that preparation, not just working with John Beck, but through the quarantine how you worked with John Beck. Do you mind sharing that for people that maybe didn’t know the sacrifice that you made to try to continue fine tuning your game individually and trying to be the best quarterback you could be?
Zach Wilson: I always tell everybody that the quarantine was actually a benefit for me, I know it was for some other guys. Normally we’re here and we’re in the full offseason strength and conditioning and all that stuff. I was fortunate to be able to say, ‘Hey football is canceled so I’m going to hop in a car or get in a flight and go out to California.’ There were times I would be out there for a few weeks in a row, normally I wouldn’t have that opportunity. I was able to take my training level and really focus on my technique and all that kind of stuff while still being able to get the strength and conditioning part of football in. It was a long offseason and it was honestly a benefit for me I would say.
Rece Davis: Zach, that car ride to California is like 10 hours, right?
Zach Wilson: Yeah, I mean they’ve thought to mention it every single game this year and I appreciate that.
Rece Davis: What’s the speeding ticket situation? Did you come through that unscathed?
Zach Wilson: Oh I made sure I had my radar detector up on the window the whole time so I was able to avoid a couple of those.
Rece Davis: And of course he only did it in states where that is legal, I just wanted to point that out. As you guys try to finish this season, where are some areas of improvement as you guys turn the corner and go down the gut of the season?
Zach Wilson: Yeah the best teams in the country are those that get better every week. We can’t be content. We’re 6-0 right now and we still have half of a season left. Every single week it’s about what we can improve on. From a team aspect, individual aspect, everybody on the team needs to find what we can do better and we just need to stay hungry. That’s the biggest thing. We’re 6-0, when you’re undefeated you’re going to do everything you can to keep that record.
Rece Davis: And now you guys, obviously independent, but now that the Mountain West it gives you guys a few marquee games including Boise State coming up. Zach we wish you the best of luck, congratulations on all the success, we’ve enjoyed watching you play.
Zach Wilson: Thank you guys, appreciate it.