PROVO, Utah — The wait is over for Tanner Mangum.The BYU sophomore quarterback sat most of 2016 despite setting several freshman records in 2015 after Taysom Hill suffered a season-ending foot injury. Hill won the job back as a fifth-year senior, but will miss the final game of his career due to an elbow injury. Mangum will start the Poinsettia Bowl against Wyoming (8-5) on Dec. 21 and take over what should be his team for the foreseeable future.
Mangum doesn't see the game as a launch pad for next season, but he has been patiently waiting for this moment.
"It was a test for me to keep that long-term perspective," Mangum told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "While you're going through that, it can be tough to see that. It can be tough as a competitor wanting to compete. But you have to learn how to be a teammate and learn how to support your teammates and be there for them through the ups and the downs.
"Looking back, I'm definitely grateful for the experience I had and the lessons I learned. I think it's helped prepare me now to be able to play in this last bowl game and help the team finish strong."
Sitting behind Hill allowed Mangum to learn the new pro-style scheme implemented by offensive coordinator Ty Detmer and the first-year coaching staff at BYU (8-4). He gained a better understanding of how to be selfless and push himself in practices despite limited reps and the unlikelihood of seeing the field. That can be a humbling experience after throwing for 3,337 yards and 23 touchdowns as a freshman.
"Those are times where, mentally, you're kind of learning on the run," Detmer said. "(Mangum's) been on the headsets every game, so he's hearing the end-game, play-by-play coaching points. Overall, that maturity level, having an offseason that he didn't have the year before, all of it has really played into his favor.
"With the new system, kind of learn through someone else. And then be ready to go now. ... Obviously, he's going to be a great player here and we're excited that he's here and a part of it. When he looks back on it, I think he'll really appreciate the time that he had to sit and learn and listen and take it all in and not have to take the bumps and bruises while you're doing it."
Mangum said the game has slowed down this season and that has helped his confidence. He focused on recognizing defensive coverages and being able to audible at the line of scrimmage. Last year, Mangum was thrust into the starting lineup just months after returning from a two-year Mormon mission.
The offense won't change dramatically with Mangum under center, Detmer said, despite the different styles of play. Hill was more of an athlete with the ability to create with his legs. Mangum prefers to remain in the pocket as a pure passer.
"Obviously, quarterbacks have different preferences and different things that they like," Detmer said. "So, we'll try to stick with what Tanner feels most comfortable with, especially not having the most reps this year. But you also look at what you feel like he does the best and try to pair those two."
Senior receiver Mitchell Juergens added, "We know Tanner's going to sling the rock. As receivers, we just have to be ready to catch and make plays and make his job easier."
Still, BYU players are disappointed in the way the Hill era ended. His 75 total touchdowns rank No. 5 in school history and his 9,744 yards of total offense rank No. 4. Hill's 2,815 rushing yards are the most by a quarterback in BYU history.
This article was written by Kareem Copeland from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.