"I came to BYU because of the academics here, so I had to decide whether football was important enough to keep playing," said Stewart. "I had internship offers this summer with some big firms out in Los Angeles. It was really just a matter of priorities. I decided that I really loved football and I wanted to keep going and keep the dream alive. Then Ammon transferred and it ended up working out."
Olson and Stewart often talked about their situation playing behind Taysom Hill. When Olson finally made the decision to transfer out of BYU it didn't come as a surprise to Stewart.
"He and I had talked throughout the season," said Stewart. "We were good friends. He and I had lived in the same house together and so we talked a lot. It was always a possibility because he wanted to play and didn't want to sit behind Taysom, which is very understandable. It wasn't a surprise to me when he left. I'm really happy for him. He's in a good spot and I hope everything works out for him."
Had Stewart decided to take an internship in L.A. it might have been disastrous for BYU's quarterback situation. With Olson's decision to transfer, Stewart feels his decision to return has paid off for him as he now feels he actually a part of the team's development.
"Now I'm second string and sitting in a good spot," he said. "It's been a lot of fun this spring being able to get reps and be in the flow of the game rather than, you know, every third series or getting in for two or three plays. So, it's been a lot of fun. It was a really hard decision, but I'm glad with where I am right now.
Stewart says being the backup has been beneficial for him as a player because he can get actual looks from the defense.
"It makes night and day difference being able to run our offense against the first and second string defense rather than going in with the third team like I did last year. Guys don't know what they're doing and you're going against guys on defense that don't know what they're doing. You get an actual look."
The biggest asset that helped Stewart to step right in as the second string quarterback was running the scout team last year against BYU's first string defense for game preparation. He received valuable experience playing against the top defenders at BYU every week and that helped him hone his skills that are now aiding him now that he's the backup quarterback.
"One thing that really helped me to where I am now is actually playing on the scout team last year," Stewart said. "I went every day against some of the best players in the country like Kyle Van Noy, Eathyn Manumaleuna, and Danny Sorensen. I felt like that really prepared me to come into this season and be Taysom's backup, and if he goes down I can come in and hit the ground running."
Now that he's second on the depth chart and getting real reps out on the practice field running the offense every third play, Stewart doesn't feel he needs to vindicate himself. Rather, he just wants to improve on the skills that he has to be fully prepared to see the field this year when his time comes.
"For me, I don't feel like I have to prove anything to anyone," said Stewart. "It's more of a little tightening up the fine details of our offense. It's still a little bit new to me. I'm used to the traditional drop back passing attack whereas we're running the zone-read option now."
What does Stewart feel he needs to work on most in his game? He gives us the answer.
"I just need to tighten up some things with my work and just know the reads backwards or forwards. If a guy is not in the right place I'm moving him, or if a defender is in this place I'm throwing it here. I just need to have all of those details down with perfection this spring."
Coach Beck Speaks
Quarterback coach Jason Beck talks about the new practice format with the rotation of the quarterbacks that allow them to get an equal amount of reps. He also gives a status report on the current development of quarterbacks Taysom Hill, Christian Stewart, Billy Green and more.
Coach Beck Audio: