BYU has short turnaround time to clean up its offense for game against Boise State

Published: Monday, Sept. 17 2012 8:16 p.m. MDT

Nobody questions Nelson's heart, his leadership, his desire and guts.

Petersen took time out to praise Nelson on Monday, calling him a defensive-minded player playing offense, a guy who uses the run as part of his game.

"He puts his pads down and doesn't look to run out of bounds," the Broncos' coach said.

But Thursday, it's going to take a lot more from Nelson — and I'm not talking about what he can and cannot do with his arm, his legs or his knowledge of the offense.

He's going to have to lead a charge to lift BYU to a much higher level of execution. He cannot afford to take a play that is failing and try to save it all the time. He'll get away with it 95 percent of the time against most teams, but that percentage drops against the elite. Play good teams and the numbers ultimately catch up with you on these tries at salvation.

Sometimes there is no shame in taking a knee or throwing the ball out of bounds.

Sometimes it is the only option.

Riley should have been intercepted or lost fumbles half a dozen times more than what you see in the books this season.

Against teams like Utah, Boise State, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech, the kinds of decisions he makes in these areas of chaos — in which he really succeeds — can be the difference between wins and losses.

Receiving a center snap, a simple act like that, has to be a life-or-death act for Nelson and his offensive coordinator Brandon Doman. Whatever it takes, short of illegal use of electronic radio communications between him and his center, must be part of practices Monday and Tuesday.

The time is short, but so much of BYU's challenge goes to cleaning up simple things.

Can it be done?

We shall see.

EMAIL: dharmon@desnews.com TWITTER: Harmonwrites

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