BYU football notebook: Cougars likely to stick with Riley Nelson's mobility to keep offense rolling


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  • Noblepromise PROVO, UT
    Nov. 11, 2011 7:42 p.m.

    Riley hasn't done anything to justify losing his starter position as he isn't responsible for scheduling of the opposing team anymore than Heaps. Heaps one his starting job least year because of injury by the starting quarter back. Riley fits Coach Doman's offensive scheme as run and shoot quarterback instead of a drop back quarterback.

    I would anticipate Heaps transferring from BYU because he wants NFl scout exposure and wants to play teams that are from a BCS conference instead of being backup quarterback watching his team play a majority of teams that are not from a BCS conference.

    BYU football independence schedule is not getting the exposure of being invited into a BCS conference or a BCS bowl, because of its schedule of playing teams that are from non BCS conference.

  • TJ Eagle Mountain, UT
    Oct. 13, 2011 2:20 p.m.

    After the Utes have a few disappointing seasons, KW will realize that he can't get the type of athletes there that can win consistently in the PAC. Bronco will become the BYU AD and hire KW as the head football coach.

  • man of few words Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 13, 2011 11:54 a.m.

    The reappearance of the 2-headed QB. UGH!!!

  • srh83 Hillsboro, OR
    Oct. 13, 2011 8:03 a.m.

    This is a great decision to go with Riley. His strengths bring a lot more to the table than Heaps or Lark. I find myself more excited to watch the games because I know that the offense won't just punt the ball 10 times per game.

  • Big Hapa Kaysville, UT
    Oct. 12, 2011 2:56 p.m.

    Note to all:

    Riley ran the game plan that was designed for Heaps in the rest of the USU game. Riley as did the other QB's did not have a game plan designed for his skill set in the week leading up to the USU game. All offensive reps were given to hypes of Heaps.

    The question of who is the better player and QB1 has been answered case closed.

  • SoUtHapa Saint George, Utah
    Oct. 12, 2011 2:55 p.m.

    Are you still here? I thought you were leaving? You can't imagine how disappointed I was to see you back on here again with...the virtually the exact same comment!
    Goodby, already.

  • tantheman Lindon, UT
    Oct. 12, 2011 11:08 a.m.

    @ AJM- We don't need guys like you, claiming you know everything. Maybe we should put you on the field for one play and then see you complain. Or put you in the coaching staff and get worked over while trying to develop talent. Or in the NW corner of the stadium where you deserve to be.

    Sure, maybe they are not doing that great of a job. But do you think walking out on them will help recruiting and coaching whatsoever? They do a far better job than you would.

    I don't know much about coaching, etc. But I know not to make a fool of myself pretending like I am the most knowledgeable person out there. They know they have issues right now. They don't guys like you trying to prove a point to them.

  • Big Hapa Kaysville, UT
    Oct. 12, 2011 10:41 a.m.

    Re: Heaps figure things out

    You can not give someone integrity, work ethic or maturity that comes from deep inside and may never come each of us all have our Aha moment

    Perhaps this young man will respond, we shall see.

  • Cougar Claws Lindon, UT
    Oct. 12, 2011 1:24 a.m.

    I don't want to come across as a fair weather fan. I watch every game and pull for the team from the beginning of quarter 1 to the end of quarter 4, win or lose, blowout or close game, Nelson or Heaps. I just hope I like what I see on Saturday, but I'll have to admit I'm pretty worried. Whoever plays on Saturday just please win. I would honestly prefer if Heaps figured things out and that it were him. But if Riley can do what he did last week and win, then great.

  • panamadesnews Lindon, UT
    Oct. 12, 2011 12:14 a.m.

    Bronco's interest and style I think make him a candidate for a GA someday. I am not trying to say this in a negative light - I think he would be awsome in that calling. He is a spiritual giant. He has even said that he doesn't see himself coaching for the rest of his life. He is doing an OK job as a coach, but I think BYU needs someone with more fire and enthusiasm to lead these young men. I feel that when his contract is up, and recall he turned down a longer contract, it will be a mutual parting of the ways. So in about 3 years, look for BYU having a new coach. Any takers on who, or what
    attributes BYU would be looking for?

  • Big Hapa Kaysville, UT
    Oct. 11, 2011 11:45 p.m.

    Hello people I guess no one here plays cards. Let me explain the theory you do not show the others what cards you have in your hand. There get it.

    Bronco wants the other team to split defensive pre game prep time. Smart you do not show your hand and you make your opponent guess.

    Really a little poker action would do some of you some good.

  • Big Hapa Kaysville, UT
    Oct. 11, 2011 11:11 p.m.

    Who cares if you all do not cheer for BYU any more. You delusional people who think as if the season or the players live and die on what you self proclaimed footballer minds say or actually do. lolo

    The tight end over the middle of the field was on a middle zone rout what that means is he was to stop and sit in the zone or spot and catch the pass, instead he kept running, sorry the tight end messed up so what.

    Yes fumbling was lame and the attempt to McKay was a poor choice as well as tossing the rock up instead of taking the sack, so.

    Do the kid deliver a win Yes.

    The more game time reps the better the decision will be.

    Riley does not care if you fair weather fans cheer or not.

  • wardu Fallon, NV
    Oct. 11, 2011 7:46 p.m.

    Mr Marksen, I would be happy to take your tickets at half price for the 2013 season.

  • Andrew J. Marksen Deseret, UT
    Oct. 11, 2011 7:08 p.m.

    Thank you to the reasonable Cougar fans who understand, and feel the frustration. Nelson does nothing to further the programs future. None of you will continue to pay $300 per seat to see 8 or 9 ISUs or SJSUs every single year for the next 3 to 10 years. BYU needs to compete at a top tier level in football, and right now they do not. The team gave up on Heaps, and Bronco allowed that to happen. It showed on the practice field, and on game day. Many of the states media members have reported this. Yes, Heaps deserves part of the blame, but so does the entire coaching staff. In life, we are all faced working with people we do not like. However, we check ourselves, and our egos at the door and give 100% effort because that is what honorable adults do. I refuse to wear Cougar Blue shaded glasses. Season ticket holders can, and should demand accountability for our dollars. Anyone remember the Crowton Years? Nelson is one more area where fans get short-term success at the expense of the future, especially with the meaningless schedule that meaningless schedule.

  • cougarNV Las Vegas, NV
    Oct. 11, 2011 5:05 p.m.

    I have experienced set backs and frustrations in my life (as we all have). And the results from my "Benchings" in life have been up to me and the attitude I take in response to them.

    So, let Heaps decide how he will respond to this set back.

    Let Riley continue to show Heaps how a leader motivates the team and what a leader is motivated about. (Not just personal goals- TEAM goals)

    If Nelson is injured as a result of his style of play (Highly Likely), or does not continue to perform as the team needs their QB to do, then a wiser and matured Mr. Heaps will do better at LEADING the team.

    Go Cougars! (If Heaps gets mad and tranfers, we have good QB's in the wings)

  • Mormon Ute Kaysville, UT
    Oct. 11, 2011 3:39 p.m.

    Bronco's continued wishy washiness on so many decisions is dooming his team to mediocrity. You have to have clear measures of success and when a player doesn't reach those you replace them with the next guy in line until he fails to reach those same measures. Bronco is failing his team and the BYU fans by not making definite decisions and moving forward. His excuse that he doesn't know the offensive side of the game is lame. He's the head coach! It's his job to gain enough of an understanding that he can answer questions about the offense and make decisions about it.

  • azjim GILBERT, AZ
    Oct. 11, 2011 3:21 p.m.

    Riley was sloppy.He had two interceptions and a fumble against a "cupcake team".He could have had more interceptions. Nice guy,works hard, same level of talent as cougar greats: Jason Beck, Brendan Gaskins,Eric Krzmarzick,Steven Lindsley,Drew Miller,Lance Pendleton,Charlie Peterson,Paul Shoemaker,Bob Jensen,Brian Vye,they all worked hard and were loved by coaches and team members. Yeah those were the days.All those wins they gave us.Give me a break. Play and develop Heaps,Lark,Munns. use riley for special situations.riley is not Steve Young or even Brandon Doman.

  • Broom Hockey Champ Alpine, UT
    Oct. 11, 2011 3:10 p.m.

    "While he has great potential, better development might include sitting out as a redshirt next year. "

    I agree with your thoughts about Riley's leadership wholeheartedly and was talking about that before the season started. Many dismissed what I was saying, but that might have been centered around the excitement of the season.

    THat being said, do you think Heaps, a selfish bloke by all accounts, is going to sit on the bench next year and watch? I think he will transfer before he does that. If he does, it is not a guy BYU wants, anyway.

  • Over the Top Rigby, ID
    Oct. 11, 2011 3:02 p.m.

    I really hope Riley is the starting QB for the rest of the season - and next! We can argue about the pros and cons of both QB until we are "blue" in the face. But the obvious difference between the two right now can be summed up in one word: leadership!

    It is reasonable to think that Riley (the guy who put in two years as a missionary, works hard, and then "steps up" when called up) has the respect of his fellow teammates (many of whom also sacrificed two years as missionaries, are a bit "older", and have put in a couple of years of hard work before getting their playing time).

    On the other hand, we have a 19/20-year-old in Jake Heaps (who chose to not serve a mission - I realize a very pesonal choice) and from some of his comments (and even perhaps from the perspective of some coaches) supposed he was on the four-year-fast-track to the NFL - and perhaps even a Heisman. (Are his goals more individual-oriented as opposed to team-oriented?) While he has great potential, better development might include sitting out as a redshirt next year.

  • AZJazzFan Gold Canyon, az
    Oct. 11, 2011 2:46 p.m.

    @ Andrew Marksen: If BYU doesn't play by your rules then please hand over your tickets. To BigRich: well said. BYU should play at QB the one who performs, not who has the most potential. Nelson is a true football player, Heaps has a great arm but if he is not on target, what is the good arm worth?

  • SUNNY ALL DAY Saint George, UT
    Oct. 11, 2011 2:40 p.m.

    "...Utah's remaining schedule is filled with patsies..."

    BYU plays @ Oregon State on Saturday.

    Oregon State plays @ UTAH on 10/29.

    OSU is a "patsie"?

    If OSU loses the game Saturday, it won't be OSU that takes a beating.

  • Hondo Alpine, UT
    Oct. 11, 2011 2:39 p.m.

    I heard that the LES scoreboard malfunctioned during the game last Saturday because there were so many BYU points being posted on it. The frequency with which the points were posted didn't help matters, either.

    I hope that it gets fixed before Idaho, ISU, NMSU and others come to town so we can keep track of all the points we're going to score.

  • casual observer Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 11, 2011 2:33 p.m.

    Aggie fans demeaning Bronco's personality? Pretty small indeed.

  • Wldflwr Lehi, UT
    Oct. 11, 2011 2:23 p.m.

    @Marksen.......Oooooh, I hope your season tickets are in front of mine. I will then have a better view!

    Most likely though they will immediately get snatched up by some tall dude.

    Go Cougars!

  • anti BCS Anaheim, CA
    Oct. 11, 2011 2:11 p.m.


    "golly, aren't you so clever with you childish name calling!"

    btw, Utah's remaining schedule is filled with patsies, which is the only reason the Utes still have a slim shot at the New Mexico Bowl.

  • plyxply SLC, UT
    Oct. 11, 2011 1:16 p.m.

    golly, isn't Roscoe so clever! I wish someone had the guts to ask him why he thinks being coy in his answers does anyone any good. Does he think he's some sort of tactician by not letting his sub-par opponents know who the starter will be? They could start any of the qb's there and win against the patsies left on the schedule, who cares Roscoe, just answer a question with a straight answer, you aren't as smart as you like to think.
    And for AJMarksen, really? You're worried about losing some more top recruits like Heaps? Heaps can't even complete a pass in a tough situation, why would you want any more players of his caliber in the program? Let him play out the year and you'll end up in the exact situation you are in now, unable to beat any decent teams because he doesn't have the mental capacity to deal with the pressure. He's afraid to get hit. He isn't a leader. Hello?

  • Uncle Rico Sandy, UT
    Oct. 11, 2011 1:01 p.m.

    Here's what I see as the difference between Riley and Jake:
    Riley is a warrior
    Jake is not

  • InCogNeatO Logan, UT
    Oct. 11, 2011 12:07 p.m.

    Nice post SCCougar!

    @ Marksen: You know what every blue chip QB wants to hear? "Come to our school, we win games." They want to be in contention for bowl games, conference championships (oops), and a BCS shot. Why even cast a thought the way of the future Blue Chip who is currently playing flag football or wearing diapers right now? We have great QB commits lined up through about 2018. If we "Just Win Baby" they will want to come, no matter who is throwing the ball, no matter the style.

    Let me know when your tickets become available, I know a lot of people who like to see winning football...

    Oct. 11, 2011 11:43 a.m.

    @ Marksen: The message being sent to other blue-chip athletes thinking about coming to BYU is that their star count doesn't guarantee playing time. They are also being told that they will be in the mix with everyone else at their position to prove that they are the best, and if they perform better than their competition they will get a chance to show it on the field. Which, IMO, is the right message to send to the recruits. I don't think recruits should be promised anything or expect any more than anyone else on the team. Put in the effort, perform, and you will be rewarded with playing time. Heaps will be ok and get plenty of PT if he can learn from this. I had a high school teammate that walked on to the BYU football team several years ago. He wasn't promised anything but he worked his tail off, impressed the coaches, got PT, showed what he could do on the field. Did great, kept playing, got a scholarship, went to the NFL, etc. etc.etc. His name is Chad Lewis! May the most deserving player play!

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    Oct. 11, 2011 10:44 a.m.

    @ Aggie238 | 9:50 a.m. Oct. 11, 2011

    In Spanish there's a saying that is apropos here, I think. It says "About taste there is nothing written."

    It's kind of like our English saying: "To each his own."

    Personally, I very much like Bronco's way of speaking. He doesn't make outlandish get-in-your-face comments like Urban did.

    He's rather like Gary Anderson, in my opinion, who has been the best thing that could have happened to the Aggies.

    And, by the way, with Gary, Kyle and Bronco, the schools on the Wasatch Front have three excellent coaches; a great improvement over what USU used to have (I can't ever remember his name anymore), Meyer, and Crowton.

    Not only are they great coaches, they truly know how to relate effectively to college football players.

    More power to all three!

  • SoUtHapa Saint George, Utah
    Oct. 11, 2011 10:37 a.m.

    Hey AJM, see ya! Don't let the door hit you in the rear end on the way out of the stadium.

  • BigRich Orem, UT
    Oct. 11, 2011 9:58 a.m.

    Marksen. I'm sure everyone is going to be devastated by your lack of support. I'm sticking with them even if Cosmo's at quarterback. I'm just glad to have someone other than the Utes to root for.

  • Aggie238 Logan, UT
    Oct. 11, 2011 9:50 a.m.

    All you BYU fans trash talking Nelson need to keep in mind the following:

    Nelson: 2-0
    Heaps: 2-3

    Yes, I know you've only played 6 games, but Nelson (unfortunately for my Aggies) won the Utah State game for you while Heaps had it lost, so I'm counting it as a win for Nelson and a loss for Heaps. Who knows, if USU had prepped for Nelson maybe they would have won anyway, but for whatever reason they didn't, so the W goes to Nelson. As much as I hate the traitor, he's a good QB and will win games as long as your coaches give him an offensive scheme that will utilize his talents.

    On an unrelated note, do any of you BYU fans actually like Bronco Mendenhall? I mean, can the guy sound any more non-committal, inept, and weak? Whether the Y is winning or losing, Mendenhall has got to be in the conversation for the Most Annoying and/or Frustrating Coach in College Football award.

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    Oct. 11, 2011 9:32 a.m.

    Scrambling quarterbacks are not what the pros look for, but who wants the NFL to extend its tentacles deeper any into college football?

    College teams are (in my opinion) 100 times more exciting to watch with their motivated-to-win, true athletes than the over-paid, egocentric, prima donnas of the NFL.

    The last quarterback in the NFL that was as exciting to watch, as the ever-decreasing scrambling quarterbacks that still exist in college, was Fran Tarkenton.

    More power to Riley; as long as he continues to start, he will have by himself increased significantly the "exposure" BYU was looking for with its going independent this year.

  • So. Cal Reader Escondido, CA
    Oct. 11, 2011 9:21 a.m.

    Although I ‎was surprised that Riley got the nod against San Jose State, because of the part of the schedule the Cougs are going into, he CLEARY energizes the ‎offense and stadium like no one else can. He spearheaded the USU win and was solid ‎‎(not great, but solid) in the San Jose State win. Of course he'll start against 'dem Beavers. ‎If he doesn't, the team gets back to the infamous "QB shuffle" which rarely if ever works ‎out-- it certainly didn't last season. I feel sorry for Heaps. But, Riley clearly has ‎the "It" factor and the team rallies around him. And for those naysayers who say he ‎doesn't have a throwing arm, his TD to Jacobson was 50 yards in flight-- ‎clearly a thing of beauty. In reality, when does a QB need to throw further than that? He obviously has enough arm for the job. But, ‎my counsel to Riley is, "Stay healthy, my friend. Stay healthy!" Go, Cougs!‎

  • WhatsInItForMe Orem, Utah
    Oct. 11, 2011 9:13 a.m.

    I'm really hoping Alisa gets a lot of playing time and that BYU's front line can make enough holes for the running game to be effective. Not sure whether Oregon State has much of a run defense. If they do, we might have a problem.

    Nelson's turnovers should be fewer this coming game. If not, Lark before Heaps?

  • CougFaninTX Frisco, TX
    Oct. 11, 2011 9:12 a.m.

    Nelson is the starting QB the rest of the season, unless . . .

    . . . he gets hurt
    . . . lets turnovers impact the production of the offense
    . . . can't get anything going against a fast Oregon State defense
    . . . forgets to cut his hair

    For those who don't like his style of play, you probably didn't like Steve Young or Brandon Doman as QBs either. No, he's not half the QB of Steve Young (yet), but his style is very similar.

    This Saturday will tell us more about Nelson than the rally against USU (which included a few lucky breaks), or the production against a weak SJSU defense.

    A win against Oregon State and he will be the starter for the next 19 games.

  • WhatsInItForMe Orem, Utah
    Oct. 11, 2011 9:10 a.m.

    Mendenhall said, "... which then makes us more difficult to defend because he can throw it to a receiver whose route has been adjusted. It's harder to cover adjusted routes."

    Why doesn't Bronco understand his own defensive thinking? That's how nobody-QBs have been eating up BYU's defense this year and looking all-world in the process. They're seldom pressured by BYU.

    I bet at least 80% of the time that BYU's defense HAS put pressure on opposing QBs, it's been effective. Problem is, BYU's defense only puts pressure on them no more than 20% of the time.

  • gb13 Herriman, Utah
    Oct. 11, 2011 8:41 a.m.

    @Marksen. I understand your frustration. Frustration with BYU (right now)is in abundance, but don't you think that the team is frustrated too? The first thing we all must do is relax and be a bit more trusting and patient. "The Cougars" (as we know) are a different sort of animal and they just need time to develop. Why don't we (all) be more supporting - which might be a key to improved play.

    Are there problems with the team? Of course. Will all of these problems be solved before the season is over? Of course not! But it doesn't help anything to threaten to "give up season tickets" or "not root" for the team. That type of attitude would be considered (in my opinion) to be "fair weather." And it continues to stir up anxiety within the entire organization (including players, coaches, and fans). Now, if you ultimately decide to make the choices that you have expressed, they are your right to do so. All I am saying is, that if we all "jump ship" no one will benefit from this season.

  • Ravenal Somewhere in, Utah
    Oct. 11, 2011 8:30 a.m.

    I see the fair-weather fans are out again.

  • TJ Eagle Mountain, UT
    Oct. 11, 2011 8:21 a.m.

    Then you are not a true BYU fan. I am not pleased with the offensive performance of BYU either but I still pull for them to win and hope they get it turned around. Riley Nelson, while not a great college qb has a presence that inspires the rest of the team. He has earned the starting spot by default because of that and because Heaps has not played well enough to keep the starting spot. Even Heaps knows that. Nelson will likely struggle against OSU, TCU and even Hawaii. Heaps should be ready to go in at any time. The way Nelson plays, he could get hurt at any time. I agree that Heaps needs to get a bunch of playing time this year but in my opinion, he needed to get benched in the USU game. If he is smart, he will learn from watching Nelson for awhile.

    Oct. 11, 2011 8:17 a.m.

    dustman: Wow, really? Two different types of horrible? When I watched Heaps make a throw out of bounds or over the head of a wide-open receiver I would say that he needs to give the receivers a 'chance' to catch the ball. When Nelson came in it was obvious that he was giving the receivers a chance to catch it and in most cases they did. Long throws, short ones, the ball was usually well placed. The picks were on throws down field. For whatever reason the play calling became really conservative in the 3rd qtr. (only 1 pass I believe) and it would've turned out more like the Texas game if it had not been for Alisa. Nelson provides a spark, a whatever it takes to get the 1st down and the win mentality that we didn't see with Heaps. So to say Nelson played horrible IMO is off base. Not bad for his 1st start in over a year.

  • Andrew J. Marksen Deseret, UT
    Oct. 11, 2011 7:47 a.m.

    I will not root for BYU as long as Nelson is the QB. I am not a fan of his style of play and I do not believe that his wins against lesser teams will make the program any more attractive to real blue chip talent. Now is the time to develop Heaps when the schedule is soft. Bronco has sent a loud message to other blue chip QB prospects. I know the attitude with the Cougar faithful is we only want true BYU players playing for us because we are BYU. That is fine, but BYU is not top tier anymore and that attitude is harmful. College football has changed and BYU is being left behind. I will not keep my season tickets to see Bronco and Nelson pad their stats. I will not keep my season tickets to watch Bronco cripple the programs recruiting future because he cannot develop talent. I will not keep my season tickets to see 8 or 9 SJSU's or ISU's every season. I know BYU is different and I support that, but there has to be a balance or the future is a dead duck, or rather dead Cougar.

  • dustman Nampa, ID
    Oct. 11, 2011 7:37 a.m.

    We are dead unless Alisa has another good game. He's the only bright spot on that offense. Right now Nelson and Heaps are just two different types of horrible. Doman finally seems to be making some adjustments to help his players move the ball.

  • stgjazzfan Saint George, UT
    Oct. 11, 2011 7:29 a.m.

    Nelson has been very lucky, how long this luck will hold out, who knows, but eventually it will it always does. Some of Riley's decisions in the 2nd half could have turned over the momentum and the score to the Spartans. Riley is to reckless, he should have been pulled from the game, to show there is accountability for such actions, even if it is only for a couple plays.

  • Cougar Claws Lindon, UT
    Oct. 11, 2011 12:46 a.m.

    We're dead.

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, Utah
    Oct. 11, 2011 12:21 a.m.

    Mendenhall said. "Most likely, the starter, as long as they're playing well, they're going to play probably through the whole game."

    Key phrase: as long as they're playing well. Unlike Nelson's second half against SJSU. We will need good QB play and good secondary play in order to beat OSU this Saturday.

  • Veritas Aequitas Fruit Heights, UT
    Oct. 10, 2011 11:28 p.m.

    "Cougars likely to stick with Riley Nelson"


    Ya think?

    Geez Bronco.

    It's like going clothes shopping with my daughter. Make a choice.