Nelson is a gun slinger. When people were yapping about him replacing Heaps last
year they knew who Nelson was. He's a go for it, all in, roll the dice kind
of guy. When he's on his game he's fun to watch and produces big plays
and points. The flip side to QB's like Nelson is because of the risks they
take they do turn the ball over more. Once again I say people knew this last
season when he was their man and Heaps was the bum. As far as who should start I
think you go with Lark, and keep Hill in the role he's been playing so far
this year. Don't throw him into the fire where he might get burned so badly
it will do permanent damage. Then next season with some solid experience under
his belt turn things over to him. Set Hill up to succeed and stop following the
pattern of desperation which has led to the current QB situation. Lark is a good
solid QB he's a senior and he's going to do some good things, most
important of which is let Hill develop.
Most accurate and intelligent analysis of this mess at BYU I've read so
far. I hopw Coach Mendenhal reads this article, he would benefit from the
counsel contained therein. How he handles this situation this season I believe
will be a predictor of his future success or failure. Not an easy job for sure!
Thanks Paul,a much needed perspective. The only one who can act on this now is
Coach Bronco. He did it quickly before, when he knew it had to be done, and he
can do it again. Will he act now? Will he do it in phases, or will he wait until
after the season is over? Perhaps he will not change things at all. As
BYU's Head Coach, he made a very tough decision and saved the Defense. Will
he do the same , and save a badly failing Offendive Experiment ?
What is with the Larkies, if the guy were able to beat out Nelson or Hill he
would have played. Ask Munn,you don't earn the job because you have been a
nice guy and stayed patient, this isn't the Post Office. If Bronco Busted
really put the team above his ego, it would be Lance Reynolds taking over the
OC, Doman back to QB coach, right now! Brandon admits to confidence issues, how
could he have any confidence now, more TO's than pass completions, first
time in BYU history.
@Habib" Runs a 4.5 40 which is great--but he also has a cannon
arm--can throw 80 yards easily. Taysom has better skills than any QB at BYU
since Steve Young."Alright dude, Put down the koolaid container
and back away from it slowly. We've had enough internet legend players in
recent years who never managed to come close to the hype. Lets don't set
Hill up for the same problem of having to live up to impossible expectations. I
doubt he can throw the ball a mere 60 yds with "ease". He definitely has
a better arm than Riley and is faster too. That's a good place to start.
Tough situation. BYU goes independent, then immediately embarks on what is
beginning to look like a death spiral. Without some dramatic improvement, ESPN
is going to tire of us...we are already getting attitude from gameday
analysts...and our ability to recruit quality talent will be diminished due to
lack of prospective team success. In am the most adamant BYU fan I know, but
this is indeed hard to watch. Bronco, if his pride will let him do it, should be
retained as Defensive co-ordinator and maximize his expertise. He'd be
considered one of the best in the business. We need a knowledgeable, clever,
well experienced and creative Offensive co-ordinator, who can think on his feet.
I wish I was smart enough to know who that might be, but I doubt they are
currently employed at BYU. Doman seems to be very much "in over his
head" currently. He was over-promoted into his current position as indicated
by his performance and results. We are also in need of a full time, not combo,
but dedicated Head Coach. Andy Reid? Maybe, but both jobs together are clearly
too much for one extraordinary man to handle.
Riley Nelson passer rating in Boise....NEGATIVE 4.5. Let him start this week
and bring his average back up to 0 before he graduates.
Who is Paul Shoemaker? Never Heard of him.
Paul - Thanks for providing the stats and detailed analysis as further fodder
for the water cooler/foyer conversations (and conclusion) that have been taking
place since the Utah game.
Paul: You missed something very important in your analysis. Riley is a great
guy but not a great quarterback--he is not even a Division I quarterback.
Taysom Hill is the real deal--recruited by Jim Harbaugh himself. Runs a 4.5 40
which is great--but he also has a cannon arm--can throw 80 yards easily. Taysom
has better skills than any QB at BYU since Steve Young. He is the man! Start
him at Hawaii and watch him play. The big problem is Doman and the offensive
line. Doman is not a mad scientist OC like Chow. I am not sure he is smart
enough to do the job. His offensive scheme is a mish mash of different
offenses--some kind of mutant creature from the island of Dr. Moreau. In any
event Taysom is the guy--treat him right or he may leave!
I guess what bothers me is coaching indecision. Nelson is hurt. He obviously
can't make the throws and he can't run either. This is beyond stupid.
Go with Hill or go with Lark. Make a decision and do it now.Statistics show that a healthy Nelson can't beat a good team. We may not
be able to beat the good teams with Lark or Hill, but the jury is in on Riley.
Yes we all love grit and toughness, but we love winning more. Playing an injured
Riley is incomprehensible.Take a seat, Riley, and thanks for the
great moments you had. We'll remember the Tulsa and Utah State finishes.
BYU might be able to sneak out wins with a QB quandry for a few weeks. After
that, they will have little shot at winning until the last three games unless
Taysom Hill gets reps now, or Riley gets better somehow.Obviously
USU is improved, but BYU can beat Hawaii and USU with below average QB play. As
for Notre Dame, no way. Georgia Tech's defense is no world beater, but they
will stop the Cougars if they don't improve. Although Georgia Tech's
offense plays into BYU's strengths.
BYU fans (I am one of them, bit not like many of these...) are serious wack
jobs. BYU has lost 2 games by 4 points. There are definite problems, but the
complete and total lack of respect for the players and coaches is pathetic. When
the Cougars won their first 2 games everyone was ready to dream of a 1984
repeat. Then they lose 2 games and everyone wants to clean house. I can see why
so many people hate BYU fans. Relax, folks. Things will improve. I have always
liked Lance Reynolds as the OC and I'd like to see the ball chucked down
field more often, but I'm not ready to abandon the whole season. Relax
The problem is NOT about one player, even it happens to be the QB. The offensive
line hardly blocks anyone with any consistency. It's next to impossible to
develop and execute a game plan when blockers don't block but they do get
flagged consistently.The two point try was NOT Bronco's fault.
The play called was questionable but the whole thing became mute when a member
of the right side of the O line invited Boise State's defensive counterpart
to meet Hill up close and personal.If there is any change in the QB
position, this article made a good case for Lark to play. He is a senior. In
fact, he was recruited out of HS instead of Riley. If there is any loyalty in
the coaching staff, they need to direct to Lark.
I too was 100 percent behind Jake Heaps and believe that those who wish for Lark
want BYU to be BYU of old. Not afraid to lose, pass the ball and be great. The
reality is that Lark has not come close to performing as well as Hill in any of
the scrimmages I have read about this year. Hill was the best player ever to
play for the most dominant team in Idaho football at Highland in Pocatello.
Although he is a John Elway, Steve young type runner the only player you can
compare him to as a passer is Jake Heaps and he is long gone. He was a pass
first qb ON A PASS HAPPY team in Idaho. I personally know the
recruiting coordinator at Stanford (Idaho native) who recruited Taysom. He told
me Stanford's only worry about Taysom was that he might realize that he could be an all pro safety in the NFL with his talent and lose his desire to
play QB. With due respect to Lark and Munn's etc. Hill is in a different
class as an athlete.
Thanks for the article Paul. I know you have real-world experience in these
situations. It's refreshing to see someone stand up and write about the
facts in this difficult situation. I only hope Bronco reads your column and does
the right thing.
bradleyc: Ben Cahoon was a great BYU receiver and IS coaching the team's
Nice article, but Riley's record is much worse than indicated. Even
against the weaker teams he has thrown passes that should have been accepted and
fumbled balls that were recovered. The problem is what does he really
contribute other than fielding punts which apparently is very important to some
on the coaching staff? I've read about his "leadership" but I
don't accept this as real. Certainly he is a loud mouth and may on
occasion inspire other players but that time has long since passed. How can he
inspire either the defense or offense given his propensity to lose the ball and
his lack of both throwing and running ability? No matter much raw raw he may
give his team mates, they don't enjoy loosing. Riley has been used
poorly. We would have been far better off with Jake Heaps, MVP of the New
Mexico Bowl, starting and Riley filling in at certain spots. Had Jake been
supported and guided by the coaches as he should have been, last year would have
gone better and this year would have been spectacular.
Haven't we seen enough of what can happen when a freshman gets too much
shoveled on his plate too soon?Start Lark. He's earned it.
He's worked for it. He's ready and able. This weeks game against
Hawaii is a perfect time to do it. Nevada's run and pass game shredded the
Bows with less talent. Hill has three more years to do his thing. James has a
partial season and should be given the shot.
And thus we see that everyone is a coach. 65,000 coaches and
"officials" watch every home game in Provo. But that's your right
when you buy a ticket.The O-line has contributed more than it's
share of woes this season already. Is it coaching, or lack of the same? Very
Paul, Are you trying to get the poor kid killed? The O-line is having
problems snapping the ball and not jumping before the snap. They haven't
graduated to advanced skills like run, pass, field goal kicking (or any other)
blocking yet. They couldn't even protect Nelson against Weber State. Nelson has got hurt due to the sub-average O-line that isn't
competative. But don't you remember how they were less fat, a little fast
(jumping) and "they look better." Whoever is QBing
doesn't matter with that O-line, but don't kill the future. Let the
Seniors play. A freshman isn't getting any experience when the other team
is constantly putting the QB or RB on their backsides. Put the Seniors in. It
will allow them to run around, until the line gets fixed.
We blew it, we should have kept heaps!
You have to go with HIll, I like Lark but we are talking about game experience
for next year. BYU will get their 6 games and go to the same bowl as if they win
out the rest of their games this year. It is all about getting Hill ready for
next year, or it will be uglier than this year and then I can listen to all the
BYU fans call for Bronce's job.
Some coaches can't bring themselves to make the right decision. The other
option is just schedule mid majors and boast how many you win.
And thus we finally can see that Jake Heaps got screwed for Riley Nelson! Last
year, Jake played against the competition, while Riley got to cruise to the end
of the season playing the bottom feeders of the WAC. Jake also would have had
great numbers against that competition as well. Bronco has a love affair going
for Riley Nelson, and that is why he will continue to start for the remainder of
the season. I too agree, that it is time that we say thank you to Riley, and
turn over the keys to Lark or Hill. I belive Lark also has gotten screwed at the
Y, and I give him props for sticking it out. Doman needs to be fired, as well as
Bronco. Bronco is a great defensive coordinator, but not a head coach. If BYU
continues to lose, I predct that allot of alumni's will get involved to
replace the coach. ESPN also said on national tv, that BYU is wasting
talented wideouts in order to run the option. BYU has no faith in the passing
game. Bring back the BYU of old, and throw thr football!
It has everything to do with the offensive coordinator and frankly this offense
is offensive to the eyes. Doman is a nice guy, but he is NOT a good coach,
especially as offensive coordinator. BYU needs to find and hire one with a
proven record. Doman should resign and go work for a JC for at least 5 years
then maybe he might be ready for Division I. What was so disappointing about the
Boise State loss is the call to go for two when an extra point would have
sufficed and then overtime. Obviously Bronco was thinking too much. He might be
a great motivator, but he really does choke in big games. BYU is a mediocre team
with a mediocre coaching staff with mediocre QBs
Start Lark. He's worked hard. Hill is too young and Nelson cannot compete.
It's time to say thank you to Riley, start Hill and build for next season.
Next years schedule is tougher and offers a chance(small) for national
recognition! Don't start a unproven Sophmore Hill next year with a stable
of good receivers and tight ends. Start Hill now let him learn the
offense(hopefully quickly) and build for the next three years now. If not next
year will be a disaster with the schedule!
BYU should have / could have beat Utah and BSU even if Nelson played like he did
against TCU or Tulsa (neither of which were great). However, his play against
the Utes and Broncos was the worst I've seen him play. Please
play Hill or Lark against Hawaii and give Nelson some time to heal. Bring
Nelson back against USU and if he continues to struggle, get Hill or Lark back
in there.I don't think BYU can beat ND regardless of QB.
I'm also doubtful against Oregon State. But I'm still optimistic
about our chances against USU and GT. I think our defense gives us a chance in
both games, but we need more offense than we've gotten the past two weeks.
Lark, Lark, Lark! I pay to see the offense play as good as the defense and that
will only happen with Lark. Let him call his own plays since no one else seems
to have a grip on it.
Neither - How about give Lark a try? Couldn't be much worse. For next
season I would bring in a new Offensive coordinator and then go get a JC
transfer for Spring ball.
If Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles part ways at the end of this season,
could Big Red find his way to Provo?Rumor was that he was the first choice
when Bronco was finally hired. See Vai Sikahema's column this week.
Real progress might come only with a new head coach.
In general the poor passing decisions that Riley makes aren't enough to
help the poor teams beat BYU, but against better teams those poor passing
decisions become decisive and often result in points. At the same
time simply replace Riley with Lark or Hill is a little simplistic. BYU's
o-line is still a problem with the better teams; trick running plays and 2
second quarterback pass decisions would need to be the norm for any of the
Every comment stated thus far would be far better than what we are probably
going to see on Friday. Unfortunate and sad. I like Coach Mendenhall, his
defense is amazing, but he needs to make mulitple changes on offense now.
I agree with this article. As much as i like riley, he doesn't have the
skill set to beat big teams. Also, domans play calling is killing me. We have
sooo much talent on this byu team that we don't even take advantage of.
Instead we just run the option or a quarterback draw.
It's time to bring some of the boys from the 80s back to coach the team.
We need a Steve Young coaching quarterbacks. We need our great receivers
coaching. etc. More than likely they would love to do it.There was a
day when BYU passed first and always. The pass set up the run. They beat great
teams doing that... Remember the Miami game??? We need to get back to hard nosed
fly boy ball and a swagger that says "we are going to score and you have to
out score us if you are going to win." We have lost that swagger. Time to
bring it back.
Excellent article. These are the results documented. No disrespect to Riley
Nelson who is a terrific individual. There is a reason he was lightly recruited
out of high school. And, Mr. Shoemaker, it's a shame you never had the
shot you earned.
There seems to be an assumption that Hill can't throw. That he is just a
bigger, faster Riley. Not True.Hill did pull up tight on his first
few passes, but he has tons of arm strength and has much more natural passing
ability than Riley. Give him a few starts and I expect he would settle down
nicely. I like Lark and wish he could have had his chance. But it
doesn't make sense to invest in him starting now.
Most teams that run the wildcat bring in a different type of player to run the
play. BYU brings in the same type of player (only better) to run the play.
This does nothing to get the defense on their heels they simply run the same
defense they would have. It is time to start Lark or Munns and use the teams
best asset, Hoffman, Apo, Friel and company. It is sad when your opponents say
that they look more like BYU than BYU because BYU. Keep using Hill in the
wildcat to get him some experience.
O-line, O-line, O-line. I know we're trying to create a QB controversy
here, but I'm more interested in how many seconds the QB had to make his
reads in those losses compared to wins AND if the O-line was able to generate a
ground game against those teams. I think you'd be hard pressed to say ANY
QB would do very well if the O-line couldn't generate a ground game and
only gave them 2 or less seconds of pass protection.
Lose the option. It has been a disaster!! BYU has recurited both WR and OL to
pass the football. Now all the sudden we are an option team. (A bad one at that)
Not working and any deadhead can see that. Hill is a huge improvement over
Nelson because he is taller, quicker, with a quicker release. However, the
small sample of playing time shows he is the same type of QB. I hope to give
Lark, who is a drop back and pass the ball up the field type of QB, a chance and
evaluate him on his results. If he fails, we have the young, quick Hill to go
back to with two seniors on the bench if needed. Let's give the WR's
(and fans) something to be excitd about. Does anyone remember what BYU football
Love to get Paul's take on this: Why not start James Lark -- more reps in
passing -- and bring in Hill sparingly as needed, get him time, but let Lark be
the consistency? Sounds unworkable especially for a coach who rarely is
bendable. Anyone who would let a student-athlete determine whether he'll
start by the look in his eye and him saying he's healthy enough would make
a 2 pt conversion call when unnecessary.
Nelson is clearly rattled in the big games, and he looks completely lifeless and
dejected. Alternate Lark and Hill. Start using the big receivers and TEs. Mix
things up because clearly our O-line and QB are not getting the job done. I love
BYU football but this is painful to see, especially with what could be possible
The season didn't turn around because of Nelson last year. It turned
around because we finally got a Alisa at running back. Heaps and Nelson were
crap because there was no running game. When Alisa stepped in, the Defense had
to paly both the run and the pass. But I think you guys are right
with Doman. The dude isn't a very good play caller. He needs to go. I
think we need to keep Bronco because of the Defense he puts out there, but Doman
is not a very good OC at all.
Start Lark and please stop running the option. We lose more yardage than we
Disagree on the fact that we would have the same record with any of the
qb's. I think they play any of the other qb's and BYU is 4-0 this
year. Riley is the reason BYU is not undefeated this year.
1) Although Hill absolutely looks like he would be an improvement, it won't
happen if Nelson is "healthy." Bronco has already stated and committed
to a "healthy" Nelson after the last game. That is a Coaching
Problem.2) Even if Hill does play, and plays amazingly well, he
likely won't be able to win the bigger games against ND & GT due to the
poor offensive schemes and play calling. The passing game promised by these
coaches have been completely abandoned. Again, another Coaching Problem.Coaches should be graded for how they perform against worthy
competition. Worthy competition is definitely top 25 material (ND, Boise St) but
also includes teams that are closer to our own player talent level &
abilities (Utah, Utah St, Oregon St, Georgia Tech). If coaches lose 50% or more
of these games, a few years in a row (which they already have), they should be
in serious trouble.
Play them all on a rotating basis.
Personally I would like to see Lark start the next two games. He has shown
talent in the past for passing and has better than average running skills.
Since when did BYU become a running team? We certainly don't have the
O-line for it. I think the 2 point try last Thursday night would have worked if
the BSU nose tackle hadn't been in our backfield. The O-line is just plain
bad. I think Hill could be used for several plays in each of these games for a
change up while Lark has the majority of the snaps. Riley is great in many ways
but unfortunately being a big time QB isn't one of them, healthy or not.
James Lark has paid his dues. Time to give him a chance. Put in Hill for his
"package" but make Lark the starter and let's get our WR's
going and go over the top! I don't want to see the Y devolve into a
spread, run first offense.
Amen Grouper! BYU should fire Doman just like they did Jaime Hill a few seasons
ago and let anyone else take over OC duties because Doman couldn't call a
decent play to save his life. He likes to run the option so much because it was
so succesful when he was running it at BYU. Well, Doman there is a reason for
that it is called Luke Staley. Can we please can the Riley Nelson
experience? It was great to get one decent come from behind victory from him
last year (Utah St.). However, by giving us that one victory, we handed him the
keys to the team and he has single handedly cost us three games (TCU, Utah, and
Boise St.). Anyone knows that any of our qb's last year and this year
could have beaten the teams Riley Nelson helped us beat (2011 - San Jose State,
Oregon St., Idaho St., Idaho, Hawaii, & Tulsa, 2012 - Wash. St. and Weber
St.)I just hope the coaches don't play him this week to give us
this false sense of security going into the Utah St. game because any qb will
have a good game against Hawaii this week.
Spot on!!! Get Hill in there now to give him experience. Nelson, if it is
possible, is very overrated. He hasn't done much against quality
opponents. (While we're at it. Can we replace the O-coordinator with
Give Riley a baseball cap and let he and Hall help the other quarterbacks do
what Nelson never will, win a big one!
why are we not also hearing about Doman and his play calling? That is second
string in my book. if I have to watch another running of the option where we
lose 5 yds, I may just feed my Y jersey to the chickens. Let's be honest -
this is not all Riley. Doman is calling plays that don't seem to fit the
talent base. You've got two hugely talented, NFL level wide outs (Apo and
Hoffman) who get 2 or 3 throws a game? Seriously? Do some bootlegs, have Riley
run out and give the WRs a chance to dominate. Ditto for Friel/TEs. Instead, we
run the option 15 times and use Apo and Hoffman as blockers? Bush league
Thank You! We finally have some common sense being stated about the qb situation
in Provo. Nelson as stated is a below average qb against good competition. He
continues to struggle when really challenged and he makes countless mistakes and
takes gambles that rarely pay off. If we are looking big picture, which at times
is hard to do. Then Hill must be our guy. I doubt that Jim Harbaugh (old
Stanford coach) saw a mediocre qb when he offered Hill a scholarship out of
college. Harbaugh is a qb guru and knew he could turn Hill into something
special. The only question is does BYU have the coaching to do so?
I agree with everything except this:It would have been different if
anyone but Nelson were under center.Riley was personally responsible
for NINE turnovers in BYU's last 3 losses going back to TCU. The last 2
were 1 possession games, TCU was 10 points. Turnovers take points off of the
board.Hill and Lark have shown that they can at LEAST get the ball