Practice is not a game. Accepting that Nelson is a better option at QB than Lark
because the coaches spend a lot of time with them both means they are putting
too little weight on in-game performance. The most important stat
for a starting QB is not interceptions, fumbles lost, ypg, or TDs, it is wins.
It is not crazy, as fans, to prefer giving a kid a shot who has none of them
(wins) in favor the kid who has only 2 in 8 tries against teams above .500 (9-7
overall as a BYU starter).
Let's talk specifics:Coaches don't just coach, they
recruit. Blaming the offensive line is no excuse. You recruited them, you
didn't recruit others, you coach them, it's on the coaches.BYU and Notre Dame. You are on the 31 yard line, with 6 minutes left.
That's a 46 yard FG to tie, deep enough in enemy territory that you
won't be hurt if you make zero yards, and 4 down territory -- 2.5 yards per
play -- if you don't believe in your kicker. The one thing you CAN'T
do is lose yards. You don't call a pass that results in a sack taking you
out of FG range and now giving you 3 downs to make 20 yards. Check that, TWO
things -- you don't punt the ball with 6 minutes left when you are behind
haven't been able to stop the run.You also don't go for
two when you can tie the game against a team you just drove down the field on
and who hasn't been able to put a drive together all day. One PLAY
isn't the same as a drive.
"Coaches have egos"And nothing clouds one's judgement
more. It is ego that causes a Bobby Petrino to ride around town
with his mistress on his motorcycle, and pay her thousands of dollars for a job
she shouldn't have had. It is ego that causes basketball
coaches to grab players by the throat. It is ego -- "I'm smarter than everyone else," "I'm going to do
it my way," "It is my offensive coordinator's fault we got a
field goal attempt blocked, I'll 'evaluate' him," "The OC we have has made us a national leader, but our
never-been-a-coordinator-QB coach will be better," "Everyone knows
two QB's is stupid, but I disagree," "People aren't
following our QB, and that is a failure of leadership on the part of a 19 year
old kid, not a failure of leadership of a 'seasoned' head coach and a
bunch of 25 year old players and Captains," that causes coaches
to say, "The fan's criticism is a function of their lack of
understanding," and his mini-me to criticize fans for deigning
to not comment on his failures.
Really Mike? Then why does one "good" coach stick with only one QB, when
he professes to have many highly competent QB's and the other
"good" coach quickly retires the first and 2nd QB in favor of QB #3, as
when Mack Brown pulled out a win over BYU last year, and BYU chose to sink the
ship with Heaps playing the entire game??
I do not play the electric guitar, but that does not mean I don't know a
good riff when I hear one. I've played but never coached, and I expect
after 40 years of Utah/BYU football, I understand good football and good
coaching when I see it, and I've not seen much lately.While I
agree with the Author that Wittingham and Mendenhall are making the QB decisions
based on winning, I suspect Mendenhall is more interested in winning now with
Nelson and Wittingham, by playing Wilson now, at the expense of winning now, is
more concerned about developing his Utah QB of the future.Time will
tell, which Coach (and QB(s)) fair the better.
Please don't lump Utah fans with the BYU fans in this article about being
disgruntled with the quarterback situation.As I write these
comments, 41 people have posted on this article. The vast majority of the
comments addressed the BYU quarterback dilemma. Not one of them was written by
a Ute fan that is unhappy that Wilson is now the starter on The Hill.Good luck to both teams this weekend.
We all seem to forget how thrilled we were when Heaps was replaced by Riley!!!
So far this season Riley Nelson is 2-4 with 8 tds and 10 interceptions. If this
sports writer is correct, and Lark isn't better than that? He flat out
shouldn't be on scholarship at the Y, end of story. There is a reason that
not much of anyone tried to recruit Riley out of High School. And there is a
reason Rudy only played 2 plays in the movie. I would challenge this writer to
go back to any game that Riley has played, and try to find more than 3 passes
that were accurate, and thrown where they were supposed to be. Receivers that
somehow get the ball does not equal a well thrown pass.
Riley Nelson averaged only 7.5 yards a pass against notre dame in over 30
attempts.(BYU offense always stagnates and struggles when under 10
yards per pass, and only hums at better than 12 yards, and you need passing QB
for that)I am not buying nelson gives the team the best chance to
win.Doman plays nelson and subsequently Hill because the scrambling
running QBs fit his "running" system better.A system that is
decidedly NOT BYU football, and so BYU struggles offensively and wastes the
talents that they do have.
Article: "As I wrote in a recent column, there's no one more popular
than the backup quarterback. Starting quarterbacks are easy whipping boys for
fans who expect perfection. Fans always think someone must be better than the
guy who isn't completing every pass and winning ballgames every
week."Not true. Backup quarterbacks are only popular on
"struggling" teams. I recall Ty Detmer throwing 5 INTs
against Oregon in a loss that spoiled an unbeaten season. Nobody was calling
for Ty to be replaced by the backup. The reason? Ty had built a cache of
credibility with the fans because of his consistent outstanding play at the
position. So when he did have a clunker of a game, people knew it was an
anomaly, and the great play would return. Nelson will never build
that kind of cache with the fans--it's simply too late. So yes, BYU fans
are howling for the backup--but justifiably. Some are even pining for the
potential lost when Jake Heaps was run out of town. Such is the sad
state of BYU's offense today.
Wanting and getting are two different stories.Where is USU in this
story?Oh, that's right, we have a SOLID QB?Lol!
"...many believe the Utes might have won their last two games if the
experienced Hays was allowed to play instead of a green freshman who is prone to
turnovers."Nobody with a brain believes this. Wilson has a
higher completion percentage, more yards per attempt, and has thrown 3 ints to
Hays' 2. Plus Wilson has thrown for over 200 yards in both his starts,
which is something Hays has never done.Playing Wilson is absolutely
the right choice because he has more upside than Hays and he will be far more
prepared going into next season.
Does BYU need a Leader or QB?? Riley might be the better leader, but is Lark so
bad he won't even have the chance to play???
NealT:If BYU had defeated ND no one would be singing Riley's
and Broncos praises. They would be singing the Cougar fight song. Riley will,
along with Bronco and Doman forever be remembered for the key losses.
Mike your article is a cheap shot created solely to create publicity for you.
This is the kinda garbage Dick H usually does to get as many online hits as
If BYU had defeated ND everyone would be singing Riley's and Broncos
praises. They came so close. Why did BYU punt so late in the game with no
possibility of getting the ball back? All ND had to do was run the clock down.
I would have made a gutsy call and gone for it. Even on 4th and long. No
mention of the kicker that missed an easy FG that could have sent the game into
OT. Just wondering.
But here's the real point. BYU fans would be satisfied if Bronco would at
least use the press to make a point to his starting QB, something like this:
"I love Nelson, boy he's tough and he's a competitor, but if he
wants to stay on the field he better learn to stop turning the ball over, those
turnovers are killing us." Then BYU fans would believe Bronco "gets
it" and isn't just so focused on Nelson that he's going to ride
him even if it means a losing season. Fans aren't dumb either, they know
the deal, they just want the coach to say something other than the politically
correct, party line.
bballjunkiePleasant Grove, UT said:"@J-TX"Both O-lines
are a bigger reason for the failures than the QBs"Maybe in Utah case,
but BYU, your crazy"OK, because you're a junkie, we'll
overlook the poor orthography.But if I'm crazy. watch #1
through #4 and #7's offensive lines dominate the line of scrimmage. Look
at the time their QBs have to make the right decision. Look at the lack of
hurries, knock-downs and sacks. Not a lot can substitute for five
300-lb agile and strong offensive linesmen.My grandma could play
behind some of these lines and beat Utah or BYU.But you keep blaming
the QB. He's an easy scapegoat. I'm telling you, if Nelson had, on
average, 1.2 seconds longer in the pocket, he would make a lot more good passes.
Not that I'm a Nelson fan. I'm not. But there are 11 guy on a
Totally disagree with you Mike. Riley is no good. Bronco plays him only because
he loves him. He's being like the good ole boy LaVell Edwards who only
played his favorites. Anyone with any resemblance of football IQ can see
Riley's costly mistakes lead to 4 losses. Don't tell me I lack the
intelligence to understand what is happening with the football team in Provo.
Sure I'm not granted access to the players like the coaches, but I've
been to plenty of practices, scrimmages, and games. And heaven knows you
reporters have filled me in on anything I've missed. Like Dick H telling us
about Riley's family humiliating Jake Heaps wife at last years USU game.
Come on mike. Bronco will never be fired!
So Mike Sorensen, you are telling me the fact that Riley Nelson is currently
ranked in the Bottom 15% of QB's of all D1 Quarterbacks is not his
fault...even in the least bit?!?! Riley is number 104 out of 122 QB's
according to ESPN through 8 games of the season. 104 is pathetic for a Senior
at Quarterback University. Heck, even Idaho's QB is ranked higher then
Nelson. What is so wrong with the idea of letting the backup QB
play and prove if he is a better passer. Lets just try it. We got nothing to
lose....expect Another Game.
Thank you for pointing out the obvious Mike Sorensen. Of course we fans realize
that coaches know their players much better than fans but it doesn't take a
genius to realize that Riley Nelson is a great runner and not a great passer.
We have numerous games and interceptions to prove that fact. Riley is a great
running QB. We need a Passing QB at BYU. From the little we have seen of Lark
he appears to be able to throw the ball better than Nelson. Lets give Lark a
chance. Thats all fans are saying.
That being said, then the problem lies within BYU's recruiting...for they
are now failing to recruit QB's that can pass the ball like the QB's
of old. That being said, that is the coach's fault. Not getting the right
talent for this team!If Nelson is indeed the best you have, and Lark
and Munns are not, then how much time was wasted recruiting them? Nelson was
not recruited by BYU, as I understand it. But he walks in and drivea out a blue
chip Heaps, that Lavell says--"I never even gave a thought to playing a
freshman" Heaps should have been brought in with that understanding,and
then groomed to be amazing his Jr. and Sr. Year. This is how Lavell won.Bronco and Doman do not have the experience and the fans are not wanting
to wait for 10 years for them to "maybe" get it.
thebigsamoanNotre Dame has had it's problems the past few years
also. It goes in cycles,
@Archer["Why would a coach choose to play a player who doesn't
give him the best possible chance to win?"Because they have poor
judgment, that's why.]Not necessarily. Like in Utah's case
I'm sure they have better odds of winning with Hays instead of Wilson.
However, we already know this season isn't going to be anything special,
and Wilson's a freshman while Hays is a senior. It's more useful for
the team moving forward to get some starts for the guy we presume will be the
starter next year. I imagine this is why BYU skipped Lark during Nelson's
benching and went straight to the freshman Hill.
Seriously, I really don't understand why Lark has so many fans. I'm
from St. George, I know about Lark and how widely recruited he was - that
doesn't translate into how well he may or may not play in practice/games
(we all remember how Heaps turned out, right?). There is no conspiracy.
Remember how everyone cried for Nelson over Heaps last year? I don't see
how this is any different. At least Nelson had started and won a few games
going into that controversy.As far as I'm concerned, I have the
same record as Lark. Why aren't you all crying for me to play?I agree that Nelson isn't getting the job done, but he still gives us the
best chance to win, despite his obvious lack to skills. It's time we all
just face it that this season is going to end mediocrely, just as the Utes'
season will, for largely the same reason, as this article implies. We'll
all just have to hope for better next season.Now, as for the
coaching staff's jobs? Now, that's up for debate.
A parallel question might be, "Why would a newspaper publish an ill
conceived piece on a topic that so obviously confuses the reporter?"In
Utah's case a young quarterback is gaining experience that will be valuable
in the future. Of course the Utes and their coach still want very much to win,
but this is in many ways a lost season for Utah and building for the future
makes a lot of sense. At BYU, a stubborn coaching staff failed to
develop one of the top recruits ever landed in Provo and encouraged him to leave
the program. They then awarded the starting job to a fine young man who has
marginal skills at best, compared to other D-1 quarterbacks. Their ineptitude
also led to serious injury for their own promising young QB. They are so
invested in their selection of Riley they can't even bring themselves to
acknowledge his errors and shortcomings. The only question in Provo is
will Tom Holmoe step in to prevent the disaster that looms next year if the same
cast of characters is in control?
@J-TX"Both O-lines are a bigger reason for the failures than the
QBs"Maybe in Utah case, but BYU, your crazy Riley's issue
is his arm and always has been. He is NOT a D-1 QB period. And there is
way to many throws to give you examples.But here is one.. last one that missed
Hoffman by 2o yards...BYU wins the game. That had nothing to do with the line.
No one can argure that Lark did not get thrown under the bus. It may be that
Nelson (or Hill) is better than Lark, but that argument cannot come from seeing
Lark play. He's never been allowed to play. Doman clearly wants a QB
that was like him. and if we had a running back like Staley, that might work
for a while. But with Staley hurt, Doman did not win many games. Given what
we've all seen, one has to come to the conclusiion that Bronco is in love
with Riley and winning is not most important to him. and lastly, our offensive
line is not strong. that hurts our running game.
If Riley had better offensive line and better recievers, he would be one of the
best quarterbacks in the country... the guy has more heart and leadership than
any quaterback in BUY history...He just needs a little more time to
heal his back and he will be leading the team to victories.
BYU needs a passing QB again
Actually, Bronco said winning is 5th on his priority list, so we should all
fully expect him to play the guys he thinks can make a non-football impact.
Riley is a great guy by all accounts and a superb example to many kids out
there. But most of us fans are pretty sure that a different QB would not have
gone 0-4 vs Utah, Boise, OSU, and ND this year.Of course, it could
be the OC more than the QB, but poor Riley will be stuck with his legacy of
being one of the only senior QBs to not beat Utah or any other decent team his
senior season. Doman is fortunate that he will be given a few more years to
change his OC legacy.
I feel for Riley but how many Coaches would have stuck with a Quarterback after
so many turnovers, bad passes that even when caught the player could not do
anything with because they were high, low or behind them. No one can
fault his good heart, desire, and cheer leadership. He is great to have on the
team because he is team player not sulking when not playing but cheerleading.I think he tries too hard and puts too much pressure on himself and it
hurts him as a QB.It is not simple to do it at this level. Look how
few HS QBs are recruited to college and of those recruited how many play. Each
team has generally 3 to 4 QB on Roster. How many times do we see a player go
down or get pulled and the back-up comes in and plays as well or better than the
starter but how many time he doesn'tI would like to see Lark to
see how he could handle the pressure. It may not be pretty though. Playing at
this level is no sure thing.
"So this idea that coaches are idiots who can't see that X quarterback
is better than Z quarterback doesn't make any sense to me."It wouldn't take an idiot to realize that an average HS QB could have hit
the wide open Hoffman on the pass Riley embarrassingly botched with very little
pressure. I find it hard to believe that no BYU QB on the bench could have
completed that pass. The 3rd string punter could have hit Hoffman.It's Hoffman and Apo I feel most sorry for. Wasting superior receiving
talent running routes that seldom ever receive decent passes from run happy
Riley. Isn't an experienced senior supposed to be better than run of the
mill? I was in the stands at both Salt Lake and Boise when BYU's
"experienced" QB cost BYU's exemplary defense potential wins.Ironically, Riley's best game was the bigger loss to OSU. Until
midway through the 4th he actually didn't embarrass the fans. All the
other 3 losses could have potentially ended in victory with even slightly better
than mediocre "experienced senior" QB play from Riley.Coaches make good decisions...Just ask Taysom Hill
I agree that both BYU and Utah have mediocre teams this year, primarily in the
QB and O-line areas. Both teams have some strengths. As with the other arm
chair quarterbacks I still just can't believe Riley is the best QB at BYU.
Nothing against him but he is not a big time QB. He would likey thrive at Snow
or SUU. His coaches are to blame for putting him in a position to fail, i.e.
plying quarterback. It's amazing that Riley continues to miss receivers
with passes that are usually into the ground and behind the receivers, not to
mention the pass into never never land that should have been an easy score for a
wide open Hoffman. Opposing defenses only need to cover 20 yards downfield
instead of the usual 30-45 yards as they know Riley can't throw more than
20 yards. No wonder the receivers are covered most of the time. No wonder is
seems like opposing defenses have 18 players on the field. It's no mystery
why BYU continues to lose these games.
Well let's see if Bronco or Doman had called a time-out in the waning
minute + of the Utah St. game when Taysom Hill was in the QB Draw formation
instead of pre-victory stance then Hill wouldn't have had a season-ending
injury. Boy then would BYU have beat both Oregon St. and Notre Dame, yes I
think so. I just wonder though if Bronco had put in Lark in a few occasions
like would Lark have hit a wide-open Hoffman for the probable game winning TD,
yes I think so..
I'm actually not really perturbed about Wilson being in at the U. He's
not the only one making mistakes out there--see offensive line, tackling,
dropped passes (and pitches)--i was much more concerned about how the coaches
handled the last two minutes of the first half, having three timeouts left and
your team having some momentum and moving the ball--the play calling and waiting
to use your timeouts not to preserve a drive but just to make sure OSU could
squeeze in one more play... baffling... and poor judgment.
I have said ever since the loss to USC that we should start Wilson. The chance
at the PAC 12 championship left with that loss. Wilson is in our future. I think
it is best to see how ge does and to get him ready to play next year. That being
said I do believe he could take us to a bowl game this year. As for
BYU with Hill injurged you have 2 seniors. If the one can't get you wins.
Then try the other one. One of these 2 teams needs to help the college football
in the state of Utah this year. And right now it seems my Utes don't have
the disicpline nor the capacity to put a full game together.
Consistency is what makes a good team good. BYU is not a consistent team.
I'm not buying that these teams are better than their records show either.
They won and lost games based upon the team as a whole: coaches, QB's,
O-lines, poor secondary, etc... BYU and the U aren't very good this year,
or at least, not as good as half of the teams on their schedules. If they were,
the records would be different.
So, according to Mr. Sorensen, coaches are really smart, fans are not, and
sportswriters are smart enough to know the difference? Oh, and football is
rocket science too.Blah, blah, blah, blah.I've
played, coached, been raised by a coach, observed, and read about sports my
whole life. Along with other intelligent, observant, insightful fans, my
opinions are important and valid. Coaches and administrators know this, as
evidenced by how much time they spend with and deference they pay to
boosters...the super fans...whose opinions actually matter much more than those
of sportswriters.Bronco made a bad hire in Doman for OC
(Brandon's a great guy with fine potential, just not ready yet to be an
OC). And, Bronco's insistence on Riley as the starting QB may have cost
them 3 games...we'll never know whether Lark could have done better.
At this level of play, you would think a coach would put in a quarterback that
can (1) throw a spiral, and (2) accurately throw to a receiver. As to (1), my
daughters can throw a better spiral and (2), Nelson's passes are seldom on
the mark. Too often they are ahead, behind, or not within five yards of the
receiver, even when he is open. As for Utah, well, it's Utah.
I liked this article. But I believe with half of this statement: "While I
believe both coaches are quite secure in their jobs." Whittingham- yes.
Coach Bronco? Not so sure. I believe he has more than shown that the program has
reached its zenith under Mendenhall. I simply don’t think he's the
coach to get them to the next level that Holmoe, et. al., has said they want the
program reaching. I LOVE the job that Mendenhall has done & stability he
created from the Crowton mess. I just think the program has stagnated over the
pass 2-3 years. Other Cougs fans will point to 10 win seasons. I get that. But
one also has to look at the level of competition for those 10 wins- thanks to
the WAC! I, for one, am ready for a change in Happy Valley.
I'm oh so tired of the same old same old. Both programs are much better
than their records shows. Please wake me up when the coaches can finally take
responsibilities for the reasons their seasons are floundering. I'm tired
of looking forward to next year for things to change. Exposure is wonderful and
fun only if it partners with winning, otherwise it's a painful nightmare.
I'm so anxious to see the Cougars do well consistently against
top competition. If that means a change to the whole coaching staff, so be it.
Both O-lines are a bigger reason for the failures than the QBs.
Bronco had the chance to bench Nelson after the fumble in U game. He
didn't do it and let the same poor play continue against Boise State. Hill
was more than capable and was much more agile. The loss to Utah and
Boise lie directly on the coaches.
"Why would a coach choose to play a player who doesn't give him the
best possible chance to win?"Because they have poor judgment,
that's why. The author acts like coaches obviously choose the best option,
because its their livelihood. Does that excuse fly when coaches are fired? Do
they tell the AD that they shouldn't be fire because they made all the best
possible decisions because it was their livelihood? No, they get fired because
despite their best judgment, they make poor decisions which is demonstrated by a
lack of success. So, dear Mike Sorenson, think twice before you try to make all
the fans sound like a bunch of ignorant cry babies. I mean, what was your
opinion of the Jake Heaps/Riley Nelson QB sharing program a couple years ago?
Was that the best option? Is Bronco immune from criticism? Does he make all the
best possible decisions because it's his livelihood? Sheesh.
Nelson may be better than Lark, but you never know unless you play him. I
don't see why Lark couldn't complete all the 5 to 10 yard passes that
Nelson does. Plus he might even be able to hit wide open receivers down the
Not buying. Coaches by nature are control freaks who don't like to be
proven wrong. Heaps was run out of town and Lark is buried so far down the bench
it isn't funny. Why ? Because Bronco made a bad hire for his offensive
cord thats why.