Comments about ‘Mike Sorensen: Fans always think the backup quarterback is better than the starter’

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Published: Sunday, Sept. 23 2012 6:00 p.m. MDT

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West Jordan, UT

Mike, I understand your point about Riley Nelson but I challenge you to name one game against a legitimate opponent where he performed well. He has a flown record because he beat up on the weakest part of BYU's schedule last year but the only "name " team he has beaten was a bad Washington State team. Riley has not in any way, shape or form proven himself to be a legitimate QB. Be that the case plus an injury then give someone else a chance. No one can do worse than Riley has done.

Alexandria, VA

I want Nelson if he is healthy. I don't want him playing if he is hurt - it only hurts the team and it could end up injuring him permanently.

I know other QBs have played hurt, but Nelson's injury is apparently affecting his ability to throw the ball (and his fiery attitude, which was his biggest strength). It's kind of like playing a kicker who has an injured kicking foot, or playing a wide receiver with a cast on his right hand.

I do think that Hill is a better all around athlete than Nelson. Why? Because that's what people from the team have said. I'm excited for Hill's future at BYU, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I think Hill is better than a healthy Riley at this exact moment, but I do think that he is better than an injured Riley.

Orem, UT

No Mike...Riley Nelson has never been the fan's pick...as he has no arm, he has only guts and grit. Well, so do many other kids who don't have the natural skills.

I'd rather develop a guy who has the arm, than lose with a guy who has no arm, and won't admit to being hurt, and then letting down the team and fans...if he is hurt, then he has an obligation to get off the field. I'd say it is pride.

Nelson is Bronco's dream boy, he has the things Bronco sees in the mirror. Bronco and the staff cannot deal with the egos of very talented athletes. Sad for our program...with the defense we put on the field against Boise St. there is NO excuse for losing that game. Lark would have won that game.

Roy, UT

It does seem Nelson cannot, even when healthy, lead a breakaway receiver with a pass downfield. The shame is that we have these potentially great receivers and no one is getting the ball to them as BYU favors the option and run game. Wonder why Lark was demoted to 3rd string? O why Munns isn't getting a chance. I think the qb ? is determined by the decision of offensive philosophy, run game or pass game. Lavel Edwards mentioned that if you go with the shot-gun, then don't change it because of crowd noise, just work on it, make it better, because the blocking schemes are different with under center than shotgun, and it can be too confusing to a team. The cougars are indecisive as to what kind of offense they want to run. That hurts the team.

Herriman, UT

You don't seem to get it. People were not clamoring for a change until it was obvious the coaches and Nelson all refused to recognize that injuries were making him a really poor QB. It is ludicrous to think an injured Nelson is a better QB than Lark or Hill - the problem is that Nelson is willing to lie to the coaches and press and say he is okay to play, when he clearly is not. He is letting down his team and the fans by deluding himself...we get that he's tough, but the coaches need to go with effective.

west jordan, utah

Riley is not that good healthy or unheathly. He has yet to beat a good team and never will. I expect a long and painful year for both Byu and Utah fan bases.

Las Vegas, NV

BYU isn't playing a quarterback now.
BYU is playing a free safety that tells people he's a quarterback.

Provo, UT

To be fair, Nelson was the starting QB that beat Tulsa in the bowl game and he came off the bench to lead BYU to a victory over Utah State, also a program that went to a bowl game. If we want to denigrate or criticize Nelson for not beating anyone, let's be fair and accurate.

Saint George, UT

In conclusion...
BYU is 45-15 from 2007 through 2011.
4 bowl wins puts the win total, at 49 wins, in 5 years.
Weak schedules?
The players and coach's compete against the schedules they are given.
Coach's are given input but AD's sign the contract.
BYU fans need to gain some perspective.
Take a breath.
Appreciate what you have.
There are 4 easy wins left on the 2012 schedule.
2 toss-ups.
2 probable losses.
10 and 2 is possible.
8 and 4 is probable.
6 and 6 worst case is still bowl eligible if the Weber game counts toward bowl eligibility.
Count 3 easy wins, in November, will give Hill confidence (if Riley can't play), give BYU almost 2 months to work on execution as well as prepare for their bowl game.
Hill and the offense will only get better.
There are many teams in America that would love to be in BYU's position.

west jordan, utah


You want fair and accuracy. Byu beat a 5 loss Tulsa team (including bowl game), who lost to the 4 good teams on their schedule by an average of 28pts. Byu also beat a 6 loss Utah St. team (including bowl game). Heck 70 teams go to bowl games so what. Like I said Reilly has not and will not beat a good team. I'm quite sure he's a great guy,just not the Quaterback to lead Byu to greatness.

Farmington, UT

I'm certain a healthy qb is better than an injured one, particularly if one is talking about the same person in both instances.

What I'd like to know is how Boise State, with their gimmicky Blue Smurf field is allowed to wear totally blue uniforms? I undersatnd that the MWC wasn't going to allow it any more. I know, they're the home team, and all, but this smacks of an unfair advantage, like Hawaii scheduled gamnes that start at 7:30 pm, which is 11:30 pm Mountain Time. Or their defenders falling down with a pretended injury every time the oppopsition gains a little momentum from a good play. I've witnessed that for decades. But they still manage to lose on the mainland almost every week. They have a real mental thing about playing football anywhere other than Honolulu.

The fans cheer for the back-up because he doesn't get in unless either the game is out of reach or in grave danger of losing without a change. Fans want to see victories. Ok?

Idaho Falls, ID

Wasn't it just a couple of weeks ago that Riley was touted as "BOC" boy can attitudes change quickly because of a couple of losses to quality teams. BYU will only loose 3 more games, USU and two others?


"No matter that Nelson has played with a sore back the past two games, close Cougar losses by a grand total of four points."

Actually, the point is that it does matter. You say Nelson should play if he's healthy. The coaches say Nelson is still the starting qb and will play if he's healthy.

Healthy according to who?

It's now been established the Riley cannot be trusted to decide if he's healthy. Likewise, the coaches cannot be trusted to decide if he's healthy.

What kind of fools do you take us for?

The coaches gave Nelson another possession at his request and we saw the results. Now we are threatened with another game where the qb and coaches deny reality and you would like us to go along with that. After all, you say, surely Nelson can deliver a win over a bad Hawaii team.

No, he cannot. No, we don't even want to be threatened with that.

The BSU game was pathetic. The decisions that Bronco has made as a HC have been pathetic.

It's time to get it right or get out.

Castle Rock, CO

This just simply isn't true. Nobody was clamoring for Max Hall's back up or John Beck's back up. When the starting QB is bad people think the back up is better. That is the case in this situation.

Nelson has played poorly against good competition. He racked up some decent numbers against cupcakes. I hope this Riley Nelson experience ends soon. Last year I would much rather have him in the game over Jake Heaps (Heaps could keep his head straight). This year we have good reason to believe that Taysom Hill is a gamer...but with skill. Unlike Riley Nelson, who is just a fierce competitor.

rock springs, wy

If BYU has decided, at some point, that they are going to run an option offense with a run-first, throw only in desparation offense, why go to all the trouble of recruiting great receivers like Hoffman, Apo, Friel, etc.? Nelson/Doman haven't thrown to a back yet this season and Nelson never seems to look for a secondary receiver. He also seems to have trouble seeing downfield. When an offensive scheme is geared to the abilities of one player, in this case a run-first quarterback, and that one player is injured or ineffective, the offense is not effective. Whether Nelson, Lark or Hill is the quarterback, BYU should play to its strength--throwing the football. Otherwise they should replace Hoffman, Apo and other great receivers with non-scholarship players who can stand around and watch Nelson run with the ball.

Frozen Chosen
Savage, MN

Riley Nelson is not a D1 QB, plain and simple. He simply does not have the skills needed to beat a good D1 defense. By playing hurt he has cost BYU what should have been a very successful season. He may be fiery but he is very selfish to put his interests above that of the team.

Ultimately Bronco is responsible for this train wreck of a season. Rather than letting a hurt and ineffective Riley Nelson talk his way on to the field, he should have the guts and judgement to bench a hurt player.

Bronco is a great defensive coordinator but he is not a head coach. His poor decision making has proven this on several occasions. BYU will never be great unless they get an effective head coach.

Frisco, TX

A response to all.

Nelson is our best QB option, when he is healthy. But when he is not healthy, and not playing close to his potential, the fans want a change. He should have been pulled in the 2nd Quarter against BSU, he was struggling. Please let him take a week off against Hawaii. Hopefully, Nelson will be ready to come back against USU.

I don't see the advantage of BSUs blue uniforms on a blue field. Michigan State wears green uniforms on a green field. I hope BYU breaks out their new black uniforms for the USU game.

BYU and Utah are looking at seasons to forget. Utah should beat WSU and CO, but I don't see them beating anyone else, which puts them at 4-8. The only bowling they will be doing is with 10 pins. I don't see BYU beating Oregon State, Notre Dame or Georgia Tech. Utah State is a 50/50 game. Even San Jose is not a gimme with our offense. I think we're looking at 7-5.

Cougar Nation #1
Provo, UT

Riley Nelson should be #3 or #4 on the depth chart. There is no way he should be a starting QB at BYU or any other D-1 school (injury or no injury). He took over for Jake Heaps and has never beat a good team. He cost us the game against TCU and almost blew the game against Tulsa. This year, he was awful against utah and Boise and cost us both games. He's had his chance and has had more opportunity than anyone ever believed he has deserved with such a weak arm. Nelson simply put isn't any good as a college QB and has really damaged this football season with our top 10 defense, all we needed was a QB who wouldn't lose the game and he lost two games we should've won. If Bronco and Doman don't come to their senses then they will be gone soon because the current team should be undefeated.

Buena Park, CA

"Nelson has played with a sore back the past two games"

Thanks for explaining why someone else should start; this does not vindicate the decision to start Nelson.

Tokyo, Japan

Somewhere in Kansas, Jake Heaps is shaking his head saying, "I told you so..." He's totally been vindicated...and I didn't think it would happen this fast. Clearly this coaching staff is incapable of making the correct decisions necessary to build a major D1 program. That's why they've mortgaged the future on a sub-par qb talent, albeit a fighter, and why they continue to struggle with the reality distortion that attitude alone is more important than attitude and ability combined. I don't blame Heaps for one second in leaving this mess. What a disaster!

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