Comments about ‘BYU football: Lark's performance sparks what-ifs for Cougars’

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Published: Sunday, Nov. 25 2012 5:45 p.m. MST

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Lehi, UT

Please, anyone would have looked great against New Mexico State. Look at reality, Bronco has been promoted to his level of incompetence and Doman was the worst of all possible in-bred choices. If there isn't better coaching talent in the LDS community then it's time for BYU to demolish the stadium and build a new building for the MTC. Lark played well against the worst team in the WAC. Give Riley an offensive line and he would have beaten Notre Dame. BYU does well against poor teams no matter who plays. They don't have a head coach they have an over-paid defensive coordinator. The offensive coordinator was the worst of all choices, he can't see good talent and can't call plays. NMSU was 1 and 9 going in; its only victory was against a Big Sky opponent. If the coaches knew anything Lark would have played against Weber, Nelson and Hill would not be injured and BYU would have had a respectable record--but the coaching staff can't coach a dog to scratch a flea. Losing to Utah looks worse and continues to prove that BYU can't win against a winning team.

Frisco, TX

Lark was spectacular, but I recognize it was against a sub par team. But then again, it was his first real game. Sure he's had some mop up duty, but this was the first time he really got to throw the ball.

I have no problem that Nelson beat Lark for the starting job, but here's the three things I do have a problem with.

1. I have a problem with the coaches leaving Nelson in against Utah, BSU and SJSU. He was in pain and completely ineffective. Lark or Hill would have been able to win these three games.

2. I have a problem with an OC who promised a pro style offense and runs the QB 15 - 20 times a game. If Doman and Dupaix want to coach a QB running attack, they can go to Air Force, Navy or Georgia Tech. We will always have injured QBs if we run them into the ground.

3. I have a problem with how much latitude Bronco gives Doman. We really don't have a head coach. Bronco is the DC, and a good one. Doman is the OC and can do as he pleases on the offensive side.

Virginia Beach, Va

I feel for Lark and his family. To be treated this poorly by these coaches is shameful. Lark is a class guy. I hope some NFL scout saw this game and Lark gets an invite to NFL camp. There is a problem with the football coaches at BYU and I hope it is dealt with.

Aloha Saint George
Saint George, Utah

This was the first game where BYU looked like BYU. Who cares if it's New Mexico. Riley played pretty against Notre Dame, however, consistently he's been mediocre. Anyone can be up for one big game.

Riley is summed up in 4-5 record, 17 TDs and 16 interceptions.

Coach Mendenhall needs to become the head coach again. Fire Doman and bring in Ty Detmer. Both Gary Andersen and Ed Lamb at SUU did the same thing in becoming the HC and stopped being the DC. It created a rift in the team as a perception that he was biased toward the defense. Who should become DC?

Riley Nelson was perceived to be dual threat QB- NOT an RGIII or Chuckie Keaton= I agree with the article from earlier in the week- he should have been on Defense. Maybe have some of the influence of Manti Teo', then maybe not.

Chicago Cougar Fan
Chicago, IL

The Story of James Lark is only the most recent confirmation of Bronco's inferior coaching abilities. It's not Riley's fault that he's not the best quarterback on the roster. It's Bronco's fault that he has played him all season anyway, simply because he likes his "grittiness." Bronco's a great guy, that much is beyond dispute. But he is a bad coach. We don't hire coaches, or make contracts with ESPN, based on a metric suitable for hiring a bishop or stake president. Winning games is low on Bronco's priority list (by his own admission, football comes FIFTH). If BYU is serious about moving to the next level, it's time to hire a new coach and start building a powerful independent program. The schedule next year is the most difficult in the program's history. If BYU continues down the current path they will be lucky to make a bowl game. Sign the petition to restore BYU football's proud tradition on Facebook: search for and "like" the "Dump Bronco" page.

Provo, UT

I have been on the Riley bandwagon since high school, and the anti lark bandwagon just as long (he was a cross town rival) but I wish Lark had started all year, or at least Riley's unhealthy games. What I don't get is last year when Heaps was bad, Lark was #2 on the depth chart but they jumped Riley up because they wanted a change on offense. Then this year when Riley got hurt they went to Hill because he was a lot like Riley. I'm not saying playing Hill was a bad choice, I just don't follow the logic and I feel for James. I'm really hoping he somehow gets a look at the next level, but I highly doubt it. Maybe he could go the Kurt Warner route and play in a different league and then try and go NFL?

Provo, UT

Many head coaches call the offense, it doesn't mean they favor the offense necessarily over the defense. It is their skill set, it is what they are good at. I mean Brian Kelly calls the plays for ND and they do pretty good. Their defense is real good, they don't feel ignored, slighted etc. I've seen plenty of head coaches call the defense as well and be real successful. Some like Urban Meyer even call the Special Teams plays. Some like Lavell delegated it all to the assistants. There's many ways to coach and be successful. I think BYU has improved overall since Mendenhall took over the defense. They won 10 games last year and the offense has scored points. I would be concerned if Mendenhall wanted to do the offense. I've seen many coaches, especially defensive oriented coaches do this, and not do it well but felt that was what head coaches did. Again, I think people are overreacting...

Northwest Coug
Pasco, WA

No one knows how good Lark really is. New Mexico State is no barometer.

I'm sticking with Bronco and trust his judgment (Except the 2-point conversion at Boise).

I hope Riley is ready for the bowl game. I think if Lark starts, we'll get a true barometer of his skills. And it might be ugly.

Time will tell, but I'm comfortable with Riley as the starter.

ET Bass
Idaho Falls, ID

Riley is not a good quarterback. Bronco chose to play Riley anyway. There were other viable options at quarterback . Riley will soon be gone and bronco should go with him!

Lehi, UT

@ eagle:
"The mission of BYU football is different and I think that is a good thing. It is not about winning games ...."

Really? Give me a break! That is ridiculous, if not shallow and ill-informed. If anything, the "mission" you're alluding to can and will be accomplished more by winning than losing - and not winning by any means either. You can STILL accomplish that mission and winning with integrity at the same time. Until I see the fans, coaches, etc., running on the field - or on the court for that matter - to celebrate a loss, I am not going to believe and accept a single iota of what you're saying.


Milkshake, I have to agree with you. The problem at BYU isn't the talent, it's how they utilize it. The result will be talented QB's will choose a school where they can shine. BYU better address the offensive problems this offseason. Otherwise, what kid, or should I say, what responsible, informed parent, will want their child going to a program where talent is chewed up and spit out without. If they don't fix it quick, it will be hard to imagine a Jake Heaps level recruit taking a risk on BYU.

Ogden, UT

Y Grad/ Y Dad,

A five and seven season is possible next season.


While I agree that LDS Church leaders place a high premium on high character athletes in their programs, it would be interesting to see what happens if the Cougs suffer multiple five win seasons. I'm willing to bet that there would be a shake-up in the athletic department and Bronco would be headed down the road. I don't think that any of us can speak absolutes about how church leaders measure success within a program. That is unless your a member of the Quorum of Twelve, then disregard prior sentence.

Bountiful, UT

NMSU HC DeWayne Walker knew the playbook for stopping the one dimensional, Riley NElson-led BYU offense. Just stack the box. It took Doman about a quarter and a half to shift gears and remember that he had a real QB now taking snaps and he could open up the play book. Once he did BYU started clicking.

Bronco talks a lot about "trust". I think he forgets it is a 2 way street and if he's going to "expect" it from his players he needs to earn and be deserving of their trust in return. Holding deserving players down for no reason other than you're playing favoritism with "special" players is an abuse of that trust, the trust that players have in him, their parents have in him when they allow their sons to commit to him and to the fanbase that supports the program and helps to pay his salary. The contempt he shows to fans and others who express their displeasure when he abuses that trust is a disgrace and tarnishes the program and is something the AD needs to address with him in the off-season as an expection of his job.

Stockton, CA

Riey's lack of improvement year to year and Bronco's stubborn, delusional continuation of playing him regardless of the consequences is aggravating, to say the least, but the greatest single offensive weakness on this team is the O-line. They couldn't even clear the way for the running game against NMSU !! They are a real dark cloud on this team's horizon.

West Jordan, Utah

@Y Grad Y Dad

You got it right.

Though Bronco comes across smug to me as a Ute fan (and to some BYU fans as well), who are you going to replace him with?

I always tell my Cougar friends that Bronco is the right BYU coach. He makes mistakes, but he cares about the program and he honors it's honor code (which the school expects more than ever after some scandals under the Crowton and even LaVell era).

Bronco recruits unique guys that even Andy Reid and Detmer would have a hard time winning with (less athletic character guys). BYU gets exposed sometimes (San Jose State) but they still played well enough to beat Boise State and Notre Dame. They didn't, and a coaching decision might have been the difference. But close games are like that. Some years the karma ball bounces positive, others negative.

As for Lark, I expected him to play really good (not that good though) against a weak New Mexico State team. I also said the what ifs would come after.

And then there is Anae. Man, I told you guys two years ago that those who begged him gone would regret it.

West Jordan, Utah

Wanting Bronco gone is just like a small number of Ute fans wanting Whittingham gone. Who are you going to replace them with who loves the state of Utah, will want to stick around when offered other good jobs, can fit into the recruiting culture, and win games? Both are hard to replace.

Both Utah and BYU were down in a big way this year, and the coaches decisions on their QBs the last two years has been part of that. But Jon Hays and James Lark probably weren't the special QB to produce the magical season anyway.

Utah won with Alex Smith and Brian Johnson. It's not a coincidence. It's the QB position.

BYU has always won when they had a great QB as well. Their history there speaks for itself. Think about it. The years they lost, rather under LaVell, Crowton and now Bronco, is when they have had guys like Walsh, Feterik, Fowler, the carousel of Crowton QBs, Jake Heaps (highly recruited or not), and now Riley Nelson.

Flipside, BYU won big with Gifford Nielson, Marc Wilson, McMahon, Young, Boscoe, Detmer, Sarkisian, and recently Max Hall. Coincidence? No!

West Jordan, Utah

I am sure Lark wanted more from his career at BYU, but he stuck it out, and we can be happy for him that he shined in the end.

Pa. Reader
Harrisburg, PA

Bronco was hired as a quick solution when BYU alum Kyle Whittingham chose to stay at Utah, and he has done better than anyone could have expected.
That being said, he should get one chance to fix the current mess by bringing in a new OC and admitting his mistakes in the handling of the offense generally and the quarterback position in particular. If he's not willing to do that then he needs to go now.
His biggest failing is placing loyalty to his struggling buddies,
Doman and Riley, over the good of the team.
As to the patently absurd notion that BYU football is not about winning, when the Y's board of trustees signed off on pursuing football independence, the head of that board, Thomas S. Monson, whose parting admonition was, "Now go win!"
The clear mission of this program is not accomplished by dominating poor teams, losing or struggling against WAC level opponents and never winning vs. a good team.

Danbury, CT

RE BYUFaninWashSt,

"No experience required". Really?? We seem to want to get rid of coaches who don't perform and hire new coaches - any new coaches - regardless of whether they are proven. Doman had no experience. You can't just through guys out before you have a credible plan for what you will do next.

american fork, UT

Thank you SportsFann for speaking it as it is.
What mentality we have as byu fans?

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