Doug Robinson: College football: Cougars could get sacked by two-headed QB system

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  • 3grandslams
    Sept. 4, 2010 9:31 p.m.

    A lot of folks piled on...GoUtah any good sportsmanship left in you?

  • BleedCougarBlue
    Sept. 3, 2010 11:51 p.m.

    Will 2 QBs work for BYU?

    Don't know, but I bet it will.

    But I DO know Max Hall is going to make the roster in Arizona and will likely be the backup QB (that's right, yewties, the #2 QB as an UNDRAFTED rookie).

    Here's how ol' Max did in last night's game against the Redskins:

    "Hall relieved Leinart with eight minutes left in the first half and directed a 12-play, 81-yard scoring drive, culminated by Alfonso Smith's 3-yard TD run.

    The first time the Cardinals had the ball in the second half, Hall led the team 48 yards in 10 plays before Jay Feeley kicked a 28-yard field goal.

    On Hall's final series, Arizona went four plays in 47 yards. Hall scored on a 6-yard run, holding the ball over the pylon with his left hand for the score."

    Let's see, yewties....that's 3 drives and 3 scores.

    Yeah, I thought that would tick you off.

    That's why I posted it.


  • Grillmaster21
    Sept. 3, 2010 11:06 p.m.

    WOW. I didn't know that being a BYU commentator gave the green light to so much negativity. I guess I'd understand the writers POV better and perhaps agree with him if he was Steve Young, or LaVell Edwards, ya know, someone who actually KNEW what coaching, or the QB position was like. But since Bronco has a 75%+ winning percentage, and has taken a team from the ashes and brought them to a nationally ranked team in 3 of his last 6 years of coaching, I'm (resoundingly) more prone to "Follow the Bronco" on this one. This article had promise, but in the end it was like a car-wreck, you cannot turn your eyes away, because you can't wait to see the car flip over the median and land on it's top. And Land on it's top it DID. Bravo.

  • GoUtah
    Sept. 3, 2010 10:13 p.m.

    All is quiet on the "tds front." Not too much smack talk given the uncertainty of a win tomorrow. Utah beat a top 20 ranked team.

    Does the tds beat a bottom of the "champion conference" or get beat by the bottom?

    Good luck tds fans.

  • texas27
    Sept. 3, 2010 8:39 p.m.

    Re RickD

    Right on! Nelson must be good in the first four games or Heaps is the man. Nelson deserves a shot. Every team should be lucky enough to have two good quarterbacks. Go Cougars!

  • RaininTime
    Sept. 3, 2010 7:06 p.m.

    We all know, even the BYU coaches, that this is a short-term solution. I agree with ET Bass.

    That said, I love sports to a point. I refuse to liken this to the Titanic or Marriage.
    But speaking of the Titanic, didn't that movie win some awards?

    Speaking of marriage, didn't the Mormons use to have two or three or more? And don't the Muslims practice polygamy today?

    Doug, you usually have stats and examples to back up your opinions.

    We all know, even the BYU coaches, that this is a short-term solution--there really is no perfect decision. If BYU goes with Heaps and he freezes like most freshman, then Mendenhall will be criticised for bringing him along too early and not giving the junior a shot. The same can be said if he starts Nelson, bla, bla bla.

    This decision allows for live game action to make a decision. Its really the only option at this point.

    That's why its called "coaching," and not marriage and/or as critical as was the Titanic.

    Speaking of the Titanic, wasn't that movie about a love story more than a sinking ship?

  • Alaskan Coug
    Sept. 3, 2010 6:33 p.m.

    First Bronco DID name a starter -- his name is spelled Riley. Second, before L. Edwards developed the passing game ALL college and pros thought passing a lot wouldn't work... change happens. Third, Coach M is smart and will make adjustments as needed even at QB. So don't worry ... You sound like a bunch of women second guessing the Bishop, (he may KNOW more then those women). Lastly in the beginning I assumed that Jake would earn the starting position but it seems that Riley is (way) better then most of us expected. Now lets see how they do in a real game.

    Go Cougs

  • hi-ya
    Sept. 3, 2010 5:21 p.m.

    Come on this is old news... give me a break... move on...

  • yankee doodle
    Sept. 3, 2010 2:21 p.m.

    This will be a tough game but I agree with other comments that Locker is only one person, we saw last night how good a team is with only one marquee player but nobody else around him is any good, you stink. But I do think BYU needs to name a clear starter at QB and not blow smoke on how great it will be to have a challenge in running an offense with two QB's. The Utesies bit the bullet last year after realizing Cain wasn't getting it done gave the keys to Wynn, I think BYU needs to do the same if Nelson blows the UW game.

  • Henry Drummond
    Sept. 3, 2010 12:46 p.m.

    I can think of a lot of teams that used the two quarterback system. I just can't think of any who thought it was a good idea after trying it.

  • GJ
    Sept. 3, 2010 12:43 p.m.

    BYU used two QBs when they had Wilson and McMahon splitting reps. It worked just fine.

  • Cougar Cindy
    Sept. 3, 2010 12:41 p.m.

    Oh Doug, Doug, Doug. It's gonna be okay . . . Go Cougars!

  • H2OSKI
    Sept. 3, 2010 11:43 a.m.

    "...Cougars could get sacked by two-headed QB system"

    Scratch that!

    "WILL get sacked by a two-headed QB system"

    What a ridiculous move. This almost NEVER works.

    When you have two QB's it means you have no QB's...if you know what I mean.

    I am a fan but Mendenhall is acting like HE wants to get sacked with this decision.

  • Eliot
    Sept. 3, 2010 11:27 a.m.

    "This is high on the list of football coaching commandments: Thou shalt not split time between two quarterbacks. It's like marriage: You can only pick one."

    Well, it is BRIGHAM YOUNG University, you know. There is some precedent.

  • Bugoff
    Sept. 3, 2010 11:10 a.m.

    Last night Pitt pretty much knew what Utah was going to do after 2 plays in OT. They just got overwhelmed. Sometimes you can just over power the other team with mismatches.

    BYU has the ability with 2 QBs to exploit just about any weakness in the other team's defense.

  • Shawnm750
    Sept. 3, 2010 10:42 a.m.

    My guess is that they're keeping the whole thing ambiguous to throw off their opponent. Not that they really need to since these guys are both question marks... Granted I'm no Y fan, but even Bronco knows that a 2QB system is a recipe for disaster. That's not to say you can't have one QB that you occasionally bring in for specific plays, but that only works a few times before other teams become wise to it.

  • Utah Valley Guy
    Sept. 3, 2010 10:22 a.m.

    I'm betting that Bronco is betting that Heaps will step up to the challenge, but doesn't want to dump on Riley by making Heaps the starter, and doesn't want to risk getting Heaps off to a bad start. So the 2-QB system will probably only last a game or two before evolving into a Florida-style situation, but probably with Heaps as the starter. Bronco's no doubt hoping that Jake does well enough to justify making him the starter, because having someone of his maturity and talent lead your team for 4 years is a coaches dream.

    And someone needs to look at the implications of Heaps going on a mission, too. That probably changes the whole dynamic, too - because if Heaps started this year over Riley, you deprive Riley of status as the starter next year with Heaps on a mission.

  • Liddle Bruda
    Sept. 3, 2010 10:18 a.m.

    I agree with Doug. Although they didn't officially call it a "two-quarter back system" when Matt Berry was playing, but Gary Crowten put in a different quarterback every other set of downs, no one could get in a rhythm, and it lead to a dismal season.

    As a BYU fan, I was very disappointed in this decision.

  • BlueHusky
    Sept. 3, 2010 9:38 a.m.

    Dawgs will win this game, not necessarily because of the 2-QB issue but because this BYU team is very young. Won't matter which QB is used, mistakes will doom them.

    But by game 4 this team will be good, maybe really good.

    And I'm looking for the Dawgs to move up in the PAC this year.

  • SportzFan
    Sept. 3, 2010 9:32 a.m.

    What kind of coach would let a TRUE FRESHMAN start. Seriously, only a loser would do that. You know, like Pete Carroll (last year) and Joe Paterno (this year).

  • Bugoff
    Sept. 3, 2010 9:30 a.m.

    Last night when Utah needed it the most they buckled up, loaded up and ran right up the middle over Pitt.

    In short yardage situations, especially in the blue zone BYU can put Wilson in the slot, move Brown to TE and Soto in at FB.

    A 280 lb slot and a 300 lb TE who are quick and who can actually catch are lethal in short yardage. They will freeze and/or crush the LBs.

    Soto can block or run. Nelson and Q can pull an ORState and hide behind the blocking wall and dart in for 2-3 or more yards where ever there is room.

    Nelson can also pass for short yardage.

    Heaps on the other hand is one of the best vertical stretch QBs in the country. He can run the team in most situations especially as he gains experience.

    Bronco knows what he is doing and it will work better than using only one QB.

  • Whoa Nellie
    Sept. 3, 2010 9:30 a.m.

    Liked the article. It looks to me like BYU has one quarterback and a quasi halfback that calls signals like a quarterback. The latter usually looks around briefly before deciding which way to run after the snap and will mainly be taking up time until the real quarterback enters the game.

    Perhaps we can all relate to the excitement the coaches have by remembering our childhood days leading up to Christmas. We saw the gifts wrapped under the tree and were excited just trying to guess what we would see when the big day finally arrived.

  • Flashback
    Sept. 3, 2010 9:18 a.m.

    Redshirt Heaps. Give Nelson the keys and let him go.

  • Striker
    Sept. 3, 2010 9:16 a.m.

    People, Bronco knows what he's doing. Gotta love it when sports writers are like females who over analyze everything to death. He knows what he's doing. Let him try it this game. If both QBs are neck and neck, he probably wants to see how they each do in a real game against a tough team.

    Don't freak out and just enjoy the game. Why does something new always have to be such a big deal? It's just a sport after all.

  • Bugoff
    Sept. 3, 2010 9:08 a.m.

    Nelson is good for certain teams and situations. However, if you play him as the only starter teams adapt and adjust and negate him. His style is not ideal for much of BYU's favorite plays nor it's fast receivers.

    Nelson is good for a TE oriented offense. The TEs are young and unproven.

    Nelson has game experience. He is best to start until the new RBs, TEs etc settle in.

    Heaps can come in after the kinks and jitters are worked out of the rest of the team. He will have less pressure on him.

    Nelson can expose the weaknesses in the WA defense. Many of them (LBs) are new and inexperienced. Then Heaps can exploit the weaknesses. The BYU coaches will know the mismatches and mistake tendencies. They can tailor Heaps offensive plays to prevent interceptions and exploit weakness.

    Nelson will also let BYU know about the blitz scheme and defensive sack pressures. The OL will know better how to protect Heaps.

    BYU and about 4 or 5 top 20 teams are running a 2 QB offense this week.

    BYU is best to use both Nelson and Heaps a needed.

  • armchairQB
    Sept. 3, 2010 9:07 a.m.

    (see previous comment)

    I realize that it will require a paradigm shift in how coaches, players, and even fans perceive their rolls. I also agree 100% that if we try to do it the same way as everyone else who tried it before, we will get the same result. Maybe they won't have all the elements right or are not successful in achieving that paradigm shift and they fail in the attempt, the odds are certainly against them, but the simple fact that no one has ever done it before is not adequate justification for not making an attempt.

    If that were true we would all be lighting our houses with coal oil lamps and riding horses and tv contracts wouldn't be an issue.

  • ET Bass
    Sept. 3, 2010 9:03 a.m.

    This will be short term. Riley will rent the spot until Heaps is ready to take over much like the utes did last year. The difference is that Riley should still have a role in the Y offense in a wildcat formation for the next two years. This will give opponents fits in preparation and games.

  • armchairQB
    Sept. 3, 2010 9:02 a.m.

    I enjoyed reading your article Doug, some of the metaphors were great. I also agree that pretty much no one has successfully used two quarterback systems. I'm sure that Bronco and the staff have been around long enough to be familiar with the difficulties that you have discussed.

    Maybe part of the problem is how we think about quarterbacks, that it has to be this one or that one. Why not both? Why not play them both. . . at the same time? Riley is own of our best rushers, but if we only use him in rushing situations defenses can easily key on that. By having both quarterbacks on the field at the same time, combined with some creativity, the possibilities are almost endless and the difficulty associated with defending against them also increases correspondingly.

    (continued. . .)

  • Old Gregg
    Sept. 3, 2010 8:55 a.m.

    I like how doug used the "we" form a lot in this article in speaking on behalf of all cougar fans. Kind of reminds me of how jesse jackson has claimed himself the spokesperson for the African American people. Doug, if you are going to write your own opinions, please refrain from speaking on my behalf and from using the "we" form. Just a thought.

    As far as saturday goes, I think BYU will get the victory. Locker is amazing, but he's only one person. Although BYU is untested and unproven, i think they will play together as a team and pull of the W. It will be a sloppy game but I predict BYU by 13. 30-17 BYU.


    I'm pretty sure that decision has been made and put to rest, but nice try. You're so cute when you talk about things you don't know much about!

  • fender
    Sept. 3, 2010 8:07 a.m.

    You are exactly right Doug. This is a case of coaches being politicians instead of coaches. There is no such thing as two starting quarterbacks: it's a contradiction in terms. The good folks on these boards who continue to insist this system makes sense have never coached football. It just doesn't work and never has.

    If you cut throught the smoke screen, it's clear Mendenhall believes Nelson is better prepared at this point to play the position and succeed, but he doesn't want to alienate the biggest recruit BYU has ever had, so he says he has two starters. Holmoe may be totally wrong about BYU going independent, but at least he's willing to make a tough decision and live with it. Come on coach; you can do the same.

  • Big Hapa
    Sept. 3, 2010 8:06 a.m.

    The real story is will the undecided coach have the patience when pressure builds during the heat of the game ? This pivital pressure packed moment will make or break one player over another, it will come down to the integrity, and patience of a zen master coach.

    I have faith that Bronco has the resolve needed, he has two excellant players and one will have to be named.

    This is the the proverbial hot seat for the Cougar coach, what will he do in the heat of the moment?

    We all will see tomorrow night what Bronco choice turns out.

  • silentobserver
    Sept. 3, 2010 7:46 a.m.

    Pete Carroll, USC, Matt Barkley Top QB pick of 2009. Best thing that they could have done.

    Heaps coould do it! With True Freshman starting at schools even bigger than the Y; I think Heaps has what it takes to step right in, skills, FB smarts and leadership. Stop treating him like a little kid. That said, I also think that BM feels obligated to Nelson.

    A 2 QB system means that there isn't a clear starter, OR, BM is giving Nelson that small chance to prove himself.

  • 3grandslams
    Sept. 3, 2010 7:36 a.m.

    Robinson you went for the easy trash talking route. Do you really think Bronco doesn't know the dangers of a two qb system?

    I have a suggestion for you to contemplate. I think Bronco is willing to risk a non-conference game to learn more about his qb's. Also when was the last time the Cougars had a recruit like Heaps, you know, number 1 in the land.

    I know you had fun taking cheap shots, but you sorely missed the gravity of the situation. I think I'll trust Mendenhall on this one. My expectations won't be for a new NCAA changing system but rather a clear and rational decision. The future is blindingly bright!

  • Laser
    Sept. 3, 2010 7:26 a.m.

    I think Robinson has oversimplified the situation at BYU. I thought by now Mendenhall had earned some respect and credit from past decisions (changed defense alignment, double digit win seasons again and again...winningest new head coach the last six years, turned a Crowton mistake prone team to one with huge national respect). I think when you have the number 1 recruit qb in the land on your team, and the rest of the qb stable is loaded with talent, you've got to do this. Either Heaps proves himself or the coaches are able to point out by his performance why he needs a little more time before he starts.

    I think Bronco is willing to risk a few games to do this because the returns for the future are going to be huge!

  • Idaho Coug
    Sept. 3, 2010 7:12 a.m.

    This rticle is right on as far the QB situation has been described - that we have 2 starters. How can any intelligent fan say with a straight face that 2 starters presumably with equal time is preferable?

    In reality I think most of us assume and hope this will eventually become a system like Florida had where one played the majority of the snaps and the other had some designed packages highlighting his skill set. But would ANY of us honestly hope that this season is an equal back and forth between 2 starters for the entire season? I know I don't.

  • DC
    Sept. 3, 2010 6:58 a.m.

    A 2 QB system doesn't work - never has, never will (for all the valid reason listed in the article). BYU has two good QB's and needs to make a decision on who to run with. If BYU waits too long, it could cost wins and simply create more problems within the team. But, as a fan, I've got to trust Bronco that he knows what he is doing.

  • baddog
    Sept. 3, 2010 6:53 a.m.

    Doug: Hedging your bets so you can say "I told you so?"

    Those aren't very well thought out reasons the 2-QB system won't work.

    Slow day in the cerebral section for a column topic?

    Give it a chance. Seems you're calling the BYU coaches less than truthful when you continue saying they are "excited" about the system.

    Maybe the issue is YOU aren't excited about it.

  • BYR
    Sept. 3, 2010 6:29 a.m.

    Love the sarcasm,, until you got to the Pinto... I loved my Pinto, may it flaming death be not forgotten!

  • Give Me A Break
    Sept. 3, 2010 6:16 a.m.

    In BYU's case, due to the different styles and abilities of each unique quarterbacks, two quarterbacks will double the ability of the team to move the ball down-field, not diminish it. They are not choosing between two average guys or two decent players. These are both excellent players who double the abilities of the team when playing together. They will be a tough tandem to stop.

  • Old Scarecrow
    Sept. 3, 2010 5:51 a.m.

    I'll be there to tomorrow, and the answer will probably be clear at the end of the game. If Nelson can take the team to a couple of early scores and not make mistakes, he'll continue to get the starts. If Heaps comes in and leads a great comeback, then it will be hard to keep him off the field. If both make key mistakes, then the coaches will be right to continue the time-share.

  • DEW Cougars
    Sept. 3, 2010 12:39 a.m.

    leave out BP - dumb one.

    Ty Detmer very first nightmare at Laramie.

    We should be fine either way win or lose. Hopefully coaches will be really focus who should run the show. As for Nelson - good luck again. For Jake Heap, relax and have fun.

    Go Cougars!

    Sept. 3, 2010 12:15 a.m.

    Spot on.

    And I am an avid BYU fan. Some lessons just have to be learned first hand, to bad coach Edwards can't talk some sense into Bronco.

  • Cougar Claws
    Sept. 2, 2010 11:44 p.m.

    The BYU 2 Quarterback system is a two-headed monster. . .

    For opposing defenses! Go COUGARS! BYU 31, Washington 24.

  • Bugoff
    Sept. 2, 2010 11:00 p.m.

    There are a number of top schools using 2 QBs this year.

    Go write for the SLT. You will fit right in.

  • RickD
    Sept. 2, 2010 10:57 p.m.

    It gives Heaps a couple of games without the pressure of being a starter, especially against his home state team in the opener.

    If Nelson isn't fantastic, Heaps starts in a month, and Nelson runs the Wildcat.

  • CougarOnTheProwl
    Sept. 2, 2010 10:36 p.m.

    Gee old Dougy we haven't even started the season and your already ripping the decision? You know nothing about how much each QB will play or how they will be used. How do you even know if this will be a two-QB system for a just a few games or the whole season? Why not give Bronco the benefit of the doubt? Afterall he does see these two every day in practice. I for one am gonna give a coach who has had a alot of success as a football coach the benefit of the doubt on this. At least see the result on the field before you bash the decision.

    The way I look at this is Bronco doesn't want to force Heaps into action right away. Instead he wants to work the true freshman in gradually and I really cant blame him. If you start the true freshman in a big game in front of 65k fans and things dont go well, you risk him losing his confidence and then perhaps he never regains it. Everyone knows Heaps will be the long-term starter, just have to work him into the starting role gradually.

  • Fully Invited
    Sept. 2, 2010 10:34 p.m.

    I have too agree with Doug on this one- but not because I'm a Utah fan. When it comes to your QB, you have to name a starter- ONE. The kid needs that starting role, he needs that feeling of confidence knowing that the coaches have the most confidence in him and that's why he is playing and not the other guy. When it comes to QB you either have it, or you don't. Either you are going to be better at leading your team to the W, or your not. Not saying one of the QBs are bad, just that one of them has GOT to be better than the other. Hopefully Bronco will name a starter after the UW game. Good luck Cougs!

  • inertiaman
    Sept. 2, 2010 10:15 p.m.

    I gotta say, I loved the iceberg analogy - I actually started laughing out loud when I read that. I hope that BYU can quickly figure out who the one true QB should be as early as possible. I can't imagine a full season of the 2-QB system.

  • chuck b
    Sept. 2, 2010 10:09 p.m.

    Put in Heaps and leave him in for a few years. He'll learn the system and eat up the opposition next year, but maybe not this year.

  • patriot
    Sept. 2, 2010 10:06 p.m.


    WU 34
    BYU 17

    Too much Jake Locker and too little BYU offense.

  • Cal Coug
    Sept. 2, 2010 10:01 p.m.

    Doug, Doug, Doug...Weren't you the one who predicted BYU would get blown out by OU last year? And didn't you make a big deal about how stupid BYU was to even schedule that game? And THEN, weren't you the one with egg all over your face when BYU beat OU? And then had to write an entire column on how stupid you were to say such things?

    Just wondering how the ol' memory is working...