BYU football: Bronco Mendenhall to start Riley Nelson based on last week's productivity

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  • stampederus Ephraim, UT
    Oct. 8, 2011 7:16 p.m.

    Channel 141 (ESPNU) on Dish Network for the BYU game.

  • Veritas Aequitas Fruit Heights, UT
    Oct. 8, 2011 5:41 p.m.

    I have always had Bronco's back, but...

    I put the past two seasons squarely on Bronco's shoulders.

    The offense has been, offensive, this season.

    I hope this is the right decision, because I have really been questioning his decision making skills lately.

    BYU gets the great exposure deal, and the guy is out looking forward to Friday firesides.

  • bballjunkie Pleasant Grove, UT
    Oct. 8, 2011 5:34 p.m.

    Direct tv 208 not hard to find ay all.

  • LeonardL Sandy, UT
    Oct. 8, 2011 4:57 p.m.

    Why would they put the game on ESPNU? I can't even find anyone that can get it. I thought BYU would be on regular channels or even BYU TV

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    Oct. 8, 2011 12:38 p.m.

    Based on QB play this season, Bronco made the right call. Nelson deserves this. Heaps doesn't. Few can deny that. Leadership and maturity account for a big part of a teams success. Nelson has this. Heaps doesn't. And don't give me that "Nelson was lucky" garbage. Nelson got one shot and stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park. When was the last time that Heaps stepped up to the plate--. . . . last year.

    Bottom line-- we should know by late tonight if Bronco made the right decision.

  • dalefarr South Jordan, Utah
    Oct. 8, 2011 10:40 a.m.

    Riley, for all his heart and moxie, never was and never will be the answer. I agree with other commentators that BYU needs a competent full time quarterbacks coach. If Heaps does not catch fire in the next 4 games, I'd give Larkin a shot.

  • Slic Layton, UT
    Oct. 8, 2011 10:38 a.m.

    Must be long term memory loss from last year. Jake performed great and everyone saw what he could do when not chained up. Look at the changes from last year and everything points to the way Doman runs the offense, NOT Heaps.

    Nelson spurs a great but lucky come back win and now we punish Heaps and start Nelson. So who else on the team is being replaced? The offensive line, the RBs, Doman? I thought we learned last year Nelson is a one trick pony and that is why he makes a great sub. Once teams figure him out BYU's offense is toast (just ask Air Force how easy Nelson is to defend).

    So great you put in the 2nd stringer against one of this year's easiest competition (despite what you hear about their recent Colorado win) and Nelson looks good like any QB playing them would. Shoot, even Lark or Munns would look great against San Hose State. Please just don't let this be another season sabotaged by Nelson. He has a role, but this is not it and swapping the QB out (even for Lark or Munns) is not the long term answer!

  • jiacheng09 Provo, UT
    Oct. 8, 2011 10:18 a.m.


    Well how much preparation can they do the night before the game when they are traveling to provo. When are they going to practice for a running qb? In the morning before the game? He announced it at the perfect time, too late for them to prepare, and early enough to start building hype for the game.

  • Itchin'totalk Spanish Fork, UT
    Oct. 8, 2011 10:03 a.m.

    Hellooo is right! There is a fundamental flaw in the logic here... While Heaps has not stepped up to the plate, Riley is extremely easy to prepare for. I believe that is why Bronco waited so long to announce he is the starter. This isn't over, and Heaps will be back in at QB before long.

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 8, 2011 9:56 a.m.

    This is not complicated, it is just a bad decision by a very inexperienced head coach. Even if you were going to start Riley, why would you announce it before the game. Just information for the opposing team to get a little preparation for a running qb instead of continuing to have to plan for two qb's. Further, Nelson can be very productive and so can Heaps if they play the two in the right situations and often together with Nelson in the backfield or slot. But, the OC is young and all he knows at this point is system. And, so you see this a failure waiting to happen for Mr. Nelson, Heaps setup as a fall guy, why not just a little creativity.

  • sejaminas MESA, AZ
    Oct. 8, 2011 9:25 a.m.

    Bronco's definitely making the right call in announcing Riley the starter for now. He only played one half and the game winning TD was pretty lucky. That earned him a shot at starting against SJSU. But he's gonna have to play better than he did at the beginning of last season if he wants to keep the starting job. I don't care who's starting as long as they're being productive! Go cougs! (And Sun Devils!)

  • ed in atl Duluth, GA
    Oct. 8, 2011 9:09 a.m.

    Seriously, I would have liked to see them both start. To see Jake and off or throw to Riley and see him either run with it or throw it. Be creative!! They still need to play both. Texas plays 2 QB's.

  • nothegame Saratoga Springs, UT
    Oct. 8, 2011 9:05 a.m.

    As a coach u tell your players everyday, the best players will play period. But with the QB's it is a little difficult.They have huge egos. That is why they are the QB. But Jake does not have the so called IT factor. I think Riley, has the it. But not the talent. But for now it's the best choice Bronko can make. go utes

  • CaliforniaCougar Lake Elsinore, CA
    Oct. 8, 2011 8:57 a.m.

    Loyola Marymount basketball was interesting in the 90s when they ran the fast-break offense. We no longer hear of Loyola Marymount.

    BYU is interesting when they throw the ball. Yes, Nelson might be the guy to get a few wins right now, but a running QB is not BYU football. Anyone remember Lance Pendleton of 2002? Right. Not many. We didn't get anywhere with that situation. Pendleton and Nelson are from the same mold.

    Let's throw the ball. And that is through sticking with Heaps, or give the ball to Lark.

  • byufanman west valley city, utah
    Oct. 8, 2011 8:47 a.m.

    I hope Bronco stays with Nelson. Jake needs the rest of the season on the sideline watching
    and learning how to be a BYU quarterback. I mean no disrespect to Jake but he has a long ways
    to go. GO COUGS!!

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, Utah
    Oct. 8, 2011 8:45 a.m.

    What have you been drinking?? 10-2? not even close!"

    cork, have you seen BYU's schedule for the rest of the season? The only challenging games left are OSU (who is 0-4), TCU (who is not so good this year), and Hawaii (played at the end of the season, and BYU will be much better by then).

  • daddman54 FARMINGTON, UT
    Oct. 8, 2011 8:34 a.m.

    There's no way he received the high praise in high school, AND numerous QB camps, from many, many different scouts, etc without truly having earned it. In other words, it's not like all the praise he received was false hype. Sure, yewties on here would like you to believe that, but they're full of it.

    It's not Utah fans my friend. It's overwhelmingly coming from disgruntled Cougars. No fan base is tougher to please and quicker to turn on themselves when things don't go well.

  • greg14952 Provo, UT
    Oct. 8, 2011 8:29 a.m.

    This should end well. The backup quarterback comes in for less than a half and "rallies" the team with two very lucky throws/catches that could have just as easily been intercepted. Nelson won't be any more effective than Heaps when teams have a chance to plan for him, but he's sure to look great against the cream-puff schedule BYU plays the rest of the way. Or does everyone fear the likes of both Idaho and Idaho State coming to town?

  • cork Murray, UT
    Oct. 8, 2011 8:20 a.m.

    What have you been drinking?? 10-2? not even close! a bowl game? that was handed out virtually regardless of any production this year! Big 12? sure, if you combine the dregs of the WAC and MWC and it adds up to that number. put a fork in 'em. these guys are toast. jake won't transfer if only because no one will take him. by the time these two qb's are gone, so will the program be. holmoe and company took the high road and it leads 180 degrees away from the rest of college football. If you "don't want to be like the other 'bad' guys in college football, surprise, you just got your wish. just maybe you can find a couple of other teams to play. you and your 150 fans will have great seats, Tom. enjoy.

  • LeonardL Sandy, UT
    Oct. 8, 2011 8:07 a.m.

    I think Bronco made a good choice however he should not announce it until right before the game, now San Jose, can prepare for Riley's style of play and a QB who can run, and throw is a nightmare for a defence, that is part of why Steve Young, was such an effective player.

  • GoGetter Sandy, UT
    Oct. 8, 2011 7:55 a.m.

    My two cents? It's about time, why did it take 5 games to figure out your starting QB, Bronco? It doesn't matter if 2 QB's can lead the team, you need ONE to actually LEAD the team. By going back to a dual QB system you are dividing the team. Heaps is absolutely terrible and you did a smart move to bench Hypes to make him EARN his spot back. He looked pretty comfortable knowing that he didn't have a shot getting benched. Good move, Bronco.

    Welp, here it goes.

  • Striker Omaha, NE
    Oct. 8, 2011 7:55 a.m.

    "I am absolutely convinced that this QB controversy is not settled yet."

    Not sure why people think there is a controversy. One QB is outplaying the other. Looks like one is stepping up and the other is not. Time for a change. Time for new leadership. If Riley helps smother SJSU, he'll likely be the QB for the rest of the year. We'll need the best QB to beat OSU and TCU.

  • brmose Memphis, TN
    Oct. 8, 2011 7:25 a.m.

    I think that it might be a better strategy for the situation and all those involved to use Heaps as the Couage's "Starter" and Riley as our "Releiver". It's more than "who did the best for me lately". At this point making Riley the starter for this game will most likely end in confusion, discouragement, disappointment, and disaster. And that will bleed over for the rest of the year and maybe into the next year or two. Bronco knew it was "complicated" and it truely is, but I'm afraid they have gone down the wrong fork. Oh! how I hope I'm wrong and they are right.

  • Mormon Ute Kaysville, UT
    Oct. 8, 2011 7:23 a.m.

    Bronco hasn't really made a decision. He has left the door open and that will continue the controversy. Bronco is too concerned about not hurting Jake's feelings, but you have to call a duck a duck. This is far from over, because Bronco is letting hang on.

    To follow up on what some of you have said about coaching needs. I agree Bronco needs to bring in a separate QB coach so Doman can focus on the offensive scheme. He also needs a DC so he can focus on making better decisions as the Head Coach. Too few coaches are trying to do too many things and nothing is getting done very well.

  • BleedCougarBlue Enid, OK
    Oct. 8, 2011 7:11 a.m.

    Something has really rattled Heaps.

    There's no way he received the high praise in high school, AND numerous QB camps, from many, many different scouts, etc without truly having earned it. In other words, it's not like all the praise he received was false hype. Sure, yewties on here would like you to believe that, but they're full of it.

    Heaps's confidence has taken a hit, and that was before he got benched. I don't know if Riley will work, either. Too inaccurate in his passing game. Yet that is the very thing Heaps is suffering from. I am simply amazed at how many times Heaps overthrew or underthrew his receivers or had so much zip on the ball it made it virtually impossible for his receivers to pulll it in. And throws made deep/to stretch the field? I've seen more than a few end up 10-15 YARDS beyond the WR; nowhere near the guy. Not good.

    Gotta get this figured out. My guess is that Bronco knows in the long run it's going to be Heaps but he wants him to EARN it back.

    Probably the right call.

    Go Cougars!

  • FreeMan Heber City, UT
    Oct. 8, 2011 7:09 a.m.

    I'm sad to see Heaps not pan out. The season is a bust when you're 5 games in and have a quarterback controversy. This is not going to end well. Same thing next year. I think BYU was seriously thinking they had a shot at a BCS game next year. What a mess they are creating for themselves.

  • thebigsamoan Richmond, VA
    Oct. 8, 2011 6:50 a.m.

    I feel bad for Heaps but the truth is he's had his opportunities but failed miserably to deliver and measure up to make a case for himself. BYU can't afford to keep riding a sinking ship. A change of direction was seriously needed and Riley has proven he's the new man to lead the offense at this point. Something needs to click fast or they will be in even bigger trouble what with the Big 12 picking TCU over BYU to join their conference. I'm very sad to see things unfolding unfavorably for the Cougs. Unless they continue to win and play exciting football, the fans will not be motivated to tune in, thus the exposure they hoped for will be non existent and ESPN will not stand for that I don't think. Dull and boring football will not excite the crowds nor will it provide the kind of exposure BYU is hoping for. Go Cougs and good luck tonight.

  • SoUtHapa Saint George, Utah
    Oct. 8, 2011 6:26 a.m.

    Great! Now, the only thing left to complete this transition is to hear that Heaps has been relegated to 3rd string snaps at practice so Lark can go in when Riley et al blow this game out.

  • WhatsInItForMe Orem, Utah
    Oct. 8, 2011 12:38 a.m.

    Like many BYU fans, I was expecting a much different year:

    - BYU was starting its independence.

    - The first several games had the potential to put BYU in the driver's seat for a BCS bowl bid.

    - Jake seemed so ready from how he finished last year.

    - BYU's defense had returned to being great under Bronco's leadership.

    - Rumors of the Big 12 wanting BYU surfaced and excited a lot of fans.


    - The offense strangely didn't show up. Jake and some coaches became targets of disgruntled BYU fans.

    - BYU lost to Texas in a game BYU should have won but for a second half choke.

    - BYU lost badly to the Utes, who haven't done much either.

    - TCU got the first Big 12 expansion bid, making fairweather BYU fans want to throw themselves off tall buildings, fearing BYU was out of the Big 12 running.

    My, how a little adversity can shake some people up.

    Get a grip!

    - BYU can still end up with a 10-2 record, ranked, and win a bowl game.

    - BYU can still be in the Big 12 mix, or still just make independence work as planned.

    Enjoy the ride. Don't toss your cookies just yet!

  • Big Hapa Kaysville, UT
    Oct. 7, 2011 11:55 p.m.

    RE: GilbertAZ

    So the reason Heaps is ranked 113 out of 119 D1 qb's, that he only has 3 td's to date ( you gotta give last weeks 1 inch plunge to Riley he set it up } that he can not move the offenses in the red zone, scared out of his mind, has no idea why he got pulled and quote his post practice video this week when asked if he could learn anything from his team mates specifically the Wide Receivers and fellow quarter backs he without hesitation said "NO" is because Doman does not meet Heaps standard as a good quarter back coach ? Wow guess you got it all worked out.

  • Dantley Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 7, 2011 11:23 p.m.

    I believe that it is more Doman the quarterbacks being the reason why the offense is struggling. Doman keeps calling plays to the outside. If you notice when they go across the middle there is much more success

  • Bleed Crimson Sandy, Utah
    Oct. 7, 2011 11:03 p.m.

    Bronco made the best coaching decision of his career. The Heaps circus has gone on long enough! Good luck Riley from a Utah fan!

  • SyracuseCoug Syracuse, ut
    Oct. 7, 2011 10:40 p.m.

    And let the madness of fall 2010 begin all over again.

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, Utah
    Oct. 7, 2011 10:27 p.m.

    I would love to see a play with Heaps under center and Riley in the running back position. Now that's a true dual threat!

    I don't think Riley will be the permanent starter; I think Heaps will see significant playing time, and maybe reclaim the starting role by the end of the season.

  • Dr Rosenrosen Gilbert, AZ
    Oct. 7, 2011 9:48 p.m.

    Detmer would be great, but isn't coming any time soon. He's still got a young family that I doubt he is eager to uproot. But I agree, it would be good to have a full time QB coach. I also agree that the QB question is not settled. Frankly, I think they should use the rest of the season as an audition. If BYU gets out front early on SJSU in the first half(and I realize that's a big if), I think we'll see Heaps in the second half. I'd also like to see Lark get some time too.

  • azjim GILBERT, AZ
    Oct. 7, 2011 9:08 p.m.

    Riley is not the answer. Hire Robbie Bosco as QB coach now so Jake can have a full time coach to develop him
    Jim McMahon and Steve Young had Mike holmgren, ever heard of him? Great players want to play for great coaches. I love Doman but he's still trying to figure out where to sit. Bronco has a responsibility to get his players excellent coaching. It's not happening
    Robbie Bosco, Ty Detmer where are you?

  • The Cucamongan Rancho Cucamonga, CA
    Oct. 7, 2011 8:35 p.m.

    I am absolutely convinced that this QB controversy is not settled yet. Do not be surprised if we see a platoon system depending on the nature of the game. I believe in my heart that he loves both of his QB's and does not want to offend either one. Therefore, he will play both, if both remain healthy.