BYU football: Riley Nelson and his high-five mentality made this game different

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  • pleblian salt lake city, utah
    Nov. 2, 2011 1:08 p.m.


    It's fine to criticize Nelson...he deserves it. It is also fine to ask about Lark, another possible improvement from Nelson (I've no idea).

    But to go back to Heaps? Never. Heaps should transfer, the team and fans will never get behind him again. Also, his numbers are inferior to Riley's, even against inferior teams. Heaps throws hard...period.

  • Fubecao Bellevue, WA
    Oct. 31, 2011 11:02 a.m.

    To me, the iconic Nelson moment of the game was at one point where he was surrounded by defenders grabbing on to him, and he had the ball in his left hand, raised above the fray, as though he were still thinking of passing it. The lack of ball protection was terrifying. It's a miracle no one tapped his arm and knocked the ball loose. He has heart, but his heart makes him try too hard and do stupid things.

  • genielson EAST WENATCHEE, WA
    Oct. 30, 2011 11:44 p.m.

    Maybe this has already been brought up, but I didn't think the "point" was to get CLOSE to the endzone, I thought it was to SCORE. I think the "high-fives" should wait till Riley can get the ball IN the endzone more consistently. Anybody seen Jake lately?

  • bribri86 Phoenix, AZ
    Oct. 30, 2011 2:15 a.m.

    Oh Uteology, come on...seriously! BYU is so terrible, I know (but bowl eligible), Utah's marquee wins so far are against Pitt, BYU, and Oregon St. Guess who on that list is the only one with a winning record? You should be cheering for BYU so it makes that beat down you (rather, the Utes, you did nothing) gave them look better. Otherwise, if your claim to fame is beating a "dismal" BYU...well that only makes you feel better in the state of Utah, or the State of College Football Irrelevancy. Oh, and Utah will not go bowling this year, you heard it from the whole world first!

  • Jacob's Dad LOGAN, UT
    Oct. 29, 2011 10:33 p.m.

    I worry about those who are so critical and tight and judgmental, like your life is just awful or something if the team loses. It was a fun and very spontaneous moment. I know I am a huge Riley fan, and maybe I have rose colored glasses on, but I have watched the play again and again, and I saw no disrespect or arrogance, just excitement in the moment. Some out there remind me of the refs out there who love to throw the flag for celebration in the end zone. Is happiness not allowed? I can't see the ref's face, but his body language doesn't show he felt offended or disrespected. We all need to find the fun and good in life, and that brought fun in our house.

  • Howard S. Taylorsville, UT
    Oct. 29, 2011 10:16 p.m.



    Iconic moments usually occur in winning efforts.

    Apparently mid-major independence (no major conference wants you) has reduced the Cougar Nation to finding iconic moments in losing games.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    Oct. 29, 2011 10:15 p.m.


    Not reading for content again, I see. Total body of work for this game.

    Stand alone, your comment is correct, if somewhat ironic, coming from a Ute fan. Yes, the Y has fallen on hard times. If we were in a conference, we might even be in the cellar.

    Sound familiar?

  • TizTheSeason Lehi, Utah
    Oct. 29, 2011 9:06 p.m.

    High fiving the ref was funny but really disrepectful and arrogant. Yeah let Jake redshirt and learn from Riley????? To What....High five a ref????

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    Oct. 29, 2011 7:52 p.m.

    Rileys high five is iconic now, totally original. Ranking right up there with Vai Sikahemas's boxing the goal post when he was with Philadelphia.

    Riley reminds me of Steve Young as a Jr. Very undisciplined, but with incredible grit and skills.

    He's not a bad passer, he just needs solid Coaching, not sure a former option QB has the tools to teach him.

    Heart and Grit is what football is all about. He just needs to make smarter decisions. His misques when being rushed or sacked were the difference in the game. This must be addressed with Coaching.

    You can't teach his headiness. Remember, Riley was a Parade All-American out of High School also.

    Good coaching could make the diffence, not sure those coaches are at BYU as we speak.

    Brandon should focus on OC duties and BYU needs to hire a really fine x's & o's QB coach.

    Jake should redshirt next eyar and learn from Riley and Lark. Jake lacks toughness at this time, can it be taught? We'll see.

  • steeboo LOS ANGELES, CA
    Oct. 29, 2011 5:59 p.m.

    Riley may be a competitor, but every one of his passes seemed destined for a pick-6. I did not see one accurately thrown ball the entire game. BYU obviously has enough overall talent to beat the Idaho States regardless of who is behind center, but will not beat any legitimate opponent with a qb who can't throw the ball. Heaps lacks confidence and Riley lacks an arm--time to give Lark a shot. When something's not working--fix it.

  • Winglish Lehi, UT
    Oct. 29, 2011 4:35 p.m.

    Riley Nelson sure doesn't play very smart football. It's apparent to me that he thinks his arm is a lot better than the rubber arm that it really is.

  • KinaCoug CORONA, CA
    Oct. 29, 2011 1:17 p.m.

    I can't believe the love Nelson is getting! He had an absolutely horrible game and the last few games we would have won with anybody at QB. Running because you can't execute works against high school competition but not against half decent teams. He just doesn't think and that's what scares me- the pick in the end zone was just tossed up for grabs off his back foot and the lateral was just inexcusable. Heaps was being blasted by all of you for playing better than Riley did last night and you praise Riley for his performance. Are you being hypnotized by his flowing locks or are you not watching the games? We can't afford to waste the last few games of the season against bad teams by not having Heaps playing and developing for coming years. Bench Nelson now before it's too late.

    Oct. 29, 2011 11:55 a.m.

    The sad thing is that this is a better team than the one TCU put on the field last night and the dumb mistakes lost the game.

    There are QBs that have both heart and sense. I tend to believe that James Lark may be one of them.

    Enough with idolizing Riley Nelson as a "tough dude". Brandon Ogletree and Kyle Van Noy are both "tough dudes" but I'd never play them at QB either. QB has to be both tough and smart and have an arm. Unfortunately, Riley only qualifies in one of those areas.

  • utcoug1 SANTAQUIN, UT
    Oct. 29, 2011 11:39 a.m.

    I have to say even though I was upset with all the dumb mistakes, this is the best team BYU has put on the field in the last 4 years against TCU. Riley Nelson is one tough dude. I felt Riley gave his everything in this game and therefore I am okay with the mistakes he made. I feel that is what we get with Nelson. At least he doesn't lose heart and give up. I hate it when I see players give up...Heaps.

    Oct. 29, 2011 11:35 a.m.

    I can't believe this article or many of the comments here. I have been a devout BYU fan for nearly 50 years and I have never watched a more aggravating QB than Nelson. Yes, he has grit and determination, and that's fun. But the kid has absolutely no "sense" and plays with a reckless arrogance that puts EVERY game at risk. He personally turned a San Jose State game that should have been a three touchdown victory into a battle. He made the Oregon State game closer than it should have been. And his mistakes last night gave away a game that the Cougars should have won and would have been a notable win.

    Everyone seems so focused on Nelson's helmet flying off or his high-fiving referees that they seem blind to the fact that this kid is a high-risk player on every snap of the ball. I have no confidence in him.

    Nelson is NOT the answer!!! I'm ready for James Lark - maybe he has the heart that Heaps lacks and at least a little bit of sense, which Nelson has none of.

  • Uteology Fort Worth, Texas
    Oct. 29, 2011 11:03 a.m.

    Y Grad / Y Dad | 7:55 a.m. Oct. 29, 2011
    Total body of work, Riley Nelson had a good game.


    Total body of work, who has Riley beat?

    Can you share with us the "good" teams BYU has beat over the last 23 games? Total body of work over the last two years, BYU is abysmal.

  • Uteology Fort Worth, Texas
    Oct. 29, 2011 10:57 a.m.

    "But unlike recent years, the Cougars fought back, and a big reason why was the grit and determination of quarterback Riley Nelson."

    Unlike recent years BYU wasn't facing a top 5 TCU defense.

    Another moral victory? Yes, it seems so. At least PAC-12 teams are giving BYU fans something to cheer about.

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    Oct. 29, 2011 10:27 a.m.

    I am more concerned about Riley's decision-making than I am about his arm, which is more accurate than Heaps'. And I think the poor decisions are a lack of adequate coaching.

    But despite Nelson's shortcomings, what he brings to the game is many fold better than what Heaps brings. It is not even close. Playing Nelson is probably the single best decision the coaches made this year, albeit a little too late. Their jobs may (or may not) be in jeopardy, but it won't be because of the call to start Nelson.

    Will Nelson be one of BYU greats? The potential is there if he learns to play smarter. He has the "right stuff" that make champions. Could Heaps become a great QB? Not a chance. You can't "develop" heart and toughness (right stuff).

  • Howard S. Taylorsville, UT
    Oct. 29, 2011 9:47 a.m.

    Celebrating the meaningless is the essence of BYU football.

    Whether its stomping Idaho State or scoring a meaningless late-game touchdown against TCU, BYU always celebrates like they've won the Super Bowl.

    Celebrating the meaningless is simply what BYU does.

  • Eddie Syracuse, UT
    Oct. 29, 2011 8:14 a.m.

    Riley taught and reminded me last night what the college football game is all about. It is about getting out there and playing with guts and having fun. If you win it is wonderful, if you lose you know that you gave it your all and you had fun doing it. Some of us just take this game a little too seriously and need to back off a little.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    Oct. 29, 2011 7:55 a.m.

    Total body of work, Riley Nelson had a good game. When he was great, he was fabulous. When he pushed too far, he made costly mistakes. But he was constantly pushing. I like that.

    Over all, I liked our defense. Yes, I said it. Don't handicap them with having to defend such poor field position, and they woulda looked dang good.

    Special teams? Over all? Killed us.

    Mental preparation? Call it what you like, but against Utah and TCU, we were just plain wound too tight.

    Before the game, some predicted if we lose TCU, we lose Hawaii too. I'm not so sure. I agree that Riley has the grit to see this team through.

  • daddman54 FARMINGTON, UT
    Oct. 29, 2011 7:42 a.m.

    I'm also a Ute and will let all you Cougars decide who is to be hanged but that Nelson kid has guts and heart. I seriously thought he was going down for the count on any number of tackles but he was generally the first to pop up from the pile to get on with the game. Tough kid and genuine competitor.

  • DC Alexandria, VA
    Oct. 29, 2011 7:41 a.m.

    I like Nelson - I like his leadership. But, he just can't pass the ball, and that's kind of important. The passes he did complete were mostly comebacks and not by design. All defenses will have to do is play under in coverage and stop covering WRs after 35 yards since all his passes are underthrown.

    Bronco - I'm glad you love your team. Good. But what they need is some good, ole fashion tough lovin. That's what you're getting from the fans, but I don't think you have the skin for it.

  • Elcapitan Ivins, UT
    Oct. 29, 2011 4:34 a.m.

    BYU Dude...

    Heaps runs from the opposition and cowers in the face of combat. It makes the game uninteresting as a result and contributes to losses. Sure he has an arm, but unlike Riley, he has no heart. It is Mendenhall who must make the call and show some disdain for lack luster performance and using poor judgment. He is too much of a father figure. Look at the coaching styles of the two coaches. TCU shows discipline. Mendenhall needs to don a new sweat shirt when games start to fall apart. Any suggestions folks?

    Oct. 29, 2011 2:01 a.m.

    I know as a Ute, I'm gonna get trashed for posting on your guys' article, but just hear me out k?
    Nelson played a decent game, not a great one, but one that showed he has good character and can stay in the game mentally even after serious problems. In the U-BYU game (I use this since it's the only other BYU game I watched, not because I'm trying to rub it in) Heaps seemed to give up in the second half even though he was doing great in the first. So, of the two, I'd take Nelson for the rest of this year since he's shown he can win and, more importantly, stay in the tough games mentally. As for next year, I'd either go with Nelson or just go all out and start Mangum, since the dude is incredible with a football and proved it by being named the Elite 11 MVP. You all mentioned Nelson doesn't give BYU the arm and makes mistakes. Well, Mnagum fixes that and gives the offense a boost.
    There, having said my piece, let the criticism begin!

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    Oct. 28, 2011 11:47 p.m.

    I love Riley, too.
    But despite his heart and all his accomplishments, his mistakes are a recurring theme. He has got to learn when to eat the football. If he had that basic concept down, we probably would have won this football game.

    i hope Bronco is not saying he is satisfied with his team's performance. There were a lot of mistakes on both sides of the ball. There were plenty of coaching errors, too, which affected the outcome of the game.

  • BYU DUDE Provo, UT
    Oct. 28, 2011 11:45 p.m.

    Are you serious Brandon Gurney,

    Did we watch the same Game. 3 turnovers and one more that was called back on a penalty, Riley Nelson is a great kid, but he is handicapped by his lack of an arm and a passing Game. Every time Riley Nelson runs the Ball is because he can"t execute the offense. BYU has wasted 4 games where we could of been developed Jake Heaps. Brandon Doman will be a Great Offensive Coordinator some day but it is not today.

    Now BYU plays the sisters of the poor for two weeks and the hype about how much we have improved drum will beat. Bronco Don"t go down with the Riley Nelson ship, it just might cost you your Job.

  • sjgibbons Provo, UT
    Oct. 28, 2011 11:34 p.m.

    That high five was hilarious! It was good to see the team fight till the end of the game. . . something that probably would not have happened without Riley in as QB. Even though he made a lot of mistakes tonight, it's hard not to like him because he's a fighter.

  • flynn is the coolest Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 28, 2011 11:27 p.m.

    This is one thing that BYU fans can smile about- even in a loss. I was laughing out loud. Riley really has heart. If only our team could start saying "no" to turnovers and sloppy snaps/punts.