BYU football: Cougars may have a QB quandary, but Bronco, Doman sticking with Riley Nelson

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  • MJB Tooele, UT
    Sept. 24, 2012 2:23 p.m.

    The biggest mistake by BYU is NOT playing James Lark. The problem is Lark is not the QB that Doman can call plays for. He wants a QB that he can call the same plays as HE ran as a QB for BYU. Lark is a pocket passer that could have shredded the BSU corners given the protection from the offensive line. They need to get on the same page as the old teams of the past that often had scores against the other teams that we saw ASU put up against Utah. I remember the times that as a boy I could see the Y ahead of opponents by a score of 21-0 or 21-3 at the end of the first quarter. There were many times that the Y led the nation in scoring back in the late 70's early 80's. We need to get back to those type of teams. We have the talent, just use them effectively, instead of wasting their talents.

  • DRay Roy, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 12:02 p.m.

    Coach was right to call for the 2 point conversion, OC sent in the wrong play.

  • Chase Saint George, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 11:47 a.m.

    I like Bronco. I like his style, demeanor, approach, etc. However, there has been a lot of talk about "performing at a higher level" over the past 8 years. I have not seen that. Beating inferior opponents regularly does not meet that standard.

    King of the WAC is all we are. We don't win big games. Oklahoma was a fluke. We get beat by FSU, TCU, UofU. Something has to change.

    Can the same tactics and strategies be expected to yield different results?

  • New to Utah PAYSON, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 6:25 a.m.

    Taysom Hill did a good job. BSU's defense was tired when Hill had the one successful drive. Actually watching the game one could tell that halfway through the 4th quarter BSU's defense was playing on fumes. BYU's success was partially the courage and daring of Hill but also he faced a different defense than Nelson. It still doesn't make sense to go for a win when the Broncos did not have a trusted field go kicker.

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Sept. 23, 2012 3:15 a.m.

    I like Riley but it's a no brainer to develop Taysom Hill now. Look BYU won't win the tough games on the schedule with Riley, and might not with Hill, but Hill is the guy of the future. Develop him now. The 2013 schedule is BYU's best since independence (and arguably their best ever). If you are a BYU fan, you probably don't want an inexperienced Hill taking his growing pains next year. Again, now is the time.

    Utah and BYU look like duds the remainder of this year. BYU will beat Hawaii. USU and Oregon State could prove a difficult challenge. Those game are 50/50 to me. I don't see BYU beating Notre Dame, but maybe Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets offense plays into BYU's strengths. The last three games will be patsies, although I give San Jose about a 15 percent chance at home if they are crisp.

    I think BYU goes 7-5 and Utah 6-6.

  • Benderman1 Layton, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 12:09 a.m.

    BYU has such great receivers. Sure wish they had a quarterback who could get the ball to them and an offensive coordinator who knew how to call plays to get them the ball.

  • Justmythoughts Provo, UT
    Sept. 22, 2012 9:14 p.m.

    This team is making it very difficult for me to be a BYU fan.....especially with all of my annoying Utah fan neighbors. Three losses in a row to Utah...crazy game against Boise State ...the only thing keeping my head up is that Utah is losing to ASU by 21 points in the first quarter!

  • bslack Draper, UT
    Sept. 22, 2012 9:04 p.m.

    I guess Riley's back always hurts when he plays good D-1 Team. I agree Riley is a warrior, but he is not a good D-1 quarterback until BYU plays the weaker opponents on the schedule. In every game Riley plays he has 5 or 6 bad passes that should be intercepted. Good Teams seem to make those plays against Riley. Coach Mendenall and Doman were willing to throw Heaps under the bus last year for this type of erradic play, but seem afraid to pull the plug now. With Riley at quarterback BYU will struggle and probably lose to Utah State, ND, and Georgia Tech, but will look good against the weaker teams. I would rather see what Taysom Hill can do as well as develop for the coming years. We really don't have alot to play for at this point. We are back to the end of 2010 when Heaps started and was developing. If we keep having problems developing quarterbacks, perhaps we need to look at Doman. Heaps didn't get better at the end of the 2010 season and perhaps got worse. Riley is not better than the end of last season.

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    Sept. 22, 2012 4:10 p.m.

    Bronco is the most successful coach BYU has ever had. He's won some big games. He's won more bowl games in his tenure than Lavell did in his career. This is arguably the best defense BYU has ever had (maybe since 1984 anyway). The issue is BYU's (encouragement? requirement? focus? on missions) forces long term planning. A plus-quarterback who goes on a mission cannot be counted on to play when/if he returns. Things change in 3-4 years. Why shouldn't a talented kid be encouraged to represent BYU to the world? He can go on a mission when he retires.

    Doman is another issue - clearly he is not in synch, but how could he be with a gimpy QB and a kid? Oh wait, he has a prototypical BYU QB named Lark. Oh, wait, he's been demoted to 3rd string. Perhaps a new OC? Hmmm. That would have my vote. But I would not look for a new HC.

    I agree with Vai. This is not the BYU we're fans of. This train needs to get back on track. Fast.

  • bballjunkie Pleasant Grove, UT
    Sept. 22, 2012 2:10 p.m.

    I have said this since a majority of you Cougar fans ran Heaps out of town and thought Riley was the next great thing. Welcome to reality cougar fan, now go get the coach's to understand that and we might salvage this season.

    Oh and I do remember some of you telling me to stick with basketball and leave the football up to those who know what they are talking about... Ouch! Love it!

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    Sept. 22, 2012 1:09 p.m.

    BYU has too many low price assistants rather than guys with successful careers. We don't need to be a place were people without success can come to work.

    Riley has never been a successful quarter back. The wobbly floating duck passes probably will work at Weber or Podunk Tech, but not against and average Division I team. Riley has never won a game, at BYU or at USU, against a quality opponent and certainly never against a ranked opponent. A quarterback must be able to throw. Throwing is more important than fielding punts.

    Bronco did not made a bad decision on the conversion, he made a very stupid one. BYU had no time outs left so they had little chance of getting the ball back with time to do anything. Given that BSU had no kicker, the overtime rules were all to BYU'a advantae.

    The handling of Heaps and others again illustrates that there is something wrong with this coaching staff. I won't try to guess what is wrong, but clearly they are not ready for prime time.

  • DEW Cougars Sandy, UT
    Sept. 22, 2012 12:43 p.m.

    " Mendenhall said. "I want him to be able to look me in the eye and say, 'Coach, I'm absolutely ready.' I don't have any different feelings than I did going into this game."

    Ok, Riley look at him in the eye and say something that you are really hurting and let Taysom play.

  • Ironhide Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 22, 2012 11:33 a.m.

    I feel for Lark. I get that Hill needs experience, but let him play clean up and let Lark have the opportunity he earned. I completely agree with fender, playing Lark would make Doman look like a fool. It's just not right. I've conceded the fact that Bronco has favorites and preference to Seniors(except Lark). Riley is being nothing but selfish right now. It's his last year in football and he wants to play every game, while being showered with respect and admiration for being a tough guy. Insecure punk. Some leader he is. If he really was a leader, he wouldn't jeopardize the team performance and do what is best for the TEAM. How can the coaches be so unprofessional and make a disastrous emotional decision by keeping Riley as the starter when he clearly is so injured it's causing the team losses? And can anyone predict Doman's play calls as easy as I can? The QB draw should be used sparingly to keep the linebackers guessing, not every third play. And Apo isn't getting the ball because Hoffman is Riley's favorite. Lame, lame, lame.

  • 1Infidel APO, AE
    Sept. 22, 2012 11:19 a.m.

    I'd sure be interested to hear some real points made as to how someone sitting at their computer would call plays. Let's get specific. Tell us how much you know about the opposing team's sets, mobility, strength and weaknesses, and what plays you would run to set up what play next, and what your overall strategies would be?

    And what would we be reading here if Taysom had had another moment to throw or take off running, and the final score was 8-7? Huh?

    I know, "just win," or "throw more TD passes," or "throw fewer interceptions." Let's see how brilliant y'all are, and how you would keep the other team who also practice and plan and scheme, and stunt and blitz and rotate defensive sets from being a factor?

    I'm gonna be looking for some brilliant responses. Or, I expect diminished complaining and pointing fingers due to the fact most here haven't really got a clue. Which of course is a back-handed compliment to the Ute trolls.

    Go Cougars.

  • cougar76 Raleigh, NC
    Sept. 22, 2012 10:23 a.m.

    The headline we should be reading is "BYU Defense Shuts Out BSU Offense For Overtime Win." 1. Defense gives up no points stops BSU offense repeatedly including the game winner from inside the BYU 1 yd line. 2. Taysom Hill leads clutch drive for touchdown late in 4th quarter to TIE the score. 3. Defense stops BSU offense AGAIN in overtime. 4. BSU fieldgoal kicker misses again in OT. 5. BYU kicks 30 something yard fieldgoal for the WIN. Unfortunately, that is NOT what we have to read. Going for two was the wrong decision and to insist that it was not is an insult to Cougar Nation.

  • niners SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Sept. 22, 2012 8:53 a.m.

    Byu fans keep saying Riley is not a D1 QB. Riley is the perfect mid major D1 QB. He beats up on mid major teams like Idaho, an plays for a mid major program that can only beat mid major teams. He loses to BCS teams just like BYU has been known for since the BCS was created. Go Riley!!

  • sammyg Springville, UT
    Sept. 22, 2012 8:36 a.m.


    Well said.

    These QB egos are a delicate thing I guess. Wynn was a good example and now it would appear that Riley is having the same issues.

    Come on guys, do the right thing, take care of yourself AND your team.

    That goes for the coaches as well. This game will go down as one of those that everyone will remember for the coaches making a bonehead decision.

    Getting a tie and losing it in OT would have been a lot more respectable than this humiliation.

  • jim l West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 22, 2012 7:28 a.m.

    you can see it in rileys face that he is not the same as last year. He does not have that fire.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Sept. 22, 2012 7:21 a.m.

    If the kid is hurt, you've got to sit him. This is a coaching problem.

  • Silent Lurker Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 22, 2012 6:58 a.m.

    Two weeks ago Riley Nelson was "all world" they were going "12-0 with a senior qb", "this was their year just like 84" all in the eyes of the cougar faithful two losses later and they have turned on Riley, the coaches, even ESPN (because of the quick turn around for TV). Every loss is Riley's and his alone. Do they not understand the concept of team? There are many reasons for both of the losses--not all of them caused by Riley, the coaches know this too bad the fans don't. After every loss the mantra is: "Never give the other team credit for the win" we would a, could a, should a because we just beat ourselves.

  • DC Alexandria, VA
    Sept. 22, 2012 6:54 a.m.

    Look, even though I question a healthy Riley's ability to win in tough games, there is no reason to start him when he's hurt, unless your backups are just atrocious (which I have a hard time believing, but maybe they are). If he was healthy, then the coaches have the right to start him. If he is truly hurt, then the coaches are making a very poor decision - this will not only hurt his team, but it could hurt Riley even more.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Sept. 22, 2012 5:03 a.m.

    Anyone else noticing this is the 2nd year in a row where our starting QB has gradually gotten worse until absolutely dazed on the field and unable to complete a forward pass? That's TWO D1 QB's not developed (the reverse actually) by Doman. Say nothing of the weird call to go for 2. It's rather telling where the problem lies when the pattern is so clear. We elevated an OC who had NO experience whatsoever into the role.

    Interestingly, we also ran off Anae who's UA offense is now averaging 50 points per game. What is it about our system that coaches flourish AFTER they leave us?

  • jbkhbrmz Saint George, UT
    Sept. 22, 2012 1:25 a.m.

    James Lark should be the BYU starting QB. Riley Nelson is not a good enough passer to get the job done, and Hill, although a great athlete, is far too inexperienced. Lark has done everything that has been asked of him and more, and yet Doman and Mendenhall never give him the opportunity that he has earned. The Cougars should bench Doman as the offensive coordinator and give Lark a chance to lead the team.

  • WhatsInItForMe Orem, Utah
    Sept. 22, 2012 12:12 a.m.

    Kind of hard to bench Riley if he's healthy enough to play because Hill, as talented as he is, and being the heir apparent as next year's starter, simply doesn't know enough yet to be a starter.

    However, with these two losses, and others likely until the offense becomes one, it'd be wise to let Hill get as much experience for next year as possible (as a starter for the rest of this season). He probably can't do worse than Riley will, in spite of their expertise differences.

    Poor Lark gets caught in a bad spot, but the future needs to be ensured.

    Too bad coaches can't allow a team to lose a few skirmishes (games) in order to win the war (long-term winning for a BCS type bowl game).

  • fender Washington, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 11:48 p.m.

    It's very clear what's going on with Doman now, and it's very sad really. He has proven himself inept as BYU's QB coach and OC by first promoting Heaps, despite the man's obvious limitations, and then Nelson, who was clearly never going to be a D1 QB.

    Now Doman is going to hide his incompetence from the BYU fans by demoting James Lark to third team, so that Lark will never step on the field and demonstrate just how bad Doman's football judgment really is. Lark clearly outplayed Nelson in fall practice, yet got left on the sideline, simply because Doman (and Mendenhall) prefer Nelson's "personality". With BYU's defense a player like Lark would actually give them a chance to win this year, but it would also expose Doman, so forget that: Doman will start an inexperienced freshman. How does this guy sleep at night?

  • Troy06 OREM, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 11:24 p.m.

    Coaches please stop making excuses for Riley. We all know you're simply covering for him because he will be pulled from the next game because of an injury. Then that injury will end his season. That is the story for why he can't play. It would better to tell the truth.

    What would Andy Reid do?

  • panamadesnews Lindon, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 10:21 p.m.

    Great game, cougs. Defense A - offense D. Offensive talent A. Need an offensive coordinator who can rally the talent and organize them into a "mean scoring machine" as we have seen in the past. Doman is a great guy and a capable coach, but lacks the ability to run the offense. BYU needs a TY Detmer type guy to come in and organize and rally the troops. Now rather than later. Our season will be only pretty good if they do nothing - it can still be salvaged if they do something not. Come on Holmoe and mendenhall, make the necessary change. I like coach Doman, let him continue to coach the QB's, but bring in an offensive coordinator.

  • Jazzsmack Holladay, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 10:16 p.m.

    BYU does have coaching problems,

    NO matter what good runners they may have, they are passing team,
    all thier real success has come from the pass.

    They should have put up over 50 against a D2 team like weber but didn't,

    They should been able to put up over 50 against bad D1 teams but haven't

    they have serious offensive problems.

    They moved away from sophisticated pass system they once had, and have focused too much on the run.

    The O-line was not good last year and the not good this year, in spite good talent,

    that is an o-line coaching problem.

    They've not had the right QB starting, starting freshman QBS is a bad decision,
    it failed with heaps and end up hurting Hill,

    Lark should have been the starter last year and this year, with hill backing up and getting ready for next year, or munns getting ready for starting next year

    They have not gotten other offensive players involved, great BYU offenses are known for spreading the ball around, using the TE,

    Coaching problems from the o-line coach to offensive co-ordinator..
    And there is valid criticism of Bronco.

  • Amorphous Saint George, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 8:20 p.m.

    U Student,
    No disrespect, but Riley has been playing injured since the beginning of the Weber State game. I haven't really paid much attention to who exactly says what so I have no idea if felt this way after the Utah State game last year but he is a gritty, tough athlete who, when healthy, wins.
    Now we all know that we likely would be 4-0 had he been healing instead of playing.

  • U Student Y Fan Woods Cross, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 7:29 p.m.

    This injury garbage about Riley is just absurd. He played terrible last night because he is a terrible quarterback. Every time he plays a defense that is above average or better, he will be ineffective. Throwing directly to a defender with no receivers in the area is not attributable to a back issue.

  • WhatsUpDoc Draper, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 7:23 p.m.

    It's great that Bronco likes Riley. That should have no bearing on what's best for the team. Clearly Riley isn't the best QB for the team when he can't throw or run.

    I agree with a previous post that we have coaches who aren't ready for D1. Doman is baffled as an OC. He runs the option like he did at Skyline and like he did with Crowton. It's anything but what he promised, to be the sophisticated offenses of BYU of old.

    Bronco is great at defense. However, the fact that every game is the same to him means BYU will never be ready for the big games. That's why, for the 6th time in 8 years, the team has two losses by the 4th game of the season. With the offense broken, there is no way Bronco should be the D coordinator. He needs to give it to another coach and get focused on the offense. Better yet, let's get a head coach who adjusts and lights it up offensively, and doesn't view the fans, those silly people that buy tickets, as pharisees and sadducees, just an annoyance.

  • dumprake Washington, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 6:44 p.m.

    Coach, you better be concerned about who plays. Don't be stupid; sit Nelson for at least one game (Hawaii), let the guy heal, don't let him practice, don't let him put on pads--let him heal. The Hawaii game will give Hill, and Doman, a chance to reestablish the BYU passing game, which died in Boise. If BYU can't pass the football effectively, BYU is not very good. We all know you are giving the politically correct thing to the media, but let's be honest, Nelson should not play against Hawaii, let the guy heal up.

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 6:28 p.m.

    Here are a few of my thoughts:

    We should NOT get rid of Bronco. Sure, the 2-point decision was questionable, but he had reasons for doing that. The offense was doing well, and he trusted his defense to stop their O with enough time (time management and timeouts are something he needs to improve, though). While I wouldn't be entirely opposed to replacing him as head coach, you have to admit that he is an excellent defensive coordinator; the only TDs scored on BYU's D this year were when their offense was given a short field to work with.

    I think we should play Lark more. Hill is much more mature than Heaps, but he still needs time with the offense. Had Hill been with the team longer, we probably would have gotten the 2 points.

    Doman really needs to step things up. He isn't horrible, but the offense has consistently struggled for too long. If he doesn't get the offense going soon, Bronco should probably look at getting a new offensive coordinator.

    BYU is a good team, they just like to hide it, even when it needs to come out.

  • Amorphous Saint George, Utah
    Sept. 21, 2012 6:14 p.m.

    I cannot say what has truly happened to James Lark on this comment because it would not get approved. Suffice it to say that he has been "misled". Bronc-oman are making the same mistake with Hill that they made with Heaps; too much, too soon. One week of #2 snaps? Lark has been taking snaps for 5-6 years over there. Furthermore, he has been committed to them through mission, injury, loss of a loved one, you name it. Watch out what you're being promised, my little naive recruits. Better yet, sign somewhere else than in a display of disloyalty to that school, jump to the Y. You'll somehow gain more respect that way.
    Further, now, after two nationally televised games and much to chegrine of both BYU and ESPN, the world now knows that an injured Riley, guts, glory and all, does not equal a healthy back up.

  • Downtownchrisbrown ,
    Sept. 21, 2012 5:29 p.m.

    I think Lark should have played yesterday - Hill did okay, but putting in a pocket QB when the run is all that is working would've opened up the field more than a run-pass QB, especially when that QB only really runs the wildcat. At least it would've given Doman more play options.

  • satch Highland, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 5:05 p.m.

    To be honest, as a long time supporter of BYU I've completely lost faith in BYU's coaches. We hear the same cliche's each year. The offense hasn't shown any consistent nor big game ability for some time.

    BYU's best asset on offense right now is their receivers. Didn't Brandon Doman see this in his planning? Running is not our identity. If Jaime Hill was fired after his defense's performance at USU then Doman should fired immediately for his pathetic offense the last two games.

    Furthermore, Bronco reminds me of Crowton, and Roger Reid. Lots of wins, but no big wins. BYU is consistent as beating WAC teams, but not at producing the offenses it used to. Boise did it for years, BYU should be able to recruit the same if not better talent.

  • Real Bass Idaho Falls, ID
    Sept. 21, 2012 4:57 p.m.

    We need to replace Nelson, Doman and Mendenhall. None are major college calibre! This whole drama at BYU is so juvenile.

  • jasonlivy Orem, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 4:34 p.m.

    There has been so much talk of 'team' from the coaches that I'm surprised that the coaching staff is so worried about Riley's feelings. The fact is they have to do what's best for the team. Riley should take himself out of the game until he is healthy. That's what's best for the TEAM!

    Simply put, we are not going to win with Riley as quarterback. I saw him take some serious hits which makes me think that people are making excuses for him. I've had serious back issues and there is no way I could have taken some of the hits he took with even minor back problems.

    Coaching has got to take the brunt of the responsibility. I hope they have a serious talk amongst themselves on what they expect from the team going forward and how to turn the season around. Is it me or are we going through the same problems we did last year and the last year and the........???

    If nothing else, the defense shouldn't have to live with these results...

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Sept. 21, 2012 4:16 p.m.

    It seems like James Lark has been part of this program for quite a long period of time. Has he ever been given the chance to start and play a significant amount of time? I don't quite understand why he keeps coming in third on the depth chart.

  • Cougar Claws Lindon, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 4:11 p.m.

    There IS no quandary! How has Riley not been demoted to special teams? Jake Heaps might have done better. Riley Nelson was AWFUL. 4/9 passing for 19 YARDS? AND 5 TURNOVERS??? One for a TOUCHDOWN? Riley single handedly lost this game. He beat BYU not Boise State.

  • Vladhagen Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 4:03 p.m.

    I think that they had to stick with Riley until they did. Was he playing well? No. But, if they pulled a player every time that he threw a pick or made a bad play, they quickly would have Cecil O Samuelson in playing QB because they would be out of players. That said, I think they found that Riley is hurt more than he is letting on. Maybe it would be best to get Riley in for some reps during the Hawaii game and then sub him early for Hill. I think that last year's Hawaii game showed what Riley can do if healthy. Also please remember that he had 240ish passing yards in the first half against Weber State. On the 2-point conversion, it's easy for us to sit here and say it was dumb, but if it had worked all of you would be on here saying what a genius Bronco was for putting the hammer down.

  • Pipes Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 4:00 p.m.

    I didn't realize it was his back that was hurting. I thought it was an eye issue and that he couldn't tell which team to throw the ball to. If his back is hurting, why is Doman running the option? If the option isn't working, why did Doman continue to run the option? Did any one else notice that in the first half, almost every running play, regardless of whether it waw the option or not, was run to the left? Doman is trying to turn BYU football into the Skyline football of his high school years. Nelson was only part of the problem. Doman is the main issue. If I were Hoffman or Apo, I would get while the getting is good!

  • DonO Draper, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 3:50 p.m.

    The only "quandary" they should have is who should replace Nelson. Good kid but not a major college quarterback. Not by a long shot.

  • Northwest Coug Pasco, WA
    Sept. 21, 2012 3:36 p.m.

    Lone Star is right. Too bad Riley can't yank the coach for going for the 2-point conversion.

  • Bear Somewhere, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 3:30 p.m.

    They couldn't see in the first half like the rest of us that Riley was not up to snuff? Bad back or not Riley does not have a D1 arm. The pick at the 2 showed that, Apo was open for an easy touchdown but Riley couldn't get him the ball. If Riley is really that hurt then he should not be in the game.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Sept. 21, 2012 3:29 p.m.

    If this is true then Riley should admit he was, and is, a detriment to the team in his current condition and not insist on playing. The truth is he almost single handedly lost that game last night and if it is truly because he is not fit to play, but did so anyway, even after committing turnover after turnover after turnover, then that is not what a good teammate should do.

    Show us you care about the team more than yourself Riley and bench yourself when you can't perform.

  • Lone Star Cougar Plano, TX
    Sept. 21, 2012 3:11 p.m.

    I don't think we have so much of a quarterback controversy but maybe an issue of a coach or coaches not fully ready for Div 1 Football.