BYU football: James Lark, Cody Hoffman shine as Cougars wallop New Mexico State

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  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    Nov. 26, 2012 9:40 p.m.


    Therein lies the difference of opinion. Apparenly THIS offensive coordinator did NOT want first and foremost the better passer. Whether that originated with Bronco (Riley was his man) and he just designed the offense that, theoretically, best suited Riley, or whether he went back to the offense that he himself ran, is a topic for debate.

    But you my friend have taken a complex situation, analyzed one aspect of it, through one game, and not a representative one at that, and have declared scientific fact. You may or may not have arrived at the right conclusion but your argument was and is flawed.

    If I have failed to communicate clearly, then let me attempt again. I want, have wanted and continue to want, a pass early / pass often offense. I don't always get what I want. But it was too easy to predict that Lark, and the rest of the team, would shine against an inferior opponent. I feel that unabashed Bronco / Doman / Riley bashing is inappropriate for fans of this particular university, and supporting it on such a narrow and imbalanced sample is disingenuous at best.

    Sorry if I have failed to make that clear.

  • fender Washington, UT
    Nov. 26, 2012 10:10 a.m.


    Your scenario is too complicated and thus flawed. What any OC wants out of a QB is first and foremost the ability to throw the football (Football 101). Lark showed the ability to scramble when the pocket broke down and in fact is a faster athlete than Nelson. Beyond that I have no idea what it is you're trying to argue here and not sure you do either.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    Nov. 25, 2012 10:34 p.m.


    Well defended statement. However, I did not fail to see what I failed to say. Give Lark 2.3 seconds instead of 4 seconds and the fundamentals start to fall apart.


    Your scenario is too simple and thus flawed. Take both sprinters and enter them into the hurdles, dynamic changes. When one qb has better passing skills and one has better scrambling skills, and scrambling is what is required of your passing qb...

    The problem lies in the fact that when, beyond scrambling, necessitated by problems on the offensive line, the offensive strategy involves intentionally running the qb 10 times a game, on top of the scrambles, your gonna use up qbs like tissue.

    Building an offense around Riley's abilities was a mistake, but I don't think it is a capital crime.

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    Nov. 25, 2012 9:53 a.m.

    This game against a weak opponent showed us a few things:
    1. Lark is not as bad as the coaches (Bronco) seem to think he is (as evidenced by their reluctance to let him play).
    2. Lark is a better passer. However, I don't think you can draw the conclusion that he is a better overall QB or better at leading the team to victory than a healthy Nelson without seeing how Lark does against equally tough opponents that Nelson has faced. Sorry. The coaches have not given Lark that opportunity so you really can't make that conclusion.
    3. The O-line is still pretty weak.
    4. The weakest link of the defense all year has been the secondary, especially against the deep ball.

    I would like to see Lark start against SDSU to see how he fares against a much tougher opponent. But sadly, it ain't gonna happen.

  • fender Washington, UT
    Nov. 25, 2012 8:47 a.m.


    Rational? No. If I have a sprinter who runs a 10 flat hundred and I choose to enter him in the competition instead of a guy who runs a 9.6, then I should anticipate that my odds of winning the competition(s) will drop. Lark demonstrated QB skills that are clearly lacking in Nelson's game. You yourself admit that. Ergo, it's fair to assume that over the course of a season, all else being equal, that BYU's record would be better.

  • IndeMak South Jordan, UT
    Nov. 25, 2012 7:19 a.m.

    The goal at BYU is the same as the church. Preach the gospel. Bronco is doing that and the huge exposure this year cannot be underestimated.

  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    Nov. 25, 2012 6:41 a.m.

    RE: yourmomgoestocollege

    You get a "like" simply for having the best moniker of all-time.

  • AttilaTheHun Nephi, UT
    Nov. 25, 2012 12:41 a.m.

    Lark showed that he was fundamentally (footwork, velocity, accuracy on both long and short throws) 10x the QB "gritty" Nelson has ever been. Lark showed basic QB abilities that would have translated into success against any of the other opponents this season. I've no doubt had he started and gotten the reps this year, we'd have at least three more wins. It was just so awesome and refreshing to see crisp throws that hit receivers in the chest pass after pass, and tight accurate spirals on the deep balls that have been lacking this year vis a vis Nelson's wobbly ducks begging to be pick-6's time after time. Lark is all class in the patience and maturity department for putting up with the short, undeserved end of the stick he received this year. Bronco, with his post-game remarks, and actions and demeanor all year, I think showed a basic disrespect for the the program & game of football this year. I simply don't understand this unhealthy unnatural bromance with Nelson, at the expense of BYU's success. That isn't being loyal--its shirking your duties to the program's health.

  • yourmomgoestocollege Las Vegas, NV
    Nov. 24, 2012 11:34 p.m.

    Denial no. Rational, yes. Not arguing who is the better "pure" QB, just making the point that Nelson had some great games against really bad teams. Now Lark has had one, yet fans want to anoint him as the one that coulda, shoulda, and woulda led us to a perfect season and BCS bowl. It's too bad he didn't get the chance to prove himself over an extended period of time, but to speculate based on what ifs and hypotheticals and make rash judgements regarding "what could have been" proves fruitless.

  • CalJac LOS GATOS, CA
    Nov. 24, 2012 11:28 p.m.

    Y Grad / Y Dad...what you fail to see or mention is that while the competition was not 1st rate, the reason why Lark seemed to have more time than Nelson is that he was throwing on-time with good footwork, and looking off the defense, something Nelson rarely does. That's why Nelson gets picked and sacked so much. A QB can really help his line & receivers look good by getting rid of the ball on time.

  • CalJac LOS GATOS, CA
    Nov. 24, 2012 11:18 p.m.

    Lark was successful because he has good fundamentals (footwork), a strong arm and he threw on time. These are things that escape Nelson. While he performance was against a weak NMS team, his throws were accurate and on time and would have been completed against any NCAA team. Lark's performance proves what a horrible OC Doman is and how poorly BYU is at evaluating QB's. I think we just witnessed the final nail in Doman's BYU coaching coffin. It proved how incompetant he is as a QB coach and OC. Holmoe...the handwriting is on the wall, do the thing!

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    Nov. 24, 2012 10:48 p.m.

    Seriously, folks, please, please, please set aside your bitterness and preconceived notions for just a moment.

    We acknowledge, but nobody attacks with this kind of venom, that the offensive line is not where it needs to be. Hasn't been for two years. Hmmmm, the last two years...

    So PATs get blocked, or the snap doesn't get crisply to the holder, but the kicker takes all the blame. QB has has time to throw tonight, so he looks like solid gold, but you subject him to the pass rush we've faced all season long, and it's a different story. Far different story.

    Now if you want to get down to debating whether we really need to run as much as we thought we needed to the last two years, that is an educated debate that just about everybody else disagreed with Lavel, but I remember him saying at the time all he had for linemen was fat, slow returned missionaries and pass blocking was the only thing he thought they could do reasonably consistently.

    If you don't have consistent, good blocking, you don't have consistent success. That's where the discussion needs to start.

  • RU Serious Washington, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 9:39 p.m.

    James did a great job. It was fun to watch.

    Bronco has placed BYU in 8 or 9 consecutive bowl games, has a higher win % than any other coach at BYU, cleaned up a huge mess in the program, and continues to keep it clean. I am not a big BYU fan, but I like their ideals. I am a James fan and have been since he played at Pine View. I hope he gets to play again, but can't believe you want to get rid of a coach like Bronco. I am serious, keep Bronco and play James

  • Dr Rush Saint George, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 9:28 p.m.

    @Fender, you are absolutely positively correct sir !!!

  • fender Washington, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 9:09 p.m.

    Y Grad/Dad and Yourmom

    Of course no one knows what BYU's record with Lark would actually be, but you two are in some kind of denial. What we saw tonight is exactly what some of us have been talking about since watching Lark in spring and fall camp the last several years: a guy who looks comfortable in the pocket, makes a read, looks off a safety and delivers a ball on time, whether it's 10 yds or 50 yds down the field.

    Lark's performance tonight should put to rest any continuing argument that Nelson was a better choice as BYU's QB.

  • yourmomgoestocollege Las Vegas, NV
    Nov. 24, 2012 7:56 p.m.

    @Y Grad/Dad - points b & c, kind of what I was trying to say, you just said it more succictintly. I see no reason why our fan base can draw the conclusion that BYU would be 10-1 or 11-0 with Lark based on a great performance against one of the worst teams in college football.

  • SyracuseCoug Syracuse, ut
    Nov. 24, 2012 7:40 p.m.

    Y grad- I respect your opinion, but Lark threw six td passes with just one week taking the starting reps and very little game experience. Riley probably would have had a good game too, but he has been taking the starting reps for two years, big difference.

  • SyracuseCoug Syracuse, ut
    Nov. 24, 2012 7:34 p.m.

    I feel great for Lark, one game and in the BYU record books.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    Nov. 24, 2012 7:22 p.m.

    Please, folks, don't ruin Lark's wonderful game by over-reaching your own vicious agendas.

    A) If anything, this game should remind you exactly why Bronco went for two in Boise. PATs are no longer a given.

    B) Lark ended up with a great game. But the start was ominous. Especially against New Mexico State.

    C) He SHOULD have bad a good game against New Mexico State. Munns should have had a good game against New Mexico State. A healthy Riley would have.

  • Dr Rush Saint George, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 7:18 p.m.

    @yourmomgoestocollege, couldn't disagree with you more. It wasn't just Larks play today it was Nelsons poor play all year. We all can see that Lark is 10 times the QB as Nelson no matter what way you try to measure it, Lark gives the team a better chance to win period end of story. And we just have to move forward and forget this year? I think not, maybe you can but most won't, hard to forget how the coaching staff mismanaged the team ,the coaching has been atrocious and that's being kind. You had one thing right, this year and previous years,i.e. Heaps, Nelson etc have been a debacle.

  • ram Saint George, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 7:18 p.m.

    Hey Notre dame if you win the national championship call and thank bronco

  • Amorphous Saint George, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 7:16 p.m.

    That's right. Get a head start on the long nap you get to take until the U plays another football game.

    To all the rest: James is a beast! Always knew it. Always said it!

  • Ironhide Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 7:04 p.m.

    History and relationship got BYU to 7-5 and wasted talent on the bench that even USC wanted. It was refreshing to see a qb throw it further than 40 yards and hit a receiver in stride. To see some poise in the pocket. 8 different receivers! Not mostly Hoffman. This was a gutter opponent for sure, but with no starts and limited reps all season, he's still remarkably polished and did what a starter should do to NMSU. I sincerely hope Lark signs a free agent contract and has a starting job in the league in 3-4 years. He can be developed and with some consistency show what he's capable of. In Bronco's own words, he's not a good head coach and with some very obvious mistakes this year, has a fan base losing significant belief and trust in his decision making. He does some things well but evaluating talent based on grit has proven mediocre at best.

  • BigRich Orem, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 7:03 p.m.

    Would Nelson have been more successful if would have had a better offensive line? Probably. Would he have been able to throw a spiral, a long ball, an accurate pass, make good decisions? Nope. BYU is no longer Quarback U. but Quarterback Who.

  • yourmomgoestocollege Las Vegas, NV
    Nov. 24, 2012 6:57 p.m.

    Please people. Just simmer down. We all saw what Riley Nelson did against Idaho. Surely a healthy Nelson has a similar performance against one of the 5 worst teams in college football. I'm not debating that Lark has the better arm, better accuracy, etc, but you can't use NMST as the barometer. Nothing against Lark - really happy he had a good game - but this game and this team can not be used to evaluate and draw conclusions about Lark and whether or not he would have had more success against some of the better teams BYU played this year. The bowl game will be a better test (yes, I want Lark to start in the bowl game), but only slightly. And if he has another good game, it will just be an off-season of what-ifs and what could-have-beens, and we will never know the answers to those questions. It's all a moot point now. We just have to move forward, and forget this year's debacle.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 6:58 p.m.


  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 6:47 p.m.

    Great job Lark. Spaseba bolshoi!! Atleechna! Notre Dame, Utah, Boise State, Oregon State and SJSU are giving thanks you were planted on the bench instead of hitting wide open receivers in stride where only they could have caught the ball.

  • Pipes Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 6:45 p.m.

    I listened to the post game show. Mendenhall's comments showed nothing but arrogance and a severe lack of reason. He has already stated that Nelson will be the starter if he's healthy. I have lost all respect and confidence in Bronco Mendenhall as a head coach. I think the rest of the nation would feel the same. It's safe to say, no team will be knocking at his door this off season.

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    Nov. 24, 2012 6:30 p.m.

    I never had a doubt.

  • Mildred in Fillmore Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 6:30 p.m.

    Lark starts every game this year and we're in a BCS bowl.

    Maybe the BCS championship game.

  • Dr Rush Saint George, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 6:24 p.m.

    James Lark proved what all of us who were objective about the OB play knew, Lark should have been the starter all along. He's definitely is pro material and of course should be starting in the bowl game although the way he's been treated during his time at BYU who can be sure. I hope you true BYU fans take a long look are your coaching staff and ask, why in the world would you let a talent like James Lark sit on the bench and put on the field the QB you did? Are you not qualified to evaluate football talent or is it something personal? Oh what might have been.

  • Pa. Reader Harrisburg, PA
    Nov. 24, 2012 6:19 p.m.

    Heading into this game every analyst said the same thing: BYU can open up its play book because Lark has the arm strength to make all the throws. That's as opposed to Riley who cannot make those throws.
    Then remember that Lark was relegated to third string because Taysom's style of play was closer to Riley's. Talk about adding insult to injury!
    The most gifted athlete rode the bench all year, even as the offense floundered.
    Now it's up to Tom Holmoe to decide whether this madness will continue next season.

  • BYUfaninWashSt Everett, WA
    Nov. 24, 2012 6:17 p.m.

    How about that huge crowd? ... must have been over a thousand people in the stadium! Well ... maybe not that many ... however, if you include the players ... maybe close to a thousand.

  • BYU_Aggie LOGAN, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 6:16 p.m.

    C'mon people, this was against a team that hasn't beaten a FBS school this year (their only win was against Sacramento State... even Idaho beat New Mexico State). Sure, Lark looked good today (expect for almost every pass thrown down field), but let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

    Even Jordan Wynn could have looked like Joe Montana against that Aggie team.

  • BYUfaninWashSt Everett, WA
    Nov. 24, 2012 6:11 p.m.

    Glad that Lark was able to play well. Congrats. For BYU overall, beating the worst teams in the nation mean next to nothing.

  • Funkmeister Orem, Utah
    Nov. 24, 2012 6:03 p.m.

    ... and Utah State gets the last laugh.

  • hamaca Baton Rouge, LA
    Nov. 24, 2012 5:32 p.m.

    Yep, Lark should have been the starter this year and probably last year. For all Nelson's grit, determination, and loyalty, he should have been rewarded with situational plays, i.e. inserted for certain wildcat run plays, fake field goals, etc.

    Coaching judgement needs to be a factor in determining changes. Hope they can somehow land Andy Reid.

  • montanacutter2 KALISPELL, MT
    Nov. 24, 2012 5:27 p.m.

    If Bronco starts Nelson in the bowl game, Bronco will show he is not fit to be a coach. How about the going for two against BSU when one point would put them in overtime. I do not want to start but Bronco you failed as a coach to stay with Grit and no Pick-6 Nelson. Lark is Pro materail and you lost that for him going with Nelson. We can only imagine what if with Lark as the starting QB. He makes you think of the BYU QB's of the past even playing against one of the worst 1A teams. Lark showed grit and guts with a good pass rush by NMS. How about that Bronco/ Doman finish the season with a real winner in Lark not Pick-6 Nelson.

  • SyracuseCoug Syracuse, ut
    Nov. 24, 2012 5:19 p.m.

    Ok I know this was only NMST, but still, Lark actually looked like a starting BYU QB. Accurate passes, some nice deep balls to stretch the defense, he really should have been starting these last two years. With the majority of the practice reps and more game experience, makes me wonder what could have been. The thing I like the most- zero turnovers!

    Nov. 24, 2012 5:19 p.m.


  • Whoa Nellie American Fork, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 5:11 p.m.

    Sure, it was against NM State but Lark consistently hit receivers in stride, in the hands and in the end zone. He is a real quarterback, not somebody's man crush.

  • sg newhall, CA
    Nov. 24, 2012 5:10 p.m.

    I think they have found their QB. Too bad it's for only 2 games. This is what happens when you have an inexperienced QB coach and offensive coordinator. Too bad. Good for Lark.

  • southpride56 Saint George, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 5:08 p.m.

    This season is what happens when you are blindly committed to one guy all season and he gets hurt it shows everybody what a bad coach you are