BYU football: Nelson says he has no regrets

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  • That's A Good One Meridian, ID
    Dec. 19, 2012 9:14 a.m.

    I don't know Riley, maybe you don't have any regrets but I paid to attend the Boise State game and I certainly regret that.

  • Cougar Passion Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2012 8:16 a.m.

    Born in Provo:
    I'm going to disagree with you that football at BYU is just entertainment. I could go into a very lengthy discussion of that, but having seen or personally experienced many times the correlation between success of the football and basketball teams and image of the sponsoring institution--at least outside of Utah--I will say that, no, there is quite a bit more to it than just entertainment.

  • CWEB Orem, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 5:57 p.m.

    To Poyman....oooooooh, Riley beat Utah State...Ooooooh, what a gem! I'll write that in my journal. Note: BYU has WAXED Utah State for years...why the excitement of barely beating them? All that says is that BYU has slipped...big time.

    Note to Riley: We (the fans) have regrets. You looked at the win-loss record for the year Riley? Does it match up to the great years of BYU football? No. My regret is that I spent any money on tickets this year. I regret I had to give away tickets to the games, because I, for one, could not stomach any more losses to the good teams. Riley, you only beat the worst teams on our schedule. Isn't that something we fans, and a good quarterback should regret? If you were satisfied with the results of the season, then that explains a lot about your expectations. Regrets. Regrets.

  • Ronald Uharriet SWun City, Ca.
    Dec. 18, 2012 2:57 p.m.

    "Last week, when we were doing lifting and conditioning, it flared up a little bit. I'm still not over the hump."
    "He also suffered a rib injury against San Jose State on Nov. 17, forcing him to be sidelined for the New Mexico State game".
    "Physically, it's been really hard. Breaking my back, then my ribs and having to fight through it and never really being at 100 percent, that's been hard,"
    "Then mentally and psychologically just having to deal with not being 100 percent and knowing that you're not being the player you could be."
    "Everything that's happened is out of my control — it really is," he said. "Injuries, depth charts and all those things”

    And with the talent that we had in James Lark, why was Lark kept on the bench? Why was Riley subjected to what could become permenant injuries? What were the coaches in charge thinking? or where they?

  • Frozen Chosen Savage, MN
    Dec. 18, 2012 2:00 p.m.

    I bet Bronco has plenty of regrets! This has been the most disappointing year for BYU football since 1985. BYU wasted their best defense ever by having a DIII player at QB for most of the year. If their QB had been mediocre they would've won 10 or 11 games with 5 BCS teams on the schedule. Instead they had a bad year and will barely finish above .500, which should be unacceptable to BYU's administration.

  • Cougarista Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 18, 2012 10:14 a.m.

    No one should regret personal choices that result in a superior education. Football is for a season, personal development is for eternity.

  • Born in Provo Logan, UT
    Dec. 17, 2012 8:00 p.m.

    Wow, can't believe all the haters out there. I think some people forget that this is just a game. I am a huge BYU fan, but I have to remind myself that this is just entertainment. Riley gave it everything and made some unbelievable and entertaining plays for the team over the last season and a half. Bronco may have made some mistakes (and Riley too), but nobody else would get the players to play with such intensity and to have their priorities as men in order. I am with Bronco; I want BYU to win, but not at the expense of more important priorities. This season has been frustrating to watch at times; I'm not gonna lie. But have you ever seen a better BYU defense? They gave the offense the opportunity to win every single game. Offense has struggled the last three years, and next year will see some growing pains as well, but I think we will see some improvement. Sure going to miss Riley Stephenson. Kudos to him for winning the battle of field position. What a turnaround from the TCU game a year ago. What you choose to remember is up to you.

  • BigCougar Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 17, 2012 7:32 p.m.

    Riley "claims" he doesn't have any regrets but the fans and some of his teammates are left with a bunch of regrets.

  • BigCougar Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 17, 2012 7:28 p.m.


    A component of being a team leader is that the coaches trust that the player has the best interests of the team at heart not his own personal agenda that he is determined to follow no matter what the cost to the team.

    Coaches trusted Riley's sense of leadership to do the right thing when he knew he was close to only half strength as he admitted later after the fact and the damage had been done. At that point it was pretty weak, cowardly and disloyal of Riley to then say it was the coaches fault he played and they should have known he would never willingly take himself out. Riley should have manned up and been open and honest at that point and owned his mistake. People would feel less harshly towards him now.

    Besides coaches trusting Riley, fans and his teammates all trusted him too. He didn't just lie to his coaches, he lied to his teammates and to the fans and abused their trust. Pretty lousy leadership if you ask me to put your own interests ahead of your teammates, your fans, and your coaches.

  • GTwo Rockledge, FL
    Dec. 17, 2012 5:39 p.m.

    With Riley's back and rib injuries it is amazing the coaches would even consider playing him. If he were to get seriously injured in the game there would be no excuse. Don't risk further injury. There is little to gain and a lot to lose by playing Riley. Someone needs to be an adult and help Riley know the truth, sit him on the bench and be healthy enough to get married, have a family, and work successfully.

  • GTwo Rockledge, FL
    Dec. 17, 2012 5:37 p.m.

    I love his fight, competitive spirit and that he was willing to give all he could give. While I wish he would have pulled himself when he was hurting, it really was the Coaches jobs to be the adults, assess the situation and make the call. They made the call to play Riley injured and it hurt him and the team. It seems clear it was a bad call. However, I struggle to accept the attitude that they would make the same call if given the chance. You lost Coach, your decision was unsuccessful and faced with the same situation you would make the same losing decision? That right there sounds dumb or arrogant. If you know you made a losing choice why not say, "perhaps we should reflect on our choice and consider changing to a new strategy."

  • NevadaCoug Overton, NV
    Dec. 17, 2012 5:32 p.m.

    Whoa Nellie:

    I supposed you think that throwing balls at the feet of receivers, over their heads, etc, was accurate passing from Heaps?

    Heaps had no touch on the ball. TCU's coach certainly told us that when he was asked about the difference in preparing for a Nelson led BYU rather than one led by Heaps.

  • Bomar Roberts, ID
    Dec. 17, 2012 4:48 p.m.

    Nevada Coug,
    You have got to be kidding, Riley has NEVER had great touch on the ball at any time. Regardless of opponent or his physical condition, he has under thrown or over thrown receivers consistently. Lark gave a clinic on passing accuracy against NMSU, his passes were spot on, hitting them in stride and on target. Many of his passes were thrown where only the receiver had a chance to catch the ball and that's why there were NO dropped balls.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Dec. 17, 2012 3:42 p.m.


    I have all those same questions about the coaching staff and I'm really hoping Lark gets the start in the bowl game. I've seen enough of Riley to know what he is, and isn't, capable of. We don't know about Lark but I'd sure like to find out. And I have seen them both in practice and physically Lark is much more impressive. I guess I just don't want to agonize over the "woulda, shoulda, coulda's" like so many fans are doing. All that does is get me mad about what "woulda, coulda, and shoulda" been. But in the big scheme of things this bowl game doesn't mean a whole lot, we know Riley is not gonna be anything terrific, so why not give Lark the start? At least that is how I feel about it.

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    Dec. 17, 2012 2:53 p.m.

    @Whoa Nellie
    "Heaps was the most accurate passer BYU has had in quite awhile."

    I am going to have to flag you on that one. 15 yd penalty.
    Heaps may have been pretty accurate in practice when there is no defensive end bearing down on him, but in the heat of a game, he was NOT accurate. His completion percentage and passer rating were abysmal, in the lower 25% of D1 QB's. At the end of the season, with approximately the same number of games under their belt, Riley had a much, much better Passer rating. Granted, he played easier teams, but nonetheless, Heaps numbers were not good, and certainly not even in the same universe as Max Hall's numbers.

  • Whoa Nellie American Fork, UT
    Dec. 17, 2012 1:45 p.m.


    Which games did you watch that no one, NO ONE else had the chance to see last year? Heaps was the most accurate passer BYU has had in quite awhile. That's not my opinion but the experience of the defensive backs who had to practice against him.

    Riley is courageous and fun to watch except when he throws the ball. If he plays in this bowl game I hope he does not get injured further. He should be considering his future games with his kids and save the back.

  • fender Washington, UT
    Dec. 17, 2012 11:23 a.m.


    It's fair to say we have an inadequate measure of Lark's ability to beat good teams, because he hasn't had the opportunity to play against good teams. From everything I'm hearing, he will be the starter for the bowl game, and that will give him at least one shot against a decent team.

    However, certain things have always been true and are reasonable predictors. Lark has better size than Nelson, he's much stronger (holds all the QB lift records at BYU) and I'm told by pretty reliable sources that he's faster. Anyone who has watched BYU scrimmages and practices knows Lark has a bigger arm than Nelson and that he throws an accurate ball. None of that guarantees Lark can beat the teams Nelson can't, but it certainly points in that direction. My question is why the coaching staff didn't see that.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Dec. 17, 2012 8:27 a.m.

    There is no way Nelson is 6'00" tall. I've stood next to him in civilian clothing. I'm 6'2" and he comes up to my chin. That would make him about 5'8" or 5'9". Maybe in cleats, standing on concrete with his helmet on he'd be 6 feet tall.

    Go Lark.

  • Parkite1 Park City, UT
    Dec. 17, 2012 6:40 a.m.

    No regrets, eh? Love your grit and determination Riley but only if you had put the Team first and tolda the coaches you weren't 1005, we will never know quite possibly 11-1 or maybe even undefeated and playing Alabama for the National Championship...sigh...

  • Outsideview Federal Way, WA
    Dec. 16, 2012 11:23 p.m.

    The quarterback situation this past year reflects three things about bronco.
    1. His dislike for is players who feel they are "entitiled" and looking out for themselves.

    2. His desire to reward players who reflect the "image" of BYU rather than playing the best player (quarterback) at the time.

    3. As Bronco has stated himself, despite being excellent at defense and stopping good offenses, he really doesnt know offensive football.

    Hopefull, this will be a year of learning as he admits sometimes to where he can make better decisions in the future. We might know if this latter point is true if any new coaching is hired to help Doman.

  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Dec. 16, 2012 11:18 p.m.


    Ummm, Riley has beaten USU both times that he faced them as a starter.

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    Dec. 16, 2012 8:54 p.m.

    Duckhunter is right that we really don't know how good Lark is. He looks promising but his debut was against a very poor defense. But it is looking very likely he'll start against a very good SDSU who beat BSU on the blue turf. So we will see how he does against a decent team in a hostile stadium. Should be fun. I hope Lark dismantles them.

  • sammyg Springville, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 7:35 p.m.


    And how did Wynn do for the mighty Utes?

  • NevadaCoug Overton, NV
    Dec. 16, 2012 6:57 p.m.

    Riley does not have the power arm, it is true. But when he is healthy he has great touch on the ball and can put it where he wants to. We saw that last season. It's the reason he took the starting job away from Heaps.

    But he was injured this season and couldn't physically perform. He should not have played as much as he did. It really is too bad the coaches did not see that sooner.

    At this point the bowl is less than a week away. If they don't know if Riley will be healthy enough by now, then the decision should be already made.

    Lark should start.

  • Utah'95 FPO, AE
    Dec. 16, 2012 5:49 p.m.

    "It's hard for a 6-foot, 200-pound guy to do," he said. "That's what I've learned over my five years."

    It's too bad it took him 5 years, and several painful injuries, to learn that lesson. That is, IF he has REALLY learned it. But to many of us who watched an undersized quarterback running like he was a fullback, it was no surprise that he got pretty dinged up.

    I admire Nelson's competitiveness and tenacity, but not his limited grasp of physics.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 5:01 p.m.

    We've seen enough of Nelson to know that he isn't good enough, where the quandary is for me is that we haven't seen enough of Lark to know that he is. Like most fans I wish the coaches had gone with Lark earlier and then we would know. As it stands we never will. It is obvious the coaches didn't think Lark was a better option than Nelson and I really wonder why that is.

    As for the fans declaring Lark superior, well they just don't know that to be the case. I think we can all agree that we would have liked to find out.

  • mvcougar ,
    Dec. 16, 2012 4:21 p.m.

    Looking 16 or 17 years ahead to Luke Ogletree playing for the Cougars!

  • Mortoon Idaho Falls, ID
    Dec. 16, 2012 3:00 p.m.

    Riley's comments show how out of touch with reality a 20something person can be. But he is right that the decision to play him has been out of his control.

  • Real Bass Idaho Falls, ID
    Dec. 16, 2012 2:55 p.m.

    We have plenty of regrets...starting with Nelson's decision to transfer. Big mistake for BYU football. Riley is a four letter word and bronco may never recover from this debacle!

  • 54-10 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 2:23 p.m.

    You think Riley has no regrets, Utah State made out like a bandit. Riley out, Chuckie Keeton in.

    I remember when BYU "fans" on these boards were giddy that Riley transferred to BYU. Turns out that USU and its fans, along with Utah fans, made out best on that transfer because it has been enjoyable to watch.

  • fender Washington, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 1:08 p.m.

    Nelson is obviously a super competitive guy, which by itself ain't a bad thing, but in his case it has gotten him into trouble time and again against the good teams. If he had an adequate throwing arm and a little more foot speed, he might have gotten away with it and been a Johnny football type of player, but he doesn't. Sounds like he's choosing to play the injury card now, but in reality even at 100% he doesn't have the tools to win big games at this level.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Dec. 16, 2012 12:55 p.m.

    "Then of course the what-ifs and if-onlys creep in."

    What if Riley was more sensible and chose not to put his head down and keep churning, and slid instead? Mendenhall says; "that's just who he is." Well, "who he is" is not compatible with Riley's survival.

    I have plenty of "what ifs". What if James Lark had started last year and this year? Where would he be today?

    No NFL team will touch Riley, he is too injury prone.

    Lark's first start was stupendous. Let him show what he can do against a non-high school team. He might just get a crack at the NFL.

    Failure to recognize such talent is a major failing of the coaching staff.

  • Carson Provo, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 12:19 p.m.

    Go SDSU !

  • CougFaninTX Frisco, TX
    Dec. 16, 2012 10:52 a.m.

    Hindsight is always 20/20, and I still wonder what could've been if wisdom had prevailed and the coaches had left Riley on the sideline to heal duiring the Utah and Boise State games. With our defense, I still think Hill or Lark could've beaten both teams this year. Then Riley might have been ready to come back against USU or Notre Dame and be 100% instead of the 70% we saw.

    For those who are critical of Riley, I think he is better than what we saw. The big mistakes this year were playing Riley when he was injured and calling on Nelson and Hill to run up to 19 times a game (not sure if that was the QBs decision or Doman's). Three or four QB runs / draws is plenty to keep the defenses guessing and our QBs healthy.

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    Dec. 16, 2012 10:22 a.m.

    I don't blame Riley. He thinks, as most athletes do, that you can play through the pain and injury. Heck, everyone on the team has some dings and pains. It is just that Nelson's injuries were enough to negatively affect play at the most important position on the field. The coach(es) was too stubborn or too subjective or had too little faith in the back-up to realize this and thus turned what should have been a really successful season to a mediocre one. It is on the coaches, not Nelson.

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    Dec. 16, 2012 10:02 a.m.

    I think there are fans who have some regrets.

  • Mash76 Provo, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 8:53 a.m.

    Nelson may have not regrets, but I wonder what the members of his team think deep down inside. Be a team player not a selfish player and stay on the bench.

  • sammyg Springville, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 8:41 a.m.

    Well, no regrets huh? There will be plenty discussion on that comment I am sure.

    If Riley is not a 100% I fully expect the coaches to put Lark as the starter.

    I've enjoyed this season but will admit the close losses were frustrating and hearing that an injured Riley might have had something to do with that has been maddening and even more frustrating.

    I'm sure hoping that Lark gets the start with Riley taking a token snap to end his season.