Dick Harmon: SDSU's Rocky Long understands criticism of BYU's Bronco Mendenhall

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  • fender Washington, UT
    Dec. 20, 2012 3:14 p.m.

    It's simply ridiculous to claim that coaches don't make mistakes in evaluating player talent. It happens every day of the week. There is a list as long as your arm of starting QBs in the NFL who were drafted late or not drafted at all. Tom Brady, Kurt Warner, Tony Romo, and Jake Delhomme come to mind. Brady was the 199th player drafted by the NFL after his senior year. Brett Favre got his college offer to Southern Mississipi as a DB, not a QB. Aaron Rodgers got only one D1 offer and ended up at a JC. Joe Flacco was buried on the depth chart at University of Pittsburgh and transferred to Delaware for his last two years so he could play. He started as a rookie in the NFL, yet the Pitt coaches were unable to spot his talent.

    Rocky Long is as old school as it gets. He would never admit that coaches screw up when evaluating player talent and Bronco is in the same mold. It's likely that Bronco just flat missed on Lark, but you'll never hear him admit it.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 20, 2012 1:50 p.m.

    Normally I'd want SDSU to win but in the interest of not having angry Mayans tomorrow, who did they get along with better historically, Aztecs or Nephites?

  • stampederus Ephraim, UT
    Dec. 20, 2012 1:45 p.m.

    Of course Chris B is pulling for the Aztecs,she always supports anybody but BYU.

  • Asosan Kearns, UT
    Dec. 20, 2012 12:51 p.m.

    Rocky Long is like so many arrogant coaches who think they are brilliant and never make mistakes. The fact is, coaches at all levels, including College Division I and professional coaches make mistakes in judging talent. One recent example is Jeremy Lin in the NBA. No one would play him until last year when New York was forced to play him because of injuries to other players. Lin only averaged 27 points per game and 8 assists. Even then, New York didn't want him, so now he is playing phenomenal ball for Houston. Two teams passed on Michael Jordan and he was drafted 3rd. How many high draft picks have been flops? How many walk-ons have become superstars? Rocky and Bronco have made mistakes just like many other coaches and need to get over themselves.

  • Subscriber Magna, UT
    Dec. 20, 2012 12:42 p.m.

    Which one in the picture is Bronco? There are two people featured in the picture.

  • Runner Chandler, AZ
    Dec. 20, 2012 11:41 a.m.

    A few things...
    1) Dick Harmon needs to let it go. I guess there was no current rumor about BYU joining a conference to write about so Harmon continues to foster the fans criticism of Bronco. Let it go Dick and move on, please try to find something insightful to write about.

    2) Congrats to Gary Anderson on his new position. Too bad for USU and the state of UT but congrats to him. He is a great coach and a great guy. I hope ALL BYU fans will class-up and wish him the best.

    3) Chris B -- glad that your beloved Cougars could give you a bowl for you to actually be interested in. I'd love to see one of your great, "mark it down" predictions. Wow, will the hatred ever end?

    4) Bronco is the coach of BYU, is furthering it's mission and objectives and is a great guy and very smart coach. Back off the petty short-sighted criticism. It's useless and ignorant.

    Go Cougs...beat the Aztecs.

  • Ford DeTreese Provo, UT
    Dec. 20, 2012 11:29 a.m.

    There are practice players and there are game players. Some guys don't stand out in practice, but get them under the lights in a high-pressure situation, and they somehow rise to the occasion. I remember a third-string quarterback named Doman who probably thought he'd never get a chance. When he did, he proved he was a winner. Unfortunately, Jake Heaps, a great practice player, couldn't produce in games. Maybe he'll somehow discover that elusive factor at Kentucky, but I wouldn't put money on it. We may never know how good James Lark could have been, because he never really got a chance on the big stage against good teams. Riley's performance last year and in practice this year was apparently enough to convince his coaches and teammates that he could rise to the occasion. What effect the injuries had is largely an unknown. Coaching, unfortunately, is not an exact science.

    Good luck tonight, Bronco, James, and Riley.

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    Dec. 20, 2012 11:24 a.m.

    Let it go. If BYU wins today (I'll be there), it will be great. If we lose, we lose. Life goes on. The recruiting we're seeing, the speed, and the schedule all bodes well for BYU. No, they won't win an NC anytime soon. If ever. But they'll be good and sometimes great, and that's as much as you can expect from a football team, no matter who they are.

  • Obama10 SYRACUSE, UT
    Dec. 20, 2012 11:17 a.m.

    Bronco is a great coach and person on and off the field. He is put in a terribly difficult situation coaching at BYU and recruiting the kinds of players that will represent BYU. We are lucky to have Bronco and he is the right person for the job. With that said, I think he made a mistake not playing Hill or Lark sooner. I just find it hard to believe that a hurt Riley is still better than a healthy Hill or Lark. I appreciate loyalty and each one of us would like to have that same loyalty shown to us, but there is a time when he needs to say, "Riley you are hurt, sit down and heal.

  • Where's Stockton ??? Bowling Green, OH
    Dec. 20, 2012 9:24 a.m.

    Doman needs to step up and do his job. It's not just decisions about Riley. Doman's inability to overcome his tendencies to hesitate and not become a little more aggressive in his play calling are also a big item issue. He's predictable...in somewhat different ways but just as much so as Robert Anae was. Doman needs to break out of his over conservative eggshell. He's had some of the best talent on Offense that the Cougars have ever had but hasn't developed enough of it to full potential anywhere close to what Norm Chow or Doug Scovil were able to do under Lavelle Edwards. If Bronco needs to be critisized it's in developing those he selected to run his offense.

  • Silent Lurker Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 20, 2012 9:17 a.m.

    BYU and its fans got exactly what they deserved with Riley.

  • Eliot Santaquin, UT
    Dec. 20, 2012 8:02 a.m.

    My ability to discern is proportional to the quantity and quality of information I have to make a judgment. As an idle spectator I have very limited knowledge of the team and its players. It is easy to see through the feigned objectivity when comments are so heavily laden with fuzzy emotion. Riley, thank you for two plus years of entertaining football. Thank you for representing yourself and the university with poise and dignity. Thank you for playing when the coaches asked you to play and sitting when they asked you to sit. I hope that BYU football will be able to recruit many, many more young men of your caliber to our university. I hope your experience at BYU has been overwhelmingly positive and I wish you all the success you so richly deserve. I am sure you will work hard for every ounce of it.

  • Chris B's momma Idaho Falls, ID
    Dec. 20, 2012 7:11 a.m.

    That Long is loyal to a buddy is admirably, but unconvincing. As is the loyalty of former DEFENSIVE players (at least one of whom played in front of a better player ala,Riley)

    The results speak for themselves. Riley never should have received a scholarship at BYU. His coming created a controversy and a new NCAA rule. His competing for the job chased away the highest rated quarterback in BYU history.

    Playing him has been a disaster. He can't win important or big games. His play while injured has divided fans because most see that we would have won games with anyone else at quarterback. Remember Boise State where he threw a td pass to a dlineman and could hardly walk on and off the field. Hill would have pulled it out but for a questionable coaching decision on the extra point.

    Then there's the missed snap at Utah, the multiple turnovers against sjsu, and the under thrown pass against notre dame. But we should all quietly agree that bronco was right, that Doman can coach and that Riley should have no regrets. Sorry, I prefer the truth!

  • Fuzz Springville, UT
    Dec. 19, 2012 10:14 p.m.

    I'm not a Bronco hater. I think he has done a phenomenal job at BYU. He is one of the top defensive coaches in college football. That said, he major mistakes this year regarding Riley Nelson. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one that saw Riley wincing in pain between series in SJSU game, yet when BYU went back on offense, Riley grabs his helmet and runs back into the game. That should never have happened. Riley's helmet should have been taken from him. This season has been patients running the asylum. Since when did Riley become head coach or OC. He even admitted that he would play even to the detriment of the team...and guess what? That's exactly what he did.

    You can say all you want about grit and guts, but Riley is NOT a team player, by his own admission. He is a glory seeker.
    I hope Bronco sticks around, but I"m also glad we will not have Riley on the team next year.

  • MatthiasGG Lake Tapps, WA
    Dec. 19, 2012 9:55 p.m.

    BYU fans who take Long's support of Bronco as the final word on questionable decisions are delusional. I'm definitely not the shrill "Bronco's an idiot and needs to go" type. But playing an injured Riley in hugely important games, even after the wheels have fallen off and he can't complete a pass, except for to the other team, was a critical series of mistakes. You saw the immediate difference when Taysom replaced him. A kid who hadn't played a snap in college. Stubbornly sticking w/ Riley cost BYU football games, bottom line. If Bronco replaced Riley and the results were worse, I wouldn't say a word when he went back to Riley. As it stands, we squandered our best D in decades. What makes it worse is that we were still just a few pts. from winning against Utah, BSU and ND. Game manager type play from an inexperienced QB would have been enough to win all 3 likely. Ahh, what could have been.

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2012 9:49 p.m.

    Yeah, all you Broncho defenders are right. Arm chair guys like me who have only been watching football for 60 years don't have a clue. Us arm chair guys wouldn't know a good quarterback if we saw one. Well guess what? I'm going to make an arm chair prediction for tomorrow and that is -- James Lark will prove to look like a BYU quarterback and he will move the offense well and come away with a victory over a decent team. I predict that outcome will give some validity to the notion that Riliey Nelson is a gritty guy but lacks the skills to provide game winning performances against the better teams. So then we'll have some idea if the good old arm chair guys know anything. Remember it's a game, enjoy it! Go Cougs!!

  • 3grandslams Iowa City, IA
    Dec. 19, 2012 8:28 p.m.

    The media needs to stop obsessing on a few fans and focus on the majority of fans who love Bronco.

    I hope everyone knows reporters are only trying to sell newspapers by manafacturing news or controversy.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Dec. 19, 2012 8:13 p.m.

    Everyone is an expert, especially those who never took a snap in a college football game! That is what Rocky Long and all other coaches know for certain!

  • Vladhagen Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2012 7:51 p.m.

    Gary Andersen leaves to UW-Madison........Bronco leaves whining BYU fans for ________(insert school with fewer whiners).......Do we see a pattern developing? If not, our abilities of discernment must be bad indeed. At least Bronco has enough of an eye to see that all the former 3rd string deep snapper/back up kicking tee retriever/ arm chair QB fans that BYU has have no idea what they are talking about. That doesn't mean though that he wants to stay at BYU though. Let the man coach. Crunch on your 9th helping of beefy nachos and watch the game in peace.

  • Fuzz Springville, UT
    Dec. 19, 2012 7:25 p.m.

    This isn't religion. We don't have to take someone else's word for it.
    We can see with our own eyes and make our own judgements.
    If you think Nelson was the best QB available on BYU's team, that says a lot about your ability to discern.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    Dec. 19, 2012 4:53 p.m.

    I'm getting the picture now.

    Former players say the fans have it wrong and they don't see the full picture regarding the players or the coach. A fellow Division I coach says the fans have it wrong and they don't see the full picture regarding the players or the coach. Let alone Bronco's own credentials, which, like it or not, are pretty respectable.

    But let's believe the anonamous arm chair quarterback.

  • Cougsrock original Maricopa, Az
    Dec. 19, 2012 3:32 p.m.

    Of course Chris B would pull for the Aztecs. No doubt his BYU hate crosses state lines.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2012 2:34 p.m.

    Go Aztecs!

  • Pipes Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2012 2:26 p.m.

    Absolutely ridiculous! Nelson not only could not, he did not make plays. If anything, several of the losses rest squarely on Nelson's shoulders. His turnovers and inability to hit wide open receivers is the reason BYU lost to San Jose as well as Boise and Utah. Bottom line is that Mendenhall did not put the best player on the field and Long is just sticking with the good ole boy network.