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Has BYU Hit Its Ceiling?

17 September 2012 Brett Richins 188 Comments

Bronco Mendenhall is 3-5 vs. Utah (BYU photo)

There’s an elephant in the room.

BYU fans can see it. The media that covers BYU football can see it too, but they’re not saying anything.

Hard questions must be asked after yet another BYU meltdown on national television against its arch-rival Utah.

Has the current leadership taken this BYU program as far as it can? Have the Cougars reached a ceiling with this coaching staff?

As the clock ticked down in the fourth quarter late Saturday night, the Utes tried everything they could to hand the game to the Cougars.

But in the end, BYU was just too inept to take advantage. A botched punt, a blown coverage in the secondary on 4th-and-12 and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Utah crowd couldn’t even bail out a second straight deer-in-the-headlights performance by the BYU offense and breakdowns on special teams.

For the second year in a row, the Cougars offense appeared totally unprepared to play in this rivalry game. In fact, the start of the game of was astonishingly similar to last year’s 54-10 debacle in Provo, with BYU quarterback Riley Nelson losing the ball in the end zone on the Cougar’s first offensive snap. Only a facemask penalty prevented the Utes from scoring a safety on the play.

It was one of several bullets that BYU dodged in the first half, but couldn’t elude in the second. In the end, BYU doinked a 36-yard field goal off the upright that could have sent the game into overtime, a fitting end to a night of mistakes, miscues, and a horrendous display of ball security.

Meanwhile the Utes were playing with a Division II quarterback and were without star running back John White, the guy who was virtually the entire offense for Utah in 2011. They were also without their second best defender in strong safety Brian Blechen and missing their starting free safety as well. Yet the outcome was almost predictable, with Kyle Whittingham winning his third game in a row and his fourth in the last five games over Bronco Mendenhall.

There was absolutely no excuse for BYU losing to such a depleted Utah team on Saturday.


Ask yourself:  How many coaches in today’s world of college football would survive going 1-4 against an arch-rival? How can any BYU coaching staff defend going a combined 1-8 against Utah and TCU since 2008 and getting blown out in many of those eight losses?

Bronco Mendenhall and his staff have been able to hide behind the smoke and mirrors of double-digit wins in recent seasons. But any honest BYU supporter has to admit that wins against quality D-1 teams have been few and far between. The Cougars did defeat a rebuilding Oklahoma team by a point in 2009, but then followed that up by getting spanked by 26 at home by a Florida State team that would finish the year 7-6.

The truth is that the Cougars haven’t defeated a program of any consequence since November 28, 2009 when Andrew George scored his touchdown in overtime, giving BYU its last win over Utah. In the two years prior to the start of this season, BYU managed just two wins over teams that finished the year with winning records. And both of those wins (against Utah State and Tulsa in 2011) were squeaked out in the final 11 seconds of the game.

Through the last seven-plus seasons, BYU has lost most of the big games on its schedule, many of those in an embarrassing fashion. Some may point to a 5-2 bowl record as proof otherwise, but are bowl victories in mid-December over fifth-place teams from the PAC-12 and also-rans from Conference USA the height to which this program can and should aspire?

Bronco talks about winning national championships, but right now his team is only the third best in the state of Utah.

Enough with the talk, platitudes, and slogans from self-help books. It’s time to start winning some meaningful games. It’s time to stop talking in circles and making rookie coaching mistakes after eight years on the job. It’s time to start developing talent–particularly on the offensive side of the ball–and stop coaching like you’re at a military academy. A program that would routinely have a couple of dozen of alumni playing in the NFL in any given year, BYU currently has a grand total of seven players on NFL rosters. That’s right:  seven.

It’s also time for Mendenhall to start coaching the entire team and not just the defense. It’s time to start holding an offensive line coach and offensive coordinator accountable for performances like the one we witnessed on Saturday. It’s time to start developing quarterbacks so that you don’t have five-star quarterbacks leaving the program and four-star QBs languishing on the bench while a gutty, gritty, slot receiver plays the position.

It also time to realize that you’re not going to defeat programs of equal or better talent with a staff that is putting in only part of the time required to get the job done. It’s not acceptable to have your opponents up toiling into the night to game-plan against you, while you and your coaches are at home watching the The Voice or America’s Got Talent. Being a college coach requires 16-hour days during the season; everyone entering the profession understands that. If coaches at BYU are unwilling to put in the time necessary to have the program compete at a higher level, then perhaps they should seek employment in another field.

Can anyone honestly say that Utah put better players on the field than BYU on Saturday? Did they last year? If the answer is no, one must conclude that the Utes are getting better coaching and are better prepared.

Bronco Mendenhall and his staff deserve tremendous credit and admiration for rescuing the BYU football program after Gary Crowton ran it aground. But this program is not currently progressing and it hasn’t really progressed for a few years now. The time has come to take a good, long, honest look at where this program actually is and ask some hard questions.

There is an elephant in the room and somebody needs to say so.

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  • Doddy Trumble said:


  • Hoax said:

    Absolutely spot-on. This program needs to take a step forward. Enough with the rhetoric and the pointing to # of wins vs mediocre teams. Utah, TCU, Boise State, etc have all taken steps forward as programs the last decade to compete with the upper tier of college football and even expect to win.
    BYU typically loses to the point where it’s expected.
    It’s time for this program to move forward.
    Changes need to be made.

  • BYU_Randall said:

    Fantastic article. This article sums up what many, many attentive BYU fans have concluded. We can do better. If Mendenhall can’t or won’t do what it takes…hit the road jack. We are squandering what should be a better era of BYU football.

  • Jason said:

    My family and I discussed this exact same thing yesterday. Our conclusion was that Bronco has hit his peak and has taken this team as far as he can, but that the program is possible of achieving more.

    I have been in Bronco’s camp for the longest time but this past weekend reality set in that he has passed his prime… I wish it wasn’t so because I don’t know if there is a better option out there that would coach at BYU than him.

    This was a game that was a “Must Win” but I am unsure if the coaching staff felt the same. BYU always comes out FLAT against Utah and has to try and climb out of it. Our conversation continued how it just seems there is a lot of lack of preparation and that they even had an extra week with playing Weber the week before.

    You stat above 1-8 against Utah and TCU since 2008 says it all…

  • Kenny Scott said:

    Frustrating to see us with a very talented group of guys and to see that kind of poor execution. Very frustrating.

    I don’t see us winning close games with such terrible O-line play; this is why USC lost to Stanford on Saturday as well. Our O-line was predictably eaten alive by Star. Even so, the cougs had no business losing that game. Too many similarities to 54-10.

    I don’t think BYU will be able to beat Boise on Thursday.

  • Thrillington said:

    Fair enough points. This is what we’re all thinking after losing to the Utes again. But if not Bronco, who? Who out there is better than Bronco? Don’t throw out Andy Reid — it’s not going to happen. And I always laughed when people used to throw Mike Leach’s name around. Anyway, I’m not saying there isn’t a better fit for the program out there who fits all the requirements, but who is he? Let’s hear some names.

  • Scuba said:

    Couldn’t agree more. Sorry to disrupt your schedule, Bronco, let’s get back to planning the firesides…

  • Martin said:


    I am so glad there are people like you who are willing to say what needs to be said. I have been a die-hard, loyal BYU fan for over 30 years now and it is getting harder and harder for me to do that with pride where I live in Salt Lake county because of performances like the one we witnessed on Saturday night. Performances that the ENTIRE COUNTRY witnessed!! Is this the kind of “exposure” that Holmoe, Samuelson and the Brethren want for BYU because the only kind of exposure BYU has gotten since going independent has been getting exposed on national TV as an overrated team full of undisciplined and unmotivated players who can’t perform under the bright lights of big games. I don’t mean all the players. There were several players, particularly on the defense, who played brilliantly, but there were far too many who looked like deer in the headlights all night and showed zero emotion or swagger. I don’t care what Bronco says, or anybody else for that matter, this team was NOT PREPARED for that game and it showed. They were not prepared mentally, emotionally or schematically to beat Utah on their home field in front of an extremely hostile crowd. This is absolutely inexcusable after the humiliation Bronco and his team received at the hands of the Utes last year in Provo. This game should have been circled on the calendar a year ago and Bronco and his staff should have been working on a game plan to atone for that embarassing loss for months. If they have and what we saw on Saturday was the result of it then there is nothing left that needs to be said other than who should Bronco’s replacement be? We get one more shot at Utah in Provo next year before the rivalry takes a two year hiatus, perhaps never to return, and if Bronco cannot deliver a win then it is time to let him go. Coincidentally, next year also happens to be the last year on his thankfully short 3 year contract extension, and another extension ought to be absolutely conditional on beating Utah next year. As for Doman, he should be on the hot seat now, and Weber should be dismissed without delay. I am sorry if that sounds harsh but it is what needs to be done if this program is going to survive, let alone thrive, as an FBS independent in the rapidly changing landscape of college football.

  • byuhockey said:

    I believe we are seeing the effects of an offense that for whatever reason (no talent? no guts? no glory?) does not have all the pieces and cannot put it all together against real BSC (sic) competition. The offensive line is not ready or skilled enough apparently. That’s why Heaps left the program. The o-line could not and then eventually would not give 100% for an underclassman. Matt Reynolds admitted it last year that the oline played through the whistle for nelson which effectively he was saying they did not play 100% for Heaps. Nelson ,a backup QB at best, struggles, panics looks to run, now gets shut down by good defenses and then desperately throws a horrible pickable ball. Yes he has leadership and yes he has tenacity but that won’t win ballgames when a team can shut down his wheels. Nelson is a Div 2 QB at best. We are now seeing my point that i have made over and over in the past that coaching is suspect on offense. The Utah game is the BYU litmus test for coaches and players every year – thus this article even being posted. The rest of the season will prove or disprove the initial experiment. I suspect Boise state will spank us and then we will get mowed down by ND and GT. Utah State and Oregon State could also be losses. I hope I am wrong.
    I will be the first one to say it…Doman has the qualities to become a good coach but he was NOT ready for the big time. Utah is facing the same dilemma with Brian Johnson. In true RM cougar fashion now that Heaps was accused of, these coaches did not go down off the mountain and earn (Aussie accent from Man from Snowy River) the right to live up here….

  • spamdawg said:

    I think by the end of the 2013 season we will know what we really have in Bronco and this coaching staff. We don’t need to hit the panic button yet but we will know if changes need to be made then.

  • byuhockey said:

    well said Martin…Doman has to go along with Weber and I dare say Reynolds….

  • Steve-O said:

    Hate to say it Brett, but you are absolutely right. I was commenting to a friend of mine during halftime that the run-up-the-middle plays against one of the premier D-lines in the country HAD to be a ploy, that they were softening up the defense to start running sweep outs with a mobile quarterback to get away from Star. But no, of course not-it was just another example of Doman’s pathetic inability to make adjustments and try and win. Wasn’t it Einstein that said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?

    Ultimately, Taysom looks like a special talent, I am just floored by his athleticism and accuracy… could be scary in one package like him. But we need to have better coaches that will push him, make him become the talent we need him to be. I think Beaps could have worked out, if the entire coaching staff hadn’t treated him like he was the golden child-you know he had never suffered adversity.

    So disappointing. And I have way too many Ute friends, I will be reliving this nightmare for 3 more bloody years!

  • Jeffrey said:

    I echo the above sentiments from others. Thank you for being bold enough to print what many of us fans have been trying to express for the past couple of years. I do appreciate the level of honor and respect that Bronco has brought back to the program. It is a far cry from the Crowton days. The defense is one of the best in the history of BYU and has been fun to watch since he retook the reigns in 2010. The offense on the other hand is a train wreck waiting to happen. The love affair with gritty and tough is aggravating when as you stated there players severely underdeveloped or ignored that could possibly do better.
    He either needs to step down as HC and be the DC, or really be the head coach and kick some offense butt despite ‘not being an offensive mind’. We don’t need an offensive mind as a head coach, just someone that sticks his nose into the business of the offense enough to keep coaches on edge.

  • Coogswin said:

    spamdawg…what will we learn by the end of 2013? oh…you’re a ute fan and want him around one more year to spank. Good job!

    We know enough now. He is more interested in being home with his family, coaches/players home with their families than prepping for the games.

    i am a business owner and work 50-60 hours a week 50 weeks out of the year. i still put family as #1, but, i can’t support a family making work priority #5. I think bronco may soon find out he can’t either.

    We are already handicapped by not practicing (even reviewing film, team meetings, etc) on Sunday. the rest of the college teams use Sunday for some prep for upcoming games. We are already behind by Monday morning. So, instead of shorter practices M-F we should be doing as long as we can to get caught up.

  • El Jefe said:

    What was our offensive gameplan? I’m not real sure what the strategy was for the byu offense. The defense kept us in it, but I would like to know what Doman was trying to do.

  • Jason said:


    Curious as to what you think should be done. Looks like O-line coach might be a given?? How short is the leash getting with Doman and Bronco? Also, is there any potential replacements that could produce what Bronco is producing… Tough to say, but I kind of miss Anae’s offense..

  • Trey said:

    Another reality check… Do you really think we can do better than Bronco Mendenhall?

    He has been an excellent example of what BYU is and stands for. We are the only program that has higher priorities than just winning football games. This is evidenced by things like Thursdays heroes, firesides before games, other community and service efforts, and the team baptism rate. This is what our board of trustees, aka the prophets and apostles of the Church, care most about. Bronco has righted the ship, as the biggest problem the Crowton era saw was not the losing records, but undisciplined players being convicted in rape cases that drew national media attention. That is not happening under Bronco’s watch.

    The reason we hate seeing our rivalry beat us is because they are so classless. It would have been poetic justice if we had pulled out a win after the blocked field goal “band is on the field” play. Instead, I saw a defeated Riley Nelson humbly stand up from the ball holder position and a bunch of classless ute fans and players swarm him and get in his face to mock him.

    That hurts… hurts to watch. Can’t imagine how Riley and our other team members felt.

    Yet at the same time, I took pride in seeing the representatives of my alma mater stand up straight and quietly walk of the field with dignity. At the moment I thought, “Sure glad I’m not a Ute fan!”

    This made me take a long look in the mirror. I vented my frustrations this morning about the game, but now it’s time to get over it. I’ve been letting this game, this season, this sport mean way too much to me. It has consumed me. I get all wrapped up in it. It has affected my performance at work, church, and home. In the long run, it’s just a dumb game. Where have my priorities gone? How could I have invested so much into one lousy game.

    Time to take a page out of Bronco’s book and relax. There are a lot more important things than college football in this world.

    Has BYU football reached its ceiling under Bronco Mendenhall? Maybe… Yet I see great things happening every year. Exposure has tremendously increased. I can watch every game. We still get ranked every year, so others respect BYU.

    Bronco still wants to become a top 10 team, so I think the answer is No. We have yet to reach Bronco’s ceiling.

    Don’t run him out. We need him.

  • Mars said:

    If only we could go back to Gary Crowton…

  • BYUTexan said:

    Our coaching staff needs to go. All this lack of preparation rests on Bronco’s shoulders, time for him to step down.

  • KeyLimeSoda said:

    No doubt that things are different under Mendenhall. Lavell never had return missionaries as QBs—Bronco only has return missionaries as QBs. Lavell was given a lot of latitude with regards to church and school standards, but after the Crowton issues, Bronco and the administration cracked down hard with Bronco. They even do firesides now for gosh sakes—that was not on Lavell’s agenda.

    I agree with the article that Bronco was the right guy to recover us from the disaster that was the Crowton era. He runs the program very similar to a military academy, with limited recruiting and always with an eye to “higher priorities”. I don’t think Bronco knows how to handle or develop real talent. Can you imagine Bronco ever starting a guy like Jim McMahon, or putting Ty Detmer on the field as a freshman?

    I tell you now–Jake Heaps did not reach his potential under Bronco, and neither will Taysom Hill. Nelson reached his potential, but his ceiling is so low…

    It’s easy to see how we could do better than Bronco (Lavell, Wittingham), but Crowton also made it easy to see how we could do much worse. I don’t think the team will get to the next level with Bronco as coach. Whether or not the administration wants the program to play on that next level, or just play it safe is still an open question. What would you do?

  • Jason said:

    I dare say that during the Lavell era there were many baptisms that happened (Ty Detmer) in addition to community service type activities. I am unsure if the team held Firesides. But what I do know that happened were there were a National Championship, a Heisman, Davey O’brien award, and a winning record against our rival, etc…

    Bronco is not the only coach out there that will represent the school in a manner that pleases the Brethren. The question though it WHO else is out there?

  • Rich said:

    Entirely too reactionary.

    First of all, BYU’s defense is absolutely amazing. So, they are getting excellent coaching on the defensive side of the ball.

    Second, the season is young. BYU lost to a very good team. When you look at Utah, it’s almost like looking in the mirror. They are struggling offensively, but their defense is ferocious and feared. They lost a game they feel they shouldn’t have to a good team in the final seconds. They certainly bounced back nicely. No reason BYU won’t do the same Thursday.

    Third, the offense is still a work in progress. The OLine is young but getting better. BYU ran for over 100 yards against what the Deseret News termed the best front four in America. Riley is who he is. Should Hill be playing more? Yes, but it was the rivalry game. We’ll see more of him as the year goes along.

    Yes, Bronco needs to hold the offensive coaches accountable for what’s happening on that side of the ball. However, didn’t we just go through a new set of coaches when the fans demanded change? BYU simply got rid of one set of problems offensively for a new set of problems. I’m not sure it was even an upgrade, but it is what the fans wanted.

    Overall, I’m surprised to see BYU fans overreact the way they are. There is no need for change yet.

    Get back to me if they go 7-5 this year. I won’t plan on it, though. This is another great 10-2 team.

  • Trey said:


    LaVell was able to alter the course of college football with his forward passing game, and his new offense led to much success and even one national championship game. However, his teams would get crushed in today’s college football, as they did just prior to LaVell’s retirement.

    While there were still baptisms during his time, there was much more shady stuff going on with football players and the honor code. I don’t blame Edwards for that, but I do believe that that was one of the main things Holmoe and Mendenhall were charged with fixing. Of course, I could be wrong. While Edwards and his wife accomplished many great things for the college football players and coaching community, Mendenhall has done more for the broader community.

    Everyone is just emotional because we lost to the Utes again, and it sucks to lose to them. There once was a time that the Utes were almost an afterthought because they had such a horrible program. Now that they are pretty good, we fans care again.

    This is a good thing. Maybe next year we can return the favor of the crowd noise.

  • Dwight Cornell said:

    You all need to accept that fact that BYU would have had no business winning had it turned out that way.
    Riley Nelson is not a quarterback, and he is not a very good passer at all and I also do not see us winning on Thursday night, if it was in Provo I would say we would.
    I am ready to see more Lark and Hill now, that is how I feel about it.

  • Hass16 said:

    I really hop this doesn’t come off as holier-than-thou, but I feel like it needs to be said. I’m a life-long cougar fan and the imploding against Utah tears my heart out every time, but I think the success (or lack thereof) of the football program needs to be put into context.

    BYU is unlike any other FBS program in the country, in that it is the flagship university for the LDS church and is expected to carry itself accordingly. While I’ve never had this confirmed, I’ve been told that the BYU head football coach interviews with an apostle before a job offer is extended. I have a feeling that during that interview, the topic of the top priority of the football team is brought up; and I would imagine it’s not being ranked in the top 10, or even ending every year ranked, but positive exposure for the Church and its mission.

    Do wins help that exposure? Absolutely, but I can’t imagine a member of another faith saying to himself, “I might have let those missionaries in the door had BYU gone to a BCS game or two, but man, after watching them get handled on ESPN, I’m just not interested.” On the other hand, when people remember the Brandon Davies situation and how well it was handled by both BYU and Davies himself, the Church is definitely seen in a positive light.

    The losing season certainly played a part in Crowton getting fired ERRRRRR resigning, but I have to think the scandals that were taking place due to him bringing in players unwilling to live the honor code were just as big a reason.

    Please don’t misunderstand, I love to see BYU win and hate to see them lose, especially games they have no business losing. But I think every BYU fan who accepts the mission of the Church and therefore the school has to understand that wins aren’t the top priority. I’d rather cheer for a team that struggles against decent competition but upholds it’s own standards in order to appropriately represent the Church of Jesus Christ than a perennial top 10 team that compromises those standards in the name of success.

    Go ahead and call me naive or a sheep, but I believe when the football team is seen in that light, Bronco has been incredibly successful and I will support him though thick and thin.

    Go Cougars!

  • Realistic Optimist said:

    We now seem to have two main objectives at BYU with the football program.

    1. Promote the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints through the football
    program and the exposure that it brings through ESPN and BYUtv.

    2. Win as many games as possible while promoting the Church and the Missionary

    While the intentions are good, there are some glaring problems.

    1. Most people do not like the hard sale. They like the freedom to shop at their
    leisure without a sales person constantly on them to buy something.

    2. The exposure is only good when the team is winning. When the team is not
    winning, the exposure is more harmful the helpful.

    3. At home or abroad, when a football coach shows that he is more interested in
    telling other coaches how they should coach and what values they should have,
    this gives a negative assessment for our proud University.

    4. When football is listed as somewhere around 5th or 6th in importance in the
    scheme of things, it is time to get a new coach.

    5. In my opinion, the words “fireside chat”, “Band of Brothers” and other cute
    slogans just doesn’t cut it when used as a substitue for coaching to win.

    6. In appreciation for what some coaches try to do for what they truly feel is good for the Church, they should be rewarded with a good Church position, be in a Bishop or Mission President or even something different, and in his place, get a professional Coach to Coach the team to win the games, and let the missionary work be the duty of the missionaries whom already do an excellent job.

  • josh said:

    No matter what happens coach Weber has got to go he is not getting it done. Look at whats happened since he was hired the offensive line has really fallen apart. I was really hoping that Bronco would come out today and announce that coach Weber was fired and that Coach Reynolds was taking over the offensive line coaching. I also would of liked to hear that Bronco was resigning as head coach and taking over as defensive coordinator. At least with how hes coaching now we don’t have to worry about any one trying to steal him away.

  • ccgj said:

    I have been a die hard Cougar fan for some time and I can’t thank Bronco enough for what he has done to restore this program, its honor, tradition, and strength, from the train wreck that was the Gary Crowton days. Just today I read an article about one of the former Crowton players charged with murder in Texas. He was one of the infamous few at the “off-campus” party / rape / crime scene. Those were dark days for BYU Football & BYU Athletics. I am overjoyed that they are, now, distant memories. The reconnection with the traditional BYU Football logo (stretched Y), tradition, and success has been remarkable and made me proud to be an alumnus. I credit that return to Bronco & his staff and I offer a heartfelt “Thank You.”

    That said, we didn’t hire Bronco to just return the “feel good” part of the program, we hired him to return the “success” part of the program as well. I will note that he has been very “consistent” with his overall W-L, but we are constantly losing to the same teams. AND THEY ARE THE TEAMS THAT MATTER!

    Bronco makes CEO money, but wants to put in hourly effort. He wants to teach the players balance, to be balanced people. The problem is that CEO’s are NOT balanced people. They don’t have hobbies. They don’t have time. They are being paid to give up their hobbies and make the company successful. That’s why they make CEO money. Bronco prides himself on being home during the season at a normal hour and then talks about winning a National Championship. Ask Nick Saban about the hours he works during the season. He has a couple of National Championships, so he can tell us. Coach Saban will also tell you that not ALL games are created equal. He circles games on the schedule every year. I promise, Coach Saban and staff are working on the LSU game long before the week of the LSU game.

    Which brings me to the coaching staff. Bronco prides himself on having the coaching staff home at a normal hour during the season as well. What? We have Brandon Doman calling the same option play 10 times in the Utah game, and it only gained 6 yards all night! SIX!! When the commentators wonder aloud, on air, why on earth that one is still on the play chart, perhaps our OC should be paying attention. I think Doman can be a good OC, he just needed a few more years learning offensive theory under a real OC before he took the reigns. I really believe the players think of Brandon Doman more as a peer than a coach. I don’t know that, but I get that sense. I hope I’m wrong. Players do things for a coach they respect that they wouldn’t do for a buddy.

    Which brings me to the players. The players are taught that football is the fourth priority in their schedule. How on earth does this make sense? The University is PAYING the players (in the form of scholarships) to be football players. Instead of having to work to put themselves through school, we are compensating them with free tuition, books, and board to focus ALL of that time, and priority, on playing football. How is football not their FIRST priority?

    We are in an AMAZING position to make some real noise nationally. The contract with ESPN, the national installed fan base, the incredible tradition we have, and the fact that we have traditionally travelled very well should make us a juicy target for a plethora of leagues around us. We are SQUANDERING this opportunity by consistently laying eggs in the big games. It needs to stop. It MUST stop. We are losing the fan base war with the University of Utah. We are losing the recruit war as well. We cannot continue to get beat by the only real competitor for in-state talent and expect that talent to chose BYU.

    I’m really frustrated. Really, really frustrated. I’m just glad there are others that agree with me.

  • Trey said:

    Realistic Optimist,

    The University’s goals are not to convert people through the football program, or ESPN. The point is that the football team should encapsulate the same standards that the Church has. First and foremost, we do not compromise on these standards to win football games.

    Does this mean that we will be a perennial good but not great team? Yes most of the time. However, there will be seasons that will be special. Our recruiting has improved not declined. I believe that will continue to be the case in the near future. And having 10-2 seasons with top 25 rankings is an envy of the nation, even if those 10 teams are against “lesser” opponents. Very few programs can produce that consistently, even programs that belong to the great conferences (Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Tennessee and South Carolina until recently, etc.)

    You can say a lot of things about Bronco, but you can’t say he isn’t a professional coach. He is all professional, sometimes to a fault. He treats the players the best way he can, and he never allows his emotions to get in the way. Our players are never publicly humiliated. Unlike Whittingham who threw his entire team under the bus after the USU loss. That what fans do, not professional coaches.

    Also, your number 6 point is borderline apostate and belongs on a Ute board, not here.

  • Steve-O said:


    Borderline apostate? Are you insane? You are what makes BYU a laughing stock among serious academic institutions-so self-righteous and church-centric that an honest assessment of Bronco makes you fly off the “apostate” handle, it’s pathetic. RO is right-if Bronco wants to pay more attention to the fireside chats than he does to game film and getting his coaches in line, we need to find someone that will do what’s needed to win. Bronco is a great guy, but I think he’s proving he’s not a great coach.

  • Trey said:


    “We” didn’t hire him. Who’s to say what the conditions were that the board of trustees required when they hired him? For all we know he has exceeded their expectations and will get a contract renewal for a very long time.

  • Nathan Mathews said:

    I don’t know what the correct answer is, but I do know that I would rather win 10 games a year than have the type of team that California has had the past 5 years, even if that means I am in the top-10 of having the most alumni in the NFL – http://espn.go.com/blog/pac12/post/_/id/45123/usc-cal-among-top-10-producing-nfl-players

  • Trey said:


    That was in regard to the comment about being rewarded with a church calling. Are you insane?

  • Joel said:

    Trey and Haas16 hit it on the head – When it comes down do the details, Bronco’s first charge is to positively represent the church. His final interview was with Elder Eyring, and football wasn’t even brought up. BYU gets plenty of spotlight whether winning or losing, it’s Bronco’s job to make sure that spotlight isn’t laced with controversy.

    If you really want to rally behind a team that has football as the number 1 priority, it’s time to move on to another school. That will never, ever, ever happen at BYU.

    Also Brett, Bronco hardly spends his nights home early watching TV. He’s gone at 6am and home very late every night, and then on Sunday’s he’s on the High Council speaking. Is that calling a little much given his job? Probably, but I don’t recall any exceptions in the Gospel that say *unless you’re the BYU football coach.

    Be proud of how Bronco and the team represent the church and the good qualities of the Gospel.

  • Catmanblue said:

    Where does Bronco place football on his priority list? Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by the team’s lack of achievement in big games.

    Have any players that Bronco signed gone on to play in the NFL? Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by the inability of our current players to overcome ineffective offensive game plans.

    Bronco has many strengths, and they have allowed him to right a foundering ship, vastly increase revenues, and give the Church a program they don’t need to worry about. But if he wants a program that shines on the field as well as off the field, he will need to grow.

    Bronco may need to take a page from LaVell Edward’s list of strengths. LaVell was able to recruit great talent and great coaches. Then, and this may have been his greatest talent, he knew how to manage the enormous egos that sometimes came with that talent.

    Can Bronco lay aside his aversion to big talents with bigger egos and use their talents to his advantage? Can he learn to recruit them to BYU? Can he learn to demand more of his coaches without compromising his own values (as Edwards masterfully did)? Can he learn to put a greater emphasis on winning—and then communicate that to everyone in the program?

    Although Coach Edwards was soft-spoken on the field and a bishop at home, he is revered in Cougardom because he won big games. The stadium is named after him because he won a national championship. And people (like me) are still writing about him because he was the greatest coach BYU ever had. Bronco is still young as head coaches go. Can he learn to put football, and winning, higher on his priority list? Can he make demands on others he has been reluctant to make? Can he live with extremely talented trouble-makers who actually improve his program?

    If he can, he may eventually join LaVell on the list of BYU’s best coaches, but right now there is a vast gulf between them.

  • Realistic Optimist said:

    Thank you Steve O.

    Trey, I respect your right to disagree. We all have that right. There is no need to have name calling, “Insane/Apostate/etc. There is no need to lecture to us with your differene of opinion. We all belong to the same club. We all love our BYU Cougars. Just voice your opinion without the lecturing and name calling. Thank you RO

  • Cougz said:

    BYU certainly has it’s share of issues, but I believe that as a team Utah did have better players on the field. The Utes have clearly won the instate recruiting battle the past three years and they get speed that will not close to live the code at BYU. A team of RM’s are great people, but will never take us to a national title.

  • Trey said:


    Steve-O called me “insane” so I was quoting him.

    I didn’t call you anything. I said your comment was borderline apostate.

    Sorry that you don’t want the lecture, but I stand by what I said. Your comment about coaches getting rewarded with a church calling when they do things to serve the church was exactly what I said it was. What do you think that looks like to BYU fans who are not members of the Church?

  • Teddy Baer said:

    Didn’t a bunch of us predict an 11-2 or 10-3 season, with most people conceding the fact that BYU would lose at least 2 of the 4 tough road games this year? As far as I can tell, this is classic overreaction Monday, and until they’ve lost those 3 or 4 tough road games, we can’t jump to conclusions. What happens if they go up to Boise and pull out the upset, over a team that is probably better than Utah? Personally, I don’t think it will happen – the turnaround time after such an emotional loss I think will be too much to handle – but we find out in three short days. However until they play that game and lose, I think everyone is jumping the gun. Maybe this conversation is better suited for Friday of this week rather than today when the results are in.

    Don’t get me wrong – that was a frustrating, gut-wrenching game to watch and after getting over the shock of almost pulling off another miracle (or at least getting a chance to pull it off by going to OT), I though that they deserved to lose given all the opportunities they squandered. But until they have another loss under their belt and this turns into a classic season which they follow the same pattern of beating who they are supposed to beat and losing who they are supposed to lose to, I think everyone just needs to simmer down. Don’t let the wagon run you over after jumping off!

  • Teddy Baer said:

    I also don’t get the accusations that these coaches aren’t putting in the time necessary. Do you see their time cards? Monitor when they walk in and out of the office every day? Or you’re just assuming that because we lost, they must not be working hard enough? How does the number of hours work by coaches correlate to players having issues with ball security? Players are allowed to practice, what, 20 hours a week? I just don’t understand how some can pass judgement on a persons work ethic. Of course I want to think these coaches work hard, and maybe there are some slackers, but just putting forth theories without basis seems irresponsible.

  • Jonathan said:

    I think you hit it right there. Mendenhall needs to coach the whole team more if nobody else will do it.

  • Shirley Rees said:

    I’m an avid BYU fan, but I was so disgusted watching Riley Nelson’s third rate attempt as a quarterback, I went to bed. I can’t believe he was given the job over Jake Heap! Could it be because Brandon Doman helped make the decision since he was a running quarterback, though MUCH better than Nelson? The other quarterbacks need to be given practice time. Nelson is not up to the task.
    I think Bronco is a great defensive coach and head coach. The defense plays very well. I don’t suppose Ty Detmer could be persuaded to be offensive and quarterback coach.
    I love football and BYU. I’m an 83yr old gandma, so I don’t claim to be an expert. Oh, and don’t you have spell check?

  • SoCal Cougar said:

    Brett, I was surpised with the article because you are usually more positive on things. I was very disappointed with the game and am probably still not over it, but it was more about getting beat by looking like we weren’t prepared than because we lost. I won’t go into it because most of the comments above have more than stated most of our feelings (on both sides).

    But…I have a few honest questions for those at the game. On TV we couldn’t see what the defense was doing. So if anyone has answers to the following, I’d love to hear your opinion:
    1) Why didn’t we run more misdirection plays? It seems like the touchdown was the only misdirection where we blocked one way and threw it back the other.
    2) Why didn’t we have any screens or other types of plays to take advantage of the agressiveness of the defensive line? I can’t remember one attempted screen.
    3) Why didn’t we attempt more throws downfield? Utah attempted numerous ones that I feel opened the field for them. I don’t remember us trying any until the very end of the game on the 4th down throw.
    4) What happened to Apo in the game? It seemed that beyond Hoffman and maybe Friel and Faslev, our receivers disappeared. There was a special teams play on the punt from our end zone that I thought I saw Apo being passed by several bigger players in trying to run it down. Was he just playing lazy or is he hurt?

  • Teddy Baer said:

    Also, I’m calling out Baerman. He bore testimony that BYU would win, he knew it with every fiber of his being! It almost makes me think the Church isn’t true any more :).

  • Matt said:

    This article is spot on. What we need for a football coach is what the basketball team has in Coach Rose and what Lavell was. Your job, Bronco, is to win games and don’t do anything to bring shame on the program/school. YOU ARE NOT A MISSION PRESIDENT! This admin (Tom, Cecil, Bronco) has woefully underachieved and put the school on an island, conference and recruiting wise–and they must go.

  • Gary said:

    Some serious questions:

    For those who mock Bronco’s “football should be 5th” philosophy please tell me where it should be? If you include God, Wife, Family, Schooling, Church responsibilities etc. Which one of those is less important than playing football???? Some posts have claimed that football should be number one?

    For those who revere Lavell and what he did – so do I. But I am realistic enough to realize his schedule every year was nothing compared to what BYU plays. Go back and look at his schedule from 1979 through the 80’s, his “glory years,” and you will find an average of one BCS caliber team on the schedule and often it was a team that had a poor year. You will also find that we lost more of those games than we won.

    Lavell lived off of the very kind of games we now play in November, games that today’s fans are unwilling to attend and complain about. No one back in Lavell’s day complained about beating UTEP 60-7, or the other patsies we played. Another one of those patsies? – Utah. That was never competitive.

    I can count on one hand the number of great teams Lavell beat in his career. Even our National Championship we beat a 6-5 Michigan team.

    Brett – what are the hours of the coaching staff? When Bronco talks about family being important and wanting to be sure coaches are not sleeping in their offices because they spend 20 hours per day on the job we automatically assume they work from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM???

    Bronco is not watching American Idol, he wants to win, he knows the Utah game is important and he gives his all to try and win it along with the rest of the coaching staff and players. Whittingham said this last week that they prepare for the rivalry game just like they do any other game. When they say that, what they are really saying is that they give their very upmost to prepare for, and win, every game they play. Is that so bad???

    We certainly can be emotional after losing to Utah.

  • John said:

    I have told people over the last few years that this coaching staff can not take the program to the next level. I think that was born out on Saturday. Heaps knew this. That’s why he left. The coaches didn’t have the know how to help him improve. Did you see Bronco’s face on National TV Saturday night? He was bewildered and didn’t have a clue about what to do. They need to get rid of Doman and Weber get some coaches who want to win. I wonder how it will be at the end of the season when we have lost to Boise State, Utah State, Hawii, Notre Dame, Oregon State, and Georgia Tech. Darn out of sight embarassing!

  • Phil Hoopes said:

    How about finding a coach who likes to talk to the press and has a personality to go with it? Goes with the territory. Also, what possessed Bronco to put his punter in to kick that easy field goal instead of his field goal kicker?? Brilliant! No second guessing there. But maybe he didn’t want to play on Sunday??

  • Nate W said:

    BYU needs the offensive line to play better, and this staff can make that happen. Maybe Weber needs to go, and Bronco will fire him if that’s the case.

    BYU needs Taysom Hill to be better than Riley Nelson. This staff can make that happen. They did fine developing Beck and Hall.

    BYU needs to protect the ball better. This staff can make that happen.

    That’s it. If you really want a new coach, John L. Smith will probably be available. He’ll get everyone fired up.

    Bronco is in the early portion of his 8th year as a head coach. At the end of 8 years, LaVell Edwards had not won a bowl game. Obviously not equal scenarios, but imagine if BYU had fired LaVell after 8 years because he could never, ever, win a bowl game.

  • KeyLimeSoda said:


    The comparison isn’t against Lavell anymore. At least not in my mind.

    The comparison is against similar programs. Schools with similar resources, access to talent, etc. This is not about being as good/bad as Lavell. This is about being on the level with Utah, TCU, Boise State, and other teams at our level.

    I have yet to see a legitimate reason why we couldn’t be as successful as Utah. Imagine if Witt had come to BYU and Bronco took the Utes job. Where would the two programs be? What does Boise State do that we don’t?

    Whether the answer is recruiting, player development or playcalling, the answer behind all of it is: coaching.

  • Jason said:

    Nobody knows Bronco’s hours that he puts in at the office. I think we can all attest that our mind is more fresh if we work a 40 hour week rather than a 60 hour week. If we are working fewer hours we need to be more effective though. I do however seem to recall Bronco at one time mentioning he works shorter hours to be home with his Family and allow his coaches to be home with his family as well.

    The D is solid and that is where Bronco has been focused on. He needs to spend the time to be able to micro the offensive coaches as well.Sadly Doman has been a disappointment so far…

    Our past 3 wins were Beck to Harline. 4th and 18 and By George… 3 games decided by one signature plays.. This worries me. When was the last time Utah had a better QB??? Alex Smith… When was the last time they had a better WR… ??? don’t know.. When was the last time they had a better TE… ??? Don’t know… When was the last time they had a better RB… Probably John White IV and he didn’t even play…

    They have always had a better D however. It’s not as if there is a huge gap in talent and especially in the skilled positions… The Gap is in the coaching…

    I like what CCJG said earlier about Nick Saban. He has also destroyed Auburn except when they had Scam Newton.

  • seasider said:


    You can criticize Bronco for a lot of things but questioning his work ethic and that of his coaching staff is a low blow and an unfounded one at that. Effective coaching is not about how many more hours one coach spends burning the midnight oil over the other. The whole how many hours or how many practice sessions nitpicking is just childish and silly.

    I get that we’re all ticked after losing to Utah for the 3rd time a row and there are definitely things that need to change but I don’t see the program in bad a shape as you’re making it out to be.

  • Jimmerfan said:

    I don’t agree with this article at all. Bronco has a better winning percentage than the legend our stadium is named after, and Bronco has probably faced a stiffer schedule than him. I agree with the statement that BYU should be beating quality teams more than it does, but there is no arguing that Bronco has built a winning, stable, high-character organization. And no, this team has not hit its ceiling with Mendenhall. I think the rewards from independence will not be fully in place for a few more years, but then we will be glad where we are. Also, Brandon Doman will be an outstanding offensive coordinator. Some people just need to have PATIENCE. Why are we writing an article about how we should fire Bronco because of one game? If you look at LaVell’s win % and schedule, people would be wanting him fired after just a couple years if this is how we react to Bronco’s situation.

  • JaredS said:

    Perfectly put. Nobody can argue with anything in this article.

  • Ken said:

    You guys must all be kidding right? After one game you throw out Bronco? How many 10-game winning seasons? OK. You’re all recovering from a loss to the Utes. Get over it! I don’t like the Utes either and the loss pains me too but throw out Bronco? Give me a break! If the rest of the season is poor then we can talk. Besides, why not throw out Riley? He’s the one who decided to play with a bad back.

    Give Bronco a break. He’s a great coach and the team may just win the rest of their games.

  • c4tm4nblu3 said:

    @Hass16 – you’re correct that potential investigators won’t turn away the missionaries because of a poor performance by the BYU football team. However, the reason that wins really matter is that we won’t be seen often or at all if the product we put on the field is poor quality. To use your example, the Brandon Davies story wouldn’t have hardly been noticed if our BBall team wasn’t winning and therefore in the spotlight. Think of how much anyone knows about the Utah basketball team or players right now. I’m certainly not suggesting that our FB performance is at the same pathetic level as Utah basketball, but you miss the point in thinking the that poor performance turns people away from the church; rather it makes us more obscure so the church becomes a non-issue.

  • Mike said:

    Say goodbye to your media access. This sounds like an article written at the height of anger as opposed to a well thought out response. Way to take advantage of an angry fan base. Fan bases are unrealstic and BYU fans are no different. They expect you to win all the games you should win, and all the games you shouldn’t win. They Expect undefeated seasons each year. Utah seems to show more fire for this game, because they have had to. They came from irrelevance. Every year, the only game that mattered to them was the BYU game. they could be 5-5 but if they beat BYU it is a successful season. I think it’s time some BYU fans should find a new team. Find a team that will do whatever is necessary to win a national title. Whatever is necessary. Follow USC,Oregon,LSU,Alabama. They have proven they will do what it takes. If the only way for you to find happiness is for BYU to win a national title, you are in for a disappointing life. If you don’t like a team that has firesides, that does community service, that doesn’t think football is the most important thing in life, choose a new team. This is obviously the direction BYU has chosen to take. Do you really thing the 12 apostles will fire Bronco for not winning enough games? Do you think they are not ecstatic with the young men Bronco is turning out? Do you think they don’t have an eternal perspective that is about more than winning football games? Do you think winning a national title, and being undefeated is the only way this football team brings exposure to the church?

  • BigCougar said:

    wow, Brett, I didn’t think you had it in you. My feelings exactly. Amen to that brother!

    I’m sure there will be some who call for the HC’s head. The flip side to that is that there aren’t a lot of qualified candidates available to take the job. I think it’s clear to see that Kyle has been the better head coach but he’s not going to leave a Pac12 job for the BYU job when he could’ve had it in 2005.

    There are a lot of other LDS football coaches out there but how many are active enough to pass an interview with the brethren and good enough to do a better job than Bronco has? I think that’s a pretty short list. There are a lot of question marks out there.

    Andy Reid? No, doubt he’d leave the NFL anytime soon.

    Mike Leach? not active enough

    Brandon Doman? Not ready and maybe not a good candidate based on his handling of the offense.

    Lance REynolds? unknown, but was passed over for the job when they gave it to Bronco.

    Kalani Sitake? He might take the job but it’s doubtful he’s ready.

    One potential HC could be Navy’s HC Ken Niumatalolo. He has a track record of success and is an offensive minded coach but his success has been at running the option. That’s definitely not a good fit for BYU.

    Dave Campos?
    Maybe. He has HC experience in the NFL, has been a very successful DC and position coach in the NFL.

    Washed out at Louisville

    Charlie Stubbs?
    a longshot. Longtime OC at numerous schools: offensive coordinator at numerous schools including University of Alabama (1998-2000; 1999 SEC Offensive Coordinator of the Year). Most recently he’s the HC at Nicholls St. He was on Lavell’s staff at BYU in the early 80’s including the National Championship year.

    The list of replacements for Bronco is pretty short and not very glamorous.

  • John said:

    Man- great points. When was the last time we finished the season ranked under Bronco or went to consecutive bowl games? How about those honor code violations year after year! Why does Bronco care more about his players than the fans. All of these are huge indictments against him! Oh wait, we have consistently been one of the top 25 programs in the country for the past 7 years? There have been no major honor code violations? We go to a bowl game every year? Bronco has contributed to helping change young mens’ lives forever? Yeah, the dude’s got to go.

  • Luke said:

    I am disappointed by this article, and by some of the responses — for the first time in my years on this cite. I am a huge BYU fan in part because BYU values some things (faith in God, family, loving your neighbor) as more important than football. If BYU starts acting like any other university, then really, what’s the point?

    Of course, I understand we have the right to question the football program. Putting a good team out there is part of the coaches’ job description. I myself have maintained before in comments on this cite, and still maintain, that Doman may be a great guy, but I have never thought he was a good offensive coordinator and hiring him was a mistake — and I said that while a lot of folks were singing his praises and overlooking potential issues. (And good call on the lack of screens, SoCal Cougar). But about the whole “working hard” issue — I will paraphrase Tony Dungy, who was constantly denied coaching jobs early in his career because he was too “nice.” After he finally got that job and lost an early playoff game, he was asked something like “does this prove that nice can’t work?” And he said, “no…it doesn’t prove anything. If I win next time, you’ll be saying that nice does work.”

    Well, I think it’s super that Bronco lives and teaches that stuff is more important than football, personally. And if he goes 13-0 and wins a national title someday, everyone will be talking about how it’s possible to win the right way. And he just might do that, if we give him enough time.

    I’d also like to note that, while it isn’t too early to think about a new OC (in fact, it’s probably too late), it’s really WAY too early to think about “ceilings” and such for Bronco. He’s a great coach by almost any measure. Let’s don’t make the same mistake that my alma mater, Baylor, made (and I was one of the young eager folks who wanted him fired, too) in getting rid of Grant Teaff after we went 7-5 and had another Bluebonnet ball game. Let’s instead be like Virginia Tech, which stuck with Frank Beamer through some rough times and was richly rewarded in the long term. (And I agree with someone who said let’s at least wait and see how the season goes first! If we go 12-1 we’ll feel a lot differently. Of course, that seems immensely improbable to me, but still…I’d like to wait.)

    Don’t get me wrong — that was a gut-wrenching loss, and I felt the exact same as everyone else. It was one of the most important games in BYU history (and maybe THE most important game that did not occur in 1984), and we absolutely flopped. Of course it’s infuriating. (I actually symbolically “buried” my BYU mini-helmet after the game, because that’s how I felt about the program!) But let’s not lose our heads, really. I think I’m just going to attribute it to Monday-morning furor and hope that we all settle down a bit by Thursday.

    And I appreciated the many of you who expressed that football isn’t the be-all in life — I struggle with that, too. Trey, I appreciate your willingness to discuss these issues in particular. Go Cougars!

  • Jeffrey said:

    It’s amazing how this conversation has evolved. Many are chastising Brett for calling for Mendenhall’s job, that LaVell would have been fired, etc. The article did ask what other team’s would allow their coach to be around after posting a weak record against their rivals, but it also recommended that Bronco coach the whole team by nature of the effectiveness of the defense. Brett is primarily holding the offensive staff’s feet to the fire. Two years in a row that this offensive coaching staff has not prepared the offense properly.
    @Keylimesoda: spot on regarding the comparisons… we fans should be comparing ourselves to the BSU, TCU and Utah, not the past. That is what is most frustrating, because until recently BSU was not getting the caliber of players that we do but they were coached up terrifically. Now they are getting recruits from around the country because of their success. TCU, where did they come from and why are they successful? The coaches routinely train them up, how does one explain their ability to take high school RB’s and make them into NFL defensive linemen? Coaching
    @Nate W: this staff did not prepare Beck and Hall. Doman was the quarterback coach, but they were under Anae’s offense, not Doman’s jambalaya of plays. I was wondering today how Max really can help Nelson when the system that they are running is different now… but that is besides the point.
    I am okay with Bronco, I hope the offensive staff proves me wrong and pulls off wins the rest of the season, I really do. Until that happens I will be skeptical, especially if we see the same ineptitude against good teams that we saw from the offense this week.

  • JT said:

    Let’s just reflect on something for a second – a very slightly altered version of what happened.

    Let’s say Saturdays night’s game played out exactly how it did, except Riley Stephenson kicks the ball 3 inches – _3_ inches – to the right of where it was on the final FG attempt. The game goes into overtime, and the boys in blue, who have all of the momentum at that point (keep in mind that BYU would have outscored Utah 17-0 in the 4Q), come out victorious in OT.

    With those 3 altered inches, instead of calling for the coaches heads, we would have been praising Riley as Mr. Clutch and singing his praises and basking in the team’s chances for the rest of the season. Let’s not be too rash in our judgement.

    3 inches folks.

  • JEFF said:

    Bronco Billy needs to HIRE him a Psychiatrist and Psychologist for each individual player! SORRY!!!

    Most of these guys are older, and been on mission’s, and for whatever reason…. They shouldn’t be getting rattled like they do… Especially for the UTAH YEWTS!!!

    They should have beat this team! HANDS DOWN!!! NO QUESTION’S ASKED….

    They’re offense has sputtered for years now! IT’S TIME TO GET BACK TO THE GLORY DAYS!!! SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING! They are ONLY bringing the program D O W N!!!

    Get with the program, and by Heavenly HANNAH, learn how to EXECUTE!!!!


  • Gregory Lee said:

    @Brett – Thank you for using your bully pulpit to share what a lot of us have believed for a long time. True Cougar fans want BYU Football, the players, and the University to succeed. We may disagree about how to get there, but I think everyone agrees on those three.

    My thoughts are simple: Good is the enemy of great. BYU Football is content with good because of Independence, the ESPN contract, and the fact that we don’t have any current Honor Code issues (that we know about). As some have already mentioned, BYU’s defense is good. Unfortunately, it could be even better (we rarely rush more than three. When we do, we DESTROY opposing offenses). In fact, BYU’s entire football program is good. It’s just not great. Also, comparing LaVell’s entire career against Bronco’s is nuts. LaVell BUILT the program and had many stretches of the same “consistency” that BYU apologists love to cite (1976-1985 was a pretty good run). I feel like Bronco’s been given the 5 talents that Crowton buried and has maybe made earned 1 more. Maybe.

    BYU will probably win 8+ games this year and possibly its bowl game as long as our opponent isn’t very good. Is that a successful year? BYU’s “consistency” has come about because our competition is awful. From 2005-2011, BYU played 90 games. BYU only lost 6 of 58 against opponents with 7 or fewer wins (including the games against BYU) or FCS foes (3 wins). Losing to a 4-8 Utah State team in 2010 was the worst loss, followed closely by 5-7 San Diego State in 2005. Simply put, BYU wins the games in which it is heavily favored. That’s a good thing.

    During the same period, however, BYU went 12-7 against teams with 8 or 9 wins and an awful 2-11 against teams with 10+ wins. That includes 2 of 10 against Utah and TCU, neither of which I believe is a better program than BYU. Why does BYU lose to good competition? Because winning football games requires execution, luck, and the element of surprise. Solid execution all but guarantees wins against lesser foes but doesn’t provide any advantage against similarly athletic teams (e.g. Utah and TCU, since we’ve played them the most). Since they should have similar levels of execution, luck and especially surprise come into play. Boise State didn’t beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl because they were the better team (they weren’t). They ran two trick plays to score 8 points and cap a Cinderalla season. Props to them.

    Since we no longer have trick plays (or even a deep ball versus Utah), we’ll continue to beat up on WAC/MWC/FCS teams while losing to anyone decent from a BCS conference. Bronco needs to step up, admit the current strategy isn’t working, and actually pursue his stated goals of an annual state and eventual national championship. Otherwise he doesn’t deserve his $1,000,000 salary (rumored), regardless of how many Firesides the team holds.

    In answer to whom the next coach should be, who cares? There are lots of good LDS coaches out there, some of whom we haven’t heard of much. Even though I’m not very impressed with Holmoe (I don’t think his 16-39 tenure at Cal showed him what a winning team actually looks like), he made a good call by offering Whittingham BYU’s head coaching job. Combining Whittingham’s superior coaching with BYU’s superior talent would mean we’re looking at 12-1 or better every year. Since he’s now a Utah Man (filthy traitor), my top two choices would be Ken Niumatalolo (Navy’s head coach) and Kalani Sitake (Utah’s DC and a 2000 BYU Grad). Perhaps there are some better ones, but I’m not that well connected to the LDS coaching community.

    In conclusion, I love BYU Football, I love the players, and I love the University. I want them all to succeed in football, the NFL, and/or life. Zero draft picks in recent years tells me the NFL doesn’t value the current coaching. The win/loss record in recent years tells me all BYU is good at is beating up on powder puffs. We’re like Boise State without the ability to get up for big games. If Bronco can fix it, great. I’ll finally jump on his bandwagon if he promises not to compare me to the Pharisees anymore. Otherwise, let’s find someone who can take all of the good things (Honor Code recruiting, Firesides, pride, etc.) and add in some wins that we can hang our hats on. GO COUGARS!!!

  • Millhouse said:


    …Many of you are acting like closeted yewts. I wanted my cougs to win too. Guess what… Good teams lose too. But losing a close hard fought game does not determin a season. If you fellas want to abandon ship fine… Good luck with that.

  • Martin said:


    No, we are not talking about 3 inches, we are talking about 3 years, as in the number of years in a row that Utah has now beaten us, one of those in embarrassing fashion on our own field. We are also talking about 7+ years worth of history of coming up short in big games against other opponents, from TCU to Florida State. Bronco and Holmoe both acknowledge that BYU has to win big games in order for independence to be successful. Those of us who are critical of Bronco are only holding him to the standard for success that he has set for himself. If the new standard is racking up wins against the have-nots of college football in order to play in a bowl game nobody cares about, while getting spanked by Utah every year, then we will just have to accept the program for what it is. But Bronco himself says that the standard is higher. He just hasn’t done what is necessary to achieve that standard. He started to back in 2010 when he fired Jaime Hill for producing an under-achieving defense. Since then the defense has improved enormously. Almost miraculously. Bronco is an outstanding defensive coach and I personally do not want to see him go because of what he has done with the defense. But now he has to make another hard and decisive decision with the offense. It is seriously under-achieving, particularly the O-line, and it is Bronco’s job as HC to remedy that. He can start by letting Weber go, and letting Doman know that the clock is ticking for him. Two years is more than enough time for him to figure out how to do the job he was hired for. None of us get that much time to figure out how to perform our jobs in order to support our families. Why should it be any different for him?

  • Jim Tills said:

    Just have to put in my two cents after that devastating loss to a Utah team that deserved to lose but through sheer luck won. The fluke Utah touchdown on a blotched Center snap due to crowd noise in the third quarter was a difference maker; the 48 yard Utah field goal vs two misses by our kickers was a difference maker, and three inches to the left on the last field goal attempt was the final straw that lost it for BYU. If we had gone to overtime, with our defense, I’m convinced we would have won. Utah was definitely not the better team.
    I am impressed with Taysom Hill and would like to see him have the opportunity to drive the team for entire series of downs rather than just a running play when in the blue zone.
    What kind of team is this Utah team with six 15-yard penalties for personal fouls? Since only a fraction of these infractions are called, how much abuse did BYU players suffer in this game? I know it’s part of the game but character counts—even in the brutal aspects of the game!
    Don’t get me started on crowd noise. Bronco said in fall camp that he practiced without crowd noise. How many times did Ryker Matthews jump off-side, did BYU have illegal motion, and drives affected thereby? The two snaps that did BYU in were related to Centers being off in timing and Riley being out-of-sync.
    What an affront to BYU fans that Doman kept going up the middle against a 4-man front that was not going to give us any leeway. We have Jamaal Willams and Adam Hine (who gained 120 yards against a stout BYU defense in the Blue-White game) to run around the edges. WHY WERE WE NOT RUNNING TO OUR STRENGTH? Why wasn’t Friel used more often and Wilson also; where are Holt and Matthews? Blast it, why was our offense so pathetic when it can be so good? BYU has the talent and was the far superior team; Doman needs to either man up or get fired. He is running an Annae offense when he has a top-ten-in-the- country talent base! That is as pathetic as it goes.
    BYU can take down Boise State IF they open up the offense. Why weren’t there more Hoffman bombs like the last 42 year gain at desperation time? Where was Ross Apo? Is this Riley Nelson’s legacy to be so gritty and honored as the team’s quarterback that he fails to see and use the talent of so many other players. It’s time to see if Taysom Hill can do the job. It’s time to let Lark have his chance. When are we ever, if ever, going to see Jason Mums have a shot? What a waste of a 4-star talent when we are going with a 2-star transfer. No, despite the fourth quarter heroics, Riley Nelson coached by Doman and supported by Max Hall, just isn’t hacking it. Better play calling when you know your O-line is weaker than it’s played-up-to-be needs to be implemented immediately. Otherwise, four losses this year, and perhaps 5 or 6 are assured!!!

  • GS said:

    Well said JT….

    Lots of interesting comments here, but made from the stands, not from the locker room.

    We have more talent today, than we’ve had in years. No doubt, we should be winning games like the one on Saturday. But it’s easy for those of us in the stands, to point to what “we” think the problem is.

    Bronco is the right guy to lead to Cougars, but I agree that something needs to change on the offensive line. I also agree, that Hill and Williams need to get as much playing time this year as possible, in preparation for next years schedule. Again…Said from the stands.

    Bronco is the guy that needs to step up and make any required changes on the offensive side of the ball. He did that with the defense, and look how phenominal they’re playing!

    I’ve been a Cougar fan for 40 years, and think we all just need to quit whining about things we can’t control. Just support the team, and let them know you’re behind them.

    Go Cougars…See you in Boise on Thursday!

  • Alaskafun said:

    Bronco made a night and day difference to our defense when he took over as the coordinator. He can get the players to play for him. I think he makes an incredible coach but needs to look at his staff. I was glad to get rid of Anae because of his predictability but Doman can even be worse. I do want our coach to do what Lavell did and have the players know the importance of playing for a school like BYU and that they are therefor representing the church. Let’s just see what happens with the rest of the season. I, for one, am hopeful for the rest of the season.

  • Alaskafun said:

    @Trey and @Ken
    I couldn’t agree with you guys more!

  • NWACougar said:

    I was a bit dismayed about the article. Brett, I hope it was a little bit of letting off some steam. I would have rather seen a more analysis on what we need to fix or better yet what can be fixed. But from the article it looks like we should just throw in the towel on the whole lot. This the first time that I seriously thought about not reading the comments after the first few. BYU is first and foremost a center for higher education and giving a Christ centered focus for it’s alumni. I live in SEC country and constantly have to battle the noise that BYU would never survive in the SEC. But if I have to be honest with myself would I want them to, NO because we would truly have to compromise something of what the church stands for. We will win more games this and I hope and guess that this game will be the catalyst for the Rise of Cougar Nation. Go Cougars!!!!!

  • Steve said:

    Many of you are sounding like fairweather fans and armchair quarterbacks. I still have much confidence in the current leadership. They will prove you wrong. Even as soon as this year.

  • bfwebster said:

    Folks: It was a football game. Get a grip.

  • WaybackCougar said:

    I understand the anger and frustration and agree that there are valid concerns. But this doom and gloom article is resulting in a load of piling on. As pointed out in an article earlier today, Bronco would have a winning record against Kyle if we’d had good FG kickers. Maybe we need some changes to the offensive coaching staff, but let’s not start agitating for wholesale change. I don’t think the gap we have to overcome to take the next step is a huge one. In the end, we had a better season than the Utes last year and I wouldn’t be surprised if this year turns out the same. Let’s see how it plays out.

  • Steve said:

    I get very worried when fans assume that wins over WAC-level teams are “automatic” wins.

    They are not.

    Just look at Colorado. Colorado is lucky to be in the PAC. They’ll continue to cash a fat paycheck no matter how much they stink. BYU doesn’t have that luxury.

    I’m not saying BYU should accept mediocrity. But they need to be very careful about regime change. I hope they only do it if they have someone very solid lined up to replace Bronco.

  • ZVD Incorporated said:

    Spot on. Love Bronco as a D Coordinator and he truly did turn things around after the Crowton years, however; the program has peaked and it is time for a change.

    Problem is, I don’t think Andy Reid is going to come calling any time soon. Not a lot of choices out there.

  • Mike M said:

    Let me start by saying I really like a lot of what Bronco has done as a head coach at BYU. He must be given a lot of credit for rescuing the program from the Crowton debacle, for being an elite defensive coordinator, and for upholding a model of integrity off the field and doing things the right way, embracing the uniqueness of BYU.

    For those reasons I really like Bronco as a head coach. Unfortunately, for all of Bronco’s strengths, he does have some glaring weaknesses and Brett’s article here illustrates much of what I find umbrage with.

    The single biggest issue I have with Bronco can be boiled down to his track record in big games against quality opponents. Many of us share this sentiment that the guy has flat out struggled to earn enough high quality wins. But is perception reality? I have done a lot of research on this lately and would invite you to see my findings:

    Here is how Bronco has done against every different type of opponent, 2005-2011:

    Mediocre/Quality BCS opponent (BCS team with 6+ wins) = 5-11
    Quality Non-BCS opponent (non-BCS team with 9+ wins) = 6-10
    Mediocre Non-BCS opponent (non-BCS team with 6-8 wins) = 15-1
    Low Quality BCS opponent (BCS team with 5 or less wins) = 5-0
    Low Quality Non-BCS opponent (non-BCS team with 5 or less wins) = 31-2
    FCS opponents: 4-0

    As you can see, Bronco has absolutely mopped up against low quality and mediocre opponents. His combined record against the bottom 4 tiers is 55-3. The problem is the top 2 tiers of opponents, where suddenly his W/L record drops to a combined 11-21. Ouch.

    But how does this compare to some of Bronco’s peers/rival coaches? I decided to do the same exact research for Kyle Whittingham, Gary Patterson, and Chris Petersen. Below are the findings:

    Bronco = 5-11… 31%
    Whitt = 11-8… 58%
    Patterson = 6-3… 67%
    Petersen = 7-0… 100%!! Wow

    Bronco = 6-10… 38%
    Whitt = 7-9… 44%
    Patterson = 9-6… 60%
    Petersen = 7-4… 64%

    This data clearly demonstrates that these rival coaches have done far better against high quality opponents. Just look at the winning percentage difference!! The numbers do not lie.

    And this is my beef with Bronco. Somehow, some way, he absolutely must figure out why he has struggled to win at a higher rate against quality opponents. If he cannot figure this out then independence will be disastrous. If he cannot figure this out, then perhaps he needs to step aside and let somebody else take over.

    And there is my dilemma… I really don’t want to lose a coach that I consider to be one of the best defensive minds in the country. I don’t want to lose a coach who is the perfect fit for BYU’s “off the field peculiarity”; Bronco gets BYU, he embraces what BYU is and what it stands for.

    But I also desperately want a coach who can win more big games!!

    The problem isn’t the defense, far from it… since 2010 it’s all been on the offense. Bronco needs to step up and demand that Doman fix this or else. Weber needs to go, and we need to improve the system and play-calling!

    Any ways, a passionate subject… sorry for the long rant, LOL!

  • Josh N said:

    I am dismayed at the people who believe this article and people who are being critical of the program and Bronco are “fair weather fans” and that we “need to just get over it”. I watched this game with my two best friends and we are lifelong die hard fans. I come from a Ute family and it has galvanized my passion for BYU sports over the years. We are as passionate as there is. And we are all ready for the Bronco experience to end.

    No right-minded Cougar fan would be praising Riley if those three inches went the other way and Stephenson made the FG, as another poster said. I would have been happy with the win, knowing that once again a miracle occurred, which is the only way BYU has beaten Utah in the past decade.

    Bronco’s disdain for the fans, and the passion that we fans have is sad. He doesn’t like being booed. Booing is how we show we are displeased; that is part of an invested fan base. Don’t want to work 16 hour days during the season (not all year mind you, just during the season)? Don’t want boosters upset because you can’t beat your rival? Go coach down at some 1-A school in Southern Utah. You’ll have a bunch of gritty character guys who you can help overachieve and win state championships. But you’ll have to give up the limelight, the glory, and the multi-million dollar contract that you have. Plus you’ll be home in time for dinner every night.

    If BYU wants the football team to be a missionary tool and spread the good word, then that’s fine. But don’t charge the premium prices for seats and premium prices for the Cougar Club. We can be a successful program at the Division II level, win some games, and be a flagship for the church. Dave Rose has found a way to win consistently and I don’t think he’s heading home at 5:00 during the season or insulting the fans for daring to care.

    BYU was unbelievably unprepared to play Utah again. They are good enough on talent alone to beat 3/4 of the teams that they play; when they play teams with equal or superior talent, it can get ugly. Boise St, Georgia Tech, Utah State are all games that are winnable. Only Notre Dame is not, IMO. But I suspect that BYU will underperform against these teams. By November, the stinky home schedule will bring out 30,000 people to shiver through Saturday night games against cupcakes. They will execute their dozen plays and win on talent alone. Is this what we want? I vote “No”.

  • Molodyets said:

    About the preparation…we have to deal with things that other schools don’t:

    Families and church callings.

    For both players and coaches. Can you imagine how little Doman is seeing his family serving as a bishop and being a major D1 OC? Or how about Bronco being on the high council? Or players who are dealing with a wife and a new born and a wife and making sure all is well on the home front.

    If you have a problem with them dedicating their time to these things, you really need to take an internal look and examine yourself to really see just how important football is compared to things that really matter.

    The result of a BYU football game will not affect anyone’s eternal salvation. However, the result of someone’s life being flipped around by being in the program, or a non-member player joining the church can, has and will.

  • Carlos said:

    Thanks for having the courage to say what needed to be said. It’s often hard in the BYU community to be just a little contrarian, as you can see from those on here who are forever content with a less-than-elite program.

    How many more years must we endure the utter failure in big games? The track record is firmly established — there must be changes. Either Bronco must begin to hold coaches accountable on the offensive side of the ball or we need to get someone who will be a complete coach.

  • BYUTexan said:


    Keep that head in the sand. None of the exposure church and its leaders want is going to happen with this continual losing on the national stage. You want exposure? WIN against good teams/programs. You want to win against good teams/programs? Get a new staff of coaches. Bronco has started to lose this program and will not take us to that level needed to gain the church the exposure they seek. Better yet, maybe the church and school administrators should keep there hands out of the management of the football program and let it be ran like a football program so they can win.

  • Will said:

    To Gary:

    You wrote: “Go back and look at his (Edwards’) schedule from 1979 through the 80′s, his “glory years,” and you will find an average of one BCS caliber team on the schedule and often it was a team that had a poor year. You will also find that we lost more of those games than we won.

    It appears your memory doesn’t serve you very well. You are correct that we lost more than we won. You are incorrect about the number of BCS level opponents we played, and that they were often successful teams.

    I found the following information about BYU vs BCS “level” teams (the BCS didn’t exist before 1998, it grew out of the old BCA). This info came from a 2008 article, so it doesn’t include the past 3+ years of scheduling.

    As you can see, this list covers from 1984 forward, certainly Lavell’s “glory years.”

    BYU never scheduled less than two BCS teams, and eight times they scheduled 3 BCS teams and twice they scheduled 4 BCS teams in a season.

    BYU vs BCS opponents since 1984

    1984: Pitt, Baylor 2-0
    1985: Boston College, UCLA, Washington 2-1
    1986: Washington, Oregon State 0-2
    1987: Pitt, Texas, TCU* 1-2
    1988: Texas, TCU, Miami 2-1
    1989: Oregon, Washington State 1-1
    1990: Miami, Washington State, Oregon 2-1
    1991: Florida State, UCLA, Penn State 0-3
    1992: UCLA, Notre Dame, Penn State 1-2
    1993: UCLA, Notre Dame 0-2
    1994: Notre Dame, Arizona State 1-1
    1995: UCLA, Arizona State 1-1
    1996: Texas A&M, Washington, 1-1
    1997: Washington, Arizona State 1-1
    1998: Alabama, Arizona State, Washington 1-2
    1999: Virginia, Washington, Cal 2-1
    2000: Florida State, Virginia, Mississippi State, Syracuse 1-3
    2001: Cal, Mississippi State 2-0
    2002: Syracuse, Georgia Tech 1-1
    2003: Georgia Tech, USC, Stanford, Notre Dame 1-3
    2004: Notre Dame, Stanford, USC 1-2
    2005: Boston College, Notre Dame 0-2
    2006: Arizona, Boston College 0-2
    2007: Arizona, UCLA 1-1
    2008: Washington, UCLA 2-0

    *TCU was a member of the Southwest Conference until 1996 and an original member of the Bowl Coalition.

    63 regular season games against 25 different BCS opponents: 27-36 record
    6-8-1 in bowl games against BCS teams since 1984
    Overall: 33-44-1 in 78 games vs BCS teams since 1984
    Number of regular seasons playing two BCS teams: 14
    Number of regular seasons playing three BCS teams: eight
    Number of regular seasons playing four BCS teams: two

    BY CONTRAST, HERE IS BOISE STATE FROM 1996 thru 2008. Note their strategy of just playing one BCS level team.

    1996: Arizona State 0-1
    1997: Wisconsin, Washington State 0-2
    1998: Washington State 0-1
    1999: UCLA 0-1
    2000: Arkansas, Washington State 0-2
    2001: South Carolina, Washington State 0-2
    2002: Arkansas 0-1
    2003: Oregon State 0-1
    2004: Oregon State 1-0
    2005: Georgia, Oregon State 0-2
    2006: Oregon State 1-0
    2007: Washington 0-1
    2008: Oregon 1-0

    19 regular-season games against 10 different BCS opponents: 3-16 record
    2-1 against BSC teams in bowl games since 1984
    Overall: 5-17 record vs BCS teams since 1984
    Number of regular seasons playing two BCS teams: four
    Number of regular seasons playing three BCS teams: zero

    And finally, here is UTAH from 1984 through 2008:

    Utah vs BCS opponents since 1984

    1984: Washington State, Tennessee 0-2
    1985: Washington State, Arizona State 1-1
    1986: Ohio State, Arizona State 0-2
    1987: Wisconsin 1-0
    1988: Illinois 0-1
    1989: Nebraska, Stanford 1-1
    1990: Minnesota 1-0
    1991: Oregon State, Oregon, Arizona State 2-1
    1992: Nebraska, Oregon State 1-1
    1993: Arizona State, Kansas 1-1
    1994: Oregon 1-0
    1995: Oregon, Stanford 0-2
    1996: Stanford, Kansas 2-0
    1997: Oregon 0-1
    1998: –
    1999: Washington State 1-0
    2000: Arizona, Cal, Washington State 0-3
    2001: Oregon, Indiana 1-1
    2002: Indiana, Arizona, Michigan 1-2
    2003: Texas A&M, Cal, Oregon 2-1
    2004: Texas A&M, Arizona, North Carolina 3-0
    2005: Arizona, North Carolina 1-1
    2006: UCLA 0-1
    2007: Oregon State, UCLA, Louisville 2-1
    2008: Michigan, Oregon State 2-0

    47 regular season games against 21 different BCS opponents: 24-23 record
    4-3 against BSC teams in bowl games since 1984
    Overall: 28-26 record vs BCS teams since 1984
    Number of regular seasons playing two BCS teams: 11
    Number of regular seasons playing three BCS teams: six

  • Todd said:

    Strange how BYU football’s Achille’s heel is now the offense!

    This is Doman’s fault. He calls the plays. He decides who his starting QB will be.

    When the defense was underperforming with Hill, Bronco took over the squad and turned it around.

    What is going to be done if the offense doesn’t kick it into high gear and start executing like the D?

  • Ryan said:

    …and if Riley’s kick is two feet to the right we would be reading about one of the best comebacks in Holy War history. We owned the 4th quarter and would have owned overtime. The coaches focused on conditioning and, for the first time in a long time, they looked like the fastest team on the field and definitely had more fuel in the tank at the end of the game.

    Bronco’s defense is a fantastic product and with that aspect of the team alone he should get a little more respect for his focus, hours worked, coaching ability, recruiting, etc.

  • Gayle said:

    Please, please stop comparing Coach Mendenhall to Coach Edwards. Yes We had one undefeated season with Coach Edwards. Yes we had phenomenal teams with Coach Edwards, but we also lost almost every single game against top competition. We almost always lost the first game of the year. We very rarely had three or even two consecutive years with double digit wins. We never played as tough a schedule as the one we have now. We rarely won the bowl games. We occasionally lost to teams we had no business losing to (UTEP). Lastly and most importantly, we rarely had to face a Utah team that matched up well athletically, or schematically with what BYU put out on the field.

  • Gregory Lee said:

    All real fans are “fair weather” fans. We want results achieved while abiding by BYU’s Honor Code and remaining the last FBS football program having never received major NCAA sanctions. Seriously, how many of those attempting to insult me with epithets were pleased with Coach Crowton during those four magical years? My guess is everyone was pretty pleased in 2001 but a little disappointed each year thereafter. Welcome to the “fair weather” fan club.

    I am a BYU Football fan. I cheer for the players on our team. I want them to be successful. That’s why I expect BYU’s highly paid coaches to recruit the best talent possible (I give them an A- in that category. We have some outstanding players on the team). I then expect the highly paid coaches to further develop that talent (I give them an “F” in that category. The NFL doesn’t believe our players are improving and Reynolds dropped from 1st or 2nd Round to undrafted just by showing up for his Senior year. Ouch. He’s not alone). Finally, I expect BYU’s highly paid coaches to carefully manage their developed talent to win football games. Since we pride ourselves on being a “consistent” 10-win or better team, we should be able to “consistently” beat other 10-win or better teams. By consistently, I mean at least 50% of the time. Otherwise BYU’s record merely masks the lower level of competition we play.

    Coach Edwards built a program out of nothing. There’s a good reason the entire stadium is now named after him. I’d love to see BYU play on Mendenhall Field @ Edwards Stadium some day, but that has to be earned. Was Edwards perfect? No. But he brought BYU football out of the wilderness and made a name for the program. Mendenhall is now about to use that name (where do you think the “tradition” part of Tradition-Spirit-Honor comes from?) to recruit talented athletes. Since he’s doing a good job with the defense, let him be the Defensive Coordinator again. Bring in another head coach who wants to be responsible for the whole team and develop not just the players but the coaches, also. There’s no reason BYU shouldn’t be 11-2, 12-1, or occassionally 13-0 against the schedule we play.

  • Zac said:

    I think everyone needs a reality check. We do not have superior talent compared to Utah, TCU, or even BSU. Utah has 5 or 6 NFL players on their D alone. We haven’t had anyone drafted for a couple years now. They have had better recruiting classes the last couple of years at least, maybe longer. Those teams can all recruit differently than BYU can. Our pool is a lot smaller. I am as frustrated as anyone, but the team with the better talent didn’t lose. I hope they figure out how to offset not being as talented. That’s what Lavell did with the pass. Go Cougars.

  • WaybackCougar said:

    A week ago, following Utah’s loss to Utah State, observers of the Ute fan boards were gleefully exclaiming that the Utes were in “full meltdown mode.” Just one week later and Cougar fans here are doing the exact same thing.

    You want to be realistic, then fine. Talk about the need for improvement to the offensive line. Perhaps a coaching change there is warranted. But calling for Coach Mendenhall’s head is just plain silly.

  • FL Cosmo said:

    Obviously Bronco is amazing as the DC. As a head coach he has recruited well, and has added to BYU’s reputation and integrity. But I agree with Brett that he’s given too much latitude to his offensive coaching staff. He’s absolutely got to hold them to a higher standard. Underperformance by the O-line, mediocre play calling, and a sloppy kicking game…can’t have any of that, and it shouldn’t be too hard to find someone capable of a better job.

  • Jared (the not original, I guess) said:

    Dang, tons of comments, no way can I read them all. Just want to say that I couldn’t agree more with this article! AMEN, BROTHER!! Thank you for saying it. Bronco has done a fine job for what it’s worth, but I honestly believe he is the model of mediocrity, and that is what the BYU football program has become.

    Also, as long as we’re on the topic of things that need to improve, I think that Nelson just really isn’t that good of a quarterback. I would rather see them start Taysom Hill at QB the rest of this season. Get him groomed. Heck, he may be better than Nelson right now (I think he is).

  • VoiceofReason said:


    Congrats on taking this site from what it was at the beginning under Quinn Gouch and totally selling its soul. There’s a reason Quinn chose the name he did for his blog…and your blue colors don’t appear to be running too deep now, do they?

    I’ll admit that BYU does struggle in big games and it is frustrating sometimes, but unlike most of you witch hunting fans of Salem that want to burn Bronco at the stake, I have outgrown that stage of fanhood. It was 1 game. You all act like little children and Brett is just spinning you around and letting you all loose. Grow up and move on. BYU Football has a different goal, a much harder goal that every one of you witch hunters are willing to accept.

    Take the easy road you say, sell your soul and any respect you have for a coach and a team trying to do things the BYU way. Please feel free to go cheer for another team that doesn’t meet your outlandish expectations and save the rest of us the trouble of listening to you arm chair coaches cry about how you have BCS envy. As for me, I’ll be a BYU Cougar fan until the day I die, win or lose and I believe Bronco can accomplish what he’s trying to do, and that is winning a national championship while still emphasizing and participating in BYU’s core mission both on and off the field.

    Looking over the program as it stands right now shows me that Bronco has more depth than he’s ever had on both sides of the ball (well, the O-line needs a lot of work). He’s got 2 stud QBs in the pipeline waiting for their time in the spotlight (Hill and Mangum). This year’s defense is stellar, I don’t remember a better one in my lifetime and there’s depth when KVN and others leave. The independent schedule is improving / increasing in difficulty (and yes, they will continue to lose a few). The future looks brighter than ever from my perspective. I don’t see a program in decline or even at a glass ceiling. I just see a program that may take a few more years of preparation to finally break through (I’m thinking it’ll happen during the Taysom Hill / Tanner Mangum years).

    So can we please grow up, move on and take some pride in the development of the program and the impact it’s having on the lives of its players, school, community and here’s hoping it can make an impact on the nation in the not-too-distant future!

  • Mick said:

    Wow! Get rid of Bronco? Fire Bronco? Get some new guy. Here are a few questions for you.
    1. Who screwed up multiple times on false starts? Oh yea, Bronco.
    2. Who audibled multiple times and ran into the teeth of the Utah line? Yep, right again, Bronco.
    3. Who looked like a sad beaten frustrated QB in the 3rd quarter? There he is again, Bronco.
    4. Who hiked the ball thirty yards back past the QB during another audible? Bronco once again.
    5. Who missed a 36 yard field goal with no time left? This is getting annoying, Bronco again.
    6. Who was 2-10 at one point in the second half on passes? For goodness sakes, Bronco keeps on messing up in leading this team.
    7. Who has turned the defense into one of the top programs in the nation? Bronco.
    8. Who has held eight straight opponents under 300 yards total offense? Bronco.
    9. who has watched the offensive ineptitude hand over multiple scores to the opposition and put BYU in another hole? Yep, Bronco.
    10. Who continues to lead this team as the Church leadership has counseled? Yep, right once again, Bronco.

    Now, I want to win as bad as anybody else but lets make sure that we actually consider where the fault rests. Clearly, I sure don’t see Bronco at fault here.

    Brett, I have always been a fan of yours but this time I think you let an elephant get the best of you.

  • spamdawg said:

    A lot of complaining but no one has answered the questions about who to replace Bronco with. I love what Bronco has done with the program and he has my support. Has he hit the ceiling? Maybe, but who do you turn to next? I don’t think you throw out what we have without a plan. I would also be very careful about making a move with the schedule coming up next year and all the players we are losing, unless everyone is ready to call next year a rebuilding year and we are ok with a losing season. This season is still new. Doman is just three games into his second year. I’m not set on Doman as an OC yet but I think he deserves some time. The place I would look at is the O-line, but you have to remember they completely changed the O-line philosophy this year and it may take a some games to figure things out. If they are able to get it dialed in then great. Does the program have issues. Yes, I am not suggesting we sit status quo but I don’t think we should panic after a 3 point loss to our rival when we made all the mistakes that we made. It should have been another 54-10 but it wasn’t because the team did do a lot of good things. If we don’t win at least 2 of the BSU, ND and GT games, or if we lose to USU then I will be right with you. If they only lose 1 more game then they are better than what most predicted preseason.

  • Slugger said:

    There is talent in this program. The problem is Bronco is in love with the “Rudy” types, and refuses to discipline and develop the true talent on the team. Add to that a refusal to treat games and opponents differently. I have admired Bronco to a great degree, but when the teams needs to do a little more, play a little harder, prepare a little better, he doesn’t allow it to happen because of his “treat every opponent the same” philosophy. You can’t prepare for and play Weber State the same way you prepare for and play Utah. Period. You could also throw in the blowout losses to TCU and Florida State. Bronco is a magnificent man, but we need a football coach that will have the dignity to not be drug through the mud by opponents. And if the Church is the one pulling the strings, then the Church needs to decide to either go all in, or get out of athletics altogether.

  • Gregory Lee said:

    @Mick –

    Great questions! Here are some even better ones:

    1) Who didn’t adequately prep the team for the loud fans? (Practicing in the IPF with the speakers blaring is a good start for rivalry games)
    2) Who audibled multiple times? The guy who’s constantly praised by the Head Coach for his “grit” (positive reinforcement of the behavior).
    3) Who recruited and developed the kickers?
    4) Whose defenses are stout against teams that aren’t going bowling but struggle against decent competition?
    5) Whose last eight opponents were awful? Other than TCU and Tulsa (by definition), did any of them go bowling?
    6) Who does the Offensive Coordinator report to?
    7) Who is horribly mismanaging their talent?

    All of your questions are a pretty convincing indictment of a team not run by a Head Coach. Thanks for making my point for me.

  • Greg said:

    Brett, great article and I agree with most of what you say. I believe the biggest issue with Bronco is his “football is fifth” philosophy. I understand that the LDS church has bigger priorities then football and that’s fine; however, Bronco was hired to win football games. He is not a General Authority and once again was hired to win football games. Any other reason is complete BS. The church gets no exposure if he does not win. That being said he cannot throw all values that BYU stands on out the window in the name of winning and I don’t think any of us want that to happen i.e. Gary Crowton). It is embarrassing when your team looks scared and that’s exactly how the offense looked on Saturday. That is pure preparation and coaching.

    I think Bronco brought a lot to BYU and I believe he is a great man but I believe he has become arrogant in many ways and these continued losses to big teams, especially our own rival is proof of that arrogance.

  • Chris B. said:

    I will preface this by saying that I have been a BYU fan my whole life and I will always be a BYU fan. I have a huge appreciation for what the program is trying to accomplish in today’s college football world. It is not easy to do what BYU is trying to do – namely, compete at the highest level of college football while maintaining the standards of the university. In today’s commercialized college football world where performance on the field is valued above all else, where drug scandals, recruiting scandals, sex scandals (see Arkansas) are the norm, and the all mighty dollar creates conference realignment, destroys traditional rivalries, and spawns three letter acronyms (BCS), I have finally and firmly come to the realization that we as cougar fans desperately need to adjust our expectations for our athletic program. I believe the arguments in this article are completely missing the mark. I do not believe for a second that BYU’s coaches are working less than the other guy. I do not believe for a moment that our coaches are lesser recruiters either. Coaching is not the problem. The evidence does not support this argument. Too many BYU fans use these arguments when things go poorly so that they don’t have to face the unbearable, undeniable, truth of the situation. BYU fans are truly delusional. Repeat this to yourself several times. It is actually cathartic. You might even smile a little to yourself at the end of this exercise. Now that we have taken this step together lets investigate the evidence with blinders removed. The problem is obviously talent related. The NFL statistics do not lie. We have not been recruiting top 25 caliber athletes to BYU. Utah, TCU, and Boise state do successfully recruit these athletes. Utah placed 8 players from their 2008 defense on NFL rosters. 8 players out of 11! Boise state had more players drafted last year than any other team in the nation save Alabama. The NFL is littered with players from TCU. BYU does not lose to teams that have equal or lesser talent and they occasionally beat teams that possess more talent. This is how you gauge coaching and by this metric our coaches are grading out just fine thank you very much. We don’t recruit as well as these benchmark schools. Is anyone truly surprised by this fact? Utah has an outstanding, nationally recognized coaching staff, and they can recruit LDS athletes as well as pools of talent that BYU simply cant access. At some point it becomes a numbers game and BYU loses this game every single day. Talent is obviously the issue but it goes much deeper than this. It is the byproduct of the dearth of talent that is so problematic to a program like BYU. The reason why BYU looks like a dear in the headlights the first time they face a team like Utah is because it is literally the first time they are facing a team like Utah. BYU just can’t replicate the speed and athleticism that Utah possess with their scout teams and 2nd line guys. Utah’s 1st line guys practice against this speed and athleticism every single day. Riley Nelson probably looks pretty good against our 2nd and 3rd team defense. When BYU players make mental mistakes they have very little risk of losing their job. At places like Alabama the competition is so fierce that these types of mistakes just don’t happen on game day. The repercussions for the player are just too severe – they may never see the field again. Great teams are great because they are practicing and competing against other great players day in and day out. It breeds a confidence and a culture that BYU simply can’t replicate. It is a HUGE advantage. You never hear Utah talking about how hard they worked during the off season. This goes without saying. The front line guys are always being pushed by the next line of guys and to not work during the off season is tantamount to losing your job. In the end all of these little things add up and you end up with a 3 point loss to your rival. Face the facts, Utah, Boise, and TCU are better than BYU and there are very good reasons for why this is the case. We can’t recruit most of the players they can recruit and they can recruit all of the players we recruit. We just don’t have any of the advantages that we used to enjoy. The secret of the Polynesian pipeline is no longer a secret. We routinely lose top LDS talent to other schools (Notre Dame, Oregon, Utah, other pac 12 schools) and it is very unlikely we are going to suddenly produce a groundbreaking offensive scheme similar to what Lavell Edwards produced in the 80’s. We cannot continue to expect the success of yesteryear while ignoring the realities of today. This is a recipe for disaster. Stability is the key. We have a top 25 defense (something to be very proud of) and a very ordinary offense that will probably get much better in the next couple of years. I am optimistic about the future but I also understand that we are a borderline top 25 program in good years and average program in down years. I love our student athletes and how they represent our University and values and I appreciate the obstacles our coaches and athletic leaders face on a daily basis. Firing our coaching staff or making wholesale changes is NOT the answer. It would be self destructive and it would set our program back years. We have to take baby steps, correct what we can correct, let our offensive coordinator grow into his position, and continue to build for the future. From now on, I refuse to be a delusional cougar! Who is with me! And as a side note – For God’s Sake Doman, please run a screen now and then to slow down the blitz! Take a page out of the Oregon Duck and the Carolina Panther play book – use the screen!

  • waitaminute said:

    Talk about over reaction! Yes it was a depleted ute team. But one it was a rivalry game, they are always the most unpredictable! Two, we would have won handily if our offense didn’t have the worst game ever! False starts like were out of control (fixable) Center to quarterback exchange was bad (fixable). The offense showed they are capable of scoring, but no team in the country can consistently get good drives with that many penalties. Our defense is freaking good, but they were on the field most of the game and many of the points scored could be blamed on the offense giving them away!!

    summary, fix the offense ( I say by bringing in Taysom and practicing in a noisy environment)

    Win against Boise RANKED
    win at noter dame RANKED even better
    beat utah state (not nationally respected, but they are legit)
    make it a close game at Georgia tech and we are right where we fine. Our schedule is harder but that gives us a larger margin for error, because a couple big wins puts us right back in the national spotlight. Most people understand a close yet heartbreaking lost to your rival……as seen by usc stanford last weekend!!

    No need for panic mode, we just exposed the fact that offense may need a makover, mainly a new qb, not a new head coach!!! way to much of an over reation

  • CougarFootballApologist said:

    I agree with a lot of the comments but I think a reality check is needed and our expectations need to be lowered. I believe BYU football and basketball have two of the top coaches in the nation but are extremely handicapped with their recruiting pool. We can spin the ESPN story all we want but at the end of the day, Utah is going to get better talent and even some of the elite Mormon players because of the PAC 12 and National Championship opportunities. BYU gets good players and sometimes great players, but not to the level of other top 25 programs. We need to wake up and know we are a 10 win football program at best and don’t have a chance against most top 25 programs as our record as proven. I love BYU, I love what we stand for and how hard we compete but at the end of the day “we are who we are” and that’s an over-achieving program. I really don’t think a coaching change would help us (maybe an offensive coordinator change) given the limited recruiting pool we have to work with and the decision of BYU administrator’s taking us independent. Our only hope is to get into the BIG 12 or another BCS conference so we can get better talent. My one complaint or criticism as has been expressed in previous posts is getting Bronco to take an interest in the offense. Utah is playing two back up safeties and not once in the game do we test them deep. First of all, i don’t think Riley can throw further than 40 yards, so that’s probably the main reason, but why not put Taysom Hill in and run some play action and try getting the safeties to bite and then go deep. Okay I’m done with my rant. Go Cougs!

  • Steve-O said:

    So, I have read all of the comments so far (yea, I know, it’s slow at work). Here’s the thing-Brett didn’t call for Bronco’s head. He’s just calling out Bronco for failing to deliver on big games. It’s unacceptable, and it has nothing to do with the talent that we have on the field. In this case, I think Brett correctly identifies Weber and Doman for not prepping the team more effectively (unless it really was Riley’s fault that they did so many stupid runs up the middle). I mean, Utah State arguably isn’t better than Utah-they just played to their strengths (a mobile, short passing QB) and tried to limit their opponents strengths (a massive D line with a first round center). What in the world was Doman thinking? Ultimately, it’s Bronco’s job to figure that out.

  • Nate said:

    Bronco provided exactly what was needed when Crowton left. I’ve always felt that Bronco was a great defensive coordinator, but I’ve never felt that he was really sharp enough to be the head coach. And I don’t think that Doman is really sharp enough to be directing the entire offense.

    Riley Nelson has turned into a bit of a train wreck. The “gutty and gritty” super senior melted down in the third quarter. He’s the least talented QB on the roster and has been since he arrived at BYU. The BYU coaching staff has mismanaged the QB position since allowing him to transfer. And now at this point with a BCS game out of reach there is really no reason Riley should even see another snap. With no conference championship to play for, the rest of this year should be about preparing for next year.

  • Asa Nielson said:

    If this is mediocrity please keep it coming. Double digit wins 5 of 6 years. Top 25 rankings every year. If doing this is so easy regardless of schedule then why aren’t more teams outside of Boise, BYU, TCU and Utah doing it. Granted Utah and TCU are now in BCS conferences but where the only four consist non BCS teams winning. I am pretty sure 90 of the other 120 or so teams would trade places with BYU in a heart beat. So as you look for your new coach consider who is ahead of BYU. Maybe honest Lane Kiffen, or Mr integrity Les Miles, or perhaps Coach Saban, or the best of them all Chip Kelly. We have a great coach who is excelling. You have bought into the Gordon Monson, Patrick Kinahanan hate machine that fuels most of the talk radio airwaves around Utah. Too bad you can’t just enjoy and support a great program who will have many great games in the future.

  • Steve-O said:

    Sorry Waitaminute, there is a snowball’s chance in hell we beat Notre Dame. They manhandled MSU, they will tear up apart. GT is possible, but Boise will likely win just because it’s at Boise and they are flat out better coached than we are. We should beat Utah State, but now even Oregon State and Hawaii aren’t looking like locks. It’s going to be a rough season.

  • Dwight Cornell said:

    I was just listening to Bronco’s post practice comments from yesterday and it reallly worried me that he said that the reason for all the false starts in the Utah game was due to being very aggressive, which is probably true, but it is also due to lack of discipline,(I hope I spelled that right), but Bronco left that out, That just really is very concerning to me, anyone else agree.

  • josh said:

    I have got say that the complaining about Bronco has more to do with the past two years and less to do with the Utah game. The game against Utah last year and this year there were glaring holes in the coaching preparation. We had 7 turnovers last year. This year the coach admits that he didn’t coach them on how to handle the noise, and thus the offensive line made some key mistakes that cost us the game. This is a rookie error every team prepares for crowd noise before going into a big venue but Bronco decided it wasn’t necessary this year and because of it we lost. Look at what happened at TCU last year, 5 turnovers in the punting game, otherwise we were the better team. You know what this shows it shows that Bronco isn’t preparing his team to execute under pressure. Hes lack of repetition in practice is killing his teams execution on the field. I don’t think we should fire Bronco but he definitely know nothing about how to prepare an offense. So when the offensive coaching staff is weak we can’t expect Bronco to fix the problem. Finally fire coach Weber now please. Also very upset today when Bronco said isn’t even thinking about what happened at the Utah game any more.

  • TimeForAndyReid said:

    Time for the Andy Reid era to begin. He’ll leave the Eagles after this year, and be in Provo for the 2014 season.

  • JT said:

    Brett – I have always loved this site and have appreciated your articles.
    I do have a question on this one, however.

    If I recall, when you were predicting the games for the season, you pretty much predicted this one right down to the T (Utah would win by 3, and it would come down to the FG kicker). Yet you still seemed very optimistic about the team and the season at that time.

    My question is this: what was it about Thursday night’s game that you did not anticipate a month ago (when you correctly prophesied the outcome of this game) that inspired this article?

    Don’t get me wrong: I was (and still am) as heartbroken about the loss as anyone.

  • Perry said:

    Mick, you’re actually right on #3. Bronco did look sad, beaten and frustrated but it was actually the whole game. Gregory has asked the right questions.

    Bronco is a great defensive mind, keep him as a DC but not as a head coach.

    Weber has got to go, our talented O-Line is overweight and underperforming.

    Bring in a fiery head coach with an offensive mind geared toward the passing game. Hill is a special talent that we can’t afford to lose or under-utilize.

    Does the head coach HAVE to be LDS? Jaime (although not an HC) wasn’t LDS.

  • Dave said:

    Wow! One loss and suddenly “the sky is falling, the sky is falling”? Kind of disappointed with the article and a lot of the comments.

    Yes, it sucks that we lost to Utah. Yes, it sucks that we imploded once again. But why do drastic changes to coaching need to be made?

    Was it coaching that caused the seven false starts when we’d had only one in two previous games?

    Was it coaching that caused the center to twice make bad snaps to Riley, when that also had never happened in the previous two games?

    Was it coaching that had Justin Sorensen miss his first FG attempt and get his second one blocked? Or Riley Stephenson to miss his FG?

    Here’s a novel idea: maybe it was the players not executing like they normally do.

    Everyone talks about the crowd and the effect that it must have had on the O-line, and that could be true. I just find it interesting that our seven false starts occurred in the first 3 quarters of the game. In the 4th quarter, when things were getting tight and the place was going nuts, the O-line didn’t jump at all. Why is that? Suddenly, we started executing.

    Suddenly, we stopped pressing, and started playing. What’s amazing to me is that we played three really crappy quarters of football where we did everything we could to give the game to Utah, and one quarter of BYU football, and we still almost won the game.

    I don’t think Utah could’ve played much better than they did, given the team that they had. Credit to them for taking advantage of the BYU miscues and for keeping turnover free. I dunno if we could’ve played much worse. There really was no excuse for us losing this game, unless we just imploded, which we did. But credit to the guys for not giving up and fighting back to have a chance to win it.

    Again, the fact that we only played one good quarter of football and had a chance to win the game is a testament to how bad Utah is and how good BYU can be. We’ve lost one game, but 11-1 is still possible. Likely? Probably not. However, I think it’s safe to say that BYU will win 10 games again this year and finish in the top 20, while Utah will struggle to make it to a bowl game.

    Makes losing to them that much worse. However, if you’re going to say that it was coaching that led to the first three quarters of the Utah game, then give credit to the coaches for the last quarter, too. Or was it somehow the coaches fault for the first three quarters, but they the players started executing in the fourth? That just seems hypocritical.

    The season is WAY early. To say we’re the third best in the state is really premature. I believe Utah has had only one more win over a team with a winning record than BYU has in the same time span that you mentioned, Brett, and yet there’s this huge disparity in coaching?

    Sagarin and USA Today Coaches Poll both have us ranked ahead of Utah St and Utah. We still have 5 games coming up against teams who are either ranked or receiving votes in the polls.

    Let’s start things off with a win at BSU. Lot of season left to play, and as for this BYU fan, I’ll support my team and be with them every step of the way.

    Go Cougars!

  • MT said:

    It feels a bit premature to throw Bronco out. His defense has been proven and actually played solid d against the Utes. However, if Bronco won’t hold Doman and offensive coaches accountable then there is an issue. Frankly, the offense is very weak. Bronco will either need to work w/Doman and drive accountability to make adjustments or let him go. If he can’t do that, then it would be his time to go too. Doman’s play calling was horrible! Even the announcers mentioned their shock that he kept calling the option play when it wasn’t working. It was called seven times for 6 yards, that’s a problem. I still believe in Bronco as a Defensive Caller and even Head Coach but he needs to address the offensive problems ASAP!

  • Slugger said:

    If this trend continues you can expect BYU football to go the way of Ricks College, a once proud and dominant JC football program. Guys, this has all been precipitated by the decable under Crowton. As is typical with our uber-controlling church, they painted with a broad brush and a heavy hand and ordered BYU athletics to run spot-clean or risk getting shut down. This is the guise under which Bronco operates, so I don’t totally blame him. I am however bothered by his lack of emotion. He’s a tough guy but when pushed he doesn’t push back. I was thrilled to see him physically react to that moron heckler after the game Saturday night. I wish he’d take that, create something of it and prepare his team to go out and attack the opponent as if to send a cold hard message. Instead, our once proud program has taken multiple steps backward and is nothing more than a glorified boy scout troop. I think under different circumstances Bronco could do more but with the Church standing over his shoulder he is under obligation to make sure no one goes out of step so the pendulum has swung too far to one side. What I am opposed to is the football program running like a seminary program. Doesn’t the Church and University have infrastructure and programs to cover that? The night before a game our team is singing hymns while our opponent is looking at bulletin-board material getting amped up to squash us. Run football like football, not like seminary. And if the Church won’t allow it then they need to dump athletics and stop dragging us along an inevitable road to a dead end. So this isn’t all on Bronco. And those who denounce the criticism, just look at our status compared to Boise and Utah. It wasn’t long ago that those two programs dreamed of being like BYU, now they’ve passed us and we’re disappearing in the rearview mirror. As a proud BYU fan I can’t sit back and accept that.

  • Rob said:

    Good article with well documented points. Yes, things need to get better. Yes, things have come a long way with Bronco. Right now, Bronco will be the coach of BYU as long as he wants to be. He brings the proper balance that BYU leaders want between academics, off field conduct, missionary service, and emphasis on winning.

    He is a man of stong convictions who has worked hard to learn his craft. He freely admits to making mistakes. He takes responsibility for what he and the team does. He is astraight up leader. Would we love to have BYU go undefeated? Certainly. Do we want the best players and the best behavior? Of course. SO does Bronco.

    For Bronco to leave would be insane! As several have posted: who would/could replade him?

    I am sure he is doing a great deal of self examination and putting himself through a lot of scrunity. What he and the team needs is suppport. It’s amazing how many posters think they can judge the talent and commitment of players when Bronco and his staff spend countless hours with them. If it’s time for an assistant coach to go, let Bronco decide that.

    Let’s keep in mind that this is the most challenging coaching situation in college sports. No other program has the scruntiy, requiremnets, limitations (does any other college or pro coach want to deal with the comings and goings of missionaries??), and thin skinned “fans”.

    Years ago a college basketball coach was hanged in effigy by fans after an early season loss to a rival. School administrators wisely gave him time to develop. He turned things around with their support and that of the fans. You might have heard of him. His name is Dean Smith.

  • SammFan said:

    I’m frustrated with the inability of the coaches to make the tough decisions but I’m not ready to write them off. I think it’s in them – somewhere. Doman’s young but so is Mendenhall. I do think they struggle with cultural issues – which equates to making tough choices with players. When a kid gets 4 false starts (and is the ONLY one getting them) you sit him. Maybe not forever, maybe not the whole game, but pull him out and give him a chance to regroup.

    The biggest issue and , understandably the toughest, is the issue with the Riley “twins”. With 30K students on campus, there has to be someone who can kick a field goal. 0 for 3 gets you benched in HIGH SCHOOL in favor of always going for it”.

    With Nelson, the coaches have clearly come to trust Hill and used him in key spots. If he takes 4 more key snaps, BYU wins that game. BUT, I think we all know that Bronco is scared to death to make that change. If he does, he’ll lose a month’s sleep for “screwing over” Lark. Unfortunately, we all know we have a frenetic puppy dog of a QB with Riley and the energy that makes him fun to watch sometimes is what loses games. I can hear him in my Sales meeting. I can DO this. Let me have this one and I’ll close it for sure!! Just give me the ball coach — pant, pant. Then he gets excited and wets on the carpet. I have no doubt that he thinks he can win. But that also means he thinks he’s better than his teammates (thus keeping the ball on 90% of the options). The choke for BYU coaching is making that big decision to change QBs. Riley pulled it off at UT St last year. Does Hill get a chance? Will they let Hill in a situation like that where it becomes inevitable that he’s the starter, or will they hold him back? Will they feel obligated to give Lark his shot? (brutal truth is it’s likely not worth the investment). The only reason Nelson succeeded last year after UT St was that we didn’t have any more real games.

    I think the coaches can do this, I ‘m just not sure they have the will.

  • Bill said:

    Bronco Still has the best wining percentage, remember Edwards had 29 years as head coach, that is a lot of time to become better and to master the art. Bronco is only a few years into it, so far he is better statistically in almost every major way than was Edwrads. Not to mention the edge that BYU had with the new offense that was first supported by the Y, now this is used universally.

    I know many on here disagree with me but it is always and forever be Church and priorties first and football second. It is big money and no body wants to lose especialyl to Utah, we all take a lot of ridicule etc from their fan base, but it truly is still just a game!

    Go Cougars!

  • Ryan said:

    I hate losing to the Yewts, but I hate knowing that they caused us to go into full meltdown “Fire Bronco” mode EVEN MORE.

  • Provo4Life said:

    The biggest problem with Bronco is that he will not play the top talent. He rewards seniority and years in the program. This idea is so wrong. In order to get the most out of what you have you must use your best resources. Also, there is a huge problem with developing talent. We get big recruits that turn out to be big busts. Now some of that is high school rating, but a lot of that is inability to develop talent. The players at BYU rarely get better, simply plateau. I think that Bronco needs to go. He is like Ron McBride for Utah, but they needed Urban Meyer to take them to a BCS. We need someone else to get us over the hump and I am not sure right now who that coach is. Doman needs to right the ship, or he is out. Webber should already be gone, see wisconsin after their first loss. Dupaix also sucks. Why aren’t we starting the freshman Williams? ANyone who thinks Alisa is a viable option is horribly wrong. he is too slow! Lastly Omer needs to go. All he produces is injuries and slow athletes.

  • K. Craig Shoemaker said:

    Boy, all of these comments took awhile to read and I thought all of them were thoughtful and painted quite a mosiac. My comment will not be lengthy but has been long-standing in my thoughts. I am an avid fan but this is what I want out of BYU football. I want a program that upholds the standards of the church, which standards I believe should be aspirational for the world as a whole because our standards are true.
    Thus, we must realize, our football program will never be on a par with teams who do not let standards determine what kind of a program they will have. So be it!
    My desire for our program is that we will be competive in all the games we play, we will fight hard and never give up and will be in MOST games we play to the end and have a chance to win. And if we don’t win, we will be content that we put a competitive team on the field to represent BYU and its fans.

  • Scott said:

    I feel like I have just listened to my 11 year old whine and complain about her teachers at school.

    There was very little substance to this. You let your emotions get the best of you Brett. I am not saying it is wrong to feel this way (I know I am upset about what happened Saturday just as much as anybody else), but to publicly express those feelings this way was unprofessional, and poor journalism.

    I think your readers would benefit from reading this:


  • Jon said:

    BYU would be CRAZY to fire Bronco.

    But Bronco would be CRAZY to not make major changes.

    The offense has been a joke for 2.5 years now. Doman has to be accountable, just like Anae was held accountable two years ago. And just like Jaime Hill was held accountable for a subpar defense.

    The O-line has been a joke for even longer. There has to be accountability.

    BYU’s strength and conditioning program has been a train wreck. When every play getting ready for the NFL combine has to completely transform his body to get ready then your strength and conditioning program is a joke. There must be big changes there.

    Skill development of the players is awful. To only has 7 alums on NFL rosters means you’re either doing an awful job recruiting, or you’re doing an awful job developing that talent. It’s mostly the latter. Gotta have accountability.

    Bronco has done an amazing job resurrecting the program from the trash heap it was under Crowton. But it’s far from perfect. Bronco has to fix the problems above if BYU wants to move from a consistent #20-#30 team to a consistent top 15 team. It’s that simple.

  • Jeff said:

    Wow, this is spot on! Missed field goals even after a second chance to tie the game is poor. Riley has the heart of a loin, but can’t throw to talented “OPEN” receivers. The miscues and mistakes kill this offense in the last few years in every big game played. A loss only bothers me when we repeatedly make the same mistakes in every major game that counts. There should be no more talk from Bronco about being in the top 10 until he can win a big game at home or on the road. Until the head coach can beat the TCU’s,Utah’s and win a BCS game, we will just be a good football team NOT a great one! The players are hardworking kids that deserve some fire from the side line, not a fire side.

  • Russ said:

    Look, I understand everybody’s frustrated with the last few seasons. We see years with stacked teams at the skill positions or exceptional defensive squads and yet can’t make it to the next level. Being a consistent Top25 program isn’t good enough anymore. But is the answer really to sack the whole coaching staff?

    I hope not. Coaching is a problem, but not the problem people think it is. Football coaching gives a lot of prestige to the guys on top, but the reality is it begins with the units at the bottom of the chain. BYU’s defense (which Mendenhall has personally made his focus) does a fantastic job. BYU, however, will not win games until its offense can consistently put points on the board, so maybe we need a new O.C. Of course, offense will never be able to consistently score points until we get some balance, which requires consistent production from our run game, so maybe we need a new running-backs coach. Of course, our running game will never take off until we get a line that’s capable of opening holes and creating lanes, so maybe we need a new o-line coach.

    From my perspective, I think the o-line is where BYU has consistently underperformed for the last few years (and the main reason Heaps was a bust for us). We consistently get top prospects on that unit, which we somehow manage to coach down to rejects. If we’re going to look to retool the coaching staff, start small and get a new line coach. If that doesn’t solve it, move up the chain.

  • cory said:

    seriously, BYU’s fan base has issues.
    Step away from the edge!
    Bronco is not going anywhere, until he decides he is fed up with it and moves on. (Which is coming really soon if this keeps up) I think he is just like Lavell, Lavell just let his assistants do the work on Saturday… bare with me.
    As a defensive coordinator Bronco is doing awesome, case closed. When he tried to give that duty up, look what happened.
    As head coach it is Bronco’s responsibility to be the generall; make sure the players are living right(Honor Code), keeping up with their classes (NCAA rules. Get some young players to but into the BYU system(hofman, Van Noy, D. Sorenson, Mangum, Hill) And make sure his assistants are doing what they are suppose to… coach a certain aspect of the game. This is where he needs to do better. Webber and Doman are having a hard time, he needs to figure out what is wrong and fix it.

  • walt said:

    Now we are finally hearing from cougar fans who are fed up with the direction this program is going. First let me say however, I am impressed with the quality of athletes Bronco has brought into the program, they seem to be representing the church and school very well. That aside, whose bright idea was it to abandon the high powered, explosive, elite passing offense BYU built over the past 30 years??? The Brandon Doman experiment has failed, and failed miserably… He is an option QB at heart, that is what he knows, and his passing skills at BYU were marginal at best. Reily Nelson is his clone. Lets get back to the great passing attack of years past, throw the ball 50 times a game, keep the defense honest with ocassional runs and start lighting up the scoreboard again. We have the athletes on both offense and defense to compete with anyone…. IF they have the right offense to flurish in. Believe me, with Brandon Doman calling the plays BYU will be irrelevant.. I think we are already… Holmoe had no business allowing Mendenhall to give a high powered passing attack to someone who had no experience and would rather run than pass. Doman should never have been allowed to bring in his high school option back buddy to prepare our receivers to be dominant in the passing game. Years past our backs were some of our top receivers. The ball was spread all over the field to every position and the defense could not key on any one person. Lets get back to the basics, bring in an offensive co-ordinator who can see the old films and reinstitute the success of the past. We would pass anywhere, anytime on the field, pass 50 times a game and simply wear out the opposition. Let the scrambling QB’s go somewhere esle. We need pocket passers with good mobility to avoid the rush and go thru their progressions to hit the open receivers. This is not rocket science… The more we run the more mediocre we will become. BYU went to the passing game initially for certain reasons.. Those reasons haven’t changed. With our current offensive scheme and QB we will lose to Boise State, Notre Dame, and Georgia Tech. Our season is over. We may even lose to Oregon State and Utah State. We can’t score enough to outscore good opponents. I’m really sadened with the whole situation. My Utah associates are the first to admit the best thing that has happened is that BYU can’t throw the ball like they used to. Heck, they even enjoyed watching us march up and down the field against the like of Miami and Texas A&m. We were really fun to watch.

  • FL Cosmo said:

    @JT: I believe Brett made that prediction expecting Wynn and White to be healthy for the Utes offense. BYU’s defense did it’s job. The offense should have put up at least 30. No excuses for that.

  • James said:

    Yes BYU has hit their peak….when a team will not play the best talent they have, but only play SENIORS…(at any position), they have put a cap on their talent pool…But this has been the thinking at BYU for years ( I have been watching BYU football since 1971) If all they want to do is play the best behaved kids, then that is great, it meets the purpose of the church…However, if they want to be competitive, they need to play the MOST TALENTED KIDS…for example: Taysom Hill the best quarterback they have, is sitting on the bench because he is a FRESHMAN?? AND WHAT ABOUT WILLIAMS?? He is the best running back I have seen play yet….Oh, wait….their not SENIORS…. Use the BEST YOU HAVE, not just the ones you like the most…If I were a football player, I would not want to play for a team that automatically says I cant play because I am a FRESHMAN….I would go to a school that says: show me your stuff, and you will play…

  • Realistic Optimist said:

    I liked the posting of Rob.

    There was nothing in that positing that I disagree with.
    It was well written, well thought out, and I give him an A+
    for his support of the coaching staff.

    Having said that, calling fans thin skinned does not cut it.
    Not recognizing that when so many fans are so frustrated
    over the status quo, something needs to be done, is something
    that perhaps he may want to reconsider.

    I suggest the following:

    Start each coach from this day foreward with a grade of A+.

    Now, grade them, not the players, but the coaches on how well
    the team was prepared for the last game played.

    Have a contract with the coaches that reads, “as long as they maintain a B+
    average for the performance of the players that they trained in the last game,
    their duties as a coach for that position is secure”.

    “If they drop below that B+ average, they will be asked to find work somewhere else”.

    Note two things.

    1. The A+ rating that they are starting with is not based
    on past performance, but instead, starting new, they are given the grade of confindence
    and it is theirs only as long as they deserve it.

    2. The B+ average is not to be considered as the standard, but the minimum average they
    may have to keep their job. They are always to be striving to keep the A+ that they started with.

  • Slugger said:

    Guys, you all have arguable points on this but it really boils down to the Church. In the post-Crowton era (thanks to the actions of a few stupid recruits) the Church has painted with a broad brush and a heavy hand and demanded that the program run more like the MTC than an NCAA IA college football team. Bronco and the rest of the coaching staff are working under the watchful eye of the Church. He is behaving and coaching how the Church wants him to coach. Even if we replace the staff the new guy(s) will be under the same scrutiny. Bottom line is the Church needs to decide if they will allow the football program to run as such, and accept some of the risk that comes with it, or get out of athletics. The fact is they want to have their cake (missionary-like program) and eat it too (be a top 10 program). Many of us have put faith that running the program this way would result in some kind of divine reward and we’d have inexplicable success but that’s all just a pipe dream. We’re a good program getting passed up by the likes of Utah and Boise, while being dazed by a false sense of security through our ESPN contract. How many BCS games of Utah, TCU and Boise been too? And how many have the Cougars been to? I don’t really care if we win 10 games over a mostly WAC schedule and end the season at #25. That isn’t the benchmark. Until this program reaches a BCS game we all have to admit the glory days are gone and someone else is standing in the spotlight.

  • Jason said:

    If you are a BYU fan and like this article get off the fence and start bleeding red.

  • Realistic Optimist said:

    CougarFootballApologist said:

    “I agree with a lot of the comments but I think a reality check is needed and our
    expectations need to be lowered.”

    In my humble opinion, this is absolutely the wrong thinking.

    We would never be asked to lower our standards in the Church and we should never be expected to lower our standard in football.

    When we stop striving to be the #1 National Champions again, and when we stop working for another Heisman Trophy Winner, and when we stop trying to get into a BCS Bowl game, and when we stop expecting another Miracle Bowl, that is the time we need to get out of sports and find a real team to cheer on.

    “I believe BYU football and basketball have two of the top coaches in the nation but are extremely handicapped with their recruiting pool”.

    At this point in the post, (with all the handicaps that the coaches work under), I can not agree with this statement in full, but I do not blame the coaches. The AD needs to take over the responsiblity of the honor code and let the coaches do the coaching.

    “We can spin the ESPN story all we want but at the end of the day, Utah is going to get better talent and even some of the elite Mormon players because of the PAC 12 and National Championship opportunities. “

    I totally agree.

    “BYU gets good players and sometimes great players, but not to the level of other top 25 programs”.

    Remembering our 5 Star Ben Olson, and our 5 Star Jacob Heaps, and our highly touted quarter backs in Larkin and Mums, reminds us that we do less than C- coaching with higher quality players, while we may reach grade “B” with the ordinary players. It’s a wonder to me that we get any top quality players at all the way we treat them. It’s like we are threatened by them instead of wanting to give them the opportunity to show their portential.

    “We need to wake up and know we are a 10 win football program at best and don’t have a chance against most top 25 program”

    Oh, oh, oh, No, no, no !!! Not true at all in my opinion. I would rather give up sports at the Y than to give up on what is possible if we are willing to make some adjustments.

    1. Give the Honor Code responsibilities and Liabilities to the AD. Let the AD give
    the Fire Side Chats and Speeches elsewhere and Let the coaches coach.

    Had we done this with Crowton, he would have grown to be one of the
    best coaches in the Nation. Look at his first season before he was blamed for
    the honor code violation that happen well into the night in one of the players
    home. It was insane to blame Crowton for this. He spent the rest of his tenure
    at the Y preparing to defend himself rather than prepare to coach for upcoming
    games. It was the honor code duties killed his carreer at BYU. Let the AD take
    over the Honor Code Duties and Responsibilities.

    2. In my opinion, and I do hope that my opinion is wrong, you would be happier
    having the Cougars join the Skyline Conference and win ever game with no
    effort. That’s not for me. I would rather play nothing but BCS teams and lose
    half of them each year, than to play the game vs teams we know we will win
    before the game begins.

    3. Do we really see ourselves that more Holy than Bailor, Notre Dame, TCU,
    Prspertarian, and SMU ???? I am sure that at some time in their football history,
    each of these teams have had to make some adjustments in the personal duties
    in order to keep up with their Church Standards and at the same time, give their
    football teams a chance to achieve to the best of their abilities. We can make
    assignment of duty changes as well, if we will.

  • Ron said:

    BYU is recruiting the right players–of all the FB teams in the nation, BYU’s team most closely resembles its student body. We should be proud of that. BYU’s players are a light to the world. We should be proud of that. BYU’s coaches have their priorities in order. We should be proud of that, too.

    BYU has a tough, overachieving defense, and adequate special teams. BYU has strong talent in the offensive skill positions, and adequate talent in the O-line.

    What BYU lacks is an innovative offense. BYU excelled in the 70s & 80s because they ran an offense most teams weren’t prepared to defend. As teams caught on in the 90’s LaVelle’s teams became less effective. Robert Anae’s offense was a step in the right direction because it was unconventional. Doman’s offense is a step back towards the obsolete Edwards system.

    BYU should always be unique in the players and coaches it attracts. We don’t want to be corrupt like the others. But to compete with the ‘win at all costs’ programs, BYU must be innovative, and execute flawlessly on offense. Doman is still cutting his teeth, but he needs to adapt or get out of the way of progress. If he can’t get it done, BYU needs some new blood who can.

  • BigCougar said:

    “Man- great points. When was the last time we finished the season ranked under Bronco”

    I think your comments play right into the point that Brett was making. You sound like you’re content with a little lip service being paid towards being great, keeping the schedule soft so that BYU can be sure to have enough easy opponents to get to 10 wins without too much trouble, and because most voters in the polls don’t pay attention to much more than the scores and what a teams win-loss record is that seems to be the magic formula for sneaking into the top 25 each year (do we really think we were a top 25 team last year?).

    Apparently that’s a formula for success for you, but for many fans it’s not. It’s nice that Bronco builds character and strong young men but I’m pretty sure our team already leads the nation in the number of Eagle Scouts on the team, the number of RM’s on the team, the number of married men on the team, the number of fathers with at least one kid on the team, etc, etc, etc, etc. That is already built into the football program by virtue of BYU being BYU. It doesn’t need to be a major focus, we pretty much have cornered the market on that.

    What we haven’t cornered the market on in the state of Utah (Kyle and the Yewts have) is being the premier college football program in the state. Utah has passed BYU by in that category (and is attempting to put some distance between us) and now we have Utah St nipping at our heels. Once upon a time we had that locked down, but through taking our eyes off the ball, we’ve let the mantle pass to others (former BYU players who remember when BYU was great and are building that into the Yewt football program).

    Way back when (when BYU was great) it was football success that made the program what it was. Who cared about BYU football before Lavell Edwards made it great? BYU football was an absolute joke but when Lavell took over the reigns, he made winning a priority and built a national championship team by attracting the best assistant coaches, bringing in or developing NFL caliber players and not taking his eye off the target (being #1).

    When you look at the list of assistant coaches to pass through BYU in the late 70’s and early 80’s it is an impressive list of future NFL head coaches (and Super Bowl winning HC’s) and college head coaches.

    When you look at the players pass through to the NFL during his time that’s an even more impressive list along with a boatload of players who were among the very best at their positions (Doak Walker, Davey O’Brien, Heisman, Outland trophy winners, numerous All-Americans, etc).

    Edwards built great young men by making being great a priority. He set the bar high and led his team to meet and exceed that bar.

    What Brett is pointing out now is a program that only wants to appear to be great and is actually only reaching “good”. That was a great comment by one of the posters, “Good is the enemy of Great.” The program has de-emphasized being great and moved it way down the list of priorities. Now we suffer the consequence of that. Beating up on 5 or 6 bottom rung WAC teams a year, beating a few lower tier BCS conference schools a year and getting to 10 wins seems to be the goal for this program.

    Appearing “Good” has became the focus of the program, not becoming “Great”. Bronco has done a great job with the defense and recruited some excellent players on that side of the ball. He needs to also take ownership of the offense and give it that same sense of direction and pride that the defense has.

    We have some superior athletes that are going to waste or have already left the program because Bronco puts his hands up and says he’s not an offensive guy. For the first 3 quarters of the Utah game I kept asking aloud, “what the heck was Riley still doing on the field?” He seemed to have ‘quit’ in his eyes before the game even got started. He looked overmatched and seemed to have fear and confusion in his eyes and dominating his thinking. In order to get him the starting job they chased away a 5 star QB and kept 2 other 4 star QB’s languishing undeveloped (going to waste) on the bench. What a waste.

    Another superior athlete who seems to be going to waste is Ross Apo. He had one ball thrown to him in the game and it wasn’t even close to being catchable. Most times Riley doesn’t have the arm to be able to throw it to him on the outside. This was a kid athletic enough that Texas offered him a scholarship. We stole him away and now he’s going to waste.

    Lavell showed you can build great young men on the road to being a great football program by making ‘being great’ a priority. You get out of things generally what you put into them. Brett makes a great point that currently we have coaches not wanting to put in the time needed to be great and their wives complain in the media about the little time they do spend at work. The speed of the leader determines the rate of the pack. This was supposed to be our time for greatness with the depth and maturity of our defense and offense, a really good schedule and nearly all of our games televised on ESPN.

    Instead we’re still playing like buffoons and committing stupid errors like a troop of clowns (I’ll be forever haunted by the picture of that snap sailing over Riley’s shoulder and he’s not paying attention). Bronco’s post game comments make it seem like the comedy of errors that is now becoming an annual event when we play the yewts is something beyond his control, like playing in the rain. Once upon a time the yewts used to play football like that. They don’t anymore. They have a coach who teaches them and demands them to be great. He learned it from a great developer of young men, Lavell Edwards.

    Why have a football program at all if not to reach for greatness?

  • Realistic Optimist said:

    Author: Bill
    “Bronco Still has the best wining percentage, remember Edwards had 29 years as head coach, that is a lot of time to become better and to master the art. Bronco is only a few years into it, so far he is better statistically in almost every major way than was Edwrads. Not to mention the edge that BYU had with the new offense that was first supported by the Y, now this is used universally.”

    Guys—–Please, We are now playing Sky Line type teams in the lower half of our schedule. That is what is giving us the stats. It is not our great coaching!!!!

    “I know many on here disagree with me but it is always and forever be Church and priorties first and football second. ”

    GUYS AGAIN !!!!! Please again.

    Stop thinking that we have to be a lower level team in order to keep a high level of religion. It simply is not true.

    It takes better management to be able to keep both the high standards of the Church and the high standards that we hope to achievement in Football. With better management, we can do both. With your support, we will do both,

    Let the coaches coach. Let the AD take over the responsibility and the Liability of the Honor Code and all the public speaking. Let 100% of the coaches time, during the football season, be devoted to coaching without all the other distractions.

    No, don’t give up on any of the Church Standards. Yes keep all of them.
    Just put someone in charge of them other than the coaches. Let the coaches coach. Let the missionaries do the missionary work, Let the Bishops and the Stake Presidents nuture our membership, but let the duty of coaching be the job that they do without infrienging upon the other said person’s duties. Don’t spread our coaches thin, with duties and responsibilities, outside of coaching.

    “It is big money and no body wants to lose especialyl to Utah, we all take a lot of ridicule etc from their fan base, but it truly is still just a game!”

    It is not just another game. (Utah/BYU). It has become a cultural event. It has developed into a historical heritage. It is the biggest social event of the year.
    Not for many years, and not now, is this just another game.

    Go Cougars! A-men.

  • Realistic Optimist said:

    Author: Slugger

    Slugger, Very well said. I totally agree with you. Many will not agree with you and that group will feel obligated to defend the status quo.

    What you said in your post needs to be said over and over again everyday until there are some positive changes in thinking made. “Let the coaches Coach” “Let the missionaries do the missionary work” Let the Bishops and the Stake Presidents nuture the membership, and finally, LET THE AD BE THE RESPONSIBLE ONE FOR THE

    Perhaps most of our criticism vs Bronco and the rest of the coaching staff is unjustified due to the restraints put upon those coaches by the powers that be that decide if they are to keep their jobs or not. PERHAPS, OUR FRUSTRATION SHOULD BE SHIFTED FROM THE COACHING STAFF TO THE ADMINISTRATION.

  • Jefe said:

    In my profession we have a special definition for the term “tampering”. It is “interventions to correct random rather than systematic variation”.

    Tampering often is the natural emotional reaction to an unwanted outcome. (e.g. “I don’t like this …, we HAVE to change SOMETHING”). The trouble comes when one then begins seeking “evidence” to provide justification for the emotional response. You’ll no doubt find the evidence you need, but it will be colored by your need to justify the emotional response.


    Are their systemic problems with the BYU football program as a whole that were evidenced in the loss to Utah? Perhaps.

    Are we the best qualified to understand the differences between random versus systemic variation? Perhaps, but unlikely to be the _best_.

    Who is best equipped (with both reliable data and then time) to address the issues of systemic variation? A coaching staff.

    Are they incapable of assessing the issues of systemic variation? Perhaps, but again unlikely.

    Coach Mendenhall is interested in player development AND coach development. He’s not one to give up easily on one of his players nor his coaches. He is loyal, perhaps almost to a fault, but has shown in firing Coach Hill that he can make the tough decisions when needed.

    The real issue is can I trust Coach Mendenhall?

    The answer: Yes I do, as long as he continues to remind the rest of us that football (as great as it is) is not, nor ever will be, priority #1. That shows more self-awareness than 90%+ of football coaches evidence today.

  • Gorum the Old said:

    Bronco’s record against top 20 teams: 4-7
    Lavell Edwards’ record against top 20 teams in his first 7 years: 2-5.

    Bronco’s record for his first 7 years: 66-24 (73.3%)
    Lavell Edwards’ record for his first 7 years: 49-29 (59.2%)

    # of times Bronco’s teams have finished in the top 20: 3 (12th, 15th, 15th)
    # of times Lavell’s teams have finished in the top 20 in his first 7 years: 1 (16th)

    The only area where Lavell had better stats is in his record against Utah, but those were against bad football teams.

    In his fist 7 Holy Wars, Lavell’s Cougars were 6-1. Of course during the same time, Utah averaged 4.14 (equivilent to 4.46 wins in a 12 game season) wins per year. Just for comparison, that would have put them 6th in the WAC last year.

    Mendenhall was a disapointing 3-4 in his first 7 rivalry games, but Utah averaged 9.29 wins per season, more than twice as many wins as the Ute teams Lavel faced.

    I am by no means saying that Mendenhall is a better coach than Edwards. What I am asking is what would have happened if it had been decided that Lavell had hit his ceiling and that it was time to more on?

    It took Lavell Edwards 12 seasons to finaly crack the top 10. During his 29 year carrer, he only finished there 3 times.

    Before you decide that it’s time for Mendenhall to go, or even that he has hit a ceiling, give him at least the 12 years it took Lavell to bring the Cougars into the top 10.

  • Realistic Optimist said:

    “BYU’s defense (which Mendenhall has personally made his focus) does a fantastic job”. I AGREE. I would love to keep him as our DC.

    “BYU, however, will not win games until its offense can consistently put points on the board, so maybe we need a new O.C.” I agree.

    “Of course, offense will never be able to consistently score points until we get some balance, which requires consistent production from our run game, so maybe we need a new running-backs coach.” I agree.

    “Of course, our running game will never take off until we get a line that’s capable of opening holes and creating lanes, so maybe we need a new o-line coach.”
    I agree,

    “From my perspective, I think the o-line is where BYU has consistently underperformed for the last few years (and the main reason Heaps was a bust for us). We consistently get top prospects on that unit, which we somehow manage to coach down to rejects. If we’re going to look to retool the coaching staff, start small and get a new line coach. If thatm doesn’t work, go up the line.”

    My comments are this:
    Give the coaches a chance to coach. Put all non coaching duties with the AD. Let the AD be in charge of and responsible for all Honor Code responsibilities, liabilities, and dicipline and control during non football, on the field, practice hours. Let the AD do all the prep for and all the delivery of, public speaking be it at Fireside Chats, Sacrament Meetings or elsewhere. Let the coaches coach.

    Grade the coaches for the team performances in each position. Let the coaches know that they must maintain a B+ average after each game performance for the players that the coach is required to coach. If the coach can not maintain that B+ average, he must be replaced with a coach that can maintain that average.

    Perhaps with all the non coaching responsibilities that our coaches have in order to keep in good standing with their employers, it is not fair to judge them too harshly, however, changes must be made in what we expect of our coaches in order to have the kind of team that we want and expect.

  • Steve T said:

    Football should be placed in a much higher priority.

    Penn State

  • Realistic Optimist said:

    Author: TimeForAndyReid
    Comment: said,
    “Time for the Andy Reid era to begin. He’ll leave the Eagles after this year, and be in Provo for the 2014 season.”

    I know that we can not call our celebraties on a football mission, but maybe if we ask nicely, but strongly, we might be able to have an all star coaching staff,

    I’m not sure which guy would coach which postiton, but have
    Andy Reid, Steve Young and Ty Detmer take over the duties of Head Coach, OC, and
    QB coach. My guess is that Andy would be the HC, Steve the OC, and Ty the QB Coach.

    Keep Ben Cahoon as the Receivers Coach. Keep Bronco as the DC, and replace the coaching staff for the OL, and the RB’s,

    Let the coaches coach, the AD be in charge of the Honor Code and other Church
    Requirements. Let the missionaries do the missionary work. Let the Bishops and Stake Presidents take care of nuturing the membership. Let the coaches job be only to coach during the coaching season.

  • WaybackCougar said:

    On, man, here we go again. Recruit a knight in shining armor to charge in and solve all our coaching problems. I’m sure Andy Reid won’t have a bit of trouble moving from coaching professional athletes to college talent.

    And, of course, the QBs on the bench are always better than the one that’s playing.

    You guys kill me. Same old baloney every time things don’t go your way. Think back to how many times you’ve gotten your wish and it has turned out well for you. Can you count them on more than one thumb?

    The best thing for our program is consistency with course corrections as needed. That’s what we had during the LaVell era. That’s what we’re getting now.

    Get back to work. Let this ride for awhile and see what happens. Given how it started, Doman had a reasonably successful first year and he’s only lost one close game this year. Yes, the coaches and team stubbed their toes last week. Let’s see how they respond.

  • Slugger said:

    What it all boils down to are two things:

    First(and this is the only real coaching gripe I have with the staff),the philosophy of not considering the caliber of opponent you’re facing week to week. This reluctance or refusal to get amped up more for one team than another is the difference between a 9 or 10-win season and a 12-win season. Football is a game of strength, precision and emotion. If your opponent shows up ready to embarass you, you better show up with the same adrenaline.

    Second (and this is the biggest), the Church and University need to back off and let the coaches run a football team. I’m so tired of the firesides and other activities that take away from the development of the football team. All they have to do is recruit good kids with talent and let the Church and University infrastructure handle the religous gatherings. I would argue with anyone that the days of Jim McMahon and Ty Detmer (both non-LDS at the time) brought more positive attention to the program than promoting a bunch of Eagle Scout walk-ons to scholarship. We get top recruits and…we lose those top recruits. We turn a blind eye to talent in preference for overachieving. That’s why the Cougars can’t get over the hump. Effort and heart take you so far, for the rest you need talent.

    Lastly, for those of you barking that this was just one bad loss and we’re all blowing it out of proportion; well, it’s a disturbing trend. And when you see a trend it often represents truth and fact. The trend here is the inability to “rise up” when needed.

  • Todd said:

    BYU & UTAH Games Percent Wins Percent w/ Ties equally distributed
    Total Games 94
    Total BYU Wins 34 36.17% 38.30%
    Total Utah Wins 56 59.57% 61.70%
    Ties 4 4.26%

    Byu Record Games Won % Wins
    Total Wins Under LaVell (1972-2000) 22 75.86%
    Total Wins Under Crowton (2001-2004) 1 25.00%
    Total Wins Under Bronco (2005-2010) 3 37.50%

    Utah Record Games Won
    Total Wins Under Lovat (1974-1976) 0 0.00%
    Total Wins Under Howard (1977-1981) 1 20.00%
    Total Wins Under Stobart (1982-1984) 0 0.00%
    Total Wins Under Fassel (1985-1989) 1 25.00%
    Total Wins Under McBride (1990-2002) 6 46.15%
    Total Wins Under Meyers (2003-2004) 2 100.00%
    Total Wins Under Whittingham (2005-2010)5 62.50%

    Total BYU Wins Since 1972 26 63.41%
    Total Utah Wins Since 1972 15 36.59%
    Total Games played 41

    Longest Win Streaks BYU 9 (1979–1987) Utah 9 (1929–1937)

    Hmmm seems like Utah wins more often overall. Second, 1972 to present BYU seems to win overall.

  • Brian Jordan said:

    I agree completely with this article. Bronco just doesn’t seem willing to do what is necessary to prepare his team or himself for the big game. He looked clueless and completely “un-invested” during the entire Utah game. Whenever the camera showed Bronco, it looked as if he didn’t even know what just happened. The Utah game is a perfect comparision because coach Whittingham is just the opposite. He is completely involved, emotionally and physically, with this team and the game. Does Bronco think coaching only happens at practice or behind closed doors? If he is really trying to improve his players and his team, why isn’t he doing any coaching in games? Why does he just walk around looking at the ground all game long? Where is the coaching being done? I am one BYU fan that is just tierd of the poor game planing and lack of ability to make adjustments. This may sound stiff but if BYU doesn’t win out the remainder of the year, then he should lose his job. Fans are tired of this team not progressing and so should the administration and all other school leaders.

  • Brian Jordan said:

    Slugger, you are spot on, especially with your second point. Church leadership needs to back off. If they won’t allow the football team to do what is necessary to prepare and get better, then they will not get the type of exposure they are seeking. Instead, they will continue to get embarassed on national TV. Non-members and non-fans will lose interest. The church needs to let the football team be a football team. If the team is successful, then people will pay attention and will ask their own questions about the school they play for. If the church insists on using the football team as a religious tool, well then maybe they should be playing on Sunday’s after all.

  • Realistic Optimist said:

    Nate said,
    “And now at this point with a BCS game out of reach there is really no reason Riley
    should even see another snap. With no conference championship to play for, the
    rest of this year should be about preparing for next year.”

    Maybe each of the other games left on our schedule should be used as practice games using our most talented freshmen and sophmores that still have a future at BYU.

    I could really care less, maybe, about having a 10 – 0 season vs, teams like
    Idaho, San Jose State, New Mexico State, Utah State and Hawaii.

    Considering our loss to Utah, and probably losses to Boise State, Notre Dame, and Ga Tec, based on what we all saw vs. our Utah game, and possibly even losses to Utah State, Oregon State and Hawaii, I still do not care if we have a 6-6 season. I don’t care if we get any bowl at all.

    What I do care about is that we right our wrong way ship wreck that hit an all time low since the end of the Edwards Era, but just maybe tied with the Crowton era.

    Let’s use the rest of this season as practice game for next season using next seasons starters in all positions. Ross Apo WR, Cody Hoffman WR, Kyle Van Noy LB, Should never be left out of a play. See what Mums and Larkin can do? We know what Riley can and can not do. Give the new QB as many snaps as he can handle with success. From Mums, Larkin and the new kid on the block, see who should really be next years QB and after a few of our remaining Practice games)
    let the best QB finish the season in preparation for next seasons QB. This season is over, No need to fret, It’s (Once again-Oh Hum) gone.

  • WaybackCougar said:

    Hogwash! How involved did LaVell look all those years standing on the sidelines? Now you’re experts at interpreting facial expression?

    Look, you’ve got a point about the problems with Utah. But the “this is just another game” thing that Bronco preaches is totally misinterpreted. That’s not what he’s saying at all. He pushes them to give maximum effort for EVERY game. His point is that he’s not going to say “let’s push ourselves harder for the Utah game” because he wants them to push themselves to their limits every week and not just for the Utah game.

    I agree that Utah seems to have our number. One major issue in this game was the deceptive defensive signal calls and shifts that provoked the false starts. I read that our players complained to the refs but the refs said “we can’t call it if we can’t hear it.” So the combination of the crowd noise and deliberate attempts to mess up our cadences killed us.

    Now, that has happened in the past. So obviously whatever they’ve done to try and deal with it is not working. But that’s a problem that is far different from whether we have effective schemes or not. Take away those drive killing penalties and I’m betting you see a different game.

    So, yes, we need a new approach to Utah. The coaches need to rethink some things. But I’m not ready to call for wholesale coaching changes.

  • Realistic Optimist said:

    Waitaminute said,

    “ No need for panic mode, we just exposed the fact that offense may need a
    makover, mainly a new qb, not a new head coach!!! way to much of an over

    My question is this:

    Who ran our 5 star Quarterback, Jake Heaps, out of BYU to play for Kansas.
    Are we really that much better than BCS Kansas?

    Was it the players or the coaches, or the players because of the attitude of the coaches that ran our 5 star QB off the team to make a place for Riley?

    Was this the fans fault? Was it the players fault? or was it the coaching staff’s fault?
    Who is the boss? Who is the General? Who is the CEO of the Cougars? Where does the Buck Stop? If we could only ask these questions to President Harry S. Truman.

  • brittany said:

    Let’s get things right first off. BYU played a good game. Utah just played better or as some of you would say took up opportunities the were presented. But maybe I’m biased when I say this, no one will ever be able to coach the cougars like my uncle, Lavell. No one. End of story.
    Now to whoever said get rid of Reynolds, have you ever watched a game in the past 11 years? Not only are his boys pro athletes now, but they learned it from their dad. Lance is an amazing guy and an excellant coach.
    And now for my favorite. WE’RE classless? So what Max Hall said a few years ago wasn’t classless? Kyle’s wife getting punched in the face at Lavell’s stadium wasn’t classless? Or BYU fans taunting my friends and fellow Ute fans about their age and where they live and other completely irrelevant to football things is classy? Or the fact that while I live in provo in the epicenter, I even get harrassed by former BYU DOCTORS for supporting the Utes. I felt bad for Riley because as a cousin you want to see them win, but it just didn’t happen and he was a good sport when the over excited fans rushed the field. But to say a whole school and fan base is classless is a load of shit and you know it. You have your classless and poor sport fans, EVERY team does! Now quit hiding behind that phrase and realize that while Max Hall publicly called out a few Ute fans for an accident, Coach and Mrs. Whittingham didn’t say a word after she was clocked in the mouth.
    So take your poor sportsmenship, name calling, and finger pointing somewhere that people care and realize that as a team, you’re not going to win every game.

  • WaybackCougar said:

    Those trying to inject Jake Heaps in into this conversation are completely out in left field.

    Jake Heaps continually missed wide open receivers. More often than not he threw long balls 5 yards beyond the receivers. He threw short balls so hard nobody could catch them.

    Jake Heaps still has yet to prove he can play beyond the high school level. He didn’t prove anything while he was at BYU and with Taysom Hill in the program it’s doubtful he would have seen anything beyond backup duty.

  • Realistic Optimist said:

    Chris B. remarks

    were well written and logical and I enjoyed reading them but I can not accept the idea that BYU can not have a top quality team and at the same time, keep all the Church Standards. Lavel Edwards did it and he had, during those Glory Years, Jim MacMann.
    Lavel knew how to coach players like Jim. We haven’t had a coach since Edwards that have had this unique talent.

    I can not accept the idea that with proper administrative management, we can not keep all of our honor code standards and at the same time, have a return to the glory years of the 1980’s under Lavel Edwards.

    I repeat my call to have the AD be in charge of, accountable for, the success and Liabilities of the honor code and other non coaching requirements of the University/Church. Let the coaches just coach. Let the AD do all the speeches and other non coaching duties so that the coaches can spend 100% of their available time just coaching,

    There is no reason why we should have to lower our Church Standards and no reason why we can’t return to our glory years. We can do both. With the fan support and with the said necessary administrative changes, we will do both.
    Don’t blame the Church Standards for our failure to compete at the highest level.
    With the said needed adjustments, we will do both.

  • football junkie said:

    Amazing comments…simply amazing. You’d think we were Alabama, LSU, or USC on the skids. We’re BYU…in the Rocky Mountains, state of Utah, Provo. Not a very big spot on the map. And truthfully not really with a dominating national history. Some nice years… Yes. On the same level as the Big Boys…hardly. Too many here have been drinking the national championship, Top 10 kool-aid the local media likes to sell us.
    Look, Bronko and Co. have been doing a great job with the material they are able to recruit. Until you have 25 national recruits a year with 4 and 5 stars behind their names, we will continue to be who we are…a group of over achieving players and dedicated coaches who consistantly bring out every last ounce of talent these kids possess.
    If you want more than that, I suggest you become a card carrying fan of USC, Ohio State, Oklahoma or Alabama.

  • Realistic Optimist said:

    I agree with Slugger.

  • Realistic Optimist said:

    I agree with Greg.

  • Realistic Optimist said:

    Author: football junkie

    “ Look, Bronko and Co. have been doing a great job with the material they are able to recruit. Until you have 25 national recruits a year with 4 and 5 stars behind their names, we will continue to be who we are…a group of over achieving players and dedicated coaches who consistantly bring out every last ounce of talent these kids possess.”

    Let me remind you: “Steve Young was a walk on” Jim Mac Man was a reject that wanted to play for Notre Dame but couln’t make the team. Lavel took the players he could get and turned them into what they became. Oh don’t forget what we have done with our only 2 five star QB’s in BYU history. 1. Ben Olsen 2. Jake Heaps. We ran them both off for much lesser QB;s Look how we have treated our highly touted QB’s in Larkin and Mums. We do not know how to coach the exceptional. We seem to be more comfortable with the average. Perhaps that is because our coaching is more average.

    “If you want more than that, I suggest you become a card carrying fan of USC, Ohio State, Oklahoma or Alabama.” Don’t push us.

    The majority of us that have posted want more than that. We want a return to our
    Glory Years. We do not want to use the Church as an excuse for not getting there.
    We do not want to lower our football standards and we will not lower the Church Standards. We want better administrative decisions that will give us both high Church Standards and a top quality team, at least as good as Bailor, TCU, ND, SMU, and the like. We want to be thought of as being in the same class grouping as
    TCU, Boise State, and Utah. We have fallen behind each of them and that is not acceptable.

  • Realistic Optimist said:

    I agree with Brian.

  • Realistic Optimist said:

    Jefe said,

    “The real issue is can I trust Coach Mendenhall?”

    “The answer: Yes I do, as long as he continues to remind the rest of us that football (as great as it is) is not, nor ever will be, priority #1.”

    We all know, without being told by somebody that thinks they need to teach us,
    that God, Church, Edcation, Family, Friends and Fire Side Chats are important for everyone. Collectively and individually they are at the top and we know that.

    As far as a coaching job is concerned, the business of coaching had better be #1 or get out of the profession.

    There is no reason, with proper administrative decisions and adjustments, the highest level of religion and along with the highest level of football can not be achieved together at the same time.

    We need to stop using Church Standards as an excuse for poor performance. Poor performance is not acceptable. Nobody is suggesting that Church Standards should be relaxed. The only suggestion is that administration needs to do a better job managing those standards while allowing football team to excell.

  • BigCougar said:

    @Wayback Cougar
    We won’t really know what Jake could have been at BYU given the time to develop and learn the college game. I think it was unrealistic to expect him to set the world on fire his freshman year and even his sophomore year given how his development was handled his first 2 seasons. Maybe some of that is an indictment on Brandon inability as an Offensive Coordinator (hard to say yet because it was his 1st year).

    Looking back at Max Hall’s first year (his sophomore season) he had a pretty remarkable year in 2007 considering it was his first as a starter. He was a pretty mature player at that point and had a full season working as the scout team QB in 2006 to help prepare him for 2007. Also, he had a veteran OL with several guys who went on to play in the NFL (Feinga, Reynolds, Bright) to protect him, an NFL TE to throw to (Pitta), several NFL RBs to hand off to (Unga, Tonga and Vakapuna) and an NFL WR to throw to (Collie).

    What did Heaps have in comparison? Shaky inexperienced OL who couldn’t put their best OL recruit ever into the NFL even when he had been projected as a 1st round pick the year before. As a matter of fact, that 2010 team was one of the youngest teams in all of college football. it was ridiculous to expect him to do better.

    John Beck had similar issues his freshman and sophomore years and didn’t start looking like an NFL QB (and a BYU all-time great) until probably his senior year (he turned a lot of heads with his passing in the 31-17 win over TCU in Ft Worth in 2006).

    Even Ty Detmer didn’t look that good his freshman year and struggled mightily at times.

    I do wish Jake Heaps well and I hope he gets a chance to resurrect his chances for an NFL career. I don’t hold his failures at BYU against him and instead attribute it to poor coaching.

  • BigCougar said:

    Wow Brett, look what you started! ;)

  • David C. Moore said:

    As a program, BYU is clearly at a crossroads with respects to this league realignment, and overall player talent has clearly fallen off to levels not seen since the early years of the LaVell Edwards era and even the Hudspeth years. As for the regime of Bronco, he’s done well enough that he has been a candidate most recently at UCLA where he told them no before the Bruins offered the position to Jim Mora Jr. There is little doubt that Cal-Berkley might be asking Tom Holmoe for permission to talk to his head football coach to replace Jeff Tedford.

    As far as position coaches and coordinators, the offensive line obviously does not work and I see Mark Webber walking the plank come December and just maybe depending upon Houston Reynolds medical redshirt situation, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Lance Reynolds retire.

  • Jesse said:

    I actually love Bronco for what he’s excellent at, discipline, effort, temperence, character, integrity, and amazing defensive prowess. His defenses since he took over the “D” have been among the best in the country, second only to Bama in run defense since he took over the “D”. His players respect him because they should. He is a great example of many things that good men should be, and I believe his players respond well to that. I would not call for his replacement, as I feel that he has done WAY more in the positive direction than any negative.
    That being said, as with all men, strengths can become weaknesses if a little too much pride gets in the way, and I believe that is possible with Bronco, as it can be with everyone. I think he had more of an appropriate “killer football instinct” when he was a younger coach. However, I do feel that his competitive juices may have suffered and waned in his zeal to prove and pound it in to the pundits, and the all-too-frequent whiners and dissidents in cougar nation that BYU sports really does have a higher purpose, and that sacrificing the higher purpose for wins is not part of the mission statement. However, I do feel that you can satisfy both the mission statement, and still win in such a way that it contributes to the “exposure” that is desired by Bronco, and those who pay his check. However, I do get the feeling that sometimes recently, Bronco’s pride may cause him to make decisions just to make the naysayers fluster and bluster, because he is in control, and not them. To continue to declare the Holy War and other games with key opponents like TCU “just another game” has not worked well time and again. Not that I want the players over-hyped-up for the game, or that they should treat teams like Weber State with disrespect by not repeating the “another quality opponent” mantra. But, there’s something to be said for rewarding the players (and perhaps fans) who work their guts out and show support, with a few signature wins that they’ll always remember. I love Riley for his competitiveness, but regardless of loyalty to him or Alisa, why not put in Williams and Hill the whole game alongside those guys, so that the Utah “D” doesn’t know who it’s going to be who’s going to hurt them on any given play. Forget about paying your dues on the bench – use everything you got, and game plan in such away that the other team is always on their toes. Our penchant to just “stay within the game plan and execute” hasn’t worked out well. Our players are subsequently tight, and turn over the skin way more, while the Ute players and other big teams we play are playing loose and free, because they’re having success. However, the PAC-12 refs may have had some input on Utah playing loose.
    Anyway, I would just like to see Bronco (and Doman) add to his discipline, execution, integrity, temperence, and character, etc, a little bit more of surprise, unpredictability, and flare, and I feel we would perform better in big games, without compromising the mission statement in any way. That is exactly how BSU got to the “exposure” that they have today, and it was a heck of a lot of fun to watch!

  • Jesse said:

    I also don’t know why they didn’t at least try rolling Riley Nelson out more. Regardless of Utah’s speed on the edges, they’re still just humans, and Riley’s pocket was not very well defined for much of the night. When that happens, he is way more effective making plays out on the flat where he has better vision and options, and can either run or pass or pitch, especially with Taysom in there. Heck, it may have been fun to Lark in there at QB, with both Riley and Taysom on the field at the same times – the options are endless in that setting.

  • Doug said:

    The Utah game is “just another game” to Mendenhall. That’s fine for Mendenhall. However, Utah still considers the game important. What is BYU worried about? Is Mendenhall worried that too much emphasis on the game will be an adverse effect for the rest of the season if we lose? Well, I have news for the coach; as long as this is just another game, we will continue to lose and the University will continue to lose support. We are now headed to a piece of crap Bowl game of which I will never travel to attend. I don’t care if it is in San Diego. I am disgusted with Byu football starting with the ever self righteous head coach. He has “dumbed down” football to the point of losing the best athletes to our hated rival who has made us its “bitch” for too long.

  • Jefe said:

    @Realistic Optimist said:

    “We all know, without being told… that God, Church, Edcation, Family, Friends and Fire Side Chats are important for everyone. Collectively and individually they are at the top and we know that.”

    I’m not sure if the 100+ young men currently on the roster really do know this, or have at least not yet seen it in practice in real life. I presume some at least have grown up in a sport-centric culture where that is not the case. Perhaps this is a life lesson that does need to be emphasized explicitly.

    “by somebody that thinks they need to teach us”

    I’m not sure that Coach Mendenhall or his staff feel a need to teach _us_. I do think that they have been given direct stewardship over the young men they coach, and feel the weight of that responsibility. My recollection regarding Firesides: these were done in years past generally at the request of local church authorities. Though attended by some coaches, these firesides are coordinated and presided over by the student athletes themselves. Recently, the fireside schedule has been expanded at the request of local leaders to include home games as well as away games in an effort to be more ecumenical.

    “As far as a coaching job is concerned, the business of coaching had better be #1 or get out of the profession.”

    It sounds as if your main question is in regards BYU’s coaching staff’s priorities. After listening to Coach Mendenhall’s recounting of his interview with Pres. Eyring, I think he’s crystal clear on what the administration’s and board’s priorities are for him as coach. Ultimately he works at their leisure, and if he’s not doing what they want he won’t be around long.

    “There is no reason, with proper administrative decisions and adjustments, the highest level of religion and along with the highest level of football can not be achieved together at the same time.”

    I agree that one may achieve a high level of personal religious devotion and excel in sport at the same time. I think this is exactly what BYU is after. However, for BYU in a team sport like football where your recruiting base is a small minority of the general population, the best 11 players from our recruiting pool will rarely (statistically speaking) represent the “highest level of football” when compared to the rest of the country – regardless of level of devotion.

    “We need to stop using Church Standards as an excuse for poor performance.”

    I don’t think I stated nor implied that Church Standards are an excuse for poor performance. I merely stated (as one of many possible examples) that because Coach Mendenhall is willing to frankly state his priorities for what they really are, I choose to trust him to be self-aware enough to make course corrections. This ultimately was the main point of my original post – who do you trust to make needed adjustments based on systemic performance and avoid over-reaction based on emotion? (I choose Coach Mendenhall – you may not.)

    “Poor performance is not acceptable.”

    Absolutely agreed.

    “Nobody is suggesting that Church Standards should be relaxed. The only suggestion is that administration needs to do a better job managing those standards while allowing football team to excel.”

    I’m curious to know how one “do[es] a better job managing those standards”. You seem to imply that if the administration “manage standards” this will somehow allow [remove a barrier from?] the team’s ability to excel – ergo the coaches emphasis on standards are holding the team back?

    You prove the point raised in my first post – let me restate: The danger (of your post and Brett’s) lies in saying “I don’t like this …, we HAVE to change SOMETHING”. When one then begins seeking “evidence” to provide justification for the emotional response you’ll no doubt find the evidence you need, but it will be colored by your need to justify the emotional response.

    In this case the understandable emotional response is “I hate losing to Utah”. Then you want to change something: “drop the emphasis on standards – it’s being used as an excuse for poor performance”. But is the coaches supposed emphasis on standards really the reason we loose the game to Utah? No.

  • Alpine_Cougar said:

    Bronco is mediocre. BYU beats teams with less talent, and usually loses to teams with more talent. That’s fine. It’s not bad. But if BYU ever wants to get to the next level, they will have to do it with someone else. This is a great article. Well done Deep Shades of Blue. Finally, someone has the courage to write what much of the fanbase has been thinking for several seasons. Come on Holmoe. We know you are passionate. Let’s get some change happening.

  • Walt Hanssen said:


    Please throw anyone you want under the bus except Coach Reynolds. You ask why, because while he was the running backs coach (04-10) and look how many great backs he coached (Brown, Unga, Vakapuna & Tonga. Then the last two years he switched to the TE’s and finally we are beginning to see them improve. No, not him; he has stood in the background while Coach Mendenhall has learned how to be a head coach. I dare say that we would probably do better if he were the HC & Bronco stepped back to being just the DC.

  • tommyg said:


    You asked, “Can anyone honestly say that Utah put better players on the field than BYU on Saturday? Did they last year?”

    I think we can honestly answer: probably so. And I think it’s been happening for a while now. Sure, coaching had a lot to do with Saturday’s outcome. But Utah has/has had athletes. You said BYU has seven players in the NFL right now? Utah has 22. TWENTY-TWO. That’s more than three times as much, and I don’t think NFL coaches are going after those players because they liked the way they were coached in college. The NFL knows what it is doing, and it takes the best players. Period. Coaching doesn’t have a lot to do with it, and neither do wins. Look at Utah State’s record (losing) over the last decade. Then look at BYU’s record (winning). Both teams have seven players in the NFL.

    And I think that illustrates a big part of the problem. As long as BYU holds to its standards, the honor code – and a coach who has the integrity to uphold it (unlike Crowton) – will always scare away a lot of top athletes whom it might otherwise attract. Mendenhall and his staff – to their credit – have squeezed a lot of blood out of some turnips (where else in the FBS would a guy like Falslev start?), so I don’t think the head coach is the only one to blame at this point. You have to blame the environment.

    Also, if you are a top recruit, do you want to go to BYU, where one loss means you’re headed to the Poinsettia Bowl, or to Utah, where a 5-4 conference record (which almost happened for Utah last season) gets you a shot at the Rose Bowl? Honestly, when it comes to “exposure”, what does a player want: playing USCs and Oregons and having a shot at playing in a BCS bowl, or being on ESPN, pitted against mediocre teams, in games that end in the wee hours of the morning on the east coast? If I am a top recruit, that’s a no-brainer.

    Maybe your headline should read, “Has BYU hit its talent-level ceiling?” As long as BYU is Church-owned Independent BYU, I think the answer is yes.

    And I think it’s time BYU fans start living in the here and now, forget 1984, and stop being so delusional. Case in point: Go vote on ESPN’s current poll about Thursday’s game and look at the results. The Gem State picks Boise State to win. The Beehive State picks BYU to win. Guess who all 48 remaining states pick to win? (Hint: Not BYU).

    Sorry this seems mean, but you asked the question, Brett.

  • Brett Richins (author) said:


    When you’re referencing that talented Utah team, your talking about the same program that lost to Utah State two weeks ago – right? And the program lost to Colorado (arguably the worst FBS program in the country) at home last year – right?

    In Saturday’s game BYU had superior talent at linebacker, in the secondary, at running back, on the offensive line. Equal talent at receiver and QB.

    The Utes were playing without two of their best players on the team in White and Blechen. They were also playing a back up at free safety and a D-II player at QB. That’s why there was no excuse for BYU to drop that game.

    BYU has plenty of talent (the Cougars actually have more speed that Utah on D), one of the key points made in the article is that the talent isn’t being developed or properly prepared for games.

    As far as the schedule goes, you are being disingenuous by just referencing the scheduling of the first two years of independence. Things change beginning next year with a schedule that includes Texas, Notre Dame, Boise State, Wisconsin, Utah, Washington State, etc. Plenty of the top LDS players will want to represent their faith around the country with that kind of schedule rather than being part of a middle-of-the-road PAC-12 program.

    With the improvement at ASU, Arizona and UCLA, that Utah team is going to have a very difficult time finishing higher than 5th in the PAC-12 South this year. And they just might finish last if they can’t figure out how to beat the Buffaloes.

  • spamdawg said:

    The question Brett asked isn’t wether Bronco is a good coach or not. It is wether he has hit a ceiling and do we need to bring somebody else in to break through the ceiling. I don’t think you make a move mid season and after one loss. I think this discussion is damaging mid season and needs to be asked after the regular season. Right now Bronco is our guy and I support him and the program.

  • Brett Richins (author) said:

    @spamdawg, etc.

    I’m not suggesting that Bronco should go in the article as much as I am suggesting that the way he approaches certain aspects of the program need to change.

    He and his staff have been getting out-coached by coaches like Whittingham, Patterson, etc. And I’m not sure how anyone could argue that point.

    If folks are happy with the status quo, then no changes are needed. But those BYU fans need to remember that the future schedules become MUCH more difficult beginning next season.

    If things do not change and Bronco goes from 10 and 11 wins, to delivering 5 and 6 win seasons against that better competition, those that are defending the status quo will be among the most ardent of critics.

  • Slugger said:

    I have enjoyed reading everyone’s opinions, and could argue any of them to be correct so kudos to you all.

    But the elephant in the room is still the looming, governing body that directs the football program. We can replaces the AD or coaches, or even players but the direction from the Church and University will remain the same and so will the program’s successes. Until both entities relinquish and allow the program to go out and recruit top level talent (and assume some risk for individual behavior – the only obgligation the Church and University should have is to react and condemn the action) and back down from the No Sunday Play rule so we can get in a BCS conference (which we’ve deserved long before Utah was even a consideration) then we are relegated to an overachieving program with a lower ceiling. That said, I’m looking down the road 15-20 years and see BYU football going the way of Ricks College if this approach doesn’t change.

    I know for a fact from people within the walls of KSL that decisions made there are based on industry standard news media business protocols and not Church doctrine or mission. If it’s allowed in the business world, why is it not allowed in sports?

    This all has the lifelong BYU fan in me seriously questioning whether it’s a futile effort.

  • Realistic Optimist said:

    I would be more proud having a 6-6 season vs all lower level BCS teams than to have a 10-2 season playing half of our games vs. teams ranked 100 or worse.

    Better yet, I would love to work towards playing 12 middle of the pack BCS teams
    with a 6-6 season than to continue with 10-2 seasons playing half of our games vs teams ranked 100 or worse.

    Our goal should be to have the strength of schedule that Notre Dame has and do as well or better than they do with that schedule.

    Let the AD take over the non coaching duties, i.e. Honor Code and public speaking, so that the coaching staff can use all of their mental energy coaching.

    Football should never hold back religion. There is no reason why religion should hold back football. They should learn to work well toghether,

  • football junkie said:

    I believe your last premise has some merit. In fact you can carry it (your premise) back, way back, to the beginning of the “glory days” (1972). We were a member of the WAC, an ultra terrible football conference. But we didn’t care. We were cleaning house on everyone and routinely won easily the conference championship. WHY? because we were the ONLY team in the WAC to place a significant emphasis on football. This same template for winning (sometimes referred to as the BYU model) was latter used very successfully by Boise. Steam roll the WAC types and beat 1 BCS team a year. Even if they lost a game they still posted a glossy 11 or 12 win season.
    Back then we had Essentially The same caliber athletes as we have today only we were winning championship after championship because of the lowly competetion. (You could have placed 2 Ute stadiums into ours back then. And even then Utah was better than all the others).
    So, what’s happened? The Utahs and Utah States of the world have woken up!! The old BYU model doesn’t work now. To be a dominant program you need DOMINANT athletes. Turning walk-ons into All-Americans, alluded to by ‘Realistic Optomist’, is a pipe dream…especially when you need 22 of them at a time to play O and D.
    So unless you have plenty of magic dust to sprinkle on our guys, turning 2 and 3 star quality good guys into 4 and 5 star (look up what a 4 and 5 star athlete means) top 10 draft picks, I stand by my statement. Keep our great coaches and don’t change a good program. Enjoy the games and don’t kick the dog when we lose!

  • Realistic Optimist said:

    I agree with Sluggers last post, however,
    I believe it is too logical to ever be considered

    I think that Slugger is a Realist and that is
    Unacceptable in our environment.

    I believe that he speaks of that which needs to be done,
    but never will be.

    I think he loves our Cougars as much or more than any of us,
    but may be considered an outsider because of his views.

    I believe that our tollarance for difference of opions have greatly,
    and surprisingly improved in the past two days more than the
    past 77 years of my life, however, their will still be those
    that will condem his ideas.

    I hope that I am wrong. My hope is that we can learn to look outside
    of the box as well as inside.

  • WaybackCougar said:

    And I think folks that carry this thread on day after day are way too concerned over something they cannot control. Did you listen to Bronco’s show last night? He’s got a good handle on what needs to be done. Let’s leave him to it and see how Thursday turns out.

  • Seasider said:

    “I know for a fact from people within the walls of KSL that decisions made there are based on industry standard news media business protocols and not Church doctrine or mission. If it’s allowed in the business world, why is it not allowed in sports? ”

    The difference with KSL and BYU is that KSL is company the church happens to own but not one they publicly put their name on. The only time people know the church owns it is when they refuse to air controversial NBC shows. BYU however is the flagship University of the church. Everything BYU does reflects on the church and its reputation. They’re not going to compromise or risk that just to win a few more football games.

  • Gary said:

    Honest questions for slugger and some other posters:

    Is your desire to see BYU succeed rooted in any way with the fact that they are an extension of the Church? Or a desire for the world to take notice of what the “Church” can do in a football setting?

    If yes, then why would you want to divorce the Church’s influence from the football program?

    If no, what is your motivation? Alumnus? You like their uniforms? There are plenty of teams across the nation that do not restrict their recruiting pool, their rentention ability, the number of days they can practice or the priority they give to the program.

    I am in no way trying to imply that if you don’t like it then go to another team. I’m just curious, given the fact that the Church involvment and restrictions are NEVER going to go away, why you are still passionate about BYU football?

  • Gary said:

    The reality is, in the context of what the Church feels is important and has value, the football program has and will continue to achieve some great things.

    The problem is those “great” things will never seem very great to the football world at large. They are defined differently at BYU than they are at Alabama or Utah.

    If we want to follow a football team that can do the kinds of things the world defines as great then we will need to switch allegience.

    That is not to say that our sports programs won’t crack the world scene from time to time and make people notice – it has happened and probably will again. But it won’t happen at the same level and consistency as “worldly” programs because our emphasis is too restrictive and success is defined in other ways than just worldly success.

    As a fan I hope that I can keep this in perspective and relish the BYU defined successes, while at the same time still hope that one day we might take the world by storm and win a championship.

    That would be a miracle, but miracles can sometimes happen.

    Worldly success does not define BYU football or what they are trying to achieve in the big picture.

    If, as fans, we define it that way we will often be frustrated or disappointed.

    The world of football does not understand BYU’s goals and motives for the most part and unfortunately neither do some of its fans.

  • Ron said:

    The most appealing thing to me about BYU football is that they are different from the others in a good way. We should never become a Penn State, Ohio State, LSU or Alabama where winning is everything.

    What makes the Cougars great is that they represent OUR values and OUR way of life. If I was only looking for wins, I would probably be a USC or Alabama fan. College teams used to be composed of local and regional players that the local fan base could relate to. Now they are a mixture of players from all over the nation–just like the pro leagues. When “Utah” wins a BCS bowl how does that bring a sense of pride when 90% of the players are from out-of-state? If BYU won the NC with a bunch of non-LDS players, why would that be interesting?

    BYU should never change their focus in order to be more competitive. BYU should always recruit athletes that bring honor to the church that the school represents.

  • Slugger said:


    Your point is well taken, so let me now expound on the background of my perspective. I am 39 yrs old, was raised in a medium-to-less-active LDS home but surrounded by friends and family who cheered for BYU. For much of my youth I followed BYU football simply because it was fun and exciting. It wasn’t until I was in my teens that I realized it was affiliated with the church my parents half-heartedly raised me in. But as you know, sports interests run deep and as such BYU was well-established in my soul as my favorite team. Now, in 2012, after seeing some of the greatest players BYU has seen (Unga, Hall, Pitta, Collie) and one of the deepest teams in nearly a decade (according to Bronco) all I see are blue chip LDS recruits that have come into and abruptly left the program, frequent embarassing losses to our rival (whom we used to drag all over the field), major blown opportunities against the likes of Florida State in 2009 and ridiculous slogans like “Quest for Perfection”. We are slipping backward while the Boise States…Boise State?…have surpassed BYU as the mantle-bearer of the “have nots”. BYU, despite these great players and deep teams have failed to reach a BCS game, and our pro prospects are dwindling. This is all directly related to the Church’s stewardship over the program. For anyone to suggest that folks not walking the line of the Church live and operate without morals or ethics is sad and off-base. In LaVell’s days most of his greatest players were non-LDS and likely did not follow the honor code to the minute detail. Yet, they were allowed to be who they were (with limits of course) and that was great football players who were also good people with minor vices and habits. Then, the Church gets involved and says “no more”. We’re now left with a group of overachievers who took the scholarship of another simply because one guy drank a beer or something. Instead, those guys go to another university where they share their football and other talents that we shunned. So yes, I am considering whether or not I can continue to support BYU football if the only concern and purpose is the Church. If that is the case, the Church is taking advantage of many good people who simply want to enjoy a sports interest to counter the obligations and responsibilities in their lives. I cheer for BYU football for the football, not for the Church. I’m puzzled that ESPN even agreed to the contract knowing they were essentially being used for a religous purpose. It is things like this that makes BYU look ridiculous to people on the outside, and embarasses me. Being a BYU fan was never hard, until now.

  • Teddy Bear said:

    Anyone know what rating the game got on Saturday?

  • spamdawg said:

    Thanks for the clarification. I don’t think the question is a wrong one to ask. I just don’t like the thought of calling for a coaching change during the front half of the season. In my opinion Bronco is trying to make changes. He changed out some of the coaching staff, brought in a nutrionist, took over the defense, visiting pro coaches to gain knowledge. I don’t think he is sitting back thinking all is well in Zion. I do believe some guys can only take you so far though. I don’t think Tampa Bay wins a Super Bowl with Dungy. He made that program but they couldn’t break through. They brought in Gruden who built on what Dungy had built and won it. I love Bronco but if he can’t win any of the big games this year I think the question should be asked as well as who else is out there but not right now. I am glad to hear that you aren’t asking for him to be booted. Love the articles and love the fan discussion.

  • zach said:

    Living in Florida it’s awesome to get the games on BYUtv, and ESPN.
    My friends who are UF, USF, and FSU fans tell me that we don’t deserve
    this kind of coverage from a 2nd tier football team. I try to defend BYU but it gets hard.
    I totally think Holmoe, Samuelson, and the leaders just want BYU to win enough to maintain the program at this level.
    That is why I think the BYU Admin. doesn’t want to persue the BCS conference.
    BYU can’t achieve anything nationally until Holmoe, Mendenhall, and Samuelson are released.

  • Gary said:

    @Slugger: I understand better what you are saying. I have childhood allegiances that are not based on anything more than I just happened to fall in love with the product on the field.

    I wish I had a solution for your problem. You and I both know that the Church is not really interested in football success as a number one priority and if we are rational and honest that’s how it should be.

    I suspect for you it is a little like Romeo and Juliet. Two parties trying to form a relationship that has a difficult time succeeding.

    I wouldn’t recommend suicide just yet though. Even though your support isn’t church related I still think there is some underdog passion in you knowing that BYU succeeds better than anyone else despite all of the disadvantages it faces.

    Thanks for your honest response. Hopefully miracles can happen and the Y can take it all. Wouldn’t that be a story? Wouldn’t it be fun to have been on the fan bus if and when that happened?

  • Slugger said:

    Zach in Florida, you are dead on my friend. I wish I had articulated that better in my previous rants.

  • Slugger said:

    Gary, well said. Let’s hope for miracles on the field and truth from the administration.

  • Slugger said:

    @Realistic Optimist – I just read your comments and got a bit of a chuckle from your truthful sarcasm. Thanks for offering – what I think was – support for my views. :-)

  • Slugger said:

    @Doug – Amen brother!!

  • Realistic Optimist said:

    All right Already,

    You have written one of the best and by far the most important articles that has been printed since the existance of DSB. I have spent over the past 3 days, close to
    16 hours of reading responses.

    I have been saying many of the same things over the past two years that 95% of the response are saying today.

    Two years ago, 99% of the response to what I have been saying has been to call me an idiot, (I have a Masters Degree), a drunkard, (I don’t drink), a few choice other negative names that border on not being aloud by the Church. I have been called a troller and over and over again I have been taught the Gospel on line by 22 year olds, in response to my suggestions.( I have only heard the lessons for 77 years now).

    Last year, I had about 10% to 15% come to my defense after being called negative names for having an opinion.

    Now, in the past 3 days, 95% of the response is saying what I have been saying for the past two years.

    I am thrilled that we as a people have finally come to the point where we are honest enough with ourselves and with others, that we can use our brain and think openly and intelligently without feeling the need to be clones and expounding messages of recorded clones. You have all given me hope for a new bright day, not far down the road. I thank you.

    Now having said all of that, I must say, at my age, I am exhausted with this subject.
    We have a new challenging game tonight vs. Boise State. My brain tells me that we will lose 28-21, My heart tells me that we will win 21-20. I am going with my heart with this one.

    I hope and I pray that the HC/DC, the OC/QB coach, the line coach, the receiving coach, whom I think is already doing a great job, and the RB coach and all the trainiers will do the the best job of their career tonight and put an end to this discussion. If this does not happen, I fear/hope, their will soon be some changes made for the better, what ever the better might be.

    In the meantime, I am ready for a new subject right away, regarding the game tonight.

  • Jeff said:

    Jared (the not original, I guess)

    My sentiments exactly. Time to get Taysom Hill in there instead of Nelson.

    Brett, great article. I completely agree.

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