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Is Bronco Mendenhall Insane?

27 November 2012 Brett Richins 144 Comments

BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall.

You know the old adage:  the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

If that saying is true, then Bronco Mendenhall may be insane, or perhaps the honor code office at BYU needs to investigate to discover what the coach is smoking.

Shortly after back-up quarterback James Lark’s 384-yard, six-touchdown performance in Saturday’s 50-14 win at New Mexico State, Mendenhall went on his post-game radio segment on KSL and told the world that Lark will be benched in favor of the embattled and oft-injured Riley Nelson–assuming the senior can play come December 20 against San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl.

Bronco’s announcement shouldn’t surprise anyone who has witnessed the last three seasons of BYU football. Cougar fans have been dumbfounded by the coach’s commitment to a player that many believe should never have been playing quarterback in Provo in the first place. It was stunning just how adamant he was that Riley would be back under center, and that without even consulting his offensive coordinator.

Nelson has struggled to stay healthy, and it seems as if each snap with him is an adventure. Just like a box of chocolates, BYU has never known what they will get with the gritty one. He’ll make a Houdini-like escape to make a big play one time, then turn around and throw a pick-six the next. This season Nelson has scored 14 touchdowns (13 passing and one rushing), but has turned the ball over a total of 15 times.

Many BYU fans are fed up with Nelson’s mistakes and popgun arm. And they are frustrated with a coach that apparently values grit and toughness above putting players on the field that can win football games. Some feel that he has wasted a season in which the Cougars fielded one of its best defenses in history. After Lark looked suspiciously like a classic BYU quarterback against the Aggies, fans have been up in arms that such a talent has been relegated to the bench these past three seasons while the offense has struggled mightily.

They can’t really be blamed for wondering out loud about what could have been in 2012. With how Lark played, it’s hard to argue against the reasoning that BYU would have defeated Utah, Boise State, Notre Dame and San Jose State with a guy like James at the helm of the offense. The results of the Oregon State game may have been different as well.

Sure, Lark’s performance Saturday was against a team that is barely FBS grade, but it was like finding an oasis in the desert to see a BYU QB throwing nice, tight spirals that hit receivers in stride. Lark was solid in his reading of defenses and showed good speed to elude the rush, speed and athleticism that most did not know he had because he has never seen the field in a situation that mattered. And when things broke down, James kept his eyes down the field while he bought himself time to deliver the football.

Despite throwing for a gaudy number of touchdowns and setting a record for the most yards by a BYU quarterback starting his first start, perhaps the biggest stat of the day was the fact that Lark threw the ball 50 times without a single interception and took a total of 75 snaps from center with nary a turnover. That’s about as un-Nelson as you could get.

Even crazier than summarily sending Lark back to the pine after a record-setting performance was the claim by Bronco that he won’t evaluate his decision this year to stick with Nelson through all his struggles. When pressed by radio play-by-play announcer Greg Wrubell about his decision-making in regards to the quarterback this year, Mendenhall told listeners after the game that he is not interested in looking back on the past and will instead look forward. It was like saying in not so many words that, “I’m right and no one can convince me otherwise.”

The problem for the coach is that the people who foot the bill for the program and effectually pay his salary have been sitting in the stands for decades now and they know good quarterbacking when they see it–and when they don’t. They are not dumb, even if Mendenhall assumes they are. For a coach to say that he is unwilling to re-evaluate any area of his team, especially when you just finished a disappointing 7-5 regular season, is tantamount to committing career suicide.

Those who have supported the BYU program for these past forty years are not going to continue to support a coach that seems unable and even unwilling to make needed changes, especially when it comes to the play of the quarterback. This is Quarterback U after all that we are talking about. They know supporting the same thing over and over again without getting results would be insane on their part.

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  • ALRMCoug said:

    Or maybe you don’t know everything that Bronco knows. Nah … that couldn’t be it.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    Nelson had nearly identical stats against a Hawaii team last year that was better than NMSU.

  • Rob H. said:

    I have been a Bronco supporter in the past, but he’s been wearing my patience thin after Utah, Boise St., and SJSU. But this last game is where he has finally lost me. Some serious changes need to be made for Bronco to have my support again.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    The “pay his salary” nonsense again? Come on Brett … you are better than this nonsensical argument.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    All I will say is that the day after Bronco pledged his undying love for Jaime Hill, Hill was unceremoniously fired. What Bronco says to the media is not what Bronco does behind closed doors. Why would anyone think differently?

  • Brett Richins (author) said:


    Much of Bronco’s and his staff’s salary is subsidized by major donors to the program, so yes it is accurate to say they effectually pay his salary. Portions of tickets sales, TV revenue, apparel sales, etc. all go to help pay salaries of the staff. This money is generated from the fanbase.Where do you think the money comes from to pay him? Thin air?

  • lawboy said:

    Let’s take Bronco at his word then. Let’s nt look back. Let’s assume that they made the best decision they could with respect to the QB based upon the information that they had. We don’t know what that info is, where it was compiled, and how. So let’s give the benefit of the doubt on that one.

    THen let’s wonder if perhaps the info collected was not bad, but the means used to evaluate it was. Let’s evaluate it through the same lens that had Ziggy Ansah as a situation al player t o start the season. A guy who Bronco was not sure where to play,and when to play. He was an OLB, then a DE, and mostly a situational pass rusher.
    Emphasis on situational. Until injuries to Dulan and Manu got him more PT, and then his combo of freaskish abilities and learning on teh job took over. And now we have perpahe out first Round 1 pick in YEARS. ANd he was a back-up to start the year.

    It is time that Bronco let’s his best, most gifted football players and best athletes for the position see the field and learn on the job more. KVN player back-up for 2 years, and now look at him. Ziggy was a back up to start the year. Our Oline evaluations have been horific for 2 years running now.

    The issue is evaluations, plain and simple.

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

    Well count me among the “dellusional” for thinking that we could have had a better season this year if not for the outrageously mismanaged QB position. Of course, none of us have any facts to back any of these feelings up. That game we witnessed on Saturday: pure fantasy. This terrible season in which we basically gave away four games due to a QB literally giving the ball away? I must have dreamt that. Bronco’s post game comments referenced in the article above? Slander.

    You see, it’s all made up in our heads that Bronco is doing a poor job with this team. In fact, it feels like there is only one among us here who isn’t suffering from these same dellusional symptoms. As for the rest of us, maybe we should all just go cheer for a different team?

  • ALRMCoug said:

    Brett –

    Fans do NOT pay his salary (unless they contribute to the Coach’s Circle … and I doubt many people here do). Fans pay to consume BYU Football, and the proceeds from that consumption go, in part, to his salary. Do you employ the CEO of McDonald’s when you eat a McGriddle?

    This is a complete fallacy. If you don’t like the product, stop consuming it. But quit pretending like you have somehow earned a right to make personnel decisions because you buy merchandise or football tickets.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    Jared –

    I also think the season was mismanaged, and I also think Lark should have been starting earlier, and I also think Riley is a terrible QB who has no business having a scholarship at BYU. That is my opinion, that seems similar to your own.

    Where my opinion starts to differ from the “Fire Bronco” brigade is in the presumption that these mistakes are the end of the world and that they are caused by Bronco’s “insanity” or his hate for Lark or his manlove for Riley or his putting “grit” over winning. I think that is complete B.S. The coaches had some tough decisions to make. You and I don’t agree with the decisions they end up making. That doesn’t mean the coaches are stubborn, arrogant, stupid, insane, or worthy of derision and scorn. I am completely confident that they are trying to put the team in the best position to win.

    At some point, the mistakes will be worthy of a change of the head coach (because he made mistakes … not because he is “insane” or “stupid” or “hateful to fans” or any of that nonsense), but we are not even close to that point yet, in my opinion. Firing Bronco with his record would be nearly unprecedented. That would be insane.

  • WaybackCougar said:

    My problem with Bronco has not been the choice to start Riley Nelson, but sticking with him too long when he was injured and clearly not playing up to his potential.

    The New Mexico State game proved that James Lark is a very capable backup–no more, no less. When healthy, Riley Nelson has done as well against better teams.

    If Riley is healthy come Dec. 20th then he deserves to start. Period. But if he is not healthy or comes in and looks to be limited as he was in the Utah, Boise, and San Jose State games, then I will be very perturbed if James Lark isn’t brought in promptly.

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

    Now that’s the most reasonable comment I have seen you make on this site ever. Congratulations.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    lawboy –

    That is a complete distortion of the facts. While Ziggy and KVN were not techinically starters, they both saw TONS of time on the field. Ziggy had almost no experience playing football, and he ended up replacing a reliable senior DLineman. There isn’t a coach in the world that would have started Ziggy over Manumaleuna.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    Jared –

    That is because it is the first one you read without assuming what I meant.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    Wayback Cougar –

    I completely agree. I have never been upset with Riley being the starter … it is the refusal to pull him when he was clearly not healthy and not competent that has got me yelling at the screen.

    As for the bowl game, that is exactly what Bronco says will happen (although the fans that hate him like to take his words out of context).

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

    Sounds like you’re the one assuming now…

  • Richard Hatch said:

    I completely agree. Amen.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    Also, this idea that Bronco is the guy making all these decisions is another lie that people like to tell in order to rile up the “Fire Bronco” brigade. Bronco has consistently maintained that while the final decision on who the starting QB is belongs to him, that he usually does what his offensive coordinator tells him to do. Despite the dishonest tales of the Bronco haters, there isn’t an ounce of evidence that this has changed at all. If anything is worth criticizing it is Bronco not getting more involved in offense (which was the criticism that people were levying against him before they decided he would be the target of all scorn for our offensive woes).

    I am not deflecting blame, because Bronco is the final decision holder and will take all the blame publically, but his decisions were not made without considerable input from Doman. Is Doman insane too? Does he hate Lark? Is he also having a love affair with Riley?

    I know, for a certainly, that some Bronco will retort that we have “decisively learned” that Bronco went against Doman’s wishes in deciding to start Riley, but there is absolutely no evidence to support that silliness at all (and I would challenge anyone to present any).

  • ccgj said:

    ALRMCoug –

    I’m on this site nearly everyday and a Coach’s Circle member. In fact, I can name 10 others that I regularly associate with that are Coach’s Circle members, hold season tickets near mine, and are on this site everyday. We donate because we love BYU Football and we read this blog because we love BYU Football.

    To a person, all ten of us have voiced frustrations at the stupefying things that Bronco continues to say and some of the player decisions that continue to defy reality and common sense. James Lark is clearly a better, more talented QB than Riley Nelson. Compare Idaho game with NMSU game. The NMSU game is the only BYU Football game I have ever watched where I got angrier and angrier with every touchdown BYU scored. I saw a win at Utah, Boise, San Jose and Notre Dame in that playbook and that arm, and I am really, really frustrated by it. As a result of that game, and some other strange things that continue to happen, I have voiced my concerns to the athletic administration and so have ten or eleven others that I know about. I am sure there are more. I am certain, we are not unique in our concern about how our investment is panning out.

    Something needs to change. Call it player evaluations, personnel evaluations, coaching decisions, season evaluations or coaches… Something needs to change.

    We should field the BEST team we can every Saturday, not the grittiest. Those that play well, should play more. We need to enthrone a meritocracy based system for playing. Play well and you play more. Play poorly, and you play less. Under this system, we cultivate a culture of winning.

    I donated to a culture of winning, not mediocrity.

  • WaybackCougar said:


    Re: “James Lark is clearly a better, more talented QB than Riley Nelson.”

    Based on a sample size of *one game* against a lousy team you make such a statement. That is a ridiculous statement and I hope the athletic dept. has the good sense not to listen to you.

    If you want to say “James Lark is clearly a more talented passer than Riley Nelson” then I will agree with you. But put James Lark up against teams with talented defensive lines and having a good arm may not have been as important as “escape-ability” this year. There’s no way you can prove otherwise. You’re reacting based on pure emotion and frustration.

    Again, I’ll give you that Bronco went with Riley too long in games where he was clearly a wounded warrior. But to flatly state that everything would have been different had James Lark been the starter this year is completely unfounded and unfair.

  • Hass16 said:

    I’ve been as big a Bronco apologist as you’re going to find anywhere (at least I thought so, until I read ALRMCoug’s comments) but even I’m starting to question what happened this season. I’m not in the “Fire Bronco” crowd by any means and I will never give up on BYU football, but holy crap! What we saw on Saturday was gorgeous!

    And don’t give me the weak defense excuse. When Lark hit a wide open Hoffman down the right sideline he didn’t have to break his stride at all! I haven’t seen a deep ball that beautiful in years. The first thing that came to my mind after that play was a similarly open Hoffman in the middle of the field on a late drive in a close game against the now-#1 team in the nation. I think we all know how that play ended.

    The whole situation looks questionable, and I’m now worried about the future. What if Alisa works his butt off all offseason, and Bronco’s man-crush transfers to him? Will JW – clearly the more capable back – see his quantity of touches plummet? And what top recruit is going to consider coming to BYU knowing that some walk-on scrub with half the talent is going to get more PT if he works his way into Bronco’s inner circle? All very concerning.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    ccgj –

    I share your frustration, although it might not be as severe. As for Lark being clearly better, we just don’t know that. As I mentioned above, Riley had nearly identical stats against a better Hawaii team last year. No one, including Doman and Bronco, will dispute that Lark throws a prettier ball or has a stronger arm. That is virtually indisputable. That isn’t all there is to being a QB though, and Riley has many skills that we haven’t seen from Lark.

    I happen to agree with you in your opinion that we would have probably been better off with Lark being our starting QB this year, but it isn’t as clear cut as you are making it out to be.

    I didn’t mean to demean anyone here by saying it was unlikely that anyone here that donated to the coaches circle. I just think you are somewhat unique, compared to other commenters here. You and everyone else has the right to express their concerns to the AD or anyone else. My comment was only meant to rebut the suggestion that fans somehow have the right to control personell decisions because they buy football tickets. Buying football tickets (which are ridiculously cheap at BYU) gives you the right to watch football in the stadium and nothing else.

  • Cougfan said:

    To ALRM Coug:

    I don’t give a rat’s what Bronco does behind closed doors. His decisions between the lines–on the football field tell me everything that I need to know about him on both offense and defense. One with a terrific result and the other with a horrible result. One great plus one pathetic equals average.

    The talent on this year’s team was well above average. Don’t know that that will be the case in the coming years. You see …recruits aren’t stupid either.

  • Cougfan said:

    ALRM Coug is really Bronco’s Dad. Got the blinders on and is drinking the Broncospeak Koolaid. OK ready tada 5 more posts have been sent by ALRM Coug to counter this post. Blah blah blah…don’t waste your breath on me.

  • Joe said:

    Your are faced with a decision. There are two possible avenues for success. You weigh the opitions and make a choice. Your choice failed. In hindsight you say you would repeat the same failure.

    There is nothing logical about this mindset, unless you prefer the failure to the success.

  • Old_Breed said:

    Comparing Hawaii last year is irrelevant. Riley is not healthy period. Bronco, Doman and Riley admit that. The issue isn’t a healthy Riley vs Lark. The issue is a unhealthy Riley vs a heathy Lark. Greg W even agrees with this so to keep pounding that drum is insanity.

  • rtimesr said:

    Although stats are important the quality of play by Lark is what was illuminating. There was a rush by NMSU. He didn’t have tons of time in the pocket AND he still hit his receivers in stride. Circus catches by receivers are entertaining and show in the stats the same as a well thrown ball. But the circus catches put the receiver at risk and border on luck. Lark did several other smart things, for example, he ran out of bounds when boxed, he didn’t risk his ability to contribute for an extra half yard; he threw on the safe side (over the receiver’s head) on long balls; he distributed the ball. I like what I saw. Perhaps his talents under fire could have been discovered earlier if he had been given a chance at something other than run-run mop up.

  • Valladolid said:

    You guys are all nuts! Who cares? Enjoy some football and enjoy your families.

    What’s insane is you sky is falling attitudes. This will soon pass as does everything, both good or bad.

    And to the Coaches Circle members – you guys are awesome and generous with your funding. Thanks!

    And lastly, to Cougfan, lay off the BS of calling out another poster because you don’t agree with him or her. And the clever little line about A poster who does not agree with you being Bronco’s dad is bush league, tired and chumpish.

    Grow up.

  • SealCoug said:

    If Bronco is not to be blamed for playing or benching the right players then perhaps there is a systemic problem with team culture. When players won’t get behind certain players for whatever reason and the only people in a position to call out that kind of bad behavior is the Coach and team captains and they don’t??!!

    So what if the players love Riley and are just OK with Lark? and despised apparently Jake(Can of worms)Heaps. Many commentators talk about BYU’s player maturity advantage but what I see from my far away non-insider perspective is the team has an immaturity problem dealing with certain players.

    I have nothing personal against Riley I could never be as good as he is on the field but he is touted a s a great leader that the players rally behind. To me it seems like he is a charismatic leader that has gotten a great deal of loyalty to ‘him’ and not the team and the Y on their helmets.

    If as a leader all he has accomplished is to generate a cult of personality around him that disappears once he has left the field and program then he is not a good leader but a poor one in my opinion. A guy named Jim once got alot of people to drink some special Kool-Aid it can be argued that he was a ‘good’ leader because he got so many people to follow him let us not measure leadership by how many people follow. Where are the people going when they follow their leader? if they are going to a good place then that can be a good leader.

    If Your team leaders are not leading to victory then they are not leaders but cancers to the team.

  • FL Cosmo said:

    Dang, Brett!! Did you show up for work this morning only to find Bronco’s car parked in your space? LOL. Enjoyed the article, especially the extra emotion/cynicism/whatever. I’m a big Bronco supporter, but this is getting ridiculous. Better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you’re a moron, Bronco, than to open it and remove all doubt.

    Gosh. Isn’t he just supposed to say something vague and non-committal in these things? “Oh, we haven’t had time yet to consider personnel for the bowl game yet, and Riley’s health, blah blah blah….”

    For all of us who appreciate what he did in bringing back the program after LaVell plateaued and then Crowton tanked us, it’s getting very difficult to hold optimism for the near future, despite returning a lot of talent. No disrespect to grit and determination, but doesn’t Lark have that? Was he just sitting around practice with a bag of potato chips and his shoulder pads on backwards while all the Heaps-Nelson competition was going on? Where is the talent evaluation?

    I can just picture a PR consultant trying to help Bronco: “No, you don’t have to go out and say you screwed up and you’re sorry. Just don’t go out there and spit in the faces of the fans and media by emphatically stating that you did not make a mistake.” Oops.

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

    Ha ha FL Cosmo! Great post!

  • ALRMCoug said:

    I’m sorry, but I don’t get the P.R. argument. Who cares about P.R.? The only people that hear or care about his statements to the press are supposed to be the people that are already loyal to the team. Are fans so unsure of themselves that they need to be told what to think by the coach?

    No one is going to become a fan of the team by being persuaded by what Bronco or anyone else says in a press conference or interview. If people decide they can’t be a fan anymore because of an interview, then I’m not sure that is the type of fan we should really be concerned about.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    P.R. is waaaaaaaayyyyyy down the list of things that Bronco should be concerned about … ever.

  • Maximus said:

    I think the problem lies with Doman. We need an offensive coordinator that knows how to run on offense, read a defense, call plays, and most of all, be able to convince the head coach.
    Bronco is a great defensive mind (I don’t think that can be contested), but he needs some help with the offensive side and Doman is not the answer.

  • Mike said:

    Spot on article once again Brett. Thank you for not being afraid to tell it like it is and for being a voice for the fans!

  • Gayle said:

    To those of you pooh poohing the notion that James Lark is a better QB than Riley Nelson based on a “limited sample size”, please answer these questions. How many times have you seen a reciever beat the secondary, only to have to wait for the pass to arrive from Nelson? How many times have you seen Nelson completely miss a wide open receiver? I’m not saying that Lark is a perfect QB, or that he will always play as consistently as he did last Saturday, but it was sure nice to have an offense that could move the ball vertically, and encourage the defense to quit stacking the box. It was eye opening to see a receiver catch the ball in stride and be able to run it in for a touchdown instead of being tackled immediately because the defense caught up to the play.

    I like Riley’s grit as much as the next guy, but the team would be better served if he were a change of pace QB brought in for short yardage, option type plays where he can run, pitch, or throw (for a couple of yards). His long term health would probably have benefited from that more limited approach too.

  • IceBlue said:

    ALRMCoug sounding like a Bronco shill yet again… No surprise there.

  • FL Cosmo said:

    ALRM cougar, we have sided on a lot of the same issues, but apparently not on PR. PR is important because perception drives reality.

    Perception influences recruits’ decisions to come to BYU. Perception influences alumni donations. Funding and recruiting are the foundational resources of a program. It has a real impact and it’s easy to manage. You don’t even have to be a sweet-talking media darling. Just say as little as possible about sensetive topics, and mean what you say.

    Again, I ask you, ALRM cougar. Why didn’t Lark get a better shot? Is it because Riley was perceived as having more grit and determination? Also interesting to point out is how emphatic Bronco was that Lark was the backup–not Hill at the beginning of the season, despite percieved talent superiority in Hill.

    I am for keeping Bronco as HC. But if he doesn’t have better help on the offensive side and tighter control from the AD we will not get any better than a marginally top-25 program.

  • WaybackCougar said:

    Ah, yes. The solution is clear. We simply need Scotty with his Star Trek transporter installed right next to Brandon Doman.

    Is the O line holding? “Quick, Scotty! Beam in Lark!” Is the play breaking down? “Beam in Nelson!”

    That’s the ticket. Unstoppable. Everybody can agree on that.

    Come on guys. We tried the two QB system and it was a disaster. The decision on who to start was made back in fall practice. And Bronco’s being criticized because he stuck with it this time.

    Maybe James Lark would have worked out better, but waffling on the decision is what got us into trouble with the Nelson/Heaps fiasco.

    Again, the main issue is playing an injured Riley Nelson when it’s clear he’s greatly hampered. The issue is not the decision to make Riley the starter in the first place because there’s no way you can go back and show things would have been better with James Lark. With our weak O line we could easily have been having the same debate over whether Bronco should have stuck with an injured James Lark.

  • FL Cosmo said:

    Wayback, I don’t think anyone is proposing a 2-QB system. I think we all just want Lark to play in the bowl game. He deserves it and he probably gives us the best chance at winning.

    Can you imagine the backlash if Bronco plays a hurting Riley again and we lose?

  • Andy said:

    I love these people who say we don’t know how Lark would do against a real defense and Riley did just as good against equally bad teams. The truth is Riley has had 10 times as many snaps, and coach attention as Lark. Yet Lark against equal competition, with less practice and real time snaps, in his first start, puts up numbers equal to a starter with three years live snap experience.

    Riley shouldn’t start ever even when he is healthy. A healthy Riley with tons of experience is at best equal to a Lark with no experience.

    There is something severely wrong with a program that starts a 2 star free safety at the QB position, over two 4 star qb recruits and one 5 star recruit. One maybe two may be a bust but all three wont’ be.

    It was a great article. I think its time for a regime change in Provo and I won’t invest in anything BYU related until the current regime is removed.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    FL Cosmo –

    I may have exaggerated a little. PR is not completely unimportant, but it isn’t THAT important. And most of the problems you point to have nothing to do with PR, and everything to do with an effort by fans to twist Bronco’s words and make him look like a fool.

    If you want to get into a debate about what Bronco has ACTUALLY said (as opposed to the nonsense that his critics pretend like he says), I might be willing to do that at a different time (too busy right now). Frankly, Bronco would be better off saying absolutely nothing, because regardless of what he says his words will be manipulated by those with an agenda to drive him out of town. If he is silent, his critics will still rage about him not being transparent, but I think that is better than the nonsense that has gone on this season.

  • Gregory Lee said:

    In just the past week, ALRMCoug has become my favorite poster on this site. While the rest of us (myself included) keep pointing out the facts, he (or she) has reached Troll Level 1000. Well played, sir. Well played.

  • FL Cosmo said:

    ALRM Cougar, I agree there are peeps out there with cat-like reflexes just itching to pounce on anything that comes out of Bronco’s mouth. He shouldn’t have to watch himself that closely. But to state emphatically that Riley is still the team’s QB right after the game-when Riley is still hurt, and without discussing with your staff, and directly following Lark’s spectacle after a season mired in QB inefficacy…how on earth do you defend that?

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned the hard way about making one absolutely boneheaded, idiotic mistake, it’s that it brings everything else you do into question, fair or unfair.

    I think it was stupid for people to criticize him for going for 2 at BSU. There were really good arguments for both sides. But I don’t think the whole talent evaluation criticism is unwarranted now. If that’s on the table for this year, it’s on the table for the past three seasons, which would be an ongoing problem with evaluating and developing the QB. That is a huge problem at QBU.

    Again, I still love Bronco, but the guy clearly needs his big brother Tom to reach out now and again to say, “No, no, little bro. That’s not a good idea. I’m glad the kid has heart and grit. That’s why God invented special teams.”

  • Gregory Lee said:

    How’s this for grit: James Lark rides the pine for three years (including playing behind a true freshman) and then finally gets his chance when the star QB transfers and the backup (now starter) gets injured in the second game of the season. Lark dutifully prepares for the Utah game only to get benched at the last minute in favor of the injured starter. Rather than throw in the towel, Lark resumes his backup duties and prepares for Boise State the next week. Same story. Either James Lark has the patience of Job or he’s the most dedicated BYU athlete who has ever lived.

    James Lark finally gets his first career start in the last regular season game of his collegiate career. The young man has given all four years of eligibility to a team that has permanently relegated him to backup status. How does he repay the coaches, team, and fans? Six TDs through the air. Not many BYU QBs have done that and none have in their very first start, regardless of the opponent. How does the Head Coach repay Lark? Assuming Nelson still has a pulse, we’re gonna play the injured QB in the bowl game. Awesome.

    By the way, comparing James Lark and Riley Nelson is tough for a couple of reasons: Lark’s stats were all in garbage time until last Saturday against an admittedly weak opponenent. Many have tried to find ways around this statistical dilemma by using one of Nelson’s games against a weak opponent, discounting Lark’s performance as an outlier, or simply cherry picking Nelson’s best game. All of those are inaccurate but illustrate the bigger problem: BYU’s had a carousel of QB mismanagement for the past three years. Did anyone really think the dual QB system was going to work in 2010? Why did Taysom Hill get injured and why was he starting to begin with? How did our last freshman starting QB work out (you know, the one that set all kinds of freshman records)? We’re all left wondering what might have been…

    I like to imagine what 2012 would have looked like after losing Heaps (which still saddens me) if Lark had won the starting job over the spring and fall. Alex Kuresa has been willing to do anything to see the field (and has done a nice job, in my opinion) and Nelson could have followed suit. You still have a senior QB leading the Cougars, but now you have one who can hit receivers in stride and throw the ball farther than I can (which isn’t very far). Taysom Hill still gets some reps in the wildcat, but he doesn’t get pressed into service as a true freshman because coaches only do that when someone is clearly a star (see Texas A&M) or they have no other choice. Oh, what might have been!

    Go Cougars!!! Here’s hoping for an 8-5 final record and a convincing win over that pillar of sportsmanship known as the Aztecs. Stay classy, San Diego!

  • FL Cosmo said:

    “Assuming Nelson has a pulse” LOL

  • Hass16 said:

    ALRMCoug – 14 comments in 5 hours and you’re “too busy?” I’d hate to see what would happen if you had some free time.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    Hass16 –

    It takes like 5 second to write a post. It takes a lot more time to actually look at and analyze facts. This is why people don’t actually look at facts and instead just spout off unfounded opinions.

  • Hass16 said:

    Make that 15.

  • Robert Anderson said:

    “This is why people don’t actually look at facts and instead just spout off unfounded opinions.”

    See ALRMCoug posts.

  • Gregory Lee said:

    I’ve wanted to love Coach Mendenhall for the past seven years, but a lack of results (undefeated seasons, BCS Bowl berths, quality wins, etc.), poor talent development, and a perplexing lack of humility are getting hard to ignore. I can’t think of another coach who has such an adversarial relationship with his fans.

    Let’s try an experiment: First, we need to find someone who would like to coach at a world-renowned university in the intermountain west. We’ll toss in a National Championship, Heisman Trophy, indoor practice facility, student athlete building, and lots of other goodies to help make recruiting easier. To make up for a strict Honor Code and high academic standards, we’ll also provide some of the most mature, hardest-working athletes in the country. But that’s not all. We’re even going to throw in some NCAA-sanctioned soft recruiting by low-level boosters for three hours every week all across the country. Since this is a head coaching gig, we’ll also provide a $1,000,000 salary and do everything in our power to make sure most of the games are available on ESPN. In return, we just have three simple rules in how to deal with fans:

    First, please don’t spit in their faces. Regardless how much you dislike them for providing you with a job that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for them, try to be nice. While some coaches might offer platitudes like “our team has the greatest fans in the world,” you can just remain silent. Even if they’re a bunch of sissy crybabies who don’t know the first thing about football, don’t unfavorably compare them to any groups of people that may have murdered their God. Trust me, it won’t go over well.

    Second, don’t be afraid to show some humility. While lesser men might scoff at this old-fashioned virtue, it could win you some friends or at least some breathing room if things temporarily turn south. This rule can be thrown out after winning a National Championship, going undefeated, or perhaps just not losing in the first three games of the season.

    Third, try to beat your rivals. Rivalry games are clearly for the weak; the strong strive for execution, perfection, and other esoteric terms that don’t mean what the dictionary claims they do. Even so, a loss against the rival school is worse than any two other losses. Try to win one every 3-4 years. Additional brownie points will be awarded for winning without the help of a miraculous comeback.

    Anyone interested in the job?

  • Jeffrey said:

    @ Gregory Lee…. love it! With those criteria I’d ALMOST be willing to stick my neck out for a gig like that.

  • lipsyc said:


    Really? Bronco’s imbecilic declaration that Riley will start the bowl game came after careful consultation with his offensive staff? Dufus!

  • Mesa Coug said:

    Yes, he is insane or someone is. To play an injured player and to have Hill run instead of take a knee someone is insane. Let Holmoe figure out which one is and then can his butt!!!

  • Trey said:

    Went to the game and had a great time. My 5 year old’s first BYU football game experience and he had a blast. Decked out in cougar blue, he got a picture with NMSU’s mascott Pistol Pete. We basically had a stake party. More BYU fans than NMSU. Poor NMSU. You think we have problems… I met people who came from Los Lunas, Gallup, and even Scottsdale AZ. And one came from American Fork (more later).

    One fan brought his own trumpet, and every time we scored, he played the fight song and we all joined in rather organized singing, which could be heard over the things NMSU was trying to do to drown us out with overly loud jumbo-tron speakers. Just too many BYU fans to be ignored.

    Anyway, it was refreshing to see the ball fly. Even the first drive had great potential before Lark was sacked by an uncalled facemask on 3rd down. Lark did a great job, and I loved seeing a receiver hit in stride take it to the house. I’ve missed that for awhile now.

    I was pleased to see Lark start even with a healthy-looking Riley dressed out on the sidelines. That was a good call. I only wish that Munns could have had a shot in the fourth quarter.

    I don’t pretend to have any insight into the coaches’ heads right now, but I had an interesting conversation in Dairy Queen after the game with the fan from American Fork. Turns out it was Ryker Mathews’ dad. I asked why he thought we have had so many struggles with the O-line this year, and he said it was the injuries. Which led me to ask what he thought of the diet plan and if it has hurt us as well. He said he thinks it is working but will take time. He said Ryker told him that they had all the O-line review Alabama play in the championship game, and then asked if they noticed anything different or unusual about Bama’s O-line. The answer: they are fast and strong and not fat.

    He also said, “Look what happens when we pass the ball!” And he mentioned that he thought Riley Nelson was selfish and didn’t put the team first. I asked him if Ryker has given him any insight as to why Bronco has refused to play Lark even when it was obvious Nelson was injured in the SJSU game… did Lark to something to cause bad politics or something to make the coaches hate him. He said,”No he [Ryker] is a loyalist and never says anything.”

    That actually gave me comfort in some strange way. I guess I was pleased to hear that there wasn’t a dissension amongst players, even though this is only one player.

  • HCI Cougar said:

    “Though Nelson said he could accept being benched if coaches insisted, he also said, “I don’t think I could ever bow out.”
    Nelson can’t be faulted for battling through injuries; it’s a prized trait in any sport. At the same time, a 100 percent Taysom Hill would be more effective than a 65 percent Nelson.” Source Brad Rock September 25, 2012 after Boise State Game.

    If 65% Riley Nelson is >= to 100% Taysom Hill
    What % is Riley Nelson >= to 100% James Lark? We will never know the answer.

    Looking forward, if a BYU QB is LDS he should be a returned missionary and hopefully having returned from having completed a very tough mission so he has credibility in the huddle especially when leading 25 year old men, some married with families.

    The QB needs to have prevailed in difficult times and developed his self-discipline and leadership capabilities. It seems that all the other players are from Missouri, the “Show Me State”.

    Don’t give me a quarterback that was nearly undefeated in high school and had the luxury of being protected by an impenetrable offensive line and supported by highly skilled receivers and running backs. College football is not a video game. We need a QB that has done “hard things.”

    When the ball was snapped over the BYU quarterback’s head at the beginning of the BYU – Utah debacle in Provo last year, I knew we were in deep trouble. The BYU QB was terrified. I could see it in his eyes and body language. As he picked up the ball in an attempt to throw out it of bounds, he appeared to be so panicked he couldn’t even remember to grip the ball. As the ball spun out of his palm and fell to the ground, he could not think to fall on it. Instead he jumped over the ball for fear that a defensive lineman might fall on top of him and that would certainly hurt. There was no leadership displayed. There was no coolness under fire. What was missing was grit. We admire grit.

    However, what has been missing at the QB position, mostly since is real talent. Even Rudy only got into the game only after the outcome was determined.

    We win with talent.

  • Troll Level...100!! said:

    “In just the past week, ALRMCoug has become my favorite poster on this site. While the rest of us (myself included) keep pointing out the facts, he (or she) has reached Troll Level 1000. Well played, sir. Well played.”

    Greg, you cut deep. real deep.

  • Ben said:

    By Lark’s post game comments, it was more than obvious to me that James Lark is just plain and simply a really nice guy. In the brutal battlefield of college athletics, it is rare to find a person like Lark. People like that rarely bitterly fight back when the coaches don’t play them. They are loyal and faithful to the end. Nelson’s grit and ambition are the norm and Bronco fell for it and it cost Lark a chance to start and basically ruined a potentially great season. Since Bronco got the big contract, he has not felt he owes the press, the fans or anybody else anything. He in his own mind has become bigger than the program. Holmoe doesn’t dare say boo to him. He is a decent defensive coordinator but a horrible head coach. He needs to be fired immediately after the bowl game so the program can move forward. Maybe when he is looking again at a lower tier salary to be a defensive coordinator, it will dawn on him how his arrogance became bigger than the program and that he really has blown it by ignoring the press and the loyal fans.

  • Troll Level...100!! said:

    “Even if they’re a bunch of sissy crybabies who don’t know the first thing about football”

    Mr. Gregory Lee ladies and gentlemen.

  • B.T. said:


    Spot on with this article and your analysis. Agree wholeheartedly with what was said. Nothing more to add. Enjoyed many of the post on here, in particular Greg’s posts.

    ALRMCoug and Troll 100, and Trey-You guys never cease to amaze me with your delusional posts and behavior. You guys have lost your minds just like Bronco. By now, you should know the tone of Brett’s articles towards Bronco and his coaching decisions. I don’t understand why you come to this site and read his articles if your staunch Bronco supporters. There are other forums out there where you can find more of the majority that agree with your delusional opinions about Bronco and his terrible decision making.

  • Byujack said:

    There are issues and a lot of them are Bronco created. Wait until after recruiting is done and see if anything happens.

    Alrmcoug – byu is very good about listening to major donor’s opinions. Some donors are very involved and their donations are very important to byu. This is how bronco got his current job in the first place.

  • Tokyoblue said:


    Ok, so maybe his love and continual use of RN is not in itself grounds for dismissal. How about the fact that BYU cannot win games against winning teams? That the multiple 10 win seasons happened when he had an OC that he didn’t really want, and were largely subsidized by playing in the MWC? That since he has had his own hand picked OC running things the way he wants the offense has regressed to the point we are at now? It is all about wins and losses and though his all time record looks great at first glance, again it is subsidized by playing very poor teams. Is he really the guy to lead us during this Independance period when we increase our SOS?

    I personally do not see the evidence to support him staying.

  • Jimmerfan said:


    Holy cow… get a life! I love BYU football and I like to occasionally comment on these articles when I feel like I have a good point to make. But I keep seeing your name and all your biased comments the entire time I scroll down this page. Get off your butt and play some sports or hang out with a girl. It’s fine to comment on this page once or twice on an article, after that, it’s kinda pathetic.

  • LaMont7 said:

    I am a little late to the party, but I am going to post prefaced so you know my view:
    Brett – appreciate all you do to keep the dialogue and views flowing.
    My ranking of the BYU quaterbacks in the program for the past few years: 1. Munns, 2. Lark, 3. Heaps, 4. Nelson. At this young stage I would put Hill at #4. Munns is big a pro-style QB (you should see more of him), Lark has ability he hasn’t been able to show, Heaps has skill but lacks heart and quite frankly his edge was taken off when he got married (lets see what he does in Kansas), Nelson has the heart and has great character too but not the complete skill set. Hill can surpass all if he increases his timing and pocket presence, we will not be where we need to be if we continue the nebraska running style QB position.
    Bronco – Great character and I love him and what he stands for, great defensive mind but he is used to using his schemes to gimmick going against superior teams like his days at New Mexico. I think he is coming into his own with the defense and better athletes. But he is not the head coach at BYU because of his football prowess, it is because of his character much like it was for Lavell Edwards. He can run a good program and that is what is needed first and foremost – if you think that the best players play no matter what and football is first then you do not understand the BYU program. It must stand for something above all, and that is the way it is. There is more that does happen behind doors and we do not know all and it is not just what we see on the field.
    Bronco is perfect as the head coach, but needs better offensive help as Lavell received. I also know Brandon Doman is a great character guy and know him from back in high school as one of his teachers, but he is currently overwhelmed in his position. We need both an OC and a QB coach (and it is not Hall). Keep Brandon in the program and let him learn more, he is humble enough to stay (he is way too fragmented as a bishop right now).
    Its been a heart-breaking season, we have many of the right pieces, Holmoe can help us finish the puzzle. Bronco, Doman and Van Noy need to stay and just bring in one more offensive guy. NOT Andy Reid. he may have the BYU connections but his lack in the character area will not be overcome by his coaching skill.

  • BigCougar said:

    Riley could have a leg amputated and Bronco would still be making plans to start him the next game.

  • osl4life1 said:

    Now’s a great opportunity for us to push Bronco to Cal and go get Gary Anderson! He’s light years better of a coach and his defenses are intense!

    Bronco to Cal… who’s with me?!?!?!

  • bigjohn said:

    Too many times this year I’ve had that dreadful feeling (and I’m sure many others have too) that BYU was heading towards a loss unless immediate in-game adjustments were made. I also had that dreadful and puzzling feeling that those in-game adjustments would not be made.

    This wasn’t a season where we had a young team or quarterback who needed to play through some bad games to learn how to win. This was a veteran team with a senior quarterback who had earned (i.e. handed on a silver platter) the starting nod seemingly over more talented 3, 4 and 5 star recruits.

    The sad ending is that most of these losses were preventable if only the offensive players had been held to the same accountability standards as the defensive players. It’s almost as though Bronco insisted that the defense outshine the offense even it it meant a loss. How else does one the puzzling pattern of decisions made by a veteran coach?

    Let’s hope that the bowl game doesn’t play out like so many other games this year that could have and should have ended in a BYU win!

  • Walt Hanssen said:


    I agree with most of your article except this one sentence:

    “It was stunning just how adamant he was that Riley would be back under center, and that without even consulting his offensive coordinator.”

    I did not put a stop watch on it but I can safely guess that the time between the end of the game and when Coach did his interview with Greg Wrubell and Mark Lyons was at least an hour if not longer. Do you know what his itinerary was during that time? Do you know if he had a conversation with Coach Doman? Do you know what his and their philosophy is about what happens with a starter who is hurt and then heals up and is ready to play again? I could ask another dozen questions or more to test your knowledge of what goes on behind closed doors.

    During the last few weeks anybody that follows the S.F. 49ers saw Alex Smith get a concussion against the Rams, he was held out against the Bears where Colin Kaepernick took his place and did a masterful job. then last Sunday Smith dressed but watched Kaepernick play not quite as well but still very good in beating the Saints. Now all the so called sports experts are arguing over whether or not Kaepernick should now start in place of Smith. I’m listening to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless discuss Jim Harbaugh’s handling of the QB controversy in San Francisco right now.

    What did Coach Harbaugh say today about this? That Smith was the starter before he got hurt and still is the starter and will take over as soon as the team feels he is ready to play. He will announce who is starting tomorrow because he feels his team should know. What is he basing his decision on? On how Smith feels and when they are absolutely certain that he is 100%. Coaches are different but clearly Harbaugh’s philosophy is that a starter only loses his starting job if he is injured and cannot play and he gets it back when he has recovered and ready to go back in.

    Kaepernick did not make a throw greater than 20 yards against the Saints, he threw a pick but he filled in well and got the win. Now granted, in this comparison I am not saying that the two situations are identical nor am I saying the difference between Nelson and Lark is the same as the difference between Smith and Kaepernick but the two cases are similar.

  • BigCougar said:

    I’m not sure how they’re similar. In the case of Alex Smith he led the 49ers to the NFC title game last year and was in the middle of his best season with a PER of 104. Riley was quite the opposite this year, has a losing record as a starter this season (while Hill & Lark are undefeated as his replacements), and is about to complete one of the worst seasons ever in BYU history for a senior, returning starter Qb. Every QB that had replaced him in the starting lineup this year has been spectacular while he has been horrific by comparison.

    Smith has been very good this year while Riley has stunk worse than a case of rotten fish. I don’t see the similarity.

  • David said:

    I have no problem with mistakes Mendenhall has made. We all make mistakes no matter how old or experienced we may be. I DO have a big problem with the fact that he cannot admit them or show a shred of humility and desire to learn and grow from them. Therefore, we can rest assured the same mistakes will be repeated.

  • David said:

    It is also interesting that for someone who comes across so principled has been so unprincipled regarding Riley Nelson. Mendenhall regularly spouts accountability while Nelson has literally gotten a pass regardless of his health or performance. Can you imagine a WR who routinely drops catches and misses blocks or a tackle who regularly lets his guy get to the QB remaining in his starting role AND receiving gushing, glowing praise after every additional subpar performace? I think the obvious bias and contradictions are what has become so appaling. Wasn’t the offensive line shuffled due to poor play? Wasn’t Heaps benched? Why the complete double standard for Nelson? Please tell me Holmoe occassionally glances at articles and comments like this. I get that Bronco probably doesn’t but Holmoe’s job is partially to stay in tune with the fan base.

  • LaMont7 said:

    Wait, this is so over reactive its getting ridiculous. Nelson is NOT a great quarterback, but really the comparison that Nelson has a losing record and Hill/Lark a winning record is bogus. I think Lark is a better quarterback and should’ve played more (I think Munns should have played). But really look at the comparison they went up against:

    vs Hawaii (#60 defense) – qb rating 123
    vs Utah St (#16 defense) – qb rating 125

    vs. NM st (#113 defense) – qb rating 172

    vs. Wash St (#85) – qb 154
    vs. Utah (#35) – qb 111
    vs. Boise (#8) – ugly
    vs. Oregon St (#38) – qb 100
    vs. Notre Dame (#6) – qb 112
    vs. Georgia Tech (#61) – qb 134
    vs. Idaho (#114) – qb 157
    vs. San Jose St (#28) – qb 112

    Aside from the debacle on the smurf turf when injured, Nelson has been OK. In fact in the most comparative games (Haw/GT, NM st/Id) Riley is just as good if not better. There are many more factors that point to Riley not being the best, statistically though it is not a clear case of Lark being so much better.

    I think mistakes were made this season, but it is not as egregious as the peanut gallery is making it to be. There are players on the current team that are split on the Mendenhall/QB issues.

  • bigjohn said:

    I’m not suggesting Bronco needs to be perfect, but if he is as committed to winning as he is to execution, accountability, and resiliency, then the last game of the season was a bit late for defaulting to the bench.

    Resiliency by itself does not so easily trump execution and accountability.

    An ailing, under-performing, and turnover prone player does not meet the minimum criteria Bronco has established for his players and program.

  • FL Cosmo said:

    LaMont, please correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t believe QB ratings factor in things like whether you threw a tight spiral, led your receiver, spotted the open man, looked off the defensive back, held poise in the pocket, threw downfield as opposed to throwing almost exclusively screens, etc.

    Anyone who knows football can easily say Riley came up short in all those aspects of quarterbacking. I love and respect what Riley gave to the team, but objectively I just don’t see how anyone can say he got the job done.

    QB ratings also don’t factor in weights to untimely mistakes. Riley made key mistakes that cost us wins against Utah, BSU, Notre Dame, and SJSU. He should hold his head high for giving BYU is all, but I think even he would admit that if he didn’t make those mistakes we would’ve won. Consider the fact that he has more turnovers than touchdowns. When is the last time a QB at any program was well-regarded by his fans after those kind of results.

    So, yeah, when Riley has looked this bad for this long, and we’ve had Lark’s talent relegated to holding the clipboard, and Bronco is emphatically and unnecessarily stating that he wouldn’t have changed a thing if he could do it over again, it gives valid concern about Bronco’s decision making going forward.

  • Dwight Cornell said:

    In regards to the comment that BYU should hire Gary Anderson, not going to happen, Coach A is very committed to the Aggies. If he did leave it would be to a BCS school that will always be in contention for a National Championship.
    But I do agree that he is a better head coach than Bronco, but like Bronco Coach A has not beaten very many teams with winning records. I do like Coach A though.

  • El Jefe said:

    Not that anyone will make it down this far in the comments to read this one, but I guess looking forward to our next group of qb’s of the future, I’m not so optimistic that the right guy will get picked. We can’t afford another mistake at the QB position. I’m not 100% on board with Taysom Hill getting the keys to the car automatically. Hopefully someone will take the decision out of the coaches hands by their superior performance come next spring and fall.

  • Jon said:

    A healthy Lark is WAY better than an injured Nelson. Anyone who can’t see that is a moron.

    People can argue that a healthy Nelson is better than a healthy Lark, and cite stats from the Hawaii game last year to “prove” it, but that’s not the debate because Riley hasn’t been healthy since the first quarter of the Weber St. game.

    Anyone, including Doman and Bronco, who couldn’t see that a healthy Lark was more capable than an injured Nelson just doesn’t understand football. It’s that simple. Riley turned it over 5 times and had like 30 yards passing against Boise. If anyone thinks Lark would have done worse they just don’t understand offense. It’s that simple.

    I’m not in the fire Bronco brigade because I don’t think there’s anyone better out there. But his job is to get results, especially results in the passing game, and even his supporters can’t say with a straight face that he’s delivered results the past 3 years.

  • Jon said:


    There are two BIG problems with the QB ratings you posted. First, they do prove that no matter how incompetent the defense is (think Weber St. and Idaho) Riley hasn’t put up the numbers Lark did. And those were home games for Riley.

    Second, QB rating doesn’t factor in fumbles. When you add in the fumbles to the “turnover” category in QB rating, Riley’s is a disaster. Again, even without the fumbles Lark put up a QB rating Riley never really got close to the entire season, but after adding in the fumbles the gap goes from HUGE to ENORMOUS.

  • NTE said:

    We sat around the table for Thanksgiving and everyone said what they were thankful for. I said that I was thankful for Riley Nelson being a senior and will be graduating this year. I know that was kind of harsh but I want to see the cougars live up to their full potential. Anyone who knows a lick about football can see Riley is a running QB at best and Lark has the arm to make accurate passes, which we haven’t seen in the last two years. And with the injury Riley hasn’t been running great he’s actually been running bad, very bad. If that is his strength why keep him in if he can’t do it?

  • Walt Hanssen said:


    I guess I did not crystal clear in my post. The only point I was making was do you start a starter after he has been injured and is ready to play again? It had nothing to do with their QB rating and for that matter the way they do it in college is different than in the NFL. A 130 in the latter is great but in the former it is mediocre. Let me compare the current leaders in both:

    1. Aaron Murray: Georgia: 177.15
    2. A.J. McCarron: Alabama: 176.26
    3. David Fales: San Jose St.: 170.91
    4. Tajh Boyd: Clemson 168.54
    5. Marcus Mariota: Oregon 165.36
    15. Chuckie Keeton: Utah St. 156.70

    Interestingly, the Notre Dame (No 1 in all polls) QB is not ranked in the top 50 which is as far as it was listed so that shows that a team can do very well w/o a QB with a top efficiency rating

    1. Aaron Rodgers: GB: 105.6
    2. Tom Brady: NE: 105.0
    3. Peyton Manning: DEN: 104.8
    4. Robert Griffin III: WSH: 104.6
    5. Alex Smith: SF: 104.1 (and you have a QB controversy at SF because Kaepernick has won two games)

    So you correctly listed Riley’s QB rating and none of them were very good, even his best games.

    FL Cosmo-

    No matter what the QB rating doesn’t factor in, the fact is that those QB’s with the highest rating at either level are those who are playing the best. The higher the rating, the better the QB, the worse the rating, the poorer the QB. But just for kicks, let’s compare here is the Notre Dame QB’s and Riley’s rating:

    65. Everett Golson 166 282 2135 58.9 7.57 11 5 13 131.8
    87. Riley Nelson 181 306 2011 59.2 6.6 13 12 21 120.5

    So Golson is only average but doesn’t need to be great because ND wins with their defense. Our defense is comparable to Notre Dame’s so all we need was an average QG, which Riley is, to go undefeated this year. What we couldn’t have was a QB who was hurt playing which is what we had and everyone who has pointed this out already is correct and I agree 100%.

    I will never know what was going on in Bronco and and Brandon;s minds regarding playing Riley when he was hurt so badly that he couldn’t function. We don’t even know who was making the decisions regarding Riley, but we all know that the buck stops with Bronco who is the head coach. I do believe that Bronco should come clean and let the public know who was making those decisions as to whether Riley should play or not and he should admit in retrospect that he made a mistake…but he never will.

    As for the bowl game, if Riley is healed and can play at 95% or better, he should start. But, if he plays poorly, whether he gets injured or not, Lark should replace him. I do not believe that one should play one half and one the other.

  • FL Cosmo said:

    @ Walt:
    “FL Cosmo-

    No matter what the QB rating doesn’t factor in, the fact is that those QB’s with the highest rating at either level are those who are playing the best.”

    I’m not really seeing how this relates to what I was saying. Riley is nowhere near the top. My point was that his mediocre-to-modest rating, as posted by LaMont or whoever was not indicative of his unfortunate ineptitude. QB rating pretty much goes out the window as a useful measure when your QB’s rudimentary QB skills are so lacking that any half-decent defense can simply stack the box against his one dimension.

    For example, consider red-(I mean blue)zone offense. I don’t think I’ve seen BYU ever this bad at reaching the endzone after driving down the field. With a short field there is less running space for Riley to do his thing, and the decreased space also increases the need for greater throwing accuracy.

    No, you don’t need to have a top-flight QB to have a dream season, but you do at least need someone who can keep the defense honest. If Lark had come in and had a horrible game, I think a lot of the criticism of Riley and the coaching would have subsided. “Bronco’s just doing the best he can with what he has to work with.” Clearly we are underachieving with our individual player talent. A sad day for a program that built itself around overachievers.

  • Walt Hanssen said:

    LaMont, FL Cosmo, et al-

    Go back over the season and tell me how many of Riley’s fumbles were his own fault (like Heaps losing control of the ball when he was trying to throw deep in BYU’s territory against the Utes last year) and how many were caused by a weak OL that allowed him to get blindsided numerous occasions. I know his interceptions were his fault but a majority of his fumbles were not.

    His problem was that he was playing hurt and that is coaching error not his. I am not in favor of dividing up the QB by in the bowl game. One should start and the other should come in if the starter is not getting the job done.

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

    It was Riley’s hand on the ball when the ball came out of it, therefore every fumble that he has was his fault.

    Furthermore, here’s a picture: Riley has scrambled out of the pocket over to the sideline. He stands upright with the ball dangling in one hand, as he surveys down the field. Meanwhile, a gigantic lineman is rambling up behind his back side getting ready to clobber him. Everyone in the stands, and most of us watching on tv, are all shouting at him, look out! Secure the ball!! He seems clueless as he gets his head taken off and the ball falls harmlessly onto the ground where the defenders scoop it up gleefully.

    Sound familiar? Seems like we’ve seen that a hundred times in Riley’s career.

    On another topic, just heard this quote from Bronco from an SI article about Ziggy: referring to Ziggy Ansah, Bronco says “This is a guy I never took seriously, and now we’ve had more NFL personnel (at BYU) this year than the previous 8 years put together.”

    Bronco the talent evaluator.

  • Dwight Cornell said:

    We have heard all season long from Bronco about Riley’s grit and determination and toughness, if we had beaten Utah, Boise, ND, OSU, and SJSU than I would not have been as annoyed with all that grit talk, it would have been backed up, but BYU lost those games so I really am very annoyed by all that talk he gives during every post game interview.

    So Coach Mendenhall, until you actually have a qb that is winning more than half of your games you need to stop with all this grit and determination talk

  • Dwight Cornell said:

    Anyone can have grit and determination, but if they lack the overall skill set to help a team win every game than all that grit is useless.
    I am sure that James has just a much grit and determination and toughness like Riley, but he backs it up, I don’t care who he is playing against.

  • Brett Richins (author) said:


    I’ve told a number of people that I can have all the grit and determination necessary to become the center for the LA Lakers, but the facts are that I am 5-10 and have serious case of white man’s disease.

  • Dave said:

    This ALRMCOUG dude is pretty annoying…. Very Bronco-like… I’m right and everyone else is wrong.

  • Bryan Taylor said:

    Dave, ALRM Coug is very delusional. Its best to just ignore him.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    It’s amazing hiw quickly people resort to personal attacks when they can’t rebut a factual argument. It is also amazing how hypocritical the moderators of this site are when it comes to policing said personal attacks. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that a blog that would post an article with a headline of “Is Bronco Mendenhall Insane?,” with the clear implication of the article to follow being that he is, would be bush league like that.

    Oh well. You guys have fun in your Bronco haing fantasy world. I’m done arguing with idiots.

  • BigCougar said:

    “On another topic, just heard this quote from Bronco from an SI article about Ziggy: referring to Ziggy Ansah, Bronco says “This is a guy I never took seriously, and now we’ve had more NFL personnel (at BYU) this year than the previous 8 years put together.”

    Bronco the talent evaluator.”

    And to think, Ziggy would still be sitting on the bench as a backup if Eathyn hadn’t gone down with a season ending injury.

    “Go back over the season and tell me how many of Riley’s fumbles were his own fault (like Heaps losing control of the ball when he was trying to throw deep in BYU’s territory against the Utes last year) and how many were caused by a weak OL that allowed him to get blindsided numerous occasions. I know his interceptions were his fault but a majority of his fumbles were not.

    His problem was that he was playing hurt and that is coaching error not his.”

    Also while you’re at it go back and look at how many fumbles were his fault for not securing the ball properly (high and tight) and also how many fumbles were his fault for holding onto the ball way too long when he should have been throwing it away to avoid the sack.

    John Beck avg about 2.2 seconds from snap to release his senior year and rarely took sack. He made his OL look very good because they didn’t have to hold their blocks for up to 10 seconds while he ran around improvising outside of their peripheral vision (making it hard for them to know where to direct their blocks). Max Hall was very close to that avg during his time at BYU as well. Expecting any OL to hold blocks 5-10 seconds is wayyyyyy too long and in the NFL gets the QB benched when he holds onto it that long. It also leads to a lot of turnovers which Riley is guilty of.

    Also regarding Riley’s playing hurt, it’s not just a coaching error, because they trusted him. He flat out lied to his coaches and to his teammates when he told them he could play. He’s supposed to be some kind of leader or something. Everyone looked up to him and trusted him and he flat out lied to them and let them all down. That’s absolutely selfish on his part and had nothing to do with the coaches.

    We have it on record that Riley took advantage of his relationship with Bronco when he was going to be benched by Doman in the Boise St game after he clearly was losing them the game. He went over Doman’s head and asked Bronco to give him one more chance. Because Bronco trusted Riley he said yes and it took all of 20 seconds for Riley to throw another pick deep in BYU’s end. By all appearances Riley is a gifted manipulator and took advantage of Bronco’s trust in him (to the detriment of the team).

    As for comparing Riley to Golson of ND, there’s a huge difference there. Golson isn’t a walking turnover machine like Riley is. Golson is very judicious with the ball and isn’t careless like Riley is. Along with Riley’s 12 picks (several went back for TD’s) he also has 9 fumbles this year (3 of which were recovered by the other team but several of the fumbles we recovered ended up killing drives and robbing us of scoring opportunities).

    Riley is like fools gold. For every brilliant play he manages to make he makes 4 or 5 boneheaded ones that kills drives, or gives points to the other team. For every step forward his careless and sloppy mistakes and terribly inaccurate passing moves us 2 or 3 steps back. He’s just not worth it. There’s no value in having him play QB anymore.

    Investing in him as your starting QB is like investing your hard earned paycheck each month in a 401K that is earning a negative rate of return.

  • BigCougar said:

    In looking at Walt’s stats comparing Lark, Hill and Nelson I saw soemthing interesting. Lark and Hill both took about the same number of pass attempts yet Lark (who doesn’t run around ad-libbing and is good at making a quick read and getting rid of the ball) has only taken 1 sack during his 70+ pass attempts.

    Hill on the other hand, is much like Riley and holds onto the ball too long in an effort to “extend plays” and buy time. He’s taken 6 sacks which would put him on pace to slightly exceed the high number of sacks Riley took this year. More sacks means a higher risk for turnovers (picks and fumbles) and also more drives stalled because of the higher percentage of sacks incurred on 3rd down blitzes.

    Our Offensive Line has taken so much criticism this year for being unable to protect the QB and some on this board have blamed Riley’s immense propensity for turning over the ball on them. yet it’s interesting that Lark who is quick to get rid of the ball, has only taken one sack and has zero turnovers. When you factor that out to a similar number of pass attempts like Riley, all of a sudden the OL doesn’t look so porous.

    I’ve maintained for quite a while now that I don’t think the OL gets a fair shake and that it’s Riley’s running around holding onto the ball too long that makes them look worse than they really are. They’re not superb (for certain) but I don’t think it’s fair to say they’re as bad as Riley has made them look either.

  • Toubabou said:

    Well, since Bronco won’t look back, I will. Can you just imagine for a moment if the grand master plan of 2011 had actually worked? What if Heaps really did redshirt, and was sitting on the BYU bench this whole season while this hot mess of a QB situation was going on? Can you even imagine what that would have looked like?

    I have thought for a long time now that Riley is a trojan horse sent down from Aggie Land to destroy and corrupt BYU from the inside out. It almost worked. USU should be 3-0 vs BYU in the last three years.

  • Mars said:

    Nice troll-job ALRMcoug. Very good non-comments.

  • Walt Hanssen said:

    FL Cosmo-

    In 1985, Buddy Ryan’s 56 Chicago Bears’ 56 defense put so much pressure on the team’s they played with seven and sometimes eight players in the box that no one that year including Bill Walsh’s west coast offense could handle it.

    I am not saying that Riley Nelson is on the same level as John Beck was, because he isn’t, but I am saying that Beck was much better prepared his three preceding years by Croton and Anea than Riley was before his senior season. Bronco got rid of Anae and replaced him with the supposed wonder boy who still after two seasons isn’t close to where Anae was in his first two years, let alone when he left.

    Anae came here with a very good knowledge of Coach Leach’s offense and he blended in his own run game into it and his teams averaged:

    2005: 33.0 Beck: 137.55
    2006: 36.8 Beck: 169.05
    2007: 30.1 Hall: 137.71
    2008: 34.2 Hall: 157.21
    2009: 35.5 Hall: 160.13
    2010: 26.2 Heaps: 116.20; Nelson: 104.55

    Here is Doman’s record:

    2011: 30.1 Heaps: 110.98; Nelson 152.93
    2012: 29.2 Nelson: 120.53; Lark: 163.86; Hill: 122.39

    My personal opinion is that despite what Brett and everyone else says about Riley only having grit and nothing else, he had a QB rating last year of 152.93 so he did fairly well; only Beck in 06 and Hall in 08 & 09 had higher. He started off well this year against Washington State, did well against Weber State but also was hurt and never really recovered for Utah & Boise State. Was replaced by Hill for HAwaii & Utah State then came back and played against Oregon State, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Idaho and got hurt against San Jose State and Lark played against New Mexico State.

    Again, I put the blame on Coach Doman and Coach Mendenhall for leaving Riley in after he was hurt. If the person who stated that Riley went around Coach Doman to Coach Mendenhall to ask to play after he was hurt against SJS needs to present his source that stated that this actually took place.

    You can run Riley all you want but I will go to my grave believing that it was poor coaching that led to his demise.

  • BigCougar said:

    “Portions of tickets sales, TV revenue, apparel sales, etc. all go to help pay salaries of the staff. This money is generated from the fanbase.Where do you think the money comes from to pay him? Thin air?”

    Lol! Good one, personally I thought it grew on trees. I guess not.

    Judging by his actions Bronco must think it’s just laying around the Athletic Dept and he’s entitled to it and doesn’t have to work for it.

  • WaybackCougar said:

    OK, one more post and I’m out. All this negativity aimed at ALRMCoug baffles me. I don’t see that his/her posts are anything other than honest opinions. They’re not even uniformly pro-Bronco so I just don’t see what the beef is.

    As to the question, “Is Bronco insane?” my answer is a firm “NO!” He is stubborn and he doesn’t take criticism well, leading to the kind of defiant “me versus the world” statements that get him in trouble. PR isn’t his strong suit but I still think he can be an inspirational head coach if he continues to learn lessons and improve. We saw a lot of effort to learn from past lessons this year but it didn’t turn out well. So, time to learn from another set of lessons.

    I agree that the QB position hasn’t been handled well since the departure of Max Hall. A lot of that is easier to say in hindsight, though.

    Mendenhall/Doman already figured out that the two QB system was a mistake. That may well explain the reason for the hesitancy to play someone in Riley’s place when he got hurt. So, an overcompensation to the lesson learned previously. Time for the pendulum to swing back the other way. I agree it’s clear Lark should have gotten a chance sooner. But again, easier to see in hindsight.

    The running QB idea certainly had some promise, but they stuck with it too long when it was clear it was too hard on our QBs. I’m OK with recruiting QBs who can run as long as they can pass accurately first. Running has to be used in moderation and not nearly to the extent Bronco and Doman envisioned this year.

    So, hopefully more lessons have been learned. We’ll see. But I fear Deep Shades of Blue is fast becoming Bronco Basher Central. It’s not as much fun to come here as it used to be.

  • Bryan Taylor said:

    @Wayback Cougar-what evidence do we have Bronco is going to change? He has already admitted he would not change anything in respect to the QB decisions he made this year and his lack of game management, player evaluation, player development, and overall humility as a HC is seriously deficient. So I disagree with you’re premise of Deep Shades of Blue….I find the topics, articles, and comments insightful, knowledgeable, and refreshing to find people that can take of the blinders and are BYU and this program for what they have be one under Broncos reign.

  • Walt Hanssen said:

    What a breath fresh air to read your post and I agree with you as far as the bickering going back and forth. Brett bought this business for the purpose for giving us more information about the BYU football and other sports than we could obtain from other media sources and like any businessman, to make a profit. In addition, he wanted to give everyone the freedom to express himself or herself. I don’t think his intention, and he can correct me if I am wrong, was to have it turn into a place where everyone took shots at each other. Therefore, you are correct in your analysis and I for one have been guilty of this myself. I think most of the this starts because of pride, thinking that we know more about football and the program and we want to show it by who we know and what insider information that we have and what experience we have as a former football player. We also fail to realize that in reality what we write doesn’t make a hill of beans and doesn’t influence the team at all.
    Thanks for reawakening us and hopefully, steering us back on course. Go Cougs!

  • Bryan Taylor said:

    Typos….be one=been, and “see” BYU and this program for what they have become.

  • WaybackCougar said:

    @Bryan Taylor

    I don’t want to belabor this but since you asked a specific question, I believe my post has already pointed out several examples of change.

    Others include the switch from the 5-3-3 to the 4-3 defense, major coaching changes when Anae was sent packing, firing Hill, the new position-tailored weight training program, the nutrition program, and offseason visits to NFL clubs for ideas on coaching.

    The switch from a dropback to a running QB philosophy was certainly a change even if we don’t like the results. And I’m betting after Lark’s performance there might be a willingness to look at switching back (although not this season).

    So, while you can argue about the pace of change, I don’t think anyone can say Bronco hasn’t been willing to change.

    I’m sure we’ll see more re-evaluation at the end of this season. What probably won’t change is the kind of off-the-cuff statements–admittedly sometimes bone-headed statements that easily lend themselves to misinterpretation–that got this whole debate started. As long as Bronco is head coach we’re going to have to live with those.

    But I’m betting we’ll see a continued willingness to be open to change and that it will be for the good in the long run.

  • Gregory Lee said:

    @Wayback Cougar –

    I hope the willingness to change continues with special emphasis on a couple of key areas:

    (1) Develop an offensive identity, welcome players into it, and allow little wrinkles depending on player strengths. Like Robbie Bosco, Steve Young was a drop-back passer and proved it in the NFL. His little wrinkle was the ability to kill teams with his feet. I’d selfishly like to see Hill develop in the same mold.

    (2) Take the training wheels off the defense. BYU has statistically been VERY good against the run over the past two seasons, but like any irrational fan, I want more. We have good athletes in the secondary but my Mom could pick apart the Cougar defense in the face of a two-man rush. Let’s make sure the corners aren’t behind the first down marker on 3rd and 9, too. Finally, I’d love to see some safety blitzes (especially from the blind side) even though the opposing QB might end up in the hospital.

    (3) Focus on surprise versus execution. I still go back to the UCLA game, one of BYU’s signature wins in recent memory. The coaching staff installed the 3-3-5 defense for one game only and the results were spectacular. Perfect execution with a limited playbook will never make the highlight reel. Solid execution while keeping the opponents guessing will key a few wins (just ask Riley Nelson about the bowl game against Tulsa). Taysom Hill’s first passing TD was way too easy because of the element of surprise. Keeping the other team guessing will also make every other play more successful.

    Let’s go, Cougars!!! I’m ready to turn the corner and compete for the crystal football!

  • Walt Hanssen said:


    You got your defensive schemes bass ackwards: it was a 3-3-5 and now is a 3-4. you always start with the DL and work backwards.

  • Walt Hanssen said:

    Sorry Bryan, I meant WayBackCougar.

  • BigCougar said:

    Riley: “Obviously, I want to play. That’s the [competitor] in me. Ultimately, that’s up to the coaches. We will just prepare and get ready for our next game,” Hill said when asked if he should be the starting quarterback next week.

    Mendenhall: “Riley is our quarterback. I love him, and I want him to be healthy. … I don’t have any different feelings than I did going into this game [regarding Nelson],” Mendenhall said. “… He won’t come out unless you drag him out.”

    This was in a Jay Drew article after the Boise st debacle. Riley is blaming it on the coaches and the coaches are blaming it on him. To Bronco’s point we saw Riley being examined on the sideline late in the San Jose St game for his dislocated rib. He was clearly in pain and his mobility was impaired and the team doctor/trainer was likely trying to assess the injury to determine if it was safe for him to play. Yet when BYU got the ball back unexpectedly (it might have been due to the onside kick) he pushed past the doctor/trainer, grabbed his helmet and ran back out on the field without letting him finish the exam.

    Riley isn’t innocent in this, especially with his position as a senior leader on the team. Coaches trust senior team leaders and if one gets a stinger in the game no coach in America is going to pull a senior leader because he limped momentarily after a hard tackle. He will check with that player and ask him if he’s okay and can he go back in. This trust requires the player to be “trustworthy” and tell the truth and not hide his true condition from the coach and the training staff. Riley didn’t prove to be trustworthy and in fact flat out lied saying he was okay to play.

    I guess we can call it a Team Leadership fail and part of the blame is on Riley for hiding his injuries and lying to everyone about the true extent of them before the Utah game but part of the blame is on the coaches for continuing to trust him after that.

    I know players will keep quiet about this and not say how they really feel about Riley lying to them and losing so many games as a result of his terrible performances and decision making and how he’s blown the entire season (especially for our defense) but I have to wonder if they feel the same way about him today that they did when he first came on board. I have to think it’s different now for them.

  • bigjohn said:

    The mark of a good quarterback at BYU is the NFL. Beck and Hall were both drafted. Though neither was spectacular (Beck played extremely well during his senior year), they were both good enough to get a sniff and Beck has stuck for the past several years with a stronger arm.

    The only quarterbacks on BYU’s recent rosters with even a remote possibility of getting a sniff in NFL were Heaps (gone), Lark (bench), Munns (bench), and Hill (injured). Not developing and extensively playing one of these three options (my opinion is that Hill was least ready to play due to his inexperience) has led us down a slippery slope towards mediocrity.

    So why did the coaches jeopardize their careers and the patience of the fans to start the one QB who has zero chance of getting a sniff in the NFL?

    Lark – Senior, seasoned, option 1
    Munns – Junior, seasoned, option 2
    Hill – Freshman, less seasoned, option 3

    Based upon their skill sets, any of the above three quarterbacks could have led us to victory in any game that Nelson won, and I would venture an educated guess that they would have led us to victory in several games that he lost (some more than others).

  • BYU DUDE said:

    Brett ,

    Alarm Coug is not a member of the coaches corner.

    Brett You know who I am.

  • BYU DUDE said:


  • BigCougar said:

    I seem to remember a Monday night football game where Dan Marino went through Buddy Ryan’s 46 defense like a hot knife through butter and gave Chicago their only loss that year.

    Marino threw for 270 yds and 3 TD’s including several bombs (a 33yd TD pass to Nat Moore, a 42 yd TD pass to Mark Clayton and a 52 yd completion to Mark Duper) and beat them by only throwing to those 3 receivers all game long. No other Dolphin caught a pass in that game. Chicago was powerless to stop them.

  • ChewyJJ said:

    ccgj I know this was long ago in the most reviewed post ever for DeepShadesofBlue-but my heartfelt thanks for your post as someone on the inside, to counter the irrational Bronco apologists and unsubstantiated comments of some who predominate DeepShadesofBlue.

    In addition, for those who have supported Bronco and attacked those who have told the truth about his failings, which go far beyond W/L record, it is LOL to have them write about “personal attacks”.

    Brett, I have been working on deadlines for clients, and have not been able to read Deep Shades of Blue for most of the week, congratulations on your great, great, great blog. Just your title alone is the best ever.

    The fact, Bronco seems to have distinct characteristics which apply to types of Sociopath behavior, including; Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt, Grandiose Sense of Self, Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt…there is also a description of Shallow emotions-when they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced…admittedly, this applies 99.9% of the time to Bronco either on the field, or in any public setting of any kind, but without a doubt, there has always been something “not right” about Bronco.

    I think Big Cougar said Bronco would start Nelson with an amputated leg, and without a doubt, Nelson is a smart guy in how to deal with Bronco, he long-ago found the way to manipulate him with tough-guy and grit, and uses it effectively, getting Bronco to over-ride Doman and before him, Anae.

    Is Bronco insane? Without a doubt, he is arrogant and depends on his cloak of self righteousness to ward off every other crazy and stupid decision he makes. CCGJ confirmed what I have said for months, big time Alumni, donors and high profile former players have long been fed up with Bronco and his ways. I know of several who have gone or are going to both Homloe and Samuelson over Bronco’s latest “talking points”. As Brett pointed out, his post game interviews have once again clearly revealed the true Bronco, whose failure to admit, and learn from his mistakes doom BYU to never take the next step forward.

    Thank you again Brett-great post. FYI, Brad Rock in Deseret News even came out today calling for a QB change and course correction.

  • IMAC said:

    Bronco’s problem has always been and always will be his pride. He might even agree that he is overly prideful when it comes to certain secular issues. Don’t expect a change until Bronco’s pride changes.

  • Bryan Taylor said:

    We need to be developing these 4 and 5 star QB recruits or they will be much more difficult to recruit in the future if we keep “bungling” the development of these young QB’s. Potential recruits talk and will find out that BYU is no longer QBU and does not have the necessary knowledge and common sense at the coaching level to produce good teams, develop their skills, and make them great QB’s. Bronco and Doman have already “bungled” the development of Heaps and Lark. Munns is next. That will be three QB’s in the span of 4 to 6 years of terrible development of QB’s with god given talents to play the QB position and pass the football. That in and of itself would land any off. coordinator and head coach on the hot seat. Look no further than what happened to Gene Chizek at Auburn Universitiy.

    Bronco could learn a thing from Dave Rose. Matt Carlino wasn’t producing on the court and he was benched. Dave Rose only plays players that produce. Even though Matt Carlino is more talented than Cusick and Calvert he will not get substantial playing time unless Carlino improves his decision making and shooting. And the thing about this is Cusick and Carlino are not even what you would consider good guards. Cusick especially is pedestrian. Conversely, Bronco has his head so far in the clouds that he cannot even bench a QB that is worse than both of the backups. I am no HC or talent evaluator but I could even tell from the very limited opportunities that Lark has had in mop up duty and seeing him warm up in games, that he is a better QB. And I’m just a fan whom attended one home game this season when we played Oregon State. Bronco may be able to evaluate talent on the defensive side of the ball, but he is one year removed from getting fired unless he finds himself an offensive coordinator that can evaluate talent and put together an offensive scheme that produces 30 ppg and an exciting brand of football. It’s up to Bronco, he won’t last much longer if he thinks he doesn’t have to learn, change, adapt, and evolve as a head coach. He’ll be coaching junior college or Division II football if he keeps up this propensity to think he is above learning and changing as a HC.

  • Walt Hanssen said:


    That was the only way that the 46 could be beaten was over top on their CB’s who were out there on an island and on that one night and the only game of 19e that year that they were beaten. As for Marino and his Dolphins, the only shot they got at the big dance was against the Niners the year before when the Niners defense (their entire secondary went to the pro bowl: Ronnie Lott (CB), Eric Wright (CB), Dwight Hicks (FS) & Carlton Williamson (SS) and completely shut down the Dolphins after the first quarter, except for two FG’s, and won 38-16…so much for Marino (29/50, 318 yds 1 TD & 2 INT) who was the wonder boy of the AFC being able to outduel Montana (24/35, 331 yds, 3 TD O INT). BTW Montana also had 59 yds rushing & a running TD; the Dolphins had 25 total yds rushing & the Niners had 211.

    Chewyjj- allow me let you in on a little secret; no one who has ever written on this site has had or currently has inside information…not one! And as for Bronco being insane or exhibiting “Sociopath behavior, including; Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt, Grandiose Sense of Self, Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt”, if you really honestly think that about him then your ability to think rationally and communicate without bias is so inept that everything you have said here-to-for, now or in the future must be discredited and the only lucid conclusion reached in your case is that it is you who is insane, rude, crude and socially unacceptable. Any amount of big donors and past famous players will have any effect on Tom Holmoe or President Samuelson at all. As a matter of fact, Bronco has the support of the Brethren and within the last year, he received a surprise call from President Packer one of those days that weren’t going very well and he asked him how he was doing and said a few words of encouragement and then said good by and hung up. Self righteousness, no, tender mercy from above, yes.

    I’m sure I will get a thesis from you so bring it on Chewyjj.

  • Bryan Taylor said:

    Oh great…Walt’s at it again. I wish you would focus on the soccer articles and leave the “Big Boy” articles to people that are knowledgable like Brett Richins. He said Bronco is insane! I agree wholeheartedly.

  • Walt Hanssen said:


    I don’t have Broco shaded glasses on, he has made some decisions that I scratch my head over, bu7t is he insane,no.

    Hey Tanto, I mean BT, kimo sabe? I knew your watchful eye was just waiting for your sidekick,the Lone Ranger, to be attacked, or is it Batman & Robin…good grief!

  • Walt Hanssen said:

    BT my man, you should have figured out Brett a long time ago. Like Rush, he is only after ratings and this article has hit him a home run.

    Like I said a week ago, if Bronco leaves, and he may with all this BS, it will be on his terms not anyone elses and remember his AD failed miserably as a head coach so he is standing on a shaky foundation.

  • BigCougar said:

    Some who post here may have inside info through friendships with players currently on the team that they just don’t share out of respect for the player. Others might not have a problem sharing things they discuss or they share generalities and avoid specific details.

    There’s a player on the team now who I am personal friends with, his family is in my old ward and I’ve known him for a dozen years. I’m pretty certain I’m not the only person who posts on DSOB that fits that criteria or something similar.

  • Walt Hanssen said:

    By the way I am here to admit my mistake even though BigCougar told me that my analogy was poor; Colin Kaepernick was named the starter again so Alex Smith lost it by being knocked out with a concussion. But, this is a head coaching decision by Harbaugh, not the OC just like Bronco vs, Doman.

    BT- I made multiple posts throughout this article so why all of a sudden are coming down on me?

  • Walt Hanssen said:

    BigCougar- Knowing one player doesn’t constitute inside information and it certainly doesn’t constitute having enough information to qualify one for knowing the reasons behind coaching decisions.

  • Walt Hanssen said:

    Hey guys, BYU is 3rd in total defense, 6th in scoring defense, 3rd in 3rd down conversion defense, 13th in passing defense & 3rd in rushing defense. Not too shabby.

  • Valladolid said:

    When Deep Shades of Blue first arrived on the scene it was very awesome, intelligent, informative and a refreshing break from The cougar boards of the world.

    To hear from Gooch, Stafferi and others was great.

    Now, it is nothing more than another cougar board with a handful of wannabes who take it upon themselves to shower the rest of us with their all-knowing football wisdom and unbelievable football prowess. And heaven forbid if we disagree with them.

    There are, to be very fair, some on this board who make a ton of sense and are very respectful when stating their positions without the incessant indictments and bad-mouthing of players and coaches. Many of their comments I do not agree with but I completely enjoy their viewpoint and the manner in which it is stated.

    When it is all boiled down, gentlemen, any play made by any of our players, good or bad, and any coaching decision made by Mendenhall or any other coach, good or bad, is one more play or one more coaching decision than MOST (not all) any of you ever had or ever will have at the D1 level.

    As a suggestion, I think the new name for this website should be: deepshadesofblue.com, a sister company of cougar board.com

    Alright gentlemen, start your engines! Yeah!!!

  • bigjohn said:

    I think what makes this site great is first and foremost the reporting. It’s more interesting and frequent than the alternatives. The passion exhibited by the fans and posters is secondary but also interesting. The common theme is that each of us wants BYU to win games.

    Most are in agreement that a few adjustments are necessary. We just have differing ideas, perspectives, and experience on which ones will make a difference. We aren’t far away from having a great team and not just a good one. Bronco deserves a lot of credit for that. I hope he can achieve his goals as a coach here and complete his legacy.

    Fans on this site are intelligent and share some intriguing perspectives so there isn’t any sense in demeaning each other.

  • ChewyJJ said:

    Walt, the inside information I referred to was speaking as a “Coaches Circle” member. In addition, those descriptions are factual; Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt, Grandiose Sense of Self, and you forgot the ultimate Bronco the Robot description: Shallow Emotions-when they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced.

    These describe Bronco’s public persona and all his interactions. FYI, Walt, your personal attack on me only exposes you as the perfect companion to ALRMCoug in complete Bronco irrational support.

    You also proved again how Bronco and his supporters jump the shark by letting us know the Apostle phone call. However, that confirms the insanity of BYU fans who bring Mercy vs Justice into the discussion of the PERFORMANCE of the BYU Football Coach…again symptomatic of the those who blindly support Bronco despite his refusal to admit his errors and learn from his mistakes.

    FYI Walt, you and those like you are also foolish to not think President Samuelson and Tom Homloe do not listen to highly respected alumni and donors to BYU. Further, it is even more insane to think Bronco is the only coach who could support BYU standards AND build the BYU program.

    One more thought, in watching various games today, the commentators were talking about the progress during the year of so many of the freshman QB’s of 2012. I also heard them speak of the progress of the moderately talented Joe Southwick of Boise State, who, after a rough start to the year, had improved radically throughout the season and going into today’s game had 20th ranked Boise State 9-2. Going into today’s game (in 1Q he is 8/10 1 TD) he had improved his QB rating to 139.7, completing 66.1% of his passes with 15 TD’s and 7 interceptions.

    Improvement-the stark difference between BYU QB’s under Bronco, and specifically Riley Nelson, who never should have been a starting QB at BYU…except he has always been Bronco’s blind choice to start any game regardless talent or physical limitations, but because of “grit” and “toughness”, which stymies the success of the BYU team.

  • Walt Hanssen said:

    Chewyjj & your sidekick Bryan Taylor who I know will come to your defense-

    You have exposed yourselves and showed your true colors…and it is not any shade of blue. I have publicly stated that I never played football and I acknowledge that again. When I come to Coach Mendenhall’s defense, I do so more for the type of man that he is than for his ability as a football coach. I never even said that he was a great defensive coordinator; I do think he is very good but not great.
    Your incessant attacks on his character are without merit and only show your own weaknesses. One of the signs of pride, “is enmity toward our fellowmen. We are tempted daily to elevate ourselves above others and diminish them.”
    Your sole purpose this season seems to have been to attack him, deride and belittle him in a way that builds yourselves up by feigning your allegiance to BYU football. Have you once stopped to ask yourselves how you could help and build up the program rather than attack it and point fingers? “Jesus said He did ‘always those things’ that pleased God. Would we not do well to have the pleasing of God as our motive rather than to try to elevate ourselves above our brother and outdo another?”
    “Pride is a sin that can readily be seen in others but is rarely admitted in ourselves. Most of us consider pride to be a sin of those on the top, such as the rich and the learned, looking down at the rest of us. There is, however, a far more common ailment among us—and that is pride from the bottom looking up. It is manifest in so many ways, such as faultfinding, gossiping, backbiting, and murmuring, living beyond our means, envying, coveting, withholding gratitude and praise that might lift another, and being unforgiving and jealous.”
    Something tells me that you believe that Bronco has done something that has offended you Chewyjj or hasn’t given you and Coach Edwards enough credit. He has put his heart and soul into resurrecting the football program, acknowledging and honoring its former players and tradition. He started inviting the alumni back and it has grown to almost a thousand now attending every year, so obviously many, if not a majority of the former players feel welcome enough to come back to see their former teammates and see what the program is doing today.
    Bronco is a very private man and struggles to publicly show gratitude for BYU fans, although this year on at least two occasions he acknowledges those who came and stayed to the end and supported the team. He may have made some poor decisions this year with the QB position but he is not arrogant and beyond accepting responsibility for his decisions. In the end, however, why not “choose to humble ourselves by conquering enmity toward our brothers (yes, Coach Mendenhall is one of them) and sisters, esteeming them as ourselves, and lifting them as high, or higher than we are.” I know that when the season is over, he will acknowledge his and the team’s shortcomings and failure to reach their potential. He may even step down but I will always believe that he restored the program and greatly benefited the lives of his players. Could we have won more games had his decisions been better? yes, but you can say that about any coach.

  • Walt Hanssen said:

    “Bronco has been not only a consistent leader, but he’s been a clear leader. He’s always been focused on mission. One of the great things about Bronco is that what you see is what you get For example, when he has a challenge, and you hear him talk about it, he says the same thing in private as he does in public. So the young men that are in his program understand what his expectations are and what the University’s expectations are.” Cecil O. Samuelson Jr 2012

    “Bronco provides the leadership, motivation and energy for student-athletes to balance their lives and develop athletically, academically and socially. His daily life emphasizes that always doing what is right is a path that can lead to lifetime success for them and their families.” Urban Meyer

    “An engaging book that will take readers deep into the heart and mind of Bronco Mendenhall…It will also lay out Paul’s renowned organizational strategies–Five Smooth Stones–that Bronco learned and applied, and that also can guide any leader to organize and move teams to successful outcomes.” Stephen M. R. Covey (this one’s for Brett)

    “Obviously, Bronco Mendenhall knows how to win a lot of football games. More important, he is a true leader and a unique coach who has a broader focus than just winning games. He is about life skills, teamwork, excellence.” Chris Peterson, BSU head football coach

    “Although you may be tempted to believe that this is just about football, don’t be misled. It is much, much more. It is about vision, values, perseverance, and character. This is about business, family, faith, and – oh yes – sports. Recommended for anyone who likes positive models and messages.” Peggy (reader)

    I am certain that Bronco will admit mistakes after the season is over and will make the necessary changes to himself and to his organization for the purpose of becoming better and getting to the next level. He is not a phony, he is not arrogant, prideful and set in his ways anymore than each of us is. He will continue to leaD the program until he believes he can take it no higher or until he burns out and doesn’t want to continue. The end of this season will be as trying for him as it was after the 2008 season when he considered quitting.

  • Walt Hanssen said:


    I am going to concede something right now and that is I do not think that Bronco is the best defensive coordinator or head coach in terms of his football IQ. He hasn’t managed the clock, the QB situation and a few other things as well as he could and should have. But, in terms of the way he has built up the program at BYU, been an example to and taught his players, I believe he has done a remarkable job.

  • Bryan Taylor said:

    @Walt-you’re clueless! This is the same coach that compared fans whom question him or criticize him to a Saducee whom killed the Savior. So when you just criticized Bronco in your most recent post, he feels you are nothing more than a saducee just like all of us other fans that criticize his coaching methods and style.

  • BigCougar said:

    “By the way I am here to admit my mistake even though BigCougar told me that my analogy was poor; Colin Kaepernick was named the starter again so Alex Smith lost it by being knocked out with a concussion. But, this is a head coaching decision by Harbaugh, not the OC just like Bronco vs, Doman.”

    Harbaugh made that decision because he is an offensive minded coach where as Bronco admits to being clueless about the offense because he’s a defensive minded coach. We don’t read about Harbaugh making key critical personnel decisions for the defense because he likely trusts his “experts” on the team to run the defense (it’s obviously working too).

    Bronco, who has admitted openly to being clueless about the offense should stay out of it and leave it to his “experts” or invest the time to get himself educated by experts. If he doesn’t like his assistant’s decision making then he can coach them up or get better ones (although he’s been suspect in both of those areas to date regarding his assistants).

    I think he’s hired some good assistants in guys like Ben Cahoon (we’ve seen an obvious and immediate improvement with the WR group) but the OL group has been a disappointment (he hired Coach Weber) and he also hailed Doman as the best QB coach in college football when he promoted him to OC. I like Doman and think he’s an excellent recruiter but there are mixed results as to how good of a QB coach and OC he’s been. I think the fact that nobody has been trying to steal him away from us is telling. The last assistant coach we had “stolen” from us was OL Coach Jeff Grimes who is now doing that same job in the SEC for Auburn (who knows, maybe with Gene Chizik getting canned he’ll be available for Bronco to hire back).

    I do credit Bronco for not standing pat on his assistants if he feels they’re not doing the job. His hiring’s have been 50-50 and that may be par for the course but it’s something that early in his career Lavell seemed to be superior to Bronco in .

  • walt said:

    Well, well, if it isn’t old BT, aka Batman or Tonto. Try to increase your vocabulary over that of a gradeschooler. Then reread my post one more time to find the praise I gave to Coach Mendenhall.

  • walt said:

    Just for the record, no one has proof of who is really making the QB decisions: Only head coaches get interviewed, do postgame shows, etc. So for all we know Domain has been making all the decisions. Last year we heard Coach Mendenhall say that Coach Domain made the decision about pulling Heaps in the Utah St game & asked Coach Mendenhall if he agreed. Btw it’s not that he is clueless about what the offense is doing. He knows something about offensive football just like OC’s know something about defense. It’s pretty interrelated.

  • Bryan Taylor said:


    Your slanderous comments are worthless. Really? I need to increase my vocabulary more than a 3rd grader?? Personal digs because I stumped you on that Saducees comment, huh?? I recognized all of your quotes others said about Bronco. Big Deal. I could care less. I’m a fan and what I see about Bronco is hypocrisy. How about the comments he made towards Manti Te’o and Jake Heaps when Heaps transferred and Te’o decided to opt to Notre Dame. Yeah, Mendenhall was real fair and christlike towards them. How about calling fans uneducated time and time again when the one that is uneducated is the coach playing a Division II or Division III QB. So, I have very little respect for Mendenhall’s condescending and slanderous remarks towards fans including comments he makes towards every fan that disagrees with him by comparing that person to a Saducee because he feels that he has to answer to “stupid” and “unknowledgeable” fans. What you don’t realize is that Mendenhall basically lumped all fans that disagree with him as a Saducee by making that ridiculous comment. If he is such a good guy as you have said, why hasn’t he ever apologized for fans for calling them “stupid”, “uneducated”, or a “Saducee”? Mendenhall is a laughing stock of the college fraternity. Good riddance to him after his contract expires next year. How about those big boy words I used in the post? Slanderous, condescending, uneducated, riddance, fraternity. Yeah, I’m pretty sure a 3rd grade knows those words. Walt, Why don’t you do us all a favor and focus on the soccer articles. Your rants and raves about Mendenhall’s righteousness makes me want to vomit.

  • BigCougar said:

    Sorry Walt but I hate to have to break the news to you, you don’t get to decide what constitutes inside info or not and who’s information is valid and who’s isn’t.

  • walt said:

    My oh my, your blood pressure is up over 200. Let me end this by usingBrett’s definition of insanity which is doing or saying the samething over and over and over again.yourepeat yourself from post to post but also within the same post so I know you have copy & paste down real well. Have a nice life for the next year while you’re waiting for Bronco to get fired…I hopeyouhave something else that brings you happinbecause it sure isn’t BYU football. Don’t bother watching the bowl game because not matter what happens and who plays you won’t be satisfied and then your postgame posts will say something about the Saducees again. Go read Man in the Arena again & see if you can get the point that you are not the one who has ever been in the battle of competition. BTW North Carolina that beat our women’s soccer team went on to beat Stanford 1-0 in the Final Four and Penn St (a team we beat 3-1) 4-1 in the final to win the championship for the 22nd time under Coach Dorrance. That shows you how close we were.

  • BigCougar said:

    “Just for the record, no one has proof of who is really making the QB decisions: Only head coaches get interviewed, do post-game shows, etc. So for all we know Domain has been making all the decisions. Last year we heard Coach Mendenhall say that Coach Domain made the decision about pulling Heaps in the Utah St game & asked Coach Mendenhall if he agreed.”

    Well it’s obvious that it’s such an embarrassment for the HC that he doesn’t want to accept all the blame for the decision to start Riley. You see this in the shell game he plays about who was responsible for the decision to have a badly injured and obviously incompetent Nelson start and lose us the Utah and Boise St games. Riley blames the coaches, “well its up to them to tell me to sit because they know I’m going to do everything I can to play” and they blame him, “we were waiting for him to tell us he wasn’t capable of playing”. From this perspective it looks like there is a leadership vacuum with the program and the inmates are running the asylum.

    That leadership vacuum became even more apparent when you look back on the events that led to Nelson’s taking the starting job from Heaps, certain players that had been, by all appearances, dogging it and loafing in games under Heaps begun playing like gangbusters for Nelson, and all the reports about a locker room rift caused by veteran players who didn’t like Heaps that was allowed to exist by Bronco instead of being quashed immediately as soon as it began to rear its ugly head.

    Amid all of this confusion regarding Bronco’s leadership of the team you catch bits and pieces of the puzzle from interviews he and Doman give to the media as to who really called the shots on Riley and you alluded to it (btw, Doman does do interviews, not just Bronco). Doman wanted to replace Heaps in the Utah St game but had to check with Bronco first to get his permission. Doman wanted to do the same thing in the Boise St game and had to wait one more series because Riley wanted to still play.

    You catch more bits of the puzzle when you hear Bronco bromanticize about his feelings for Riley. He’s made the comment more than once that he plays Riley over others because of all the time they have spent together. In these comments it’s about him and Riley and no where is there a reference to Doman being involved in the decisions. He makes it clear it’s something special and personal between him and Riley.

  • Walt Hanssen said:


    I understand your points and concern but I believe that regardless of anything else, Bronco is an honest man and either he will get things worked out and the ship moving in the right direction or he will step down and the program will move forward without him. That means the coaching staff will have to come together especially between Bronco and Brandon if in fact there is tension there. Again, even though we may have a few of the pieces of the puzzle we really don’t know what the health of the coaching staff is as a whole but changes will be made. In addition, as I said, this has been as disappointed of a season to Bronco as the 2008 season was when he almost quit and I know there are many who want him to quit. The unfortunate thing is the it’s tearing apart Cougar Nation and many are in the attack mode at Bronco and each other. Really very sad but I do appreciate your posts.

  • Walt Hanssen said:


    I apologize to you for attacking you; I really don’t even know you outside of DSOB but assume you are a good guy. I believe that Bronco is neither as good as I think he is or as bad as you think he is. He is just trying to do the best that he can just like Crowton and Edwards did. This will all shake out and if Bronco feels like he either can’t take the program to the next level or doesn’t want to, he will step down. Either way I will give him credit for all the good things he has done.

  • Walt Hanssen said:

    This is exactly what I said would happen. It was written by Jeff Call with the Deseret News and can be found at:


    You should also read the 37 comments…they are all over the board but not nearly as drastic and vindictive as some of ours have been here.

    “Mendenhall said as he reviews the season, he will look at correcting mistakes that prevented his team from reaching its potential.

    “That’s my job as the head coach,” Mendenhall said. “I’m proud of this team. They’ve had some unique battles and challenges. (It’s) one of the most challenging years I’ve had as a head coach and as a team, and they just keep fighting.”

    Meanwhile, possible changes loom on the horizon.

    Athletic director Tom Holmoe expressed his frustration last month with the way the season has unfolded.

    “It takes its toll on everyone,” Holmoe told the Deseret News at West Coast Conference basketball media day in Los Angeles on Oct. 29. “It’s frustrating, no more so than for the coaches and players. And the fans are a big part of what we’re doing. They’re frustrated that we lost games that we were in, and could have won, in ways that we normally don’t lose games. … The expectations were really, really high with a pretty competitive schedule. And we certainly didn’t live up to that.”

    Given the Cougars’ struggles, Holmoe hinted there will be some shake-ups in the program before the start of the 2013 season, which includes games against Virginia, Texas, Utah, Utah State, Georgia Tech, Houston, Boise State, Wisconsin, Middle Tennessee, Notre Dame and Hawaii.

    “You could see some of our troubles early (this season),” Holmoe said. “We’ve addressed some of them, but some of them aren’t going to change this year. It’s been an eye-opening experience for some of our players and coaches to be able to see and say, ‘Oh, OK, that’s what we need to do.’ I think there will be some changes that take place between this year and next year that will help our team in many ways, in different aspects, from technical details to things that will be noticeable. It will be good.”

  • BigCougar said:

    What makes things look even worse for this coaching staff and Bronco in particular is that another QB that was on the roster (a walk-on) is now playing for Southern Utah because he was told by Cougar coaches that he would never play at BYU.

    Brad Sorenson (Daniel Sorenson’s older brother) is a finalist for the FCS equivalent of the Heisman as the best player in the country and is on most NFL scouting websites as a top 10 QB coming out this year yet he was told by Cougar coaches “don’t bother we won’t play you” so he transferred.

    Now he has a shot of getting drafted and getting a chance to play in the NFL but that wouldn’t have happened if he had stayed and withered on the vine at BYU.

    Another thing that will be a real glaring indictment of Bronco’s mishandling of the season is Northern Illinois finishes the regular season as a one loss team and the 15th ranked team in the BCS poll and is getting a BCS berth in the Orange Bowl. Think of past years where BYU was very close and finished ranked in the top 12 but couldn’t get an invite because of an embarrassing blowout loss to Utah and/or TCU and this year a one loss MAC team not in the top 12 gets a bid.

    I think most BYU fans will see this as it should have been BYU’s year had our coaching staff not been so clueless about their personnel decisions and even a loss to a ranked team like Oregon St (had it been our only loss) likely wouldn’t have prevented us from being ranked high enough to finally get the monkey off our backs and go BCS bowling.

    Boy did Bronco really blow it this year.

  • Walt Hanssen said:


    You are absolutely correct and Bronco said, “(It’s) one of the most challenging years I’ve had as a head coach” and he could have, should have and probably feels that it was his most disappointing. But, have we ever heard Tom Holmoe come out and voice his displeasure publicly and say that there will be some big changes before next season? ANd last but not least, his contract has not been renewed which as Bryan Taylor correctly pointed out, puts him on the hot seat for the first time since he has been here. What will the changes be and will they be enough because anything less than 10 wins next season and Bronco is probably gone.

  • Walt Hanssen said:

    In the most recent Sports Illustrated there is an article about Ziggy and in it he is compared to the N.Y. Giants’ right Defensive End Jason Pierre-Paul. Here are his Pre-draft Combine measurables:
    Ht: 6 ft 5 in
    Wt: 270 lb
    Arm length: 34¾ in
    Hand size: 10⅜ in
    40-yd dash: 4.71 s
    10-yd split: 1.65 s
    20-yd split: 2.29 s
    20-ss: 4.67 s
    3-cone: 7.18 s
    Vert: 30½ in
    Broad: 9 ft 7 in
    Bench P: 19 reps
    Wonderlic:: x

    How do you think Ziggy will measure up because the author says that the NFL has never seen an athlete with the combination of height, weight and speed that Ziggy has.

  • Jeffrey said:

    @Walt and BigCougar,
    Thanks for the last few posts. It would be interesting to pull back the curtains and see what the coaches see regarding the talent on the team. The bits and pieces that come out in the press, through interactions with player’s families, personal experiences with coaches on the team show a little too much chaos within the team. A combination of injuries, entitlement, improper evaluation, seniority, detachment, skepticism are frustrating to hear and witness in action this year. To think that Brad Sorenson had the years that he had at SUU, Ziggy’s tangible gifts languished until this year, Apo being either ignored or incapable of being used by the QB, Williams getting his shot after injury, et al is frustrating without knowing the whole picture.
    I am not calling for anyone’s head in this post, but I think there could be one or two minor adjustments that may pay off dividends. Unlike certain politicians, I don’t believe any coach purposely doesn’t try their hardest to succeed at the Y.
    I have not liked Doman having two very integral positions on the staff the past two years. I have waffled back and forth about this, but I think that there should have been a full time QB coach last year. I don’t care who it is, but I would prefer it be Detmer because of his history. As QB coach he can help Doman immensely and he would not be a ‘threat’ to the control that Mendenhall SEEMS to want over the program. I don’t mind the mobile QB, but ONLY as a secondary option. The model that Mendenhall and Doman seemed to embrace came in large part from the success of TCU’s QB. The problem is Andy Dalton was not a running QB, he could scramble within the framework of the offense so Doman and Mendenhall IMO erroneously saw Nelson’s talent or grit or whatever and decided that is the way they wanted to go.
    In my opinion, if the QB can get rid of the ball at the right time to the right person, it solves many problems that the team has experienced this year. The suddenly porous O-line doesn’t need to hold blocks for however long it took Nelson to run a play that required more than one read. The TE’s become more involved in the offense, the ball should and is spread out to multiple receivers, and the running game is bolstered by the simple fact that opponents cannot stack the box. If Detmer won’t do it, then please bring in someone that has more experience than Hall (nothing against him).
    If pulling back the curtain shows laziness, discord, lack of trust, or animosity between the coaches; changes should be made…. wholesale. If it is minor adjustments of thinking and an openness to contrary thoughts that yields success; awesome! I truly hope Holmoe will be able to help the coaching staff right the ship.

  • Brock said:

    As Bronco is interviewing for a $2.5 million job at Colorado (compared to his $1 million job at BYU) it makes me wonder something. Get ready guys, I’m about to question the decision-making at the highest level of the church, I hope I don’t get knocked down a degree or two here! ;-)

    If the mission of BYU athletics is to “spread the word” look no farther than the amount of media attention Manti Te’o is receiving. He is doing great things and representing himself, and the University of Notre Dame with class. Notre Dame certainly is proud of the message they are putting out on behalf of their religion as Manti speaks about his team and the school and how much he has relied on them throughout his difficult personal trials this year. The main reason that there has been so much media attention on Manti is the team’s success. As an undefeated team playing for the NC his personal stories, and his experiences at ND come into focus and are shared across all major media outlets.

    When will the decision-makers who ultimately run BYU realize to get this kind of exposure they have to put a quality product on the field, and in order to do this we need to get over the arrogance of hiring coaches who view the job as part job and part church calling? We cannot get to the next level by paying small mid-major salaries to our coaches. To publicize the numerous PR campaigns the church has to pay whatever the going rate is to advertise on Youtube, Facebook, TV, radio, etc. What is wrong with ponying up the going rate to compete on a national level to get the same word out?

  • BigCougar said:

    Jeff and Brock, nice posts. You both have valid points about the state of the program and the mission (exposure). Ziggy got some exposure for the program but what would that exposure have been like if we were winning games vs ranked teams all season and we had been in the position that Northern Illinois was in getting a BCS Bowl invite? It would have been huge.

    And to Walt’s comment, Bronco had his contract extended through 2013 so you’re right, next year will be a sort of make or break year for him (if he doesn’t take the Colorado job). He’s said they will review the year to learn what went wrong, etc and make necessary changes. My biggest hope is HE looks in the mirror to see where HE went wrong and is humble enough to make the necessary changes HIMSELF. My fear is he won’t see it that way and will fire some assistant coaches, change some assignments and then it will be business as usual with just a few new faces in place for the sake of “making changes”.

    I don’t think anyone wants to see any more of the past 3 yrs going forward. No more lip service about being competitive and then settling for “moral victories”.

    The Speed of the Leader determines the rate of the Pack. The only changes that will make a true difference are the changes HE will make within HIMSELF and his approach to managing this team. He needs a fundamental makeover in several key areas and roll some other things back to when he first took over the team.

    Some of those changes will be painful, for starters he’ll have to tell Holly that he can’t do the 40 hr work weeks and be home for dinner anymore. He’s making $1million plus a year and he and his staff needs to put in the hours that the job requires. She’ll have to let him go and do his job.

    2nd he needs to get back to his mantra of holding players accountable. When they’re not performing and the backup is, the starter can get benched at anytime in favor of the player that’s producing on the field. That used to be his schtick and then when Riley came aboard it changed and he started favoring certain players while letting more talented players languish on the bench.

    3rd he needs to work harder at building relationships with the fans and media. You get out of people what you put into them. He’s never really made much effort in this area and it shows in the fruits of his labors. His job will get much easier in the long run the more he invests in this area. Less contempt and insults hurled at the fans by him and more effort in being engaging, open, honest, humble and meek and he will win huge brownie points with the fan base and they’ll be more forgiving when there are glaring mistakes.

    4th more dedication to game preparation, especially against rivals like Utah and now Boise St. Fans don’t want to see the same ol’ same ol’ approach and watch us get run over year after year. We know he can set up really good gameplans if he wants to (look at the Oklahoma game). He needs to get off his high horse and realize that when we’re playing ranked teams we can’t just go in and execute and walk away with a win. His losing record vs ranked teams is proof of this. Good teams aren’t going to lay down for him. He and his staff need to put in the time and burn the midnight oil to prepare for these games.

    His changes in those 4 areas would bring about miraculous changes imo.

  • Walt Hanssen said:


    Are you making the statement that Bronco has interviewed or will interview for the Colorado job and if so, what is your source? I don’t think it’s the money that will motivate him and besides that he just built a new house on 3 acres in Highland, his folks live here and his three boys are liking their schools, etc. When he moved here in 03 I think he only had one son (oldest is 12) or maybe two but they would have been about 3 and 1 which when they moved so this is home for all three. I can’t see Holly wanting to live there in Boulder which would be further away from her home in Missoula, MT and away from both grand parents. Finally, I can’t see him stepping away with a 8-5 or 7-6 record in his last year. He did intimate that he might want to coach somewhere else but I don’t think it’s going to be Colorado.

  • Walt Hanssen said:


    Very valid points and it seems like Lark would have fit in better than Nelson based on what you said.

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