Home » BYU Football Articles, Featured, Headline

It’s Time for BYU’s Hill to Take the Field

19 September 2012 Brett Richins 68 Comments

Taysom Hill scores TD vs. Weber St. (BYU photo)

Now that BYU is all but slated for the Poinsettia Bowl, it’s time for the Cougars to begin getting their young gun quarterback up to speed.

Rather than Taysom Hill spending the rest of the season as the “wildcat” quarterback and watching other players get practice snaps in the regular BYU offense, it’s time to get the former Idaho Player of the Year prepared to take his place as the quarterback of the future.

In fact, he might just be the best option at quarterback for the here and now as well.

This is not to suggest the true freshman should start at Boise State on a short week of practice, but it would be a crime if he doesn’t get a lot more action Thursday, and over the next few weeks, so that when BYU goes on the road at places like South Bend and Atlanta, it has a quarterback with some experience under his belt who can threaten opposing defenses with his arm.

It’s also imperative that he get quality experience this season, even starting experience, in preparation for the Cougars’ grueling 2013 schedule. BYU faces Texas, Boise State, Georgia Tech, Utah, Wisconsin and Notre Dame in a year after the Cougars lose five of their top defensive linemen to graduation, along with their two starting inside linebackers. There’s also no guarantee that Kyle Van Noy will stick around for his senior season, either.

With that schedule and all that experience being lost on defense, the last thing BYU will need is a quarterback at the helm with no meaningful game experience. Things could get ugly in a hurry if the Cougars struggle at quarterback. The good news for BYU is that most of the offense should return intact in 2013, since tackle Braden Brown, guard Braden Hansen, running back David Foote and quarterbacks Riley Nelson and James Lark are the only seniors on the current two-deep this year.

With weapons like Cody Hoffman, Ross Apo and fellow true frosh Jamaal Williams next year, Hill and company will have the opportunity to be force on offense–but only if Hill has some solid game experience to rely on when he steps on the field against Texas next September 7th.

It has become apparent that BYU could really use Hill’s talents this season as well. The former Stanford signee has more ability than any four quarterbacks BYU currently has on its roster. He is widely regarded as the best athlete on the team, and unlike Nelson, has a big-time arm. He’s a lot faster than Riley Nelson too; in fact, some claim he is the fastest guy on the team.

Nelson’s limitations as a quarterback were on full display in Saturday’s 24-21 loss at Utah. His lack of arm strength resulted in BYU never once challenging the depleted Utah secondary deep, even though his two 6-foot-4 wide receivers had significant size advantages on the outside. If an offense has no ability to stretch a defense vertically, then life becomes much easier for defenders.

That’s a big reason why Nelson completed just 49 percent of his passes against the Utes, who were able play things safe and shift defenders a bit closer to the line of scrimmage.  It’s also a big reason why he averaged just 5.9 yards per pass attempt, way down from the 8.4-yard average he had after games against the defenses of Weber State and Washington State.

Hill may not know the entire playbook at this point in his career, but he can certainly force defenses to play honest and respect BYU’s ability to get the ball deep to Hoffman and Apo. That threat alone would open up many options for Brandon Doman’s offense, including making runs by the quarterback a lot more effective. Nelson has averaged just 2.4 yards per carry in the first three games of the season, due in large part because he is unable to really threaten defenses with his arm.

Hill doesn’t need to digest the all of Doman’s playbook to see additional time on the field either. He can be spoon fed the offense and given an number of plays he can run in-game each week, building his comfort and confidence with the offense over the span of the next few weeks. It would be a huge mistake for Doman to relegate Taysom to wildcat plays this season and not expand his role in the offense. BYU knows what it has in Riley Nelson, it’s now time for Hill to get on the field and see what he can do.

LaVell Edwards tells the story of a conversation he had with his offensive coordinator Norm Chow one day in 1987, shortly after the arrival of Ty Detmer on campus. Chow walked in to LaVell’s office and exclaimed, “We’re back in the quarterback business.” Even though we’ve had just a few glimpses of Hill this season, it’s hard not to think the same thing about this kid from Pocatello.





Welcome to the Deep Shades of Blue Community!


  • Mars said:

    Hill has taken the field in every game. But he’s not starter material as a true freshman yet.

  • alaskafun said:

    @Mars if you had read the article you would have noticed that Brett was saying that Hill needs to simply be a bigger factor in the cougar offense than just the wildcat quarterback, which I would agree. Just open up the play book a little more with him each game and see what he can do.

  • smalan83 said:

    At this point, I don’t think that any of the rest of our games would have different outcomes whether Riley starts or Hill or Lark starts.

    So, why not get Hill some experience. This season isn’t going to be “special.” Might as well start preparing for the next three. Not to mention how inept the offense is right now. Maybe a change in personnel would help.

  • John said:

    Nelson showed all of his limitations last week. Good defenses can play our wide Receivers very close Because they are not afraid of being beat deep. The Utah safeties were able to play close to the line of scrimmage and effectively stuff the run game. Hill gives us the option of forcing the safeties to stay back behind the line of scrimmage and help cover the wide receivers thus opening up the underneath game and increasing our ability to run the ball.

  • killroyboy said:

    Just be patient… Riley will get hurt soon (we all know it will happen eventually) and Taysom will take over.

  • Ryan F said:

    I didn’t see the Weber State game, but every time I’ve seen the kid’s cleats grace the field, we get a first down or touchdown.

    Enough said.

  • Jim Tills said:

    I have enjoyed Riley Nelson’s play during the last half of last season and the first two games of this season. However, when the competition, early on, was going on between Jake Heaps and Riley, I was all for Heaps. Only when I witnessed that the offensive line wouldn’t put it on the line for Heaps when he was in the game, did I want Riley in the game. I felt he was a “run first” and maybe-pass later quarterback—anathema to our modus operandi as an exciting Cougar juggernaut team.
    Now, we see that his true nature has come up again. Why seven runs up the middle against a stacked box of gifted athletic players on the other team with an average gain of 2.5 yards a carry. Pathetic. Whether it was Doman’s play-calling or Riley’s audibles, it was disgraceful.
    Yes, get Taysom Hill out there and let him run the offense. Let him get practice snaps during the week between games, let him hit the tapes to learn the defenses, and just get him going. His arm will stretch the defenses, get Apo in the game and open up the middle for Friel, Wilson, Holt, Falstaf and others.
    Please, get creative in the offense!!! We have three four-star quarterbacks. How about some lateral from one quarterback to another with a pass by that QB to Apo or Hoffman or Ridley for quick bomb scoring; how about more screen plays to stop the blitzkrieg that will be coming from Boise State, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech. We have the talent, let’s use it.
    Church leaders love to see BYU win also. There may be one or two that love the U of U but the majority are all-in for BYU. They don’t like to see us lose. Those fans who think it’s all just exposure don’t know the General Authorities of the Church very well. They know winning will being vastly increased exposure and are all-in for that; however, they are not going to relax the Savior’s standards to bring that about. If that’s what some fair weather fans want, then, that’s too much.
    Yes, get Taysom Hill out there, the sooner the better!!!

  • Cougar Passion said:

    Or, we could start James Lark and continue to bring Taysom in for package situations and when the outcome has already been decided. There is an argument for a talented senior quarterback who has never been given a chance, to make a season “special”, as smalan83 said it would not be. And Brandon Doman would know something about that, even though Lark’s style is not like Doman’s was. Would starting Lark really make a difference? Who knows? What I do know is that Lark deserves the opportunity to try. And there is still plenty of time in the season to allow Taysom to take over if Lark really isn’t “all that.”

  • Batman said:

    Note quite. RN deserves a full chance to show if he can lead the team to bounce back. If byu gets to 4 loses by ND then you have to consider going with Hill into GT and the easier games to end the season.

  • El Jefe said:

    Wow, I think us BYU fans are a bit demanding. The last two articles are calling for Bronco’s job and Riley’s spot in the lineup and everyone agreed. I was upset just like the rest of you about last week’s game. I think we should show a little more patience and faith in the program. I think Doman does need to improve or he might need to be replaced. Did Doman even call very many deep route plays? Last question, does anyone know for sure if the rumors are true about Riley breaking some bones in his back in the Utah game?

  • David said:

    BYU is not relegated yet to the Poinsettia bowl. If BYU wins out, they will play in a BCS bowl. They would have road wins against two ranked opponents (Boise and Notre Dame) and another quality road win against Georgia Tech, who could also be ranked. Add in home wins against much improved Oregon St. and Utah St. teams, and I see it very difficult to keep BYU out of the top 12. They could still get snubbed, but I don’t see a lot of teams going undefeated this year, resulting in 2-3 teams from the SEC, BIG 12, and B1G in BCS games.

    Given this, it is not time to say that Taysom should become the starter or even get more playing time.

    Now, if BYU loses this week to Boise St., then I would completely agree with you that Riley was given a more than fair chance to take the team to new heights and giving Taysom the starting role to prepare for 2013 would be the most logical choice. Bronco will not do it because it is not his style, which is disappointing. But, if his goal is to win national championships, he needs to realize that Taysom needs as much experience as possible heading into 2013.

    Brett and the majority of fans who have commented on this site have overreacted to a tough loss to Utah.

    Brett predicted himself that BYU would go 10-2. He even predicted that Utah would beat BYU by 3! How can someone make a prediction like that and then come around and say BYU has hit a ceiling? Why wasn’t Brett writing about the ceiling during fall camp? His post was well timed and got the most comments the blog has ever seen, so I can see the logic from a blogger perspective.

    Bottom line, fans are overreacting to a tough loss, including Brett. Taysom should only become the starter if BYU loses to Boise St.

  • Jeffrey said:

    @El Jefe….Bronco’s job was called for by some fans, not the article; and this article told the truth about Nelson’s limitations as a D1 QB versus equal or better competition. Your comment about Doman is the real gist of the previous article (he and Weber need to improve); and if Doman did call for a deep route Nelson has the chance to audible out of it or into it. Apparently the second 4th and 12 was concocted by Nelson and Hoffman on the sidelines, so that tells me the deep routes were abandoned early on or never were in the game plan.
    As to faith and patience of fans… most have had a full year of patience and have only seen 3 different offensive systems that work against subpar competition.
    Brett is only suggesting that Hill be given more and more opportunities to learn and grow this year, either under Nelson (if effective) or Lark (who can make defenses respect the entire field and not stack the box).
    Either way preparation for 2013 starts now; unless the offense really can pull off some magic and all other teams in the top 25 lose 2 more more games and something ‘special’ possibly, maybe, probably not happens.
    I’d be happy to eat crow if that were to happen with Nelson as the starter, but honestly I’m not too worried about it.

  • AF Coug said:

    Man this blog is starting to sound more and more like just that, a blog. Gooch!! Save us!!

  • Pbass said:

    If Riley was given more time from the offensive line he might have made better throws; he was always on the run trying to dodge a defender….Our O-line was destroyed all night long. It is that same O-line that couldn’t open a hole for the runnings backs. If we could run the ball that would also open up the passing game. The lean, mean offensive line strategy may not be working as well as thought. We don’t have the athletes and we need to get creative. RIley is better than this last game showed. If we fix the O-line we fix a lot of our problems.

  • WaybackCougar said:

    I knew it. First question the coach. Then say the QB on the bench needs to play more. Happens whenever fans are feeling down. Come on, Brett. QB controversies have muddled the past two seasons. Let’s not start that stuff now.

  • BigCougar said:

    Another spot on piece Brett. Well said. I love the line uttered by Chow, “We’re back in the QB business”. That’s classic. After watching Rudy-errr-Riley play in a trance for 3 quarters and spot Utah to a 24-7 lead before finally deciding to start playing, I am ready to move on.

    The big problem is, Rudy-errrr-Riley has been anointed by Bronco because of his intangibles. I don’t think there’s anyway Bronco will remove Riley unless he absolutely can’t play due to injury. I’d hate to find myself in a position where I start hoping a player gets hurt. I’m going to have to suck it up and face up to the fact that Riley is Bronco’s guy for good or for bad.

  • Seasider said:

    BYU fans have reason to be optimistic about Hill. He seems to have a bright future and he’s looked good in the few times he’s in a game. However, I don’t think that justifies vaulting him to the starting position. It wouldn’t be fair on him to have him unnecessarily thrown to the wolves and it also sends the wrong message to the Seniors on the team. That message being that this season is more or less being written off to prepare for next year. These players want to win now and the question we should be asking is which QB gives the team the best chance to win right now? I don’t think Hill is that guy just yet and until he is, the last thing we need this season is another QB controversy.

  • Seasider said:

    Oh and don’t we have a game tonight?

  • Ryan said:

    Nelson will start every game until he’s either dead, or finally (mercifully?) runs out of eligibility. Doesn’t matter that everyone knows he can’t play the position. He’s “gritty”, “oozes leadership from every pore”, and Bronco just likes him.

  • Gary said:

    Let’s hope that Hill is the next great BYU QB. I agree we need to start preparing him or someone for next year.

    Riley will get hurt eventually because his weaknesses force him to try to succeed with his feet. When defenses are stacked against the run it is inevitable that a hit sooner or later will put him out.

    This season can still be a special season even with a couple of losses. If special is defined only as undefeated every year we are being too unrealistic.

    Let’s hope for a win tonight – that would be special on the blue turf. Only 3 other teams in the last 75 games have done that.

  • Gary said:

    With Doman at OC the emphasis on QB recruiting seems to have shifted to a more mobile athlete. I am not oppossed to that as long as that person’s best ability is his arm and just happens to be mobile too.

    To succeed we need to establish the run AND the pass. When your 11 guys line up you typically have 2-4 of them that can excel at running the ball, that includes the QB if he is mobile.

    But you only have one that can excel at passing the ball and that is the QB. I have never seen a team succeed at the passing game by using a RB to throw the ball consistently.

    Right now BYU has 11 guys on the field with 0 players that can excel at the pass game. Think how that ties an OC’s hands in play calling. Think of the burden that places on the rest of the players who deal constantly with a defense that has the luxury of focusing only on the run.

    To recruit mobile QB’s and think that will bring success will only work if they are great passing QB’s first and happen to also be mobile as well.

  • JT said:

    A bit of an aside . . .

    I was watching film of the end of the Utah game, and there is something that I didn’t catch that Blaine Fowler pointed out in this week’s True Blue episode. Most of us thought that shot for one more play with 8 seconds left was a poor call, or at least a terrible pass by Nelson that almost cost us the game. However, if you look at the film, BYU was 0.1 seconds of protection from winning the game on that play.

    Riley wasn’t throwing for Falslev on an “out” on that play. He was throwing for Hoffman, who was on the outside and was running an “out and up,” and the corner bit on it. The safety wasn’t close enough to cover it, and Hoffman had an open look at the end zone. Had Riley received 0.1 seconds – just 0.1 seconds! – worth of additional protection from the line and not had his arm hit by the pass rusher, that would have been a touchdown pass. BYU wins the game in regulation.

    The one positive thing I can take from the Utah game is that BYU finished strong and looked great in the 4th quarter on both sides of the ball (the defense, outside of two plays, looked great all game). The team looked like it was coming apart at the seams at the end of the 3rd quarter, and it looked like 2008 and 2011 all over again. But Riley helped turn the offensive ship around, led two touchdown drives and was 0.1-seconds-worth-of-protection away from winning the game with a third – all against one of the better defenses we will see all year.

    If the defense can keep up their dominating performances and if the offense can show the moxy they did in the 4th quarter (sans Houston Reynolds, no less), then I am optimistic not only for tonight, but for the rest of the year.

  • Dwight Cornell said:

    Riley is very gritty and tough and is a leader, but I think that Bronco needs to wake up and smell the coffee, and get Taysom more involved and Jamaal Williams as well.
    If tonight goes the same way as last Saturday, than hopefully Riley gets moved to number 2 or 3 which will not happen, I just feel like sometimes Bronco is more worried about being offending Riley so he keeps him in there to keep the peace.

  • Kyle M. said:

    Were you optimists not watching the game last weekend? We lost to Utah’s second stringers. That means Kyle W. + Utah 2nd stringers are better than Bronco + BYU’s starters.

    And I mean “better.” We got outplayed and outcoached in every way. But why not start with the QB? We aren’t going to beat our remaining schedule with our defense. We need a quarterback.

  • JT said:

    BTW, as someone who has ruptured his achilles’ tendon, I really feel for Houston Reynolds. It is a painful experience, but more than that, it is a _very long_ road to recovery. We’ll be lucky to see him playing at full strength next fall.

  • JT said:

    Kyle – The only “second stringers” Utah was playing were the safeties and the running back (and BYU had no problem stopping the run). I am not counting Hays, because he should have been starting in the first place. Last I checked, Star and the Kruger bros are not second stringers.

    This was not a “coasting” game for Utah – they pulled out all the stops they could.

  • outofutah said:

    BYU has already thrown one top-rated QB to the wolves too soon (Heaps).
    Give the senior QBs the chance to lead. And have a little patience please.

  • byuhockey said:

    Glad to see the author coming around to my side of the equation. We lost Heaps due to inept coaching. We won’t lose Hill but we are spinning our wheels with Nelson. He is no longer a dual threat and probably never was. With a QB change suggested we also need a coaching change whether it is Wisconsin-like fashion and the line coach is replaced (wait until end of season) or Tom Holmoe puts the pressure on Bronco to take a hard look at Doman etc. We cannot run between the tackles. Maybe it is just the walk-on group of player talent we have currently…or do we have solutions suited up who are just not playing? i did like the suggestion as well in past articles that Bronco needs to take over the offense for a few practice sessions and breathe some life into them like he has done for the defense.

  • Kyle M. said:

    JT, if you don’t count Hays because he should have been starting anyway, I’ll make the same argument for Lark and/or Hill. The Ute QB who should be a starter outperformed our QB who actually is a starter.

    But either way, 2nd string safeties, RB, and QB is a huge disadvantage, especially against a team for which there should be parity in most of the other positions. The fact that we couldn’t win against such disadvantages is a very big deal.

  • Jared (the original) said:

    Some careful analysis here.

    Last time we let a freshman have that much attention and playing time, it didn’t turn out too well in the long run. There is a lot to be said about giving these young men time to mature and grow in the system and as football players, specifically qbs.

    I think Hill is a good athlete, maybe even great. But the qb business that Chow was referring to is the ability to put the ball where it needs to be when it needs to be there, and the ability to see it before it opens up for many others who can’t read the situation as well. Detmer was good because of his head and his skills, not just skills.

    Listening to A. Collie talk about his experiences with Payton Manning as a top flight qb, it was very apparent that Manning has IT in his head. IT is in his body too, but his head is what sets him apart from other qbs.

    That comes from having that kind of a head, experience, and other intangibles. McMahon had IT. Just that uncanny ability to know when to do what. Hill may get IT. He may even have IT and not have ever been given the chance to prove it or develop IT. But freshmen almost always crash and burn when sent to the wolves too quickly. Few don’t, but a vast majority do.

    It seems we may have something special in Hill. I don’t want him ruined. Whatever it is that causes these starting freshmen to lose IT, we really don’t and can’t afford to put Hill through it. He is much better off having the time to learn.

    And Doman neeeeeds to send the ball long more often. Stacking the box only works when there is not a threat down field. Hoffman and Matthews have both proven they can out jump any d-back in jump ball situations. Give them a lot more chances. Not just a few. A Lot!

  • Mick said:

    We sure are a funny lot of people. If Riley’s arm had not gotten hit on that last pass it would have been a score to Hoffman on the hitch and go. We would be extolling how great of a comeback it was. One little second and the game would have been in our favor.

    Now, we come to tonight. We have to roll Riley out to give him more time. We also need to give Taysom Hill some time in the game and let him have that chance. I think the world of James Lark, and admire him for his dedication to the game, yet, if we want to win, and prepare for the future we go with Hill as soon as we get the chance.

    BYU 27 Boise State 17 – Go Cougars!

  • Gary said:

    We did not lose Heaps because of coaching. Heaps is not YET a college QB. He had plenty of games and practice to prove he could be at BYU and has no one to blame but himself. I wish him luck at Kanas.

    Anyone watching his play at BYU that thinks he was a great QB that only failed because of poor coaching was watching something different than I was.

    When Nelson took over for Heaps it was Doman’s suggestion, and from what Bronco said it was his decision to make. I would assume any other QB decisions would be the same.

    Hill needs a bigger role to prepare someone for next year but he’s not ready to be a starter.

  • Jeffrey said:

    JT, I saw that too and two things came to mind. Why did Doman not call something like that earlier in the game? The second: Utah brought the blitz to that side of the line and Nelson didn’t move away from the pressure…..these kinds of things shouldn’t be an issue with a senior and a good OC. Too bad the line couldn’t give enough time as well. We’ll see what happens tonight I’m hoping for marked improvement.

  • Gary said:

    I agree with Jared (the original).

    Too soon to throw Hill into a situation where it might seriously affect his confidence. Slowly work him in and increase his role.

    Everyone seems to have seen something in Hill that makes them think he is an automatic world beater.

    He threw a touchdown pass to a wide open TE in the first game and that is enough evidence to say he is the next great QB?

    We POSSIBLY have seen some promise from Hill in some very isolated and limited action but no one can predict much from that small sample set.

  • nobody said:

    ONE LOSS PEOPLE – ONE LOSS – let’s worry about winning the game, and I think the loss had WAY more to do with Doman than Riley
    Option anyone?

  • Jonathan said:

    Well, I am kind of against putting in true freshmen into game situations. It can actually hurt their longterm recruiting efforts.

    If you look at Utah they put in Wynn when he was a true freshmen. Ever since then no freshmen would like to go to Utah since they know that they wouldn’t play anytime soon. I think that if they can make it “cook” long enough then they can have good QB’s in the pipeline. But I could be wrong since there could be other QB’s in the pipe.

  • Louis Deaux said:

    Nelson has been playing for it seams like a medical school career and he’s no starter either. I say hand the ball to Taysom Himm and let him go. If he has half the “game intelligence” that Ty Detmer, Robbie Bosco, Marc Wilson or the best of all, Jim McMahon has, he’ll be fine in 3-4 games. He already has all the athletic skill three of them never had (Wilson was a great athlete).

  • FL Cosmo said:

    Riley’s not great, but you can’t hang the Utah loss on him. Blame goes first to the O-line/Weber, second to special teams, and third to Doman. A great QB probably could’ve overcome those problems, but Riley is who he is. Let’s not forget that perhaps Riley’s biggest impact on the team last year was how his leadership brought the team together and made the whole greater than the sum of parts, to use the cliche.

    That said, Riley never gave up in the Holy War, but did look like a deer in the headlights. If tonight’s game shows the same lackluster performance and leadership, I’m all for giving Hill more snaps or giving Lark a start. But I won’t be around to see those changes because if we lose to Boise State I am jumping off a bridge.

  • Brett Richins (author) said:

    Gary, outofutah, etc.

    Not suggesting that Hill be thrown to the wolves, just the opposite.

    He needs to get more experience than just being the wildcat QB though. I advocated that he be spoon fed the offensive week-by-week and allowed to run the standard BYU offense (whatever that is these days) and work his way into it.

    Not developing him and getting him the experience he needs for next year’s schedule would actually be throwing him to the wolves.

  • Hass16 said:

    Is this the new MO? Throw out a controversial topic in order to generate traffic and additional comments? What, has the advertising revenue taken a hit of late? You do realize there’s a game today, right? A pretty big one, too.

    How about we don’t fall into the typical trap of the amateur fan and call for a coaches head and start pumping up who is almost always the most popular player on the team, the backup QB, as soon as there’s any sign whatsoever of struggle?

  • byujack said:

    5.9 per attempt and 49% is really all you need to say!

    Those numbers are not bad, they are not terrible … those numbers are pathetic.

    Take away one 42 yard completion and you see what the numbers really are like.

  • Martin said:

    I think this is premature Brett. Riley has stuggled against teams with fast, athletic defenders (TCU, Tulsa, Utah) but I am not ready to kick him to the curb just yet. I think most of the blame for Nelson’s lackluster performances against these teams should be placed on the O-line. Certainly, that was the case on Saturday, and I am not sure it would be wise to throw Hill into that mess as a freshman. Plus, I would like to see Lark can do before we annoint Hill, and I think Lark has earned the opportunity. If Nelson struggles against Boise State then I think Lark should get his chance, and if he can’t get it done either then give the keys to Hill. Either way, Hill should still see plenty of action this season.

  • football junkie said:

    Last Saturday night the world as we know it imploded. Time to shake things up. Let’s fire the coaches. Quarterback. Yes, him too. Nutritionist. Yup! The lean and mean isn’t working.

    And let’s put in the new guy at QB…the freshman. Give him some reps. We’ve got next year to think about. I hear he’s good…real good. Idaho prep of the year. Maybe he’s a good pass blocker too.
    Who knows maybe even a good receiver too.

    Yup, I think this is a good idea.

  • Kyle M. said:

    Riley was BUILT to make up for a bad O-line. That’s the only situation in which a team should ever need to use a guy like him. He can scramble, make quick throws, and threaten to run. Only he didn’t do any of those things effectively last week.

  • Walt Hanssen said:

    DSOB Fans-

    Someone told a few months ago not to trust Bleachers but for what it’s worth, here’s their keys to the game:


    ere was my prediction back on August 16: 4. At Boise State: Win 24-17

    Probably will be a closer game than that no matter who wins.

  • Chris said:

    I agree with this article. If we all remember back to Ty Detmer’s redshirt freshman year. Ty was the back up to the Covey kid (can’t remember his first name, which should say a lot about his ability as the starting QB!) That year Ty got meaningful minutes in every game and by the last three or four games Ty was the starter. With all experience Ty went on to have a great sophomore year and we all know the story after that.

    Riley is a much better QB than the Covey kid. However, the evidence clearly shows that Taysom is going to be much better than Riley as Ty was much better than Covey.

  • Gary said:

    QB play at BYU is crucial. When was the last time we can say we had a great QB?

    Beck had a pretty good Sr year and Hall had some good moments but was a small step down from that last year of Beck’s.

    Since then? Heaps was way in over his head as a freshman and Sophomore. Riley is a one dimensional QB that when the defense concentrates on the run pretty much becomes none dimensional.

    We have certainly performed under our expectations since Max Hall left and it can overwhelmingly be attributed to the QB play.

    We have other problems and they need to be solved and addressed but without a very good QB we will always struggle.

    This reminds me of the years prior to Beck when we were going through a few average QB’s who either under performed or were injured. Our teams during that stretch were hard to watch too.

    The sad thing is we are wasting some very good defensive talent.

    I don’t think anyone knows if we have the next great QB in our stable but it appears Taysom is next in line to try and be that guy. I agree with you Brett that we need to get him all the experience we can this year without overwhelming his confidence.

  • BigCougar said:

    @FL Cosmo
    “Riley’s not great, but you can’t hang the Utah loss on him.”

    Were you watching the same game I was? You can totally hang this loss on him. It was clear from the start that he wasn’t right. He moved slowly, and played with absolutely no aggression. His eyes appeared glazed and glossy and at times fearful and overwhelmed when the TV camera would zoom in for closeups. He seemed confused and disoriented from the very early stages of the game. He was indecisive and hung onto the ball too long which put him in a position to get sacked on many of those. Sometimes a sack is the fault of the OL or the RB, other times it’s the fault of the QB for not getting rid of it. In several of Riley’s sacks he should’ve gotten rid of the ball much quicker, he was just thinking very slow and reacting terribly slowly.

    He was careless with the ball and after watching one fumble near the sideline it appeared to everyone that I was watching the game with (on 70″ HD it was sweet!) that he looked like he was on something (idk could be muscle relaxers or pain killers for his LBP).

    On that play (iirc) he had moved towards the sideline to buy more time, avoided a pass rusher whose momentum carried him past Riley and then faced another pass rusher coming up near the sideline. He sort of lazily held the ball at his side in one hand knowing that he already had one pass rusher just a step or two behind him and another bearing down on him in front. He seemed unconcerned about protecting the ball even though he could see he was about to go down and didn’t try and throw it away either. He got hit and went down and of course the ball came loose. Fortunately we recovered it.

    He ran 6 or 7 option plays where he would keep it even though he was covered by Star Lotulelei and a couple other defenders and should have pitched it to the RB on the play. His decision making was just terrible.

    He continued to play like he was in a fog mentally until the 4th quarter when he seemed to wake up and lead the offense. It was too little too late seeing as how he had staked the Utes to a 24-7 lead.

    The last pass attempt to Hoffman on an out and up going for the endzone was a nice call by Doman but even if Riley didn’t hang on to the ball too long and get hit, I don’t know if he had the arm strength to lead Hoffman into the endzone on that play.

    Sometimes people call it courageous when a hurt player decides to play through the pain and go back out on the field but if his play is so deteriorated due to the injury that he becomes a liability then his playing becomes a detriment to the team and is selfish.

    I haven’t heard anyone say he had taken medication for his LBP that affected his decision making or play and I haven’t read it confirmed anywhere but enough people have seen the same thing I did to make me think there is something to it. Riley should have put the team first and sat himself down if he wasn’t right but because he wanted to be a trooper, he hurt the team and cost them the game.

  • Slugger said:

    I love Riley’s guttiness and courage, but looking at the big picture he kinda blew it against the U and with next season’s more difficult schedule looming we may as well get Hill some solid game experience. It is unfortunate for Riley and James, but for the good of the program we need to groom our next QB now rather than throw him to the wolves next year against a tough schedule. One way I would do this is to set a threshold, say 14 points. If we’re down or ahead by 14 points or more starting the second half go with Taysom. We are better served to lose 5 games this year and go into next year prepared than to win 11 this year and get clobbered next year.

  • Voodohound said:

    I believe our defense is good enough to keep us in every game….and it’s up to the offense to not give it away. That’s what happened on Saturday.. our offense gave the game away. Utah did nothing special on offense except not turn the ball over and then let BYU’s offense implode. Bronco does an awesome job coaching the defense but he gives full accountability to Doman to run the offense and he’s not delivering. Doman and Weber better improve or I would advocate for a change there.

    Defense helps us win tonight 20 BYU 17 BSU

  • Realistic Optimist said:

    I’m not ready to give up on Nelson Riley yet, however, I am ready for getting Hill ready for next year or in case of injury to Riley, the remainder of this year.

    I do not like the way we treated, a few years back, Ben Olsen. I do not like the way we treated most recently, Jake Heaps. I do not like the way we neglected our highly touted current Quarter Backs Larkin and almost non existant and hidden Munns.
    I do not want to be guilty of throwing out a quarter back in N. Riley, that is overchieving his abilities. (Not to be an insult, but instead giving A for effort.

    I hope that our coaching staff has learned from the losses of Olsen and Heaps by getting Hill ready to take over our team successfully in 2013.

    I think that having Hill ready for next season, requires that Hill get more playing time in 2012 in order to be successful with next seasons challenge. I think this additional playing time for Hill needs to be done while preserving the appreciation and respect for Riley.

    I would like to see Mums in a game. He deserves the chance to show us what he can do in either the Idaho game or the San Jose State game or maybe the New Mexico State game. Leave him in for a full 4 plays and more if he converts. In the same games, do the same for Lark.

    What ever we do, show respect for what it is that we have in Riley and give much more playing time to Hill to get him ready for the new beginning.

  • FL Cosmo said:

    @BigCougar: Full disclosure, I didn’t have time to read your whole post, but I agree with your critique of Riley. He didn’t play well, and he’s not a top-tier quarterback. I still wouldn’t peg the Utah loss primarily on him, though. Too many other things went wrong. He can still bounce back tonight and have a great season…won’t get the taste of losing to Utah out of my mouth, but the last thing I need is to feel inferior to Boise State. Go Cougars!!!!

  • Seasider said:

    Realistic Optimist- How did BYU mistreat Ben Olson? Maybe we shouldn’t have redshirted him as a freshman but it was his decision not to come back to BYU after his mission.

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

    I totally agree with this article. Time to put the best talent on the field, whether they’re an upper-classman or not. These last two articles have been spot on!

  • Jeff said:

    Jared (the not original, I guess),

    I totally agree with you and this article. The best talent should be on the field. So, Taysom Hill should play much more. He has more talent than Nelson: a stronger arm, faster, always seems to move the offense. Also, Jamaal Williams should get many more touches each game and Alisa should be given less. Williams is the more talented player and produces when given the chance. GO COUGS!

  • Walt Hanssen said:

    I know it doesn’t mean much to LDS fans who don’t gamble but just for informational purposes Sheridan’s odds on the game have gone from opening at Boise State as a 7 1/2 point favorite and they are now only a 5 1/2 point favorite. That doesn’t mean that BYU is going to win, it just means that most of the money is on BYU to cover the points or in other words the money is betting that the game will be closer than the original point spread. Now don’t all of you take this knowledge and start betting on the games. Just kidding!

  • KentuckyCougar said:

    We had an opportunity to tie the game and go into OT and we went for two?! Why would you do that? I know I’d be saying the opposite if we would have converted it, but still… I’m now more upset at our 6-7 loss than if we would have lost 7-0… Blah.

  • Tyler in Kenya said:

    So frustrated right now. NO reason to go for 2- you have plenty of momentum and a solid defense and no timeouts to stop the clock! And BSU supposedly had no kicker…I admire the courage, but the timing wasn’t right. This wasn’t BSU-Oklahoma circa 2006.

    A prophetic article. Now, last year, Nelson took over and started the rest of the season…what about this year? I predict Nelson starts next game, cause he is “gritty” and has “leadership.”

  • Todd said:

    Riley is a great leader, but his body is breaking down. The team would follow him to you know where and back, but at this point it would be in a wheelchair, and nobody wants that.

    Pain gets in your mind and makes you make different decisions. The coaches shouldn’t clear him to play, no matter how much he wants to play.

  • Tim Heumann said:

    Bench Riley and play Hill. Even with wolves at his heels, he will be a better option than #13.

  • Brett Richins (author) said:

    Tyler in Kenya,

    You’ll know Nelson has naked pictures of somebody if he is the starter vs. Hawaii.

  • Martin said:

    Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse after the Utah game. That was the most pathetic display of offense I have seen in a long time, until that final drive by Taysom Hill. And then Bronco makes one of the worst coaching decisions I have ever seen. You are down by 1 and your defense has kept the Broncos out of the end zone all night, but instead of kicking the PAT to tie the game, Bronco gambles the whole game on a 2 point conversion attempt with the offense struggling all night. Unbelievable. Brett has taken a lot of heat from some Cougar fans for his last two articles, but tonight he was vindicated. The only redeeming aspect of this game was how incredible the defense played. If the offense was even half way decent this team would be able to run the table and bust the BCS. So frustrating.

  • Tyler in Kenya said:


    “While Hill may have energized the Cougars late, Mendenhall made sure to douse speculation Nelson will be replaced as the starter for the Sept. 28 game against Hawaii.

    “Riley is our quarterback,” Mendenhall said after the game. “I want him to be healthy and I want him to be able to look me in the eye and tell me, ‘Coach, I am absolutely ready.’ I don’t have any different feelings about him than I did going into this game.” [ESPN recap]

    That is a weird quote. If you don’t feel any different, why did you leave Hill in for so long? Mendenhall appears to be falling apart, hard to blame him when the offense can’t conjure up anything. If Hill got more snaps against our first-team defense, he would learn very quickly. He’s inches away from being really good.

    Playing Hawaii *should* restore the Nelson regime cause it’s a winnable game- but against ND and GT, and even USU? I hope he’s on a short leash.

  • FL Cosmo said:

    I was thinking about the 2-point conversion, and I’m not sure it was such a bad decision. As strong as BYU’s defense was, the offense was horrible to a greater degree. I don’t know if Bronco has made any comments to the contrary, but if I have zero faith that my offense will get back down the field, and my kicking game is so inept that I have to reach the endzone, I take my chances for 2. Now as for the play call…

  • Joe said:

    FL Cosmo – There is absolutely ZERO reason to go for two in that situation. You are right, it was not such a bad decision; it was a TERRIBLE decision on every level.

    The only way BYU can lose the momentum and the game (in regulation) is to go for two. If you don’t get it, you have no time outs to stop the clock, and even if you do get the ball back with seconds on the clock, it took your offense the entire game just to put any points on the board. Not the unit you want to rely on if you don’t have to.

    On the other hand, if you tie the game, you put the onus on the defense, which had stopped BSU from scoring the entire night! Besides, Boise had no faith in their field goal kicker. It was the D that made the the win even a possibility, why not play to your strength instead of your glaring weakness? Overtime is a about getting stops, and if anything was proven last night, its that this D gets stops. The combination of Boise’s bad FG kicker, and BYU’s D made BYU easy favorites to win in overtime. By going for two when they did, Bronco instead decided to chose a course where the odds were not in his favor. Worst of all, he doesn’t recognize the bad decision, and thats what really bothers me.

  • Roy said:

    Riley’s injury is slowing him down which takes away his ability to scramble and get out of trouble. When he is hurt like this, he should stop trying to tough it out and just take himself out of the game and not force the coaches to make that decision.

    That was a pathetic offensive display last night. The defense has to be really frustrated with them. That was a tough situation to put Hill in, but he seemed to settle down on that last drive. Too bad they fell short of a win.

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

    Bronco is a GREAT defensive coordinator, but a HEAD coach he is not! The decision to go for 2 was idiotic at best. If he’s saying Nelson is still his quarterback, then he’s simply dillusional. I hate to say disparaging words about our beloved Cougars and their leader, but come on! There need to be some changes! The morning radio guys in Denver had this to say about that game last night: “that game set football back 20 years…” It is a sad day when that sort of statement can be attributed to a BYU offense. I don’t really want Bronco to be fired, but I would love to see him demoted to defensive coordinator (though my guess is he would quit before that happened). We need a HEAD coach, someone who can prepare this team for a big game environment. Someone who cares about BOTH sides of the ball. I do think it’s time for Doman to go. BYU should easily be 4-0 right now, if only they were properly prepared and playing the right guys (i.e. not a QB who must be too hurt to be effective).

  • Gary said:

    realistic optimist – I have to agree with seasider. We did nothing wrong with how we handled Ben Olsen and especially Jake Heaps.

    Doman’s road to a starter was filled with disappointment and wondering if he would ever play. He was a team player and kept working hard.

    We have 4-5 QB’s on the roster at any given time. How do you treat them all the way they would like to be treated? If a guy isn’t tough enough to be a team player and bide his time then what is a coach supposed to do?

    Olsen seemed like a great guy but his eventual career showed he was not ready to play prior to his mission or after.

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.

− three = 3