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Loss Lands Mendenhall on the Hot Seat

19 November 2012 Brett Richins 92 Comments

BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall (BYU photo).

When BYU scheduled WAC bottom feeder San Jose State for a two-game series back in 2010, the Spartans were considered to be filler material for BYU, which was scrambling to schedule games for the first couple of years as it made the transition to football independence.

San Jose State finished 2010 with a 1-11 record, and no one would have predicted at the time that the Cougars would lose to the lowly Spartans two years later, thereby thrusting BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall squarely onto the hot seat.

But that’s what has happened, and that is where Mendenhall finds himself today, after his team was defeated 20-14 by San Jose State on Saturday.

With a final regular season game at New Mexico State (1-9, 0-5 WAC) and a likely Poinsettia Bowl match-up with San Diego State (8-3, 6-1 MWC) still left to go, the 6-5 Cougars could easily end up going 7-6 for the second time in the last three seasons. The Aggies are perhaps the worst team in the FBS, but the Aztecs are currently on a six-game winning streak including a victory at Boise State, a place where BYU came up short this year.

But even if the Cougars were to squeeze out two more wins, this football season has been a face plant no matter how you spin it. BYU dropped games against Utah, Boise State and Notre Dame that it clearly had opportunities to win. Against Oregon State and San Jose State, the normally stingy defense couldn’t get it done against the pass when it counted.

For three years now, the once-famous BYU offense has not even been a shell of its former self.  And a program that was once on the rise under Bronco, is currently in decline.

In 2005, Mendenhall took over a reeling BYU program that had experienced three straight losing seasons under embattled coach Gary Crowton. Bronco re-enthroned discipline, appealed to the tradition and long-standing success of the program, and reestablished its winning ways.

He got the Cougars back to a bowl game in his initial season, and they’ve gone bowling every year since.

Mendenhall reached a pinnacle at the beginning of the 2009 season with a 14-13 upset win over No. 3 Oklahoma in the first college football game ever played in Dallas Cowboys Stadium. But since then, BYU faithful have endured a number of disappointments and mediocre results.

After knocking off the Sooners, Mendenhall’s team was blown out by Florida State and TCU later that season. Both were home games and both times the Cougars looked bewildered and unprepared for what hit them. They did defeat Utah in Provo to close out the 2009 season, but it took overtime to defeat a pretty average Ute team despite the Cougars having one of their more talented and experienced teams in recent memory.

Mendenhall hasn’t defeated Utah since Andrew George’s famous catch and dash into the end zone, even though the Utes have gone just 23-15 since and are a mere 12-12 in the last two seasons. In fact, the Cougars have dropped virtually every meaningful contest on their schedule in the last three years. During that time, BYU has defeated just two programs that have or will finish the year with a winning record:  Utah State and Tulsa.

The Cougars have two wins over the Aggies, a last-second miracle in 2011 and a 6-3 win this year that culminated in the needless, season-ending injury of rising star quarterback Taysom Hill, when he failed to take a knee to run out the clock and suffered a knee injury while running with the ball of out the shotgun. USU finished 7-6 in 2011, and is currently having its best season in decades with a 9-2 record, and clinched at least a share of the WAC championship on Saturday.

The win over Conference USA member Tulsa came in the final 11 seconds of last year’s Armed Forces Bowl when Riley Nelson did his best impression of Dan Marino, faking a spike and then hitting Cody Hoffman for the game-winning touchdown as time ticked down. The Golden Hurricane finished 2011 with an 8-5 record.

The Cougars do have a win this year over Georgia Tech, but the 6-5 Yellow Jackets are at No. 3 Georgia to close out the regular season, then will face Florida State in the ACC championship game after Miami slapped itself with a self-imposed bowl ban. Tech will be big underdogs in both of those games.

The reality of the situation is that BYU has been stuck in mediocrity for some time now, able to beat the also-rans and WAC teams on its schedule (at least before Saturday night), but failing to get the job done when it counts. That trend doesn’t bode well as BYU gets set next season for a loaded schedule that is expected to be the toughest in school history.

A rising tide of criticism has been building from fans, donors and former players against Mendenhall the past couple of years–but now it’s picking up speed and strength. Some of those former players and boosters are currently in the ear of athletic director Tom Holmoe, voicing their displeasure about the current situation. More and more supporters of the program view Bronco as the right choice to lead BYU out of Egypt, but not as the person to guide the Cougars to the promised land.

However, despite the heat being turned up on Mendenhall, he isn’t likely to be shown the door this year for a couple of reasons.

First, it would be very difficult for Holmoe to let a coach go who saved the program the way Mendenhall did. It’s not good PR to fire a guy who has won 72 games in the last eight years and is currently among the top-10 coaches in winning percentage in the country. He will want to give Bronco a chance right the ship next year against that challenging schedule. If he succeeds, then Holmoe will be credited for his loyalty and patience, but if he fails and BYU ends up with a losing record, Holmoe will appear justified in making a change.

Second, there just isn’t anyone that Tom could turn to right now to lead the Cougar football program.

Many BYU fans would be excited about the possibility of current Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid as a replacement. Reid has had a lot of successful seasons in Philly, but is currently under fire after his team has under-performed the past couple of years. However, because of Reid’s well-publicized baggage, the BYU Board of Trustees would likely not entrust him to effectively assist his players to live the honor code. Plus, Reid would be snapped up in instant by a number of NFL teams if he were to be let go by the Eagles.

Current Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham turned down the job before it was offered to Mendenhall in 2005 and would probably not be interested in leaving his gig in the PAC-12 for the uncertainty of BYU’s situation. Meanwhile, Utah State head coach Gary Andersen may not be viewed as a good cultural fit for BYU and will likely command high-dollar interest from BCS programs before the year is over. And unless BYU intends to go to the triple option offense, Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo isn’t a legitimate option, either.

There are some good LDS coordinators out there–guys like Utah defensive coordinator and former Cougar, Kalani Sitake or Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. However, BYU is not likely do go down the path again of hiring someone without head coaching experience. That includes current BYU offensive coordinator Brandon Doman. The former BYU QB has not shown that he has a handle on his current job yet, let alone being ready to take over as the head coach.

Look for Mendenhall, who will be in the last year of his contract next year, to be given the ultimatum by Holmoe to get things on the right course in 2013. That will likely force him to make some significant changes to the offensive staff once again in an attempt to get his offense back to being recognized as something belonging to BYU.

Will that be enough to stem the tide of discontent and right the ship? Many will argue “no.”

They see Mendenhall’s philosophy and way of thinking as being the primary reason that BYU has failed to live up to expectations the past few years. They see a team culture that does not lend itself to climbing to the top of the college football heap. They see a head coach who continues to make rookie mistakes after eight years on the job, mismanaging games and making head-scratching decisions.

They believe Riley Nelson has been able to pull the wool over his coach’s eyes and fool him into thinking that he was a Division-1 quarterback. They see a coach that seems to know very little about offensive football and who has placed his trust in those who have let him down, thus calling into question his judgement.

Whether all of that is true or not has been, and will continue to be, debated. One thing is the truth though–Mendenhall better start winning some games of consequence or his days in Provo are numbered.

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  • Andrew Streeter said:

    This article doesn’t make mention of San Jose State’s current 9-2 record…They AREN’T bottom-feeders in their conference anymore.

    Furthermore, who are you going to get right now that’s better than Bronco? 6 straight bowl games (including this year, mind you) apparently isn’t enough for some people.

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

    No, it’s not enough for me, you’re right. Great article, Brett. This SJSU game epitomized this season. It was a game we should have easily won, but lost in spite of countless opportunities that were squandered due to poor decisions, terrible mistakes, and poorly prepared players. The sad thing is, I wasn’t a bit surprised at how that game played out. I fully expected it to play out that way.

    What’s even sadder? I was way more into the women’s soccer game earlier that night than I was this football game. They had me on my feet cheering. The football team had me covering my face in shame. I’m no soccer fan, but that game was instense! I had a lot of fun watching that one.

    That said, a sport that can go for 110 minutes of game time and still be 0-0 does leave a little to be desired, in my opinion…

  • Cougar Lover said:

    Let me be the first to say that I was wrong. I picked BYU to go 8-4 this season (and got blasted on this board for it, called a Ute fan if memory serves). It seems that I had my BYU blinders on, thinking they would beat SJSU and NMSU. Hopefully they end up 7-5, not 6-6. (I just cannot believe that the cougars will lose to NMSU)

    You wrote an article about Detmer a month ago Brett, have you heard any talk from the BYU brass (or anyone else) about his being a replacement to Doman? I for one would love to see that happen.

  • Mike said:

    The major problem I see is Brandon Doman. He needs to be fired. BYU is not an option team, That is why we lost Heaps, and Magnum will be the next one we lose!

  • ChewyJJ said:

    Great article Brett-I have seen several opinion pieces in the last 48 hours that give me hope more and more people see the problem with Bronco and the future of BYU Football.

    Here are my comments this week-to keep my sanity, I made notes throughout the game. I decided my best response would be to share them without editing as I watched.

    I’m sad to say I was prophetic on what I said as I watched early in the game, including what the outcome would be if Bronco kept Riley Nelson in the game…what is more unbelievable now is to find out Nelson hurt his ribs and they still didn’t switch him out. Ridiculous…the definition of insanity, doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result:

    As game starts a reminder to Cougar fans-SJS only lost to Stanford (20-17) and to the best team and coach in Utah; Utah State 49-27. SJS are very beatable…but it seems doubtful we can beat them with Nelson as QB. First half stats tell the tale:
    BYU Nelson 7/15 98 yards 0/0
    SJS Fales 18/23 237 yards 3/1

    First half shows terrible judgment by Bronco-due a D scheme that has no pressure on QB. Have to hope he does the unthinkable for Bronco-make a half-time adjustment and pressure the passer since at this point, SJS looks like they will steamroll BYU. SJS also had 60 yards rushing…which means almost 300 yards total offense in the first half…hard to see the “Bronco is a D-genius”. This is just like Oregon State, no answers for a good passing team. VS OSU BYU gave up 450 yards versus the back-up QB. Terrible coaching by Bronco to only rush 3 or 4-no pressure made Fales look like All American-he carved up BYU with an almost 80% completion rate. Why would you not turn loose our great pass rushers? Where was the pressure?

    Football analysts to Bronco; half-time would be a good time to put in James Lark. My guess is Bronco will insist on gritty Nelson then will talk about how much they improve against a terrible New Mexico State next week. Oh well, we have to hope Bronco will start putting pressure on the passer in 2nd Half and turn loose #47 & #3 to attack the QB.

    THE 2nd Half starts & more of the same on offense-It is shocking to see how ineffectual the BYU pass offense is…We cannot complete even short passes on 3rd down…so SJS is stacking our line to stop the run on 3&2 and 3&3, and shutting BYU down completely. BYU has no offensive personality and it is sad to see how far BYU has departed from their tradition and rich passing history. Amazing to see Bronco changing his D approach and go to pressure…with good results. The SJS QB is too good to give him time to throw.

    Prediction after first few minutes of 2nd half: despite the miracle of miracles, Bronco actually made an in-game adjustment to D, and is putting pressure on the SJS QB which is what we should have been doing the entire game, but BYU will still not win because Bronco will not substitute Lark for Nelson. Nelson will be “gritty”, he will be tough, but Nelson will miss too many receivers and turnovers are just waiting for Nelson…he has more turnovers than TD’s-he is a terrible QB.

    Late in 3rd Quarter and if you are SJS D coordinator you have to be LOL that Bronco continues to keep Nelson in the game at QB since he cannot read defenses or deliver the ball with any degree of accuracy. ESPN commentator “the BYU offense has no rhythm…they are just running plays hoping something will work”. “Chipmunk hands” Nelson fumbles two plays in a row and Nelson kills the momentum and drives.

    The 3rd Quarter ends and James Lark has to have his hair on fire watching yet another incompetent display at QB. Take out Nelson! Try to win this game! How could Lark be worse than Nelson? Two weeks ago Bronco admitted; “Lark is our best passing QB”, but said he was sticking with Nelson because; “Riley has real grit”.

    What a great reason to keep Nelson at QB! Hey Bronco my nearly 90 year old Dad was an All-American Track Star in college and he has even more grit and is far tougher than Nelson, but neither he nor Nelson should be the BYU QB.

    FYI, SJS is not a defensive powerhouse. Utah State scored 49, San Diego State scored 34 points on SJS, 3-8 Colorado State scored 20 points, so did 3-7 Texas State, University Texas San Antonio scored 24 points against SJS and even hapless Idaho had 13 points. What does that say about Riley Nelson, who cannot throw a ball more than 8-10 yards and just as bad, has no football vision or feel? This is all on Bronco who insists on keeping Nelson as his QB. He overruled Doman, and before him, he overruled Anae.

    Now Nelson throws a terrible pass that never should have been thrown…and when he did throw it quacked and floated into SJS DB, making it Nelson’s 12th interception of the year, killing yet another drive. No points. 8th Fumble of the year by Nelson killed drive. Five minutes left, some great plays by receivers and BYU is on 5 yard line…first down run and then THREE HORRIBLE incomplete passes by Nelson, and ball turns over on downs.

    LOL, the ESPN commentator who has never seen Nelson play before actually says he is not throwing well because his back is stiffing up…he is struggling to throw the ball. No ESPN “E” team (how bad is that woman play by play commentator) this is how Nelson throws…he cannot throw the ball. Nelson has no arm strength and tiny hands, so he overthrows and loses grip on ball and that combination of the two makes the ball sail high 90% of the time.

    Now Nelson misses a wide open Faslev in the end zone, misses an open Hoffman and then pulls a lucky play out and throws a TD to Foote but every single throw is high…because he has to over-throw with his weak arm and little hand, so the ball is always rising.

    We get the on-side kick, great effort by Hoffman…actually Hoffman is team MVP…he is a great receiver, without him Nelson would be even worse. We have a couple great plays, get to the 20 yard line, but Riley Nelson ever sees the rusher and fumbles for 8th time this year…2nd time in game…ending BYU chances.

    So, now we will hear about another “gritty” performance for Nelson, we will forget about his interception and fumble lost in the red zone and Bronco will drone on about “my guys never quit” but once again BYU plays well enough to lose to a team they definitely should have beaten.

    Once again, coaching errors cost us another game-the first big error was the failure to pressure the SJS QB in first half, and then, critically fatal was not replacing Nelson at half-time at the same time Bronco changed his D-approach. BYU loses again & Bronco tries to say it’s because SJS is a great offensive team. Now BYU is 6-5 and whoop-dee-doodi-doo, will finish 7-5 beating 1-9 New Mexico State…who are so bad they even lost to 1-10 Idaho 26-18!

    Once more, Bronco proves he can very rarely beats a good team, and he has even more trouble against good passing teams. This game was particularly disappointing because Bronco finally made a half-time adjustment when he realized his mistake for not pressuring the QB. The D rose up and shut down SJS, meaning, BYU should have won, but could not win because Bronco stubbornly stuck with Nelson again.

    This loss came down to turnovers and Nelson being gritty, tough, but not up to par as the starting QB. Bronco does not have a winning record against winning teams and never will if he continue to value gritty and tough over being TALENTED and TOUGH…and prepare better for better teams instead of treating them “all alike”.

    This is Bronco’s clueless quote on KSL after the game: The guy (Nelson) is very resilient. We had (backup quarterback James Lark) ready because Riley (Nelson) was hurting. We weren’t sure how and if he was going to be able to continue and he just kept recovering and recovering. He gave us a chance to win the game.”

    No Bronco-the fact is, Nelson is “un-recoverable” and keeping Nelson in and not making a change to Lark at half-time made sure you lost the game

    Thanks to Bronco devotion to Riley Nelson’s marginal abilities, the BYU football team is the loser. BYU scores only 14 points against SJS, one more point than Idaho scored against them! Without terrific efforts by his receivers, Nelson would have had more interceptions and a completion rate below 50%. Game Stats for Riley Nelson: R. Nelson 28/51 (55%) 334 1 TD 1 interception (red zone) 3 fumbles-2 lost (both in red zone). This means during the game, Nelson lost 21 points…and at least one other TD lost by missing wide open reads and passes. When you see Nelson’s stats for the year, it is hard to believe he is a BYU starting QB:
    2012 YEAR STATS Att Comp % Yards YPP TD INT
    Nelson 2012 306 181 59.2 2011 6.6 13 12
    Fumbles-9, Fumbles Lost-3

  • David Walton said:

    After watching the San Jose State game I’m ready to give coach Doman a little more slack. Consider what he has to work with. An offensive line that can’t run block and is below average in pass protection. A quarterback who is wildly inconsistent, is turn over prone and can’t hit a wide open receiver. Tight ends that are virtually non-existent. A talented running back who is still learning the system. A head coach who is stubborn, slow to change and provides questionable game preparation along with unexplainable game strategy. (Bronco apparently feels that Riley Nelson in a wheel chair would be better than a healthy James Lark) Sadly enough, with an inexperienced quarterback next year, who is coming of a major injury, the future looks cloudy. BYU loses a lot of players off the defense, and have a very tough schedule. I will be suprised if they are bowl eligible next year. But on the bright side there will be some good firesides

  • Mike said:

    He did mention they were 9-2. Re-read it. And Bronco hasn’t shown competence in nearly 3 seasons. We should not have lost to Utah 2 of the last 3 years. We shouldn’t have lost to BSU, ND, or even TCU. Mental mistakes that veteran players shouldn’t have. Makes me think Bronco doesn’t speak enough with his players, or maybe he doesn’t make it clear that football is #2 on the field (integrity is #1)

  • Gayle said:

    The reason the offensive line can’t run block is because they have a QB behind them who isn’t allowed, or can’t throw more than 8 yards down field. Defenses know this and stack the box knowing that even if he passes it the receivers won’t be that far away. The third and long plays were actually some of the best as BYU was forced to air it out a little bit. Rightfully, they were so afraid that Nelson would throw an interception that all they had him throwing were bubble screens and short slants to Hoffman. Do you recall any passes this season where a BYU receiver got behind the defense and didn’t have to wait for the pass. The ball usually got there the same time the defender did. I really have nothing against Nelson personally. It is really on the coaches that they haven’t been able, or have chosen not to coach any other, more gifted quarterback, to be as good or better than Riley, over the course of the past three years. It’s also on the coaches when they refuse to replace a player from a game when they are injured to the extent that they are no longer the team’s best option at that position.

  • Jeffrey said:

    I was not surprised by the game at all. The game was a compilation of the entire season, filled with defensive lapses against a passing offense, not being prepared in the first place, defensive pressure, Van Noy running down the QB, Ogeltree being beat on coverage, Sorensen beaten on coverage, Sorensen interception, offensive bright spots, Cody Hoffman doing what he has done, Jamaal Williams running hard, the offensive line doing okay, then not doing okay, Nelson making plays with his feet, Nelson getting injured, Nelson making terrible throws, Nelson fumbling, Nelson not being able to read the defense, the coaches sitting on their hands not replacing an injured player, the coaches standing up for their player and the fans being utterly sick and tired of the situation.
    This game, despite SJSU being 8-2, blatantly showed the cracks that are in the armor of the team. Anyone who doesn’t want to see them are fooling themselves. There is not one person to blame for this season, the combination of at least three or four people are to blame for the wreckage that is. Fortunately, one will be forced to leave due to graduation; the other three……

  • chubbuckidahocougfan said:

    This explains some things about Bronco that we all should take into account regarding the Riley Nelson debacle. Taken from an article I read earlier today about Bronco from HB Arnett from Cougar Sportsline.

    Bronco Mendenhall has stated that one of his passions is organizational behavior. I’m not sure if Mendenhall is a Major League baseball fan, but he could take a page from that league and incorporate it into his organizational thinking when it comes to BYU football. It would be especially relevant now that BYU is 6-5 after a 20-14 loss to San Jose State last Saturday night and now totally irrelevant this season.

    I am referring to the infamous “Mendoza Line”. According to Wikipedia, the Mendoza Line is an expression in baseball in the United States, derived from the name of shortstop Mario Mendoza, whose batting average is taken to define the threshold of incompetent hitting. The cutoff point is most often said to be .200, and, when a position player’s batting average falls below that level, the player is said to be “below the Mendoza Line”. This is often thought of as the offensive threshold below which a player’s presence in Major League Baseball cannot be justified, regardless of his defensive abilities.

    While this football season is over for all intents and purposes and all interest in BYU football exhausted, the only thing left to discuss is at what point can a quarterback’s bad offensive play not be justified, regardless of his personality abilities and assets?

    Call it the Grit Graph, the Riley Rating or the Mario Mendenhall Line.

    At what point does a players grit, determination, hard work, high threshold to pain and all the other adjectives associated with the current BYU quarterback, become a detrimental factor to actually winning games?

    At what point does lack of passing skill supersede all the other admirable qualities that have kept Riley Nelson at the offensive helm of this 2012 football team?

    Apparently, that point hasn’t been reached or determined by Mendenhall and his lack of a line in the sand has produced 4 losses that shouldn’t have been. That’s my opinion.

    None of this matters now. The season is over and what showed so much promise has turned south and sour.

    To be fair, not all of the problems can be laid at Riley Nelson’s feet. There are six parts to this offensive football team; Coaching, Offensive Line, Tight Ends, Wide Receivers, Quarterback and Running Backs.

    Cody Hoffman and Jamaal Williams did their part in the equation. It is my opinion that the other four pieces came up woefully short. You can decide for yourself why they all came up short, but they did and BYU is not a very good offensive football team because of it.

    Now the focus of football will have to turn to fixing the problems before the start of next season and a brutal schedule.

    The two most important places to start will be at quarterback where new faces will be in the mix and in coaching concepts on offense. It remains to be seen if new faces will be incorporated there.

    That said, nothing can fix the problems until the guy in charge establishes his own Mendenhall Line for quarterback play and assistant coaches.

  • Bryan Taylor said:

    “They see a head coach who continues to make rookie mistakes after eight years on the job, mismanaging games and making head-scratching decisions.”

    I’ve always thought that this is the most GLARING weakness with Bronco. He seems to be digressing and not improving as he should be after 8 years from mismangement of timeouts, to handling personnel decisions, coaching hirings, the QB situation, lack of in game adjustments and just general head-scratching decisions.

    We really cannot afford another year with this type of coaching unless Bronco can make the necessary changes that are required. I just don’t know if Holmoe is man enough to tell him what is expected and what changes need to be made.

  • Mick said:

    How many fumbles and pick-6’s has Riley Nelson given up? How many have been down in scoring territory? How many have set BYU back in the game? How horrendous has our O-line blocking been? We all know. The most common thing I hear is how glad people will be to see Riley Nelson graduate. He can’t throw even a little bubble screen, is consistently off mark on short passes down the middle, and can’t throw with accuracy over thirty yards and yet it seems as though people think we should win more games with that caliber of a QB. He is gritty, determined, and won’t give up, but even that can be detrimental to the team when he won’t allow the backup to go in because Riley is hurt.

    We were in 10 of 11 games this year! We should be 10-1 right now and we all know it. Is that Bronco’s fault? Would we be asking for his job if we were 10-1? We shut San Jose State down in the second half, and had a number of good chances to win it, and once again, as we all know, Riley did something that cost us the game, AGAIN.

    I support Bronco and think he has done great things for this program, and although I fault him for a few decisions, I believe he is a good coach and can lead us to higher levels, we just need a quality D-1 QB.

    There, now that I have vented, I look forward to Taysom Hill and next year. I still love BYU football and will still support it.

    Go Cougars!

  • Bryan Taylor said:

    @Mick & any others that will comment on this message board:


    Insanity is to continue to do the same things and expect different results. Haven’t you pin heads learned anything from the last three years with this inept coaching staff??

  • Kyle M. said:

    You can’t say “Doman would succeed with a better O-line, better tight ends, and a better QB.” It’s his JOB to make sure his O-line, TEs, and QB are good enough to win with. And it’s Bronco’s job to make sure his O.C. is good enough to win. “Coach” is both a verb and a noun.

    And no, a bowl game every year isn’t enough. Raise your expectations. With our scheduling, we’ll always have 6 crappy teams to beat to get into a crappy bowl. We can do better.

  • ChewyJJ said:

    I second what Brian Taylor said about DELUSIONAL. It is mind-boggling to read the comments in this blog site and at other Utah sports blogs giving slavish support to Bronco.

    This team, with good coaching, would have been 10-1 (soon 11-1) and with some luck, even a shot at 12-0 this year. The only reason BYU has Riley, I cannot throw the ball or read defenses, Nelson, at QB is because of Bronco’s didactic approach.

    Best of all, most of these “real BYU fans” punctuate their comments with “Go Cougars!” They actually believe this closing statement should motivate everyone to “fall in line” and join them in mindless Bronco support. Unfortunately, none of these people have a clue about what type of coaching is required to achieve real success.

    We all admit, Bronco made some good progress and positive changes in the first three years, but soon hit the glass ceiling of his own level of incompetence.

    The past 3-4 years have been torture, seeing the honor and tradition of BYU offensive football go by the wayside. Watching Bronco inflate his record and making bowls by beating lousy teams, and too many fans thinking that is a good thing.

    We have made zero progress in taking the next step to competing for a BCS position, which is what Band of Brother Bronco constantly espouses but has no hope of delivering.

    This is why Brett has been courageous buck the tide and detail how and why Bronco and his staff exemplify the “Peter Principle”. Hopefully Brett is correct about what Holmoe will require of Bronco next year, but “leopards cannot change their spots” and neither will Bronco.

  • NorCal Cougar said:

    My family and I attended the game Saturday night. We drove two hours to get there and enjoyed a great tailgate party before the game. Kudos to the Silicon Valley chapter of the BYU Alumni Association for putting on a great event. Unfortunately, the tailgate was the highlight of the evening. I get tired of driving to see my team play, and then being embarrassed because they don’t show up. It was easy to see from the first play of the game that the defense was flat. No energy, no gameplan. The offense was the same. Kyle Van Noy said as much on the post game show. The team’s attitude comes from the preparation that the coaching staff gives them. In this case apparently there was no real preparation for SJS. One player who was interviewed on the post game show (sorry I can’t remember his name) said “These weren’t the same guys we played last year.” No kidding! Do they watch film to prepare? Bronco’s post game comments were what really summed it up, though. He said that they were monitoring Riley very closely and that if it got to the point where he was doing more harm than good, he would be pulled. Riley was obviously in pain during the game. How badly do we have to be losing, to have him benched in favor of Lark? Sorry to vent, but when we purchase tickets, drive two hours, pay for parking, etc. we expect to see a team that is there to play, and wants to win. I’m sure I can speak for many other BYU alumni when I say, enough is enough! If Bronco can’t make the decisions a head coach needs to make in all aspects of the game, it’s time for him to go.

  • Brian said:

    I think this article embodies all of my frustrations over the last three seasons. Thank you for a well thought out article. Keep ‘em commin’

  • FL Cosmo said:

    Bring back LaVell, Norm Chow, and Ken Schmidt!

  • Mike MHOP said:

    The Andy Reid honor code comment was kind of a low blow in my opinion. I assume you mean because his sons have had issues with drugs and etc. It’s not really fair to assume he wouldn’t be able to keep football players keeping the honor code just because his kids made bad choices. He is a convert and knows what it’s like to come into Provo as an outsider. He probably would be able to do a lot better with some of the minor infractions dealing with the honor code while still enforcing the major ones.

    I actually think he lives the gospel exceptionally and would be a good example similar to LaVell Edwards and in a bit of a contrast to Mendenhall. He would not wear the religion everywhere he goes per se, but to those who get close enough they would know without a doubt it truly permeates his life. Sometimes Mendenhall puts people off because of the scripture quotes at pressers and such if you know what I mean.

  • Valladolid said:

    B Taylor –

    Don’t forget your appt with the doctor later today.

    GO COUGARS! (Oops! Sorry, ChewyJJ)

  • Andrew Streeter said:

    It mentions UTAH STATE’s 9-2 record, not SJSU’s…you should probably re-read it, Mike…the article is set-up to make it look like BYU lost to the 1-11 team from 2010. I’m not saying that BYU shouldn’t have beaten them, but they are a completely different team from 2 years ago – everyone is. It wasn’t out of the realm of possibilty that BYU could lose to San Jose State…and LOOK – they did. On the road. To a then 8-2 now 9-2 team that almost beat Stanford.

    It is all irrelevant anyway. I pretty much checked out on this season after the ND loss. Everyone knew they were getting to a bowl, and that the bowl would be the Poinsettia Bowl.

  • Kirb said:

    What about Lance Reynolds? When Bronco was hired, it was widely believed that Lance was BYU’s choice for the head coaching position. Has he fallen out of favor with administration? It seems that he’s been nothing if not loyal and has a much better understanding of BYU’s offenses (both past and present) from the many position groups he has coached. I don’t know that he would be my pick, but I’m curious why he wouldn’t be an option.

  • Brett Richins (author) said:

    Mike MHOP,

    I tried to explain as delicately as I could as to why Reid will never be considered by the BOT.

  • El Jefe said:

    Ya bring back Lavell, he’s a beaver man! 1280 inside joke.
    I was embarrassed by our line. Ya they were stacking the box but even sjsu’s d-line was pushing our guys back 3 yards on a lot of running plays. Riley Nelson is one heck of a competitor. I think though if Rudy started every game for notre dame, that movie would have had a completely different feel in the end. As this season has a disappointed feel to it, every decent game slips through Riley’s fingers. Literally.

  • football junkie said:

    Remember all the way back to August? When optimism always springs eternal. Remember our secret weapon of turning Zero, 2 and 3 star athletes into All World, All Americans, using a newly evolved and proven method of diet and exercise.

    Guess that didn’t pan out. So what’s the answer now. Maybe get a new coach who has a new secret, and different technique to take these same players and remorph them into world beaters.

    OR, maybe we need better athletes. What do you think?

  • SoCal Cougar said:

    Other than the QB decisions over the past 3 years, I really think the biggest issue has been coaching depth. Mendenhall is a decent coach and did a ton of good resurrecting the program. But I think he is overwhelmed and doesn’t get the help from assistant coaches he needs. Many of the in game decisions mentiond above are because he is so focused with the DC responsibilities he can’t focus on the overall team as well. His OC and other coaches just aren’t experienced enough to pull their weight.

    I think this is also the reason for poor game planning in some situations where we look unprepared. Mendenhall doesn’t have the experienced assistant coaches to help out like other successful programs.

    Mendenhall really needs to give up either HC or DC responsibilities and get greater experience and depth among the assistant coaches if BYU is going to be successful.

  • Gorum the Old said:

    To all those calling for Bronco’s head:

    When would you have fired Lavell Edwards? In the 16 seasons following the Cougars national championship, BYU averaged 4 losses per season (and that was while playing in the WAC). Only once during that time (1996) did they lose fewer than 3.

    All coaches have down years. Not all coaches have up years. Five out of the past six years, BYU has won at least 10 games and finished in the top 25. Three of those years they finished in the top 15.

    In the decade before Mendenhall has hired as head coach, BYU finished the season ranked only twice. During the seven full seasons Bronco has been the head coach at BYU, the Cougars have failed to finish ranked only

    While Bronco has yet take the “next step” and gone to a BCS game, he has been very close several times. Even this year, which has been a collosal disappointment, BYU has been in every single game and almost knocked off the current #1 team in the country on the road.

    If the Cougars continue to struggle and come up short, then you can start thinking about coaching changes, but without at least back to back unranked seasons, talking about fireing is premature. Even traditional SEC Power houses like Tennesee and Auburn have more patience (and less reason for patience) than that.

  • Jack said:

    Bronco should not and will not be fired. I attended the fireside before the SJSU game and was blown away by the team speakers and Bronco himself. He is fulfilling the mission of the church with the program he is running and would be hard to replace from that aspect. Besides the guy is one of the winningest coaches in college football.

    However, both the offensive coordinator, O-line & QB coaches have drastically undeperformed this year. If they had just been average, we could be a one or two loss team. If they had been top 25 in the country, maybe we’re undefeated. Unfortunately the Doman experiment has been a BIG FLOP! Poor play design (notice how recievers are rarely open & QB’s rarely throw on-time), predictable play calling and uninspired O-line play have been our downfall.

    Holmoe & Bronco must get an experienced Offensive Coordinator!

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

    I suppose that Gorum the Old has a valid point. It’s just hard when the perceived mistakes we see are so apparently obvious to us. I’m thinking principally about sticking with Nelson as the QB. I believe that it’s a very small leap to say that three of our losses this year can be directly attributable to playing Nelson as the QB in spite of his injuries. I think where the angst of many fans, myself included, really starts to grow is when you consider that the past three seasons have largely been disappointments due to poor QB play/management. Even when Nelson hasn’t been injured, he is a marginal at best QB (and I believe I’m being very generous with that statement). So anyway, I think a lot of fans are upset at the coaching staff for allowing this situation to exist and to grow for as long as it has. That, and I think losing three in a row to your main arch rival (including a 54-10 shellacking on your home field) is simply inexcusable – for any program.

    Oh, and I’ll just add that I think our displeasure is at least slightly intensified because of the perception that I think many have that Bronco is arrogant. He does not appear to acknowledge the mistakes he is making, does not appear to even care to learn from them. This is all perception, of course, but if it seemed like he was a little more humble, admitting mistakes, showing how he’s learning from them and improving from them, then we might feel better about him. My opinion is he does not do that. I feel like he comes off as very arrogant and stubborn, especially when it comes to Nelson (where he seems to be living entirely in his own version of reality). It’s weird because he sometimes does talk about improving and getting better and working out kinks, etc – but who in their right mind would have stuck with an injured Nelson at QB for the third time this season? That Utah debacle wasn’t enough for you? Ok, how about that ridiculous showing at Boise State? Still not enough? Really? Is he insane?

    I think that plays a big part in fan displeasure.

  • Trey said:

    Brett – The following comment from Bryan Taylor should have warranted his post being censored: “Haven’t you pin heads learned anything from the last three years with this inept coaching staff??”

    How is it that when I called him a “tool” you censored my post, but this guy get away with this on your site? You’re beginning to show your Mendenhall-Riley favoritism.

  • John said:

    Great article Brett!! Unfortunately, it will probably take having a losing season next year before real change is implemented. Mendenhall’s loyality to medocrity will eventually cost him his job. Wait and see.

  • Scott Holliday said:

    Scooter said:

    As a Cougar fan in Cache Valley I have heard Utah State is considering inducting Riley Nelson into the Utah State Football Hall of Fame. He is a True Blue Aggie. No other Aggie athlete has done more to destroy the BYU Football program than Mr. Riley Nelson. While he took a different route than any Aggie fan would have envisioned, with a transfer to BYU, he has successfully completed his mission and his home town is proud of him. Shame on Bronco for being deceived by perceived “grit, determination and desire”, while all the time it was a conceived plot to infiltrate and destroy the Cougars with ridiculously inept play at crucial times.

  • Trey said:

    Everyone here knows that I am a Mendenhall supporter. The fact is, all of us are on these silly blogs and boards because we all care about BYU football, and we all are frustrated with the current results. We want BYU to at least look equal to BSU and TCU, and have at least as much success as Utah.

    There are two ways to handle your love for BYU football: negative or positive fan support. I have been trying to stay positive all year. I’ve screwed up as a fan in the past where I demonstrated lack of support for both players and coaches (Crowton era). After the results of those actions, I decided I would try not to be like that any more. After all, these people are upstanding and great examples of human beings in this dreary world. We are talking about honorable returned missionaries, temple recommend holders, and kids who aren’t even LDS but have such great faith and values that they want to be there with the honor code. Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule, but by in large, these are great people.

    With that said, they are not always the best athletes or the best coaches. Even LaVell Edwards’ record was not as good at this time in his career. His teams dropped many eggs in important games against good competition. Yet back then, we had more tempered expectations. Certainly, we knew that we had the capability to compete with the best, but when we didn’t, we knew that it was something happens, because BYU is an overachiever.

    I can’t explain what I saw in the SJSU game. I have no idea why they allowed Riley to play, especially in the last drive of the game. Most of all, I can’t spin any kind of defense for Mendenhall’s “he gave us a chance to win” comment. I don’t get it. However, I also have no idea why the fans that were there did not boo when they saw an injured Riley enter the field again, nor did they start the “Lark” chant at the beginning of the second half like the Idaho game. That might have swayed somebody’s mind… then again…

    The sad thing is, and I know I will be blasted for saying this, but the player that actually lost the game for us was Jamal Williams. I’m not talking about his overall performance, and I know that ultimately, the game was lost by others, including the coaches. However, the game ending play saw 6 SJS defenders blitz the box. Jamal ran over to his assignment and decided to attempt a cut block, which allowed the linebacker to jump over him and hit Nelson on the blind side, causing the fatal fumble. On a replay at a specific angle, you could see that Cody Hoffman was alone in the deep field, and Riley was right about to pass it to him.

    As much as Riley has had a marginal performance this year, he really has been abused much this season, taking hit after terrible hit. The protection has been atrocious. Coach Weber has to go, and same with that dietician guy.

  • Trey said:

    Kirb – I like that idea with Lance Reynolds. I think he would make a great head coach

    Gorum – you are correct. BYU fans have more patience than any other program.

  • FL Cosmo said:

    So many people in here bash Mendenhall for not playing the best athletes. I am completely open to the notion, but I just don’t see it. Who are these supposed great athletes that are sitting out on the sidelines? Can someone please list the names and substantiate why they are superior to the guys seeing playing time? The start of this mess was the Heaps-Nelson debacle, in which Heaps was given the nod as a freshman and sophomore to lead the team. That is called playing superior talent. When it didn’t work out and Heaps skipped town, Riley was the best choice for starter on the roster. Hill has superior talent and was seeing the field more and more until his injury.

    Like I said, I am open to changing my mind based on a substantiated opinion. But if you can’t back up what you say, please put away the torches and pitchforks.

    We’ve had a good deal of bad luck with the QBs over the past three years. If you go back to the end of Max Hall’s tenure, we had Lark who was on the team in ’09, Heaps coming aboard as the #1 recruit, and Nelson transferring in from Utah state where he had a very impressive freshman season. We seemed to have a log jam of talent at QB. Maybe Lark could’ve been great, given the opportunity. But he wasn’t up to the task in 2010, so it would’ve been stupid at the time to give him reps over the #1 recruit and Nelson, who was outperforming Lark in practice. There’s no crystal ball, so if you have a shot at a good season you have to play who gives you the best chance at winning now, and with Heaps flopping and then skipping out to KU, that ended up being Nelson unfortunately.

    The point is, the pipeline was stocked. I don’t think we recognize enough the amount of sheer luck that goes into maintaining high performance. Things like this happen. Even up at the U, where they recently had 80s BYU-like success. QB goes down and the wheels come off. I don’t hear the MUSS calling for KWhitt, even though he’s not a perfect coach either.

    Sorry this is getting so long. It’s just refreshing whenever people post opinions supported by objective fact and not emotion. Make no mistake, Bronco is deservedly on the hot seat. But firing him prematurely could make the situation a lot worse. I’m with SoCal, that Bronco needs better assistants. And demanding that support and evaluating the talent in assistants is Bronco’s responsibility. He’s got at least one year to show marked improvement, and with Hill coming back as QB he’ll have no excuses.

  • Hochmut said:

    Hochmut declares:

    It is time for Bronco to step up and declare that James Lark will be the starting QB for the NMST game this Saturday. Lark has been a quiet and supportive backup and as a Senior–it is his time to shine. It won’t matter by how much we win, or lose, the season is set. We are going to San Diego to get beat by SDSU as their statement about BYU leaving the MWC and “stick it in your face” attitude. If Lark looks great, we have an option. If not, then we’ll lose again with Riley. “We want Lark, we want Lark”

  • David said:

    Bronco has done some good things, including keeping sports in its proper perspective. No, football isn’t actuallly our religion.

    The biggest problem has been the quarterback situation. First it was the Heaps vs. Nelson situation, and then it was his loyalty to Nelson (at the expense of what should have been his loyalty to the team as a whole, which he could have shown by playing the clearly superior quarterback), even with Nelson’s up and down play, including too many very costly but avoidable mistakes: fumbles and pick-sixes. I suspect that if Hill had not been injured, he would have kept the starting job. But with a mediocre offensive line and erratic quarterback play, the offense has stumbled. I don’t think it’s a matter of poor play calling. I expect that next year Hill will start, and will do very well. We started to see glimpses of that this year. So next year at this time we’ll be talking about Doman’s good play calling, or perhaps some will be talking about how the offense is doing do well inspite of his play calling.

  • Chris B. said:

    Waaaah, Waaaah, Waaaaah.

    It is sad but most of you still don’t get it. The facts: BYU is barometer U. If you beat BYU you are a pretty decent team having a decent season. If you lose to BYU you are normally downright bad. Yes, BYU will occasionally sneak up on a good opponent but for the most part the above statement applies.

    What is BYU’s winning percentage against winning teams since 2005 when Mendenhall took over the program? Even worse, what is their winning percentage against winning teams since 2008 when the majority of the players taking the field were Mendenhall recruits? Do you remember 2007? How many of those players do you think Mendenhall recruited? If you don’t know the answer to these questions you need to RISE UP and do the research. It is time to put your money where your mouth is! An average stadium attendance of 35,000 broadcast to the world via ESPN will certainly get somebody’s attention.

    BYU just lost to a team that has an average per game stadium attendance of 9,500 and has athletic facilities comparable to Southern Utah. Let that little fact seep in for a second. I don’t care if they were 11-1 with a close loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is unacceptable.

    Utah state’s football program is now nipping at the heels of BYU. They are the next Utah. They too will soon be competing for our in state recruits. BCS access is no longer an issue for USU. Look out. Think I am crazy? It was just a little over a decade ago when Utah was routinely losing to BYU by 40 points in front of 30,000 fans at RES.

    BYU’s problems go much deeper than their coaching staff. Who are the leaders? Where is the accountability? Where is the creativity and ingenuity that was once a hallmark of this program. Where is the Lavell Edwards coaching tree? Why did Kyle Whittingham turn down his dream job? Where did the poly pipline go? Why doesn’t Brett Keisel tell people where he went to college during player intros on Monday Night Football. Why have we not retired Jim McMahon’s jersey. Why do we have fewer and fewer non-Mormons playing on our athletic teams? Are we so concerned with image that we are afraid to recruit and nurture non-Mormon athletes? We are missionaries after all, aren’t we?

    If an SEC team suffered a late season loss to a team like SHSU the coaching staff would not make it through the night. That my friends is a fact. That my friends is the reality of big time college football. The fan base, boosters, and media in SEC land do not tolerate ineptness. Dollars and winning talk, everything else walks. BYU is coddled by their local media (aside from this blog and an occasional article from Gordon Monson) and their boosters have virtually zero ability to effect change. BYU’s honor code is archaic at best and downright strange at worst. There is a better way. BYU will not play on Sunday. Did Steve Young play on Sunday? Did Ty Detmer play on Sunday? Did these two athletes hurt the Church’s image by doing so? Will Jabari Parker play on Sunday? What is more likely to spread the message of the church – playing Oklahoma in the BIG 12 at 8:00 on fox or playing SHSU as an independent at 10:30 on ESPNU. The fact we are not a current member of the BIG 12 is evidence that something has gone terribly wrong at our university. This is a systemic problem my friends, a systemic problem.

    Think back. The last time BYU had a loss this bad was against Utah State in Logan a few years back. The defensive coordinator was fired 1 day later. The defensive coordinator also happened to be African American. If you don’t think other people around the nation take notice of these inconsistencies, fair or otherwise, you are crazy. Not good.

    Think for a moment about what the University of Utah has been able to accomplish over the last decade. There are some really smart (LDS !!!) people running that institution. Their football program is what BYU’s football program used to be. Their athletic programs are littered with return missionaries and their poly pipeline has never been stronger. 50% of their coaching staff have BYU ties. They are now a member of one of the most prestigious conferences in the nation. And believe it or not they have had all of this success with virtually zero off the field problems. And all without an honer code. Go figure. Maybe you can recruit good kids, develop character, and have success on and off the field without chasing people around with the secret police to make sure they shaved in the morning.

    Maybe it is time to rethink our allegiances. But boy oh boy do I dislike their damn fans.

  • Brandon said:

    I have to say that I am really disappointed in two things at this point in the season. One, obviously is the way the team has played this year and two, the overall negativity of cougarnation. This year should have been a shining year in cougar football but due to a mixture of poor coaching, and underperforming athletes this year has resulted in what is most likely a 8-5 season. However, after every loss this season cougar fans have complained about how bad Bronco has done this year and now he is supposedly on the hot seat. My question to these fans is what is Bronco’s prowess. Defense, plain and simple. And where is our defense ranked, top 10. Then I must ask how this season is a result of poor coaching on the part of Bronco. Seems to me he’s done a pretty good job and bringing to BYU what we’ve been missing for like, forever. BYU has never been known for their stellar defenses and it has cost us a lot of big games in the past. However this year it has kept us in games that we should never have been in. Yeah, we had a chance to win at Notre Dame, but let’s be honest with ourselves, did we really think we had a chance go into that game, no way!

    As I look back at the losses we have had this season, I can point to one game that Bronco made a decision that resulted in the loss, Boise State. Every other game we have lost, it was lost by the fact that we have a quarterback that can’t throw the ball. When you are behind you need to have a QB that can march your team down the field quickly with long strike passes. Riley is not that guy.

    Also at the same time, Riley can only be blamed so much, unlike Max Hall, John Beck and other QB’s in recent years, he does not call the plays. This is done by Brandon Doman, who was not mentioned as being in the hotseat in this article and it was even insinuated he could be among those that people want as the head coach. He hasn’t given his QB’s or team the chance to win. When you have two Wide recievers that are over 6 foot 3 inches tall, we should be seeing more passes being thrown over the top, instead of bubble screens. Use the talent you have otherwise you are wasting the best thing we’ve had in years on offense. Another struggle for Doman has been his inability to call plays that make sense, running an option to the short side of the field is not only dumb but it is also dangerous. And someone please tell me why when you are trying to get close to the end zone at the end of the half, you roll your quarterback away from his strong side and make him throw 40 yards down the field.

    At the end of the day, the HC is responsible, but BYU fans should be venting their anger at Doman, whose offense is the one who underperformed, instead of at Bronco whose defense is ranked in the top 10 having played one of the tougher schedules in the history of the team.

  • Bryan Taylor said:

    Nice try-Chris B.! I’ve read your nonsense on deseretnews.com articles. Nice try on putting in “we” during your post as if you try to act like a BYU fan. I’m nearly 90 percent sure your the same troll on desert news articles. Though I agree with what you said about leadership and accountability…I know that your the same Chris B. Because of your references to BYU loosening up on the honor code and playing on Sundays which not only go against BYU’s core beliefs and morals but against the commandment of keeping the Sabbath day holy. So spare us that weak attempt to paint yourself as a BYU fan….that post was leered with your bias towards the Univ. Of Utah which we all know is the team you are a fan of and BYU id your next favorite team to troll. Pretty pathetic if you ask me to come on a BYU insider website and try to disguise yourself as a BYU fan. This is one screen name that should get absolutely censored.

  • rtimesr said:

    Have to report two things about the game. About half way thru the 1st Q I said to my wife, “They are double teaming Ziggy. They ought to rush 4.” It wasn’t until 2nd half that they started doing that regularly. The defense was much better in the 2nd half. The other thing is I had taken my son in law with us to the SJSU game and he knows very very little about football. About half way thru the 3rd Q he leaned over and asked, very innocently, “Why don’t they replace the QB?”. My wife echoed the question. I couldn’t come up with an answer. Now if three know nothings like us can come up with these thoughts it really does make you wonder about the coaching decisions.

    Some time during the the last few minutes I saw Nelson and Lark (with Munns) in a very animated conversation. Nelson looked like he was hollering them down. They were not more than 10 yards away from us but I couldn’t make out what Nelson was saying. Sorry for Lark his day is done but maybe next year Munns gets his shot. At least he got his college education free and came out with his knees working. Really hope the coaches are smarter than my wife and I are. Being closely on the scene it is evident that things are not right here. I didn’t sense any team cohesiveness and they certainly weren’t a “Band of Brothers”.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    SJSU is not a WAC bottom feeder, and they are not lowly. They nearly beat Stanford this year (who, in case you forgot, beat the #2 team in the country last week).

  • ALRMCoug said:

    Mendenhall isn’t going to be fired, and he shouldn’t be fired. Our problems are obvious to anyone that is able to lift up their heads and look at the facts. The failure of Jake Heaps was a huge blow to the program, that has had a three year impact. You don’t fire the winningest coach in BYU history over something like that.

    I understand why crazy fans are looking for someone to blame, but if they succeed in driving Bronco out of town they will be sorry. I guarantee it. He is an excellent coach with some major personnel problems. He certainly deserves blame for the personnel problems (and a significant amount too), but they are understandable to anyone willing to look at facts rather than viciously lash out at Bronco and others because they don’t like to lose. Our problems are understandable, and they have nothing to do with some invented “man crush” that ridiculous fans like to create in order to disparage and denigrate our players and coaches.

    Grow up!

  • ALRMCoug said:

    Anyone that thinks the SJSU game should have been a slam dunk win has not been paying attention to anything in college football this year. That is complete and utter nonsense.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    BYU fans talking about Detmer replacing Bronco? Talk about delusional. Time to join reality people. We are only as good as our QB, and we don’t have a very good QB right now.

  • Cougar Lover said:

    I for one am not calling for Mendenhalls head. Let’s not forget that he has 50% of the team performing at a very high level (to use my best Bronco terminology). The defense he has assembled and coached is one of the best in the country. So yes, I would say that he is a good coach. (maybe even as good as his firesides)

    My biggest problem with him is that he makes bonehead mistakes that a coach with his number of years of experience should not be making. I disagree with Gorum who says that even Lavell had 3-4 loss seasons and the fans didn’t call for his head. I do not think he should lose his job for having 3-4 losses per season. But Lavell didn’t have very many seasons where his Senior QB has more interceptions than TDs. My biggest problem is not that he has 4 losses, it is the way that he lost those games. This team should have beaten Utah, Boise and SJSU. They could have beaten ND. There’s three to four wins that could be in the win column.

    I think that Doman will (and should) bear the brunt of this season. He is not ready to be an OC at this level. His offensive line is not coached like it should be. His QB’s are not coached like they should be. The Cougars have good receivers, RB’s and tight ends. But a QB that can’t throw the ball more than 8 yds, and a completely ineffective O-line are the direct result of Doman’s inabilities. (and indirectly Doman’s shortcomings are also Broncos) I can’t see any situation where keeping Doman is a good plan for Bronco.

    So no, don’t fire Bronco just yet. But like Brett said, next year if things don’t change then watch out Bronco.

    Oh and Go Cougars! (did I do that right?)

  • ALRMCoug said:

    The idea that any team can play a perfect game without mistakes (including from experienced players) is what is delusional. Football players (especially college football players) are human. They make mistakes. NFL players make mistakes. The idea that we would be perfect if we just had a better coach is absolutely insane … and delusional. We will never, ever, ever be able to eliminate all mistakes.

    The problem is not with players making dumb mistakes. That happens in every sport at every level. The problem is that we don’t have a very good QB and that our OL has been ravished by injury. Anyone that expected that we would go undefeated this year, or that thinks in hindsight that it was a huge failure not to be undefeated right now, does not deserve to express their opinion on football. That is 1st grade logic. It is complete nonsense.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    Everyone seems to forget the TD pass in the second to last BYU drive. Riley kept us in the game in the Fourth Quarter. He is a bad QB, and I am not suggesting that he is good. But he did some good for the team and that is what the coaches see in him.

    Does Lark have that? I don’t know. I doubt it. Would we be better off with him? Maybe. I tend to think so. I don’t have all the info though and my job doesn’t depend on making the right QB decision.

    Some of the assumptions people are making are completely insane. Do people really think that we would be better off if Bronco were in the media slamming Riley all the time? Do people think we would be better off with Bronco telling everyone that Riley works really hard but doesn’t have very much natural talent? What good would that do? Do people really honestly think that Bronco would put his team in a position to lose just because he likes Riley? That is what is insane. The whining and crying is illogical. I get it, because it is coming from fans, but it is stupid.

  • Vetteman said:

    More than Bronco I have to put the blame on Doman. I was at the San Jose game and the most disappointing thing to me was the San Jose State fans behind me accurately predicting our plays. They were right most of the time. If the fans could figure it out you have to believe the opposing teams have got it figured out.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    What we need is a dedicated QB coach. We have an extra defensive coach (likely to help lighten Bronco’s DC load). Why not let one of the defensive coaches go (would hate to lose any of them though) and bring in a dedicated QB coach. Or fire Weber, let Lance coach the OL (or bring in new OL coach if Lance retires), let Doman coach TEs and bring in a good QB coach. It is too much for Doman to do both, and right now I think QB is hurting the most.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    Anyone that thinks Bronco is arrogant has never had any personal contact with Bronco. Disagreeing with your uninformed opinions does not make the head coach arrogant. If anything, it makes you arrogant for thinking otherwise.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    Anyone that does not understand why Riley was in the last drive of the game has forgotten the second to last drive (where we scored a TD).

    I was scratching my head wondering why he was in the second to last drive.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    Bronco is not loyal to Nelson at the expense of the team. There isn’t a person on the team (that actually contributes to the team) that would disagree with that.

  • Chris B. said:

    Bryan Taylor. Listen to me. Really try to listen. Let’s try an have an intelligent conversation. We, and I do mean WE, have a common goal. I am a die hard cougar fan. I graduated from BYU in 1998 and I currently live in Georgia. Period. End of conversation. Believe it or not there are plenty of cougar fans around the nation that share my concerns and have a similar point of view. I admire Utah, I admire their recent success. But I am not a Utah fan. It bothers me that Utah has been able to build their program with what is virtually our people. And it should bother you too. It bothers me that we are basically the only relevant (save Boise Sate) D1 football program outside a power conference. And it should bother you too. And yes, and this may be hard for you to wrap your head around, there are cougar fans out there that do not think the world would suddenly come to an end if BYU played a football game on Sunday. Again, Steve Young played virtually every game of his career on Sunday. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a little for the greater good. Now, Let’s see if you can add something intelligent to the conversation. These are very difficult issues and they require a little thought. If you disagree with my thoughts use your brain and tell us why. Calling me a troll and asking that I be censored, while entertaining, adds very little to the thought process. And by the way, this is the only place I have ever posted anything BYU related. That is a fact.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    Some of these comments are laugh out loud hilarious. A guy in the stands knows that Riley should be benched based on what he sees from the stands? A guy in the stands sees two or three football players yelling during a football game and comes to the immediate conclusion that one of them is shouting the others down for trying to steal his job?

    Sigh … How can people that were educated at BYU be so … nevermind.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    Chris B – Utah is not building their program on recruits that otherwise would be at BYU. You might not like the restriction that BYU places on its students, but they are what make BYU BYU and they aren’t changing. There aren’t more than about a dozen players on Utah’s teams that could stay eligible at BYU.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    I think it is funny that two posts below this one is a post entitled “Spartans will be no Pushover”.

  • curt said:

    Years ago BYU revolutionized the game with the passing game. National powers like Oklahoma and Texas were running the option. Today they look more like we did back then, and we are running the option. Our QB’s are taking a unsustainable beating. Two years ago we had the number one QB in America,his only liability was he was not on option QB, and his coordinator was clueless on how to manage, groom, or develop a drop back passer. I am a big fan of Bronco. He has cleaned up our program, enhanced the honor code in a huge way. I would never advocate replacing him. I have loved his philosophy of the best man plays, a walkon or a scholarship player doesn’t matter. I also think that Riley has the heart of a warrior, class, in short he is a winner. No doubt will be successful in anything he does in life. However Bronco has not held him to the same standard he has held other athletes too in terms of performance. Remember, he had a really quick hook for Jake when he struggled. But Riley can make freshman mistakes in terms of ball security over and over, with zero consequences. He plays when he turns it over, he plays when he is obviously hurt, with no accountability to the team, and definately not to the fans. Imagine Coach Law allowing his starter to finish a game in which he walks 11, and gives up 20 earned runs. The relief pitchers would stand in disbelief. Love Riley’s heart, but I think it’s time to see how Lark does. If he is not ready after 4 years in the program it doesn’t say alot about player developement or assessment. Hope they turn it around soon. Good luck next year.

  • Doogie said:

    I say get Holmoe back into coaching as HC and demote Mendenhal to DC. The guy at Colorado who was at Boise State before would be my choice for OC or have Bosco come out of retirement and be the OC / quarterback coach. I think Holmoe even tho not that successful at Cal, has competed against fellow BCS teams and would know what it takes to win at BYU.

  • Jeff Tanner said:

    My biggest worry is that Bronco won’t want to come back after the juvenile tantrums of some nameless internet posters and blacklisted bloggers.

    For a long time Bronco won something like 14 consecutive games decided by 7 points or fewer. Now they’re seeing the other side. I think that dumb (and bum) luck plays into that more than most believe.

    I understand frustration, and Bronco certainly bears blame. To a fault he tries to ‘teach correct principles and let [players and coaches] govern themselves.’ Put another way, he gives them a rope long enough to hang themselves. Unfortunately, he has a hard time dropping the trap door once they’ve strung themselves up.

    Bronco’s also got a lot of pride–and he hates it HATES it when others point out where he’s wrong (no big surprise; I hate it too. Most do.) and his bull-headedness makes him want to press further when others say something can’t be done. That’s a trait that’s mostly done him good–he overachieved as a FB player and as a coach.

    I think Bronco can be the right guy for BYU. He would be well served to do some serious soul-surfing in the offseason and make some changes in how he runs some things.

    I do want better. But he’s already a better coach than LaVell, by the numbers. He’s also in a much tougher environment.

    I really disagree with and resent the sense of entitlement exhibited by so many who feel they “deserve” better than Bronco.

    I seriously SERIOUSLY doubt anyone can do better overall (not just have a better record) than Bronco. And I have faith that, as he’s done in the past, he’ll learn and make changes. My fear is that he’ll no longer want to be around Provo.

  • Wireless Lawyer said:

    I’d suggest anyone calling for Bronco’s head do the following: Check the average points scored by each of BYU opponent this year and compare it to the number of points they scored against BYU. The man can coach defense. That side of the ball is fixed. If would be shortsighted to lose that.

    Does the offense need an identity: yes. Has it been painful watching QB play this year: yes. Do those things need to be fixed: yes. The pipeline of quality QBs should help.

    I do have to shake my head at the play calling in the SJS game. With all Riley’s physical limitations, it would have made more sense to run the ball more…Williams was clearly in a better position to make plays than Nelson was.

    As you can see, I prefer to accentuate the positive. That said, I have to laud Cody Hoffman’s performance, not just against SJS, but all season. He’s left it all on the field every week.

  • Ron said:

    I have been following BYU football fanatically since the Gary Sheide days in the mid 70s. Here are a few things BYU “fans” have taught me:

    1) The best quarterback at BYU is always the one not starting.
    2) The average “fan” (with the benefit of hindsight) is much more competent at calling plays than (fill in the current OC).
    3) No matter how many times I change my season tickets, I can’t get away from loud-mouthed boneheads who spend more time screaming (and booing) AT their team than they spend cheering FOR their team.

    I am ashamed of the spoiled, entitled, arrogant attitude of so many BYU “fans”. The criticism leveled against players and coaches on these forums and on sports talk radio is embarrassing. If you were paying $100 a game to watch a bunch of spoiled multimillionaires lose in an NBA arena, maybe you’d be justified in your lack of patience, tolerance, civility and kindness; but probably not even then. But these are 18-25 yr. old kids who are working on degrees, going on missions, and raising young families. Do you think they don’t read these forums or listen to the radio? These are coaches, who if they lived in your ward, you would think they are the nicest people you know. Your lack of support for them becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when the going gets tough and the game is on the line and confidence is needed.

    I am not thrilled about the state of the football team since Max Hall graduated and Robert Anae was forced out. I have my opinions about what might have gone wrong and how things might be improved. But I’d be REALLY delusional to believe that I know better than the great people who are guiding the football program.

    Bronco Mendenhall is human. So are Doman, Weber and whoever else is being criticized this week. They have made mistakes, but there are also 22 other humans on the field who can also make mistakes. This season’s combination of mistakes, injuries, bad bounces and strong opponents have all contributed to the lackluster results.

    It is a fan’s job to support the team through thick and thin; to rise up and cheer loud enough to cause a false start against the opponent’s offense right when the defense is feeling the pressure of defending the goal line. There are too many BYU “fans” and not enough real fans. As a collective body, we don’t deserve the excellence we demand from our team. If we want a top 10 team, our support should be worthy of a top 10 team. GO COUGARS!

  • Stace said:

    Bronco does a wonderful job preparing his team for devotionals, but his team looks unprepared far too often against opponents. Any intramural quarterback could suit up and produce the same results as Nelson. If you are a D1 coach and can’t see that, you don’t belong.

  • Ben said:

    Bronco hates the press, hates most byu fans, can’t give an intelligent interview, um, um, um And more um’s, has not won a significant game in years, losing recruiting battles left and right, won’t ever hire a really exceptional assistant because he feels threatened, would rather be a d coach than a head coach, can’t make good head coaching decisions because he doesn’t know offense, feels he doesn’t owe anything to anybody, especially the fans, because no one has any right to criticize him until they have walked in his shoes. Really exceptional head coaches have none of these flaws. Do we really believe there is no one out there but Bronco? He should be fired immediately after the bowl game and let him be a D coach somewhere else. There is a real head coach out there. Start the search now!!!’!!!!

  • Frank said:

    Oh brother, here come all the “you’re not a real fan if you ever are critical of you’re own team” comments. Even if that criticism is painfully obvious, which it is this year. I think that the only unreasonable posts on this thread have been some of those from the Bronco supporter side. Why do some people feel like they have to be the fan police and try to enforce their definition of what it means to be a real fan?

  • Bryan Taylor said:

    @ Chris B-

    Your post did seem eeirly similiar to all of Chris B’s post on the deseret news. No kidding. You even use the same screen name. I actually agree with much of what you said in your first post. I’m not a Bronco supporter as most people on here already know. I realize Utah, TCU and BSU have set a standard for BYU. I just found it very odd that you were infering to Utah alot in your post and this is the same as the person I’ve been reading his commentaries for years on the deseret news articles…so it seemed odd. I owe you an apology.

  • Patrick said:

    One of the best articles I’ve read. Well done. Very direct and to the point. I’m one of those fans that Brett speaks of. Any of you still holding onto the status quo are blinded by faith. The program is sliding, and that’s not acceptable.

  • Bryan Taylor said:

    ALRMCoug & other’s posting nonsense-

    And to all who visit DSB: Please disregard ALRMCoug’s posts….he is the most delusional Cougar Fan out there. Like Frank truthfully and insightfully stated, he thinks he is the “fan police” and can admonition others for not supporting a lousy coach that beats up on lousy competition to pad his win percentage, plays a Division II QB because of grit (not talent), hires imcompetent assistant coaches, refuses to change, evolve, adapt as a HC, is condescending towards his own fan base, and has stated on more than one occasion that he will always play grit over talent.

    Ding ding ding…we have a winner as a coach!

    Once again this needs to be stated…Insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. Nothing has changed with Bronco (infact he has digressed) since 2009. In fact, I can make a very good argument that 2008 and 2009 were also very dissappointing seasons with losses in most of the games that mattered in order to get us to a BCS bowl or our supposed “quest for perfection”. I’m sick of the slogans, the fan police, and JUST WANT TO BE A RESPECTABLE TEAM THAT WINS IT LEAST HALF OF OUR GAMES AGAINST RANKED OPPONENENTS AND TEAMS ABOVE A .500 WIN PERCENTAGE. Remember, Lavell had a 21-21-1 record against ranked competition. Though this is not great, Bronco is 4-13 against ranked competition. The rate he is going he will be 8-34 agains ranked competiton if he coaches another 7 years. That’s what your getting with Bronco Mendenhall as a coach. Obviously for some fans that’s perfectly OK to beat up on inferior competition year in and year out, go to a bowl game and beat a 4th or 5th place PAC12 team or possibly a 1st or 2nd place MWC team. Most of us that have the ability to think logically, take off the blue goggles and blinders, want a coach that will take us to the next level. I don’t know who that is or would be. That’s Tom Holmoe’s decision and responsibilty to find that coach. Bronco has plateau’d, hit his ceiling, and taken us as far as he can. In fact he is digressing especially if he losed to the 3rd place WAC team. This is embarassing.

  • Ben said:

    I am one of those dummies that drove hours to watch this last debacle in San Jose. I paid for the alumni tailgate party and met a lot of old friends and made new ones. We were so excited for the game to start. It didn’t take long for us and everyone around us to realize this team was neither prepared nor mentally ready to play. When that game started, we expected those coaches and players to have football their #1 priority that night. You Bronco lovers must have been watching tv. If you had spent hundreds of dollars to travel and actually be there for that performance, you also would be mad. Bronco makes over $1,000,000.00 per year plus benefits and extras. Don’t you dare not let most of us criticize him.

  • Brock said:

    I believe there are two reasons why fans are so upset and looking for accountability. Sadly, both of these reasons land at Bronco’s feet.

    First, Bronco has set the bar, and subsequently, fan expectations, high enough that everyone is expecting undefeated (See also: Quest for Perfection) seasons and national championships. All the talk about getting in a position where BYU can play in a BCS game is kind of ridiculous considering the inability to win games against ranked teams since the Oklahoma game. Who is driving this rhetoric? Bronco

    Second, fans expect to lose some games to good competition. As a fan I can walk away from a good contest that we lost as long as it was the other team that beat us. What a fan cannot excuse is losing to inferior teams, or losing games that should have been wins. When coaching decisions (See also: failed two-point conversions vs. extra points, playing an injured undersized safety as your QB when you have true blue-chip QB’s in the system, granting playing time based on intangibles instead of results, burning your second half time-outs on defense in the first five minutes of the half, etc.)

    I love Bronco, I love how he coaches the defense, I love the way he develops these players into men, I think he’s a great man and an excellent ambassador for the University. But his own lofty goals coupled with his inability to manage the game offensively are in-congruent and shaking the support of the base.

  • bigjohn said:

    Bronco struggled even when he was solely the defensive coordinator with promoting unity on the team. His defenses in the Crowton days were a detriment to team unity.

    There is still a division between the offense and defense evident today, and yet he has done a tremendous amount of good for the program.

    To take BYU football to the next level and further develop team unity, Bronco needs to relinquish some of his defensive coordinator duties and focus on being a head coach, on making sure his assistants have the necessary resources and training to carry out their respective duties, to use consistent methods in holding accountable not just defensive but also offensive players as well as coaches, and to make the tough decisions when things don’t turn out as expected.

    His own stated goals for a winning program are not being achieved and yet he has not made any noteworthy adjustments or held anyone accountable for the results. His stated goals for the offense include:

    *Scoring at least 24 points per game (6 of 10 games)
    *Winning the turnover battle (6 vs Utah, 5 vs Boise State, 5 vs Oregon State, 4 against Idaho, 4 against SJSU, 3 vs Hawaii, 2 against Notre Dame

    Whether Nelson is the best quarterback on the roster or not (no one else has his versatility in throwing over the head, at the ankle, and behind the back passes), quarterbacks are benched for having that many turnovers no matter what the reason.

    Ultimately Bronco is not, in a puzzling way, exhibiting the overall leadership and decision making needed to win football games with this veteran team.

    Brock stated it oh so well.

  • ChewyJJ said:

    Some great comments which are right on point (special kudos to Chris B, Bryan, Ben, etc) and then some more “Go Cougars-I love Bronco no matter what” comments…and trying to foist the church as their rallying cry.

    At many big universities with demanding alumni, Bronco would have been in big trouble last year and put on notice to improve or be gone. At nearly any University who cares about football, with three straight losses to their arch-rival, an offense that has lost all semblance of former excellence, poor personnel decisions (Nelson@QB, not starting Jamal Williams until injuries forced him into the line-up), combined with another sub-par year, making the winning % vs quality opponents even worse, Bronco would be definitely be on his very last chance headed into 2013.

    In public and with press, Bronco is arrogant and in print and broadcast, he is dismissive and a constant excuse-maker for non-performance. FYI, Bronco does use religion as his weapon and brandishes it constantly to anyone who challenges his decision-making or lack of it.

    As I said, in the last game, Bronco finally made a D-adjustment, although that should have happened after SJS first offensive series, the D shut down SJS in the 2nd half. Unfortunately, Bronco could not change his blind and slavish devotion to his personal “Rudy Hero”, Nelson, and that cost BYU the game Saturday.

    We should expect excellence, not mediocrity. It was Bronco, not Doman, who chose and stuck with Nelson. Further, it was Bronco who picked Doman and, with the exception of Anae (who he forced out because Anae didn’t want Nelson at QB) he also chose virtually every other coach people have complained about in this blog: O-Line, Running Backs, etc.

    Bronco succeed Bronco must change and that includes hiring coordinators smarter and better qualified than he is. The head coach is supposed to hire men smarter than him…as a guy who loves Organization Behavior, Bronco should know this fact better than anybody.

    P.S. You can hire a coach who lives the standards of the University (LDS Church) and still has high standards for football and on-field performance.

    P.S.S. On September 24th, Blue Cougar Football wrote a similar column to Brett-and predicted the unfortunate outcome for this season without big changes: http://www.bluecougarfootball.com/2012/09/tom-holmoe-needs-to-give-bronco.html?m=1

  • Cougar in Europe said:

    Although this has been a disappointing season, and at times a very very frustrating season (see Boise St), the corrective actions to right this ship should be minor. When the car you are driving begins to drift out of its lane a sharp and dramatic jerk of the wheel in the opposite direction is usually the wrong corrective action and could cause the car to lose control and flip. BYU needs some corrective action, but they should be mild.

    One of the best predictors of a program’s success is coaching stability. Bronco’s record shows the program is on good footing, but this year is a learning year.

    By now, it’s obvious that the offense is the problem, and I don’t think we can pin those problems on one person (Nelson, Doman, Weber, etc). With the graduation of Nelson, I would look heavily at replacing either the O line coach (Mark Weber) or Doman. We also need to find a kicker who has some consistency.

    I look at Washington State as a good example of placing high hopes in a big name coach without seeing any results, and I don’t think big name Andy Reid would be any better than Bronco.

    Bronco is the right head coach for BYU–look for some changes in the offense this year.

  • Craig said:

    Many of these comments are spot on and I love to see people finally seeing Bronco as he really is. For at least 4-5 years I have been preaching the “Fire Bronco” mantra. He has a lot of great characteristics and qualities, but he is NOT head coach material. People want to give him and Doman some credit, but why should we give it to them? Bronco has had his chance to do great things with great talent, and he has squandered it. He doesn’t know how to use his talent effectively and he seems to fail to prepare his boys for the big games. The only game I saw where the fire was there for him and his team was the Oklahoma game in Arlington. One game in how many years?? I saw a stat that said he had a 4-12 record against Top 25 teams since he’s been coach. That’s 33%!! You have that kind of winning percentage against top tier teams in any other big conference and you are shown the door. Sure, Bronco has a high winning percentage while coaching in a weak MWC- 75% or something to that number- but he should have a high winning percentage there. As a matter of fact, it’s embarrassing that it wasn’t higher! With the way college football is going, and with the way Holmoe is scheduling games, BYU can’t have that kind of weak record against quality opponents. 2013 could be abysmal with the teams on our schedule.

    Now, I could list all the reasons why Bronco should be escorted out, but need we look any further than this season and all the horrid calls he made? My wife, who knows nothing about football, even questioned his decision to go for two against Boise St. with how the game was going. And what about the love affair with Riley?! Bronco’s sappy sentiments concerning Nelson got old really early and the fact that he left him in that San Jose St. game (while he was obviously hurt) was mind numbing. If you have a coach that doesn’t choose to see that and adapt his game plan to put his whole team in the best possible position to win, then he is inept. At times I wonder if Bronco thought about all the other players on his team, and think that he let them down by his poor decisions.

    It’s time for a change. Find someone who cares about spreading the Gospel and someone who wants to make football a top priority, because both can happen. We don’t need to settle for one or the other. There are coaches out there that can do both. Coaches who don’t just talk National Championship talk, but actually want to work for it. I, for one, am sick of hearing all the hype from Bronco himself before the season, and then hear him defend his horrible coaching by claiming that football is not the top priority. Ship him out, or continue to settle for mediocrity and dull postgame interviews with “execution” being mentioned every other word.

  • David said:

    Bronco’s decisions and comments this season regarding Riley Nelson have been absolutely mind boggling. Even the most diehard Bronco supporter has to be frustrated about that. I can’t even begin to imagine the level of dissapointment and betrayal Lark and his family must be feeling. Needless to say Munns who will actually be the backup QB next season.

    But with that said, the Board of Directors pays much more attention to the results of the fireside before the game than the score of the game itself. And in that regard, possibly Bronco’s #1 job description, he is excelling exceptionally. And that may be all that actually matters to those who actually make any real decisions about BYU football.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    I didn’t realize that you have to lie and slander about the coach and players in order to be a good fan. If that is the case, I guess I am a very bad fan.

    Everyone seems to forget that it was this kind of fan outrage that pushed Anae out. Fans were clamoring for Doman. Now Doman has been the problem all along? Nonsense.

    I know some people don’t like it when people tell the truth about this team, because it ruins their pity party. Just know that your inane temper tantrum is a minority viewpoint. You can mock and shun me all you want. You can shout me down, and pretend like I am the one that is trying to stifle opinion here (ironic huh). But the fact is, most people agree with me. That is not opinion, that is fact. So go ahead and have your temper tantrums. Hold your pity parties. Rage against, lie, and slander the winningest coach in BYU history if you want (contrary to the belief of some, I am not trying to stop anyone from being stupid). If that makes you feel better about yourself … If that makes you feel like your team is truly the best team in the universe, if only it didn’t have such a crummy coach … if that makes you feel like all the worlds problems can be pinned on some invented story about Bronco driving the team into the ground because of some mancrush on a crappy QB (which is nonsense) … then go ahead. I am not against anyone being happy.

    But don’t think you are right, because you aren’t … and PLEASE don’t destroy this team with your inane threats and slanderous stories. You aren’t the only fans of BYU (I have never claimed you weren’t fans … another red herring trope that people throw out to avoid actually facing the truth). The day Bronco leaves this program will be the day BYU takes a big step back, and I am afraid he has just about had it with the hateful fanbase. I wouldn’t blame him for a second if he left. We will be worse off for it.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    David –

    What do you want him to say about Riley? Can someone please tell me what the heck they want him to say about his struggling QB?

  • Nick said:

    1. Bronco is a good DC, but not a good HC. He’ll never be a great HC so long as he continues to be DC. Some kind of change needs to happen.

    2. Riley Nelson had no business being a QB at BYU. None.

  • Ron said:

    To those who think Bronco lets talented players sit while gritty players play:
    What are the names of the outstanding players who are currently on the bench? You could argue that Lark should be playing ahead of Nelson, but Lark has had five years to be evaluated, and has not risen to the top. Don’t assume Bronco is alone in his decision to play Nelson–selection of a starting QB is an important decision that several offensive coaches are involved in. Playing Lark also requires changes in play selection, blocking schemes and personnel due to his diverse strengths. It would be disruptive to the whole offense to switch entire schemes mid-season.

    On not starting Williams early in the year: How many freshmen RBs do you see starting in D1 football? Very few, and for good reason–Not because they aren’t talented enough, but because there is a lot more to the position than knowing which gap to run through. Hanging onto the ball, Knowing how to pass protect, knowing when and where to release for a dump pass, all of these things are things freshmen RBs struggle to learn. Williams is learning quickly and will undoubtedly be a great one, but he still misses blocks and assignments, as witnessed late in the SJSU game.

    Bronco plays the best players whom he can trust to give fanatical effort and play assignment sound. It does no good to have 11 super athletes who are all freelancing or who take occasional plays off. There are plenty of D1 teams with losing records because of these types of problems, even though they might have “better athletes” than BYU. O’Neil Chambers is a perfect example. He was a great athlete who didn’t listen to coaches, was a cancer in the locker room, and broke team rules off the field. Bronco made it clear to the entire team that playing time is based on more than just athletic ability. If you want to return to the helter-skelter offense of the Crowton days, then go ahead a play just the most talented athletes.

    Arrogance? Bronco is polite and professional with the press. He doesn’t go out of his way to befriend reporters, probably because he doesn’t see how it helps the team. He is very open and friendly with fans, but he doesn’t waste time answering comments from fans who think they know more than coaches. If Bronco is as tyrannical to his assistants as some are claiming, why are we not seeing coaches leave in droves? Why do his players praise him as one of the most influential people in their lives? No, Bronco is not a sales guy or a schmoozer, he’s a no-nonsense, down to business and down to earth, players coach.

    Rarely in the history of BYU football have we played more than 1 ranked team in a season. In the Edwards era, most years we didn’t play a single ranked team, even in our bowl game. Edwards teams regularly lost bowl games to unranked opponents. In the 1984 NC year, the marquee win was Pitt who was ranked #3 when we played them, but finished the season with only 3 wins. We barely beat pathetic Utah and Hawaii that year and then squeaked out a win against a 6-5 Michigan team in the Holiday Bowl. Those who think Bronco can’t take the team to the next level need to realize that we are already at a higher level than in the “good ole days”. We are definitely experiencing growing pains, but so is our little brother in SLC. Getting up for 1 game a year against a tier 2 BCS team is a far cry from playing 3-4 BCS level teams a year.

  • ALRMCoug said:

    What I don’t understand is why some BYU fans are so insecure about their own ability to understand football that they need the head coach to confirm that our QB sucks in the media. That is the only explanation I can come up with for why people are so upset that Bronco isn’t throwing Riley under the bus. Does anyone have a better one?

  • Bryan Taylor said:

    ALRMCoug- I don’t need to confirm what I already know about Riley. He’s a division II QB at best. What most fans absolutely cannot understand nor comprehend is why he is still playing QB at BYU (healthy or unhealthy) especially when we have QBs-Lark and Munns that are better passing QBS. Bronco has never addressed that nor do I believe that questioned has ever been asked of him. I would be willing to stake my life and good name on the fact that Lark and Mind are both better passing QBs than Riley Nelson.

  • Bryan Taylor said:


  • ALRMCoug said:


    I am with you. I believe Lark is a better passer too (don’t know much about Munns). If you are upset that no one has asked him why Riley is starting over Lark, then you should be upset at the media. I said earlier, before you wrote me off as a “Bronco lover” that is just here to be “the fan police” that I thought Lark should have been starting over Riley. I don’t understand why he isn’t. But I also don’t see him in practice and in camp (do you?). I don’t know what his weaknesses are. Does he have a pocket presence? Does he have good ball security under pressure (because he will surely need that with the line we have)?

    There are all kinds of reasons why the coaches might believe that Riley gives us a better chance to win. I don’t know what they are because I don’t have 100% of the info (and neither do you). I understand the frustration. I am frustrated too. But, unlike yourself, I am not willing to immediately assume the coaches are stupid people that would not put this team in the best position to win simply because of some “mancrush” on Riley. Maybe that makes me naive, but so be it. Maybe that makes me a bad fan. Oh well. I choose to think the best of people … especially of people that have done so much good for this program, for the Church, for the people close to the program and in the community. I have not seen any evidence to suggest that Bronco is an arrogant selfish person that would do that to his team.

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

    Ok peace. I have said above that I think Bronco comes off as arrogant. I happen to think that he does. I said he seems stubborn. I can think of no other valid reason why he would continue to stick with Nelson the way he has this season. But, I suppose I should not have stated those opinions of mine. I want to point out that I only did so as some contributing reasons why some fans (I don’t believe I’m in the minority with these opinions) are displeased with the coach. I know that I didn’t appreciate being compared to Sadduccees and Pharissees.

    I don’t think anyone cares to hear Bronco throw Nelson under the bus in the media (Tom Holmoe already adequately did that, unprompted, at a basketball news conference). That’s not the point at all. All anyone is calling for is to bench Nelson. That’s all we want, no comment from Bronco required.

    The playing lesser talent thing comes from Alisa playing ahead of Williams. Good points above about Williams being a freshman. I think it’s been clear, however, that Williams has been far more productive than Alisa was in the first several games this season. It also comes from playing Nelson ahead of ANYONE. We saw that proven out when Hill finally got the start due to Nelson’s injury. Hill was playing at a higher level than Nelson. However, Coach had stated he was going to re-insert Nelson as the starter once he was healthy again (that was made moot when Hill went down to injury). In addition to these, I believe Ansah is another example, as well as Bronson Kaufusi. These two are not as obvious. Waiting until the Ga Tech game to put Falslev as the kick returner is another example. I’m sure there are others we aren’t even aware of. This topic could be debated, it is opinion-based, not factual. I am of the opinion that Coach is a poor evaluater of talent, based on the above. Others on this board obviously do not agree. So be it.

    As to who is a fan and who isn’t, that’s just a stupid debate. We’re all fans, and we all have our own way of showing it. I can understand and I get how some fans throw their support behind anyone associated with the team no matter what. My hat’s off to you. I happen to be the type of fan who is demanding, wants more and expects more from my team. I don’t slander my team (I disagree that saying Bronco SEEMS arrogant is slander). I just see a problem, and I address it. I try to do it in a respectful and an appropriate manner. I believe that is the intent of these types of message boards. I believe I am entitled to do so, I happen to be an athletic donor.

    I agree with the sentiment of “who would we get to replace him?” I don’t have that answer. I also worry about what would happen to the program if Bronco were to be fired. I’m not sure that’s the answer. What I am sure of, however, is that what happened this season, is definitely not the right answer.

  • football junkie said:

    Ron, I’ve enjoyed your posts. Though you’re just a youngster (I remember Eldon Fortie and the single wing) you make a number of excellent points.

    All fans want their teams to win. Losing brings questions about the viability of the program. You cited our schedule having become exponentially stronger. Therein is the heart of the issue. When BYU was the dominant program in the intermountain west in the 70’s and 80’s it was unique for many reasons. Mainly however, we were King simply by default. No one else had made the necessary investment(s). Nearly everyone on our schedule were the UNLV’s of the world (no offense to UNLV intended).

    Today the world has changed. There are many factors that determine a team’s success. One of these, in which we have absolutely no control, is the fact that other programs have elevated their game. We can no longer dominate by ‘our looks alone’. To be at the top today requires literally being dominate in every aspect of the game…recruiting, coaches, philosophy, facilities, conference affiliations, money, media exposure, national reputation, and on and on, and yes, even fan support.

    Are we in the top tier in any of these aspects vis-a-vis the best programs in the country? Others can judge. But know and understand we are never going back to the good old days. We are who we are and that’s ‘the way it is’.

  • FL Cosmo said:

    Consider the past three years, and try to tell me that Bronco showed poor judgment in playing Nelson.

    2010: Heaps vs. Nelson, Heaps had the better arm, but Nelson had experience, including a very good freshman year starting for USU. Nelson had a good fall camp, and showed a lot of promise.

    2011: Heaps was the starter through the games that mattered, and Riley came in after Heaps’s struggles and gelled the team. Sure, it was against inferior competition, but there was a clear difference in how the team played and carried itself with Nelson on the field. Not a bad decision to play Nelson considering Heaps’s struggles and Nelson’s ongoing success.

    2012: With Heaps gone, and Nelson getting great results, how do you justify benching Nelson at the beginning of the season in favor of Lark, who hadn’t played? Turnovers killed us against Utah. You usually don’t see the starter benched for turnovers when he’s moving the ball successfully. You keep him in and tell him to take care of the ball.

    No, no. Poor judgment wasn’t shown in playing Nelson. Perhaps very poor coaching of the offense and Bronco’s lack of oversight that neither Heaps nor Nelson was developed. Heaps always looked like a deer in the headlights, and Nelson simply can’t see the field. His receivers have been so open that he could’ve gotten by despite his poor accuracy. The killer for Nelson is how often he simply doesn’t see open men, or sees them way too late.

    Brett mentioned earlier even Max didn’t show much improvement over his three years. So yeah, I would say we have a problem developing offensive talent, particularly at QB.

    It is impossible to know how much of the struggles over the last three years is due to Heaps being overrated, Nelson coming up short in talent, or coaches making poor judgments/decisions. Getting rid of Bronco when you don’t know coaching is THE problem puts the program at risk that the new guy won’t be as good, and that the real issues still remain.

  • BigCougar said:

    @FL Cosmo
    I’m not so sure Nelson’s freshman year was very good. He only won one game he started and his numbers weren’t that good even for a freshman. In fairness to him, his team was terrible.

    In 2011 the fact that the team started playing harder and better under Nelson means they were loafing and dogging it under Heaps. Who allowed the much division to exist on the team to the extent that TV commentators in the USU game were astonished by the difference?

    As for who should’ve started this year I wish we had the Bronco who coached BYU back in the 2000’s because that Bronco held players accountable instead of playing favorites. If a starter wasn’t pulling his weight and the backup was outperforming him he didn’t hesitate from one week to the next to bench a guy and put the back up in the starting lineup.

    This made everyone accountable and didn’t allow for player divisions to exist. If you decided to loaf on the field because you didn’t like the QB, then you wouldn’t be starting for the next several weeks and have plenty of time to think about it on the bench. I guarantee if Bronco had maintained that practice through 2011 we wouldn’t have had a situation where the team all of a sudden magically started playing harder and better when the starting QB got benched for poor play.

    If we had the Bronco from 2005-2008 coaching now, the QB who played the best on the field (not talked the best game or kissed up to the coach the best) would win the starting job and if he was dropping the ball during games, not moving the team consistently or letting drives stall in the red zone or turning it over too much then Bronco wouldn’t hesitate to yank him and put the next guy in. He said back then that it was every backup players job to prepare himself like he was going to be the starter and if a starter goes down with an injury we don’t stop to commiserate, we just plug the next guy in and line up again.

    If a stern talking to and laying down the law by Tom Holmoe can bring back THAT Bronco Mendenhall then I’m all for giving him another year to turn things around. But if he’s too stubborn to accept he needs to change and go back to holding players accountable and he’s going to let his pride get in the way of righting the ship and getting things back on track again then I’m ready to cut my losses now and move on. I see no need to waste another year of more of the same from the past 3 yrs.

    After all, what comes around goes around and he did it to Robert Anae after 5 very good years and only one bad year as the OC (2010). What’s good for the goose is good for the gander (as the old saying goes). If he doesn’t want to get back in line it’s time to go.

  • David said:

    ALRMCoug said:
    David –

    What do you want him to say about Riley? Can someone please tell me what the heck they want him to say about his struggling QB?

    I certainly expect a coach to publically support his players. And I do not expect him to criticize or call out individual players in the media. But I do not expect a coach to literally gush over a player who is terribly underperforming. And I certainly do not expect a coach to stubbornly keep a player on the field who is terribly underperforming, injured and single handidly losing winnable games.

    I am a fan who has always given Bronco the benefit of the doubt because it is so hard to find a HC who fits well into the culture that is BYU. And he has been very successful and has produced an outstanding defense this season. But I have become increasingly perplexed at the decision to continue to play a very poor performing Riley Nelson and then talking about him after the game like he threw for 500 yards and 6 TDs. I have nothing against either Bronco or Riley personally but the QB situation has gone from concerning, to frustrating to literally bazarre.

    It seems as if the coaches cannot bare to appear as if they made the wrong decision regarding Heaps. And the shame of it is that it results in a great deal of unfairness toward Lark and Munns. NO other player who so underperformed at their position would be allowed to continue to start and then have such praise heaped on them after yet another poor performance. There really is something very wrong about all of this and even most Bronco supporters can see it.

  • Rev S.J. Bobkins PhD. said:

    Excellent recap of our current affairs. I can’t stop thinking that Bronco has somehow lost any sence of urgency, possibly that has affected his lack of judgement regarding Turnover Boy or his decision to go for two at Boise. The option will never sell in Provo, why didn’t he know that? Or did he abandon the passing offense to spite us. I don’t think he can take us any further and replacement is due. On Darrell Bevell he is by far the best prepared LDS coach who might be available, if you caught my comment on the Pro-Bronco page, I added his background. Seriouslly Andy Reid? The pro game is dramatically different than college, you draft or trade players to best run your system, in college you built your system around the kids in the program. Andy will have 4-6 chances to move to a different club I would guess San Diego as the most likely. Coaches who have failed in the NFL like Saban, Petrino, Jim Mora, Pete Carroll (fired by two clubs before SC and then the Sea Hawks) have been great head coaches on the college level. Bevel has done both. He certainly knows how to win, as a QB I doubt we’ll see the favoring of a inferior QB while the better arms sit.
    Bromco’s comment when Jake left was: He’ll be in the NFL when college is over, things didn’t work out for him here”

  • Brock said:

    Other possible LDS coaching candidate (for OC or QB coach) Joe Germaine. He is having great success as a HC in AZ at the high school level.

  • Rev S.J. Bobkins PhD. said:

    Brock, for #^%+)$$& sake, do you know anything about football? You don’t move from HEAD high coach to HEAD coach in the FBS. I have dropped the Campfire Singing Handholders label, but if anyone qualified to wear it you do. Joe Germaine might move over to Mesa Comm College in time and that might be great for him, but his experience leaves him worlds away from the responsibility of recruiting, game planning, and managing a staff of 40-50 people. I’m ah jus, ah speechless with the lack of brainpower exhibited here at times, it’s not that you all don’t have it, it’s that you don’t use it. Point 2- please Bronco apologists don’t point fingers at the assistants, are you not aware of who it was that hired them! Point 3- those who had no idea what James Lark was capable on doing and exhibited blind faith that BM would never, ever, sit a player who was better than the starter: I raise my can of Coke ZERO in honor to you.

  • Brock said:

    Hey Rev, why don’t you breath and re-read my post (it was a pretty short post, so sound out the big words)? I actually talked about Germaine as a possible QB or offensive coach. Relax, try caffeine free coke zero next time.

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