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The BYU Defense Deserves Better

21 September 2012 Brett Richins 52 Comments

BSU QB Joe Southwick is stopped on 4th and goal.

BYU showed the country Thursday night in its 7-6 loss at Boise State that it has one of the best defenses in all of college football. Unfortunately, it also demonstrated that it may currently have the worst offense in the land as well.

Despite five turnovers by the offense, including one at its own one-yard line, the BYU defense kept the traditionally high-powered Broncos out of the end zone and without a single offensive point.

The highlight of the performance was stopping Boise State on four straight downs after running back Michael Alisa fumbled the ball on the BYU one in the third quarter. It was one of the most impressive goal-line stands in school history.

The Cougar D smothered the BSU offense all night, limiting the Broncos to 261 yards of total offense and just 13 first downs. It was the 10th-consecutive game that BYU has held an opposing offense to less than 300 yards.

However, all that the BYU offense could muster in return on the smurf turf was 200 total yards, with 95 of those coming on the team’s last offensive drive of the game.

Starter Riley Nelson turned in one of the all-time worst performances by a BYU quarterback, completing just four passes for 19 yards and getting picked off three times, one of which was returned for a touchdown by Boise nose tackle Mike Atkinson, before being benched in favor of true freshman Taysom Hill with eight minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Still, the Cougars had a chance to send the game into overtime when Hill drove the Cougars the length of the field and scored a touchdown on a four-yard run late in the game. The Cougars however missed the ensuing two-point conversion when Hill’s passed was tipped away in the end zone by a BSU defender.

Reality Check

The reality is that this Cougar defense deserves better and it’s an outright crime that it has been tethered to such an impotent offense. It’s also a crime that its head coach made such a huge mistake in judgement by going for two after Hill had led BYU down the field and scored what appeared to be the tying touchdown with 4:26 left in the game.

BYU had momentum on its side at that point and a defense that was pitching a shut out of the Boise offense. The Broncos are also struggling once again this year in the kicking game and place kicker Michael Frina had already missed a field goal earlier in the game.

The correct and proper thing to do was to send the game into overtime, rather putting the game on a true freshman quarterback who didn’t have a full grasp of the offense. The call was also a slap in the face of a BYU defense that had earned the right to have the game placed back into its hands.

Bronco Mendenhall is risking losing his players on defense if things keep going in the direction they are currently headed.

A Disconnect With Reality?

After the game, Mendenhall said that he had determined that he would go for two once his offense reached the 20-yard line. He also defended his decision to eschew kicking a game-tying extra point, saying that if he had it to do over again, he would make the same decision.

“We had momentum for the first time in the game, moving the ball offensively,” Mendenhall said. “We wanted to capitalize on it. I’d do it again.”

Huh? Seriously?

Mendenhall also seemed to indicate to the media that he still considers Riley Nelson to be his starting quarterback. “Riley is our quarterback,” Mendenhall explained. “I want him to be healthy and I want him to be able to look me in the eye and tell me, ‘Coach, I am absolutely ready.’ I don’t have any different feelings about him than I did going into this game.”

Memo to Bronco: Nelson should not see the field again, whether healthy or not.

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  • Beau G. said:

    Brett you are clown. You fail to see why we even have the defense we have. You fail to see the reason why the defense plays as hard as they do, and they don’t give up. I agree 100% that the offense needs to get something going, but you gotta know a little about team sports too. Riley is the leader of this team, if anything needs to happen that is Riley stepping up and admitting that he is hurt and get someone out there that is 100% and ready to go.

  • WaybackCougar said:

    Here’s my take:

    1. Riley has not been himself these past two weeks and in this case his never say die mentality became a major liability. Riley himself should have been realistic enough to admit that he wasn’t able to play effectively. He should have asked the coaches to pull him before the second half started. He probably should have admitted it last week in the Utah game as well. He’s feisty, but he’s also stubborn.

    2. As far a coaching goes, it’s kind of hard to call effective plays when your team leader is out there on the field stinking it up. Riley was so bad in his passing it was embarrassing. They waited way too long to pull him, but I know they didn’t want to shake his confidence and he did manage to rally late in the Utah game, so perhaps it’s forgivable. The main coaching deficiency at this point is our O line. As they say, it all begins there and it’s clearly in shambles. Perhaps inexperience and less talent than last year but it certainly seems like they’ve not met expectations for a number of years, so a coaching change there has got to be in order.

    3. Fans got their wish in seeing Taysom Hill and it turned out pretty much like it always does when you bring inexperience off the bench. He did show great running ability but needs reps before he’ll be effective in the pass game. Nice that he was able to get one drive going showing there’s hope for the future. But I think they’d have had a better shot at winning this game with James Lark at the helm.

    4. Coach Mendenhall can say he called for the two point conversion because we had the momentum, but I can’t help but think there may have been an element of “let’s get this painful experience over with and get out of here.” That’s how I felt. I was secretly kind of glad to see them go for it because I didn’t really want to watch anymore. It was great to see our defense shine but other than that the whole game was an exercise in futility. Not fun to watch. Had we gone to overtime we very well might have won. But unless we see the ship turned around in a major way, does it really matter? I hate to view it as a throwaway season so early, but it’s sure tempting to look at it that way.

  • Z-man said:

    Sorry, the decision to go for 2 was not the deciding factor in this game. It’s a 50/50 decision. I argue that if we make the 2 pt conversion, it puts the spotlight exactly on our defense to smother Boise once again (who had 4 minutes and 3 timeouts to work with) and close the game out on a defensive stand.

    I think the worst decision in this game, and ultimately what lost it for us, was starting Riley in the 2nd half. He was CLEARLY not ready to go. I think it was obvious to everyone that Riley shouldn’t be in there. Yet the coaches still put him in – and the result was Boise’s only points of the game. Then they put him in AGAIN! That just blows my mind.

    It continues to baffle me that one of the most mature and experienced teams in the country continues to make terrible mistakes that cost us 2 huge games.

  • Josh said:

    I remember feeling a little excited when the team decided to go for two. With the bad memories from our kicking during the Utah game and the scar from the missed field goal the last time we were on the smurf turf, I could see where Bronco was coming from.

    After the try failed, I started to wonder how I thought that it was a good idea. Hindsight is funny that way. I would love to see the stat showing Boise’s win percentage in overtime games, but the ones that I remember off of the top of my head make me think that this is not a team that I would want to extend the game with if given the choice.

    Would we have won if we had gone for 1, probably. After that last drive I would have also said that we probably would have been able to convert the 2 after the 4th down magic that we had watched, 2 yards seemed realistic.

    BYU defense is for real, they are fun to watch. I am excited about Taysom Hill as the future of this team. The offense needs to be able to complete a deep route (I would take a 15 yard completion at this point) to help the run game.

    This year is now par for the course, lose two games early, fix the mistakes and cruise against the teams we should beat. Oh well…

  • Steve said:

    Wow, when are we going to see some actuall coaching at BYU? Bronco you would go for two again? Well you would lose by one again. No time outs, a BYU that let Bosie do nothing all game, little time left and Bosie has no faith in its kicker. My little sister would have known to kick the extra point and win it in overtime. I have been a long time BYU fan, I attend Utah State University and have come to realize you can have talent but if you can’t coach you don’t win games. Anderson has turn Utah State into a contender. They don’t have the best talent but Gary and the crew make correct decisions when needed, same with Whitingham. It seems like after every game Bronco is saying “oh yeah we probably should have prepared better for te noise at Utah” or “yeah we should work harder on the snap count” wow, great coaching Bronco, great coaching. Why don’t you just com to the game prepared?

  • FL Cosmo said:

    @Brett, have to disagree with you on the 2-point conversion. As impressive as the defense was, the offense was horrible. Hill played much more than that last scoring drive without the same success, so it might be a stretch for you to assume that because BYU marched down the field on that last drive that things would roll in overtime. Also consider that overtime is risky business when your kicking game is as bad as BYUs. Despite every confidence in the defense, I would take my chances for the win by punching in the ball from 2 yards out. That said, I didn’t like the play call, but that’s another can of worms.

    On a side note, I’ve been consoled and teased by various random people at my work about BYU football over the last seven days. The exposure is amazing; now if we could just play a decent game…

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

    I agree with all points of this article.

  • Steve-O said:

    I am absolutely in the same camp as Brett for the massive idiocy of the 2 point conversion call. They had been just as effective in breaking up our offense the whole game-we had a freshmen QB (who I think will be pretty freaking awesome in the coming years), no real offensive production outside that one drive, and THEY had a crappy kicker and were being STUFFED by our offense. Give them the ball back, let our defense do what it had been doing the whole night, get to OT, then force them to go for a field goal with that same awful kicker. Our kicker, though admittedly not the best, is still better than theirs.

    Seriously, Bronco made that call purely on emotion. He’s cracking. The offense is in shambles. Riley should be benched for the rest of the year, because he’ll play well in the powder puff games and then cave in the big ones, JUST like last year. Get Taysom in there, get him as many reps as possible, get him ready for next year. A lot of our stars are juniors-get Williams and Hill up to speed, and we could have a great season… next year :-(.

  • Ole Dunn said:

    I haven’t watched a game but have listened to all three here in Lund, Sweden, thanks to KSL. I’ve read about our “new and improved” TEs and the two classy receivers, Apo and Hoffman. Those three weapons will never fire if powder is never put in the breech. I believe the ‘mean and lean” O line was better when it was heavier and unmovable. I don’t know how many more of these fiascos I’m getting up at 3 am to listen to. I would suggest giving Riley two offensive drives and if unable to perform, …well, I believe it’s already been said.

  • Andy said:

    My question is if Hill has not grasped the entire offense yet then why not play 5th year senior James Lark? Domans offense is horrible and now were going to scale it back even more with a freshman qb? Brings back memories of 2003 and Charlie Peterson in the 3-0 Utah game.

  • Steve Hill said:

    I totally agree with this article. Wow, Bronco, when are you going to start coaching and stop coming up with excuses? Number of reasons to go for the extra point: 1) No times outs left. 2) Very little time left in game. 3) Yoru defense has been outstanding the entire night (why not trust them) 4) Although the kicking games hasn’t been the best Bosie’s was worse. 5) You have the momentum going into overtime. Reasons to go for two: 1) Slim chance of converting, big chance of losing. My little sister who knows very little about football could have made the correct choice there.

    Bronco going for two again would mean losing by one again. I really like Bronco as a coach besides when he plays big games. He doesn’t prepare the team enough and makes poor poor decisions. I don’t want to hear anymore ” we should have prepared better for the noise” “we probably should have worked on the snap count.” Be prepared, stop making excuses. I’ve been a BYU fan all my life, and recently I have been attending Utah State University. Anderson has done an amazing job with the not as talented BYU team but that’s because he is a better coach, he has a better coaching staff. If they see the option isn’t working they stop running it. (Unlike BYU)

  • Adam said:

    I have got to say that I have no idea where this team’s direction is currently going. Bronco has turned into one of the biggest mental cases in coaching that I have ever seen and it reflects in his player’s performances on the field and his coaching staff’s ability to coach! When you make this many mistakes whether it be penalties or turnovers or misques there is only one thing to blame…. COACHING!! Bronco is more focused on stupid little things like having the D-line line up on the sideline in their 3 point stances and running out on the field together as a “band of brothers” before every defensive series than he is in actually analyzing the game and making adjustments to win the game! I hate the current BYU mentality and I think it is having the exact opposite effect on the field than what is was designed for.

    I have not been able to think of one good reason to have gone for 2 last night and apparently everyone else around the nation seems to agree. But Bronco is so much smarter than everyone else that he sometimes even out smarts himself!

    The goal line stand was awesome! However I hated seeing the BYU celebration afterward for like 5 minutes including Bronco acting like they had just won the national championship! He acts like that and is hugging the players and jumping in the air like a little kid celebrating the sound of an approaching ice cream truck only to turn around and slap his defense in the face with the 2 pt conversion call!

    I am not sure what direction BYU wants to be heading at this point. Over the last 12 months they have made decisions that really don’t align with where I want to see them go as a fan! I understand the whole church mission thing and the exposure side of it, and maybe the brethren know something we don’t. From a member side that’s fine and I support it but my fan side is very close to wanting nothing to do with BYU anymore, the competitive side of me is being under nurished with BYU’s current level of play. The real crappy part is that I truly think BYU is perfectly fine with the current state of the program. Its all about exposure and ESPN and how many millions of fans watch BYU get humiliated on national TV by their own stupidity and not necessarily humiliated by their opponent.

    I seriously feel like I am watching a blind kid play tetherball when I watch BYU play football. Can’t help but feel sorry for them!

  • Martin said:

    For those insisting that Riley is just injured, or somehow not himself the last two games, consider these statistics from last season and this season.

    Against TCU last year he was 15-29 (51%) with 2 INTs. Against Tulsa he went 17-40 (42%) with 2 INTs. Those were the two best defenses that Riley faced last season as a starter and he struggled immensely. Yes, he played gritty and tough, and against Tulsa was able to eke out a come from behind win, but it was not a good performance as a whole, and Tulsa is not exactly elite competition either.

    Fast forward to this season and Riley again does okay against Washington State and Weber State defenses, but then when he faces another good Division 1 defense he looked like a deer in the headlights, going 17-35 (49%) with 1 INT against Utah last week, and then last night against BSU he gave his worst performance of his career going 4-9 (44%) with 3 INTs including a pick-six that ended up being the only points BSU scored the entire game on their own hideous blue turf! Add those 4 performances together and you have a combined performance of 53-113 (47%) and 8 INTs against the 4 best defenses Nelson has faced as the starter at BYU!!!! I am sorry but that is just not going to cut it fellow Cougar fans. This is NOT a case of Nelson just not being himself the last two weeks. The problem is that this IS who Riley Nelson is when he faces a team with a good defense. He is just not a Division 1 caliber QB. He can make it work against soft defenses because he has some incredible receivers like Hoffman who, by his own admission, can go up and get the ball as long as the pass is in the same zip code, and because he can scramble and make plays with his feet. Take away those things though, as every good defense will, and you get what we saw last night, last week, and last season against TCU and Tulsa. I like Riley and I think he is a warrior, but he just does not have the talent to lead BYU to a successful season, and now that it makes no difference whether they finish 6-6 or 10-2 it is time to build for the future and get Taysom Hill all the reps he can get. Taysom Hill has all the intangibles that Riley Nelson has but he also has the talent of a true Division 1 QB, and he will face a murderer’s row next season so he will need all the reps he can get this season to prepare for it. To do anything less would be to place the desires of one player over the needs of the entire team and the future of the program, not to mention the fans. Bronco needs to get over his crush on Rudy Nelson and make the difficult decisions that he is paid to make.

  • Dave said:

    A few things that stand out:

    1) Yes, I agree that the defense deserves better. However, even with how poorly the BYU offense has played, we still should have won both games. It was because of two bad TO’s (bad snap/fumble in Utah game that was returned for a TD and the pick-six thrown by Nelson in the BSU game) that we are sitting at 2-2 right now instead of 4-0.

    Greg Wrubell summed it up this way: “In consecutive weeks, BYU’s offense outscored Utah’s offense and BYU lost by 3; BYU’s offense outscored BSU’s offense and lost by 1.”

    So yes, the BYU defense deserves better. However, I don’t think drastic changes need to occur on offense. We just need slightly cleaner play/better execution. If we’re -5 in the TO margin instead of -7 in the last two games, we’re sitting at 4-0 and everyone is talking about the special year that we can have, instead of calling for coaches’ heads and saying how stupid they are.

    2) The only coaching error I have seen in the last couple of weeks is letting Riley play (which is a big one). Riley Nelson gives us the best chance to win games when he’s healthy, and obviously, he’s not. It was clear in his body language in both games that he was seriously hurting.

    I’m fine with the 2-point conversion call. It was a gutsy one, and I thought a great decision. It was BYU’s first legit drive all night, we had momentum and the BSU defense was deflated. Go for the W. Cody was open, their LB just barely got a hand on the ball to knock it down.

    The hard part with a two-point conversion in that situation as a coach is, if you make it, you’re a genius. If you don’t, you’re the goat and get criticized by media and bloggers.

    Does anybody think Gary Patterson’s an idiot for going for two at the end of the TCU/BSU game last year?

    3) Each series that Taysom Hill was in on offense got better and better, culminating in a TD drive. The guy is as good as advertised. He’s got a great arm, and he’s fast. He needs to work on his touch a little bit, but I’d say the future is in really good hands. The fact that he drove into the end zone pulling four BSU defenders with him says something about his character as well.

    All in all, it sucks that we’re 2-2 when we could easily be 4-0 with just slightly cleaner play. However, there’s a lot to be optimistic about moving forward. An 11-2 season is still possible, which would be pretty special. If not, then 10-3, or 9-4, or 8-5.

    Regardless of how it turns out, they’re my Cougars, and I’m going to love them and cheer for them every step of the way.

    Go Cougars!

  • Gregory Lee said:

    4 of 9 passing for 19 yards. Three interceptions (not two as Brett incorrectly noted), one of which was returned for a TD. A lost fumble. Man, this sure isn’t the BYU I remember from growing up in the 80s and 90s. Apparently the Quarterback Factory has been shut down.

    The good news is we always perform better against creampuffs. The bad news is there are fewer creampuffs on the schedule this year (Idaho and New Mexico State are the only true “gimmes”) than last and even fewer next year. If we don’t figure out a way to fix the offense, 4-8 is a very scary possibility. Since my fellow BYU fans have already informed me (via Brett’s last controversial post) that fans aren’t allowed to have opinions during the season, however, I’ll just have to mentally prepare for losses each week while hoping beyond hope for wins. Here’s hoping we can fix the offense by next Friday. Go Cougars!!!

    @Brett – I love reading your stuff, probably because we’re in agreement 95% of the time. Keep up the good work, sir!

  • byujack said:

    Worse quarterback performance I have ever seen at BYU!

    I started watching BYU football with Gifford Nielsen so I go back a few years.

    It wasn’t just that there was many bad plays … but there was absolutely no good plays.

    That guy playing quarterback last night made Paul Shoemaker look like a Heisman trophy candidate, and Jackson Brown look like an All American.

    There now everybody else that knows everything about everything else can go back to blaming everyone and everybody else.

  • Ryan said:

    The game was on a true freshman QB regardless of whether it went to OT or not. Your posts have been all heart and no head ever since last Saturday, Brett. Your credability is declining quickly.

  • Steve-O said:


    You couldn’t be more wrong. The game was on the D, which has been owning the entire time, and on a crappy BSU kicker. Taysom would have done just fine, and even if he hadn’t, the chances were still WAY higher than going for two. Nice try though. Brett, you rock, keep up the good work.

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

    I’m shocked at the number of heads that are evidently still in the sand.

  • Dave said:


    Just wanted to point out that Riley was injured in the Tulsa (busted ribs), Utah (back), and BSU (back) games, so that only adds to the fact that Riley struggles when injured (just like any QB would). He was a combined 38-84 (45%) in those three games with 5 TD passes and 6 INT’s.

    However, a key stat here is his rushing. In those three games in which he played while injured, Riley rushed 34 times for 63 yds (1.8 YPC).

    Now take TCU, Hawai’i (comparable to Tulsa’s D last year, Hawai’i gave up 29 ppg, Tulsa 27 ppg), and Washington St this year. He was 65-102 (64%) for 863 YDs, with 6 TD’s and 2 INT’s in those games. He also rushed the ball 38 times for 95 yards (2.6 YPC).

    So when he’s healthy, Riley runs better and throws better. When he’s not, he doesn’t. Not much of a surprise there.

    You also need to remember that against TCU (the best defense Riley played against while healthy), Riley accounted for 294 yards of total offense (more than the entire TCU team combined) in what was arguably the best performance a QB from any college in Utah has had against TCU since Max Hall back in 2007 (yes, that includes Brian Johnson in 2008).

    When he’s healthy, he’s a good option at QB and gives us the best chance to win. The problem is, he’s not, and the coaches should’ve benched him at the start of the 2nd half of the BSU game AT THE LATEST.

    Ah well, it should be interesting to see how the rest of the season goes. If the offense can improve just slightly (and clean up their TO’s), I would say we have a legitimate shot at running the table from here on out. Our defense is THAT good.

    Go Cougars!

  • Steve said:

    Please stop with the excuses, I like Riley but he doesn’t play we’ll against good defenses. Please stop babying him.

  • Jim Tills said:

    What can a BYU fan really say after such a game? “If only…” doesn’t cut it!

    After the BYU loss at Utah (when we were clearly the superior team) among others I wrote that we needed to get Taysom Hill in the game and Riley Nelson, a 2-star transfer at best, out. After that pathetic first half offensive performance by Riley and the offense, thee is no way I let Nelson start the second half!!!

    Sure enough, he throws a pick-6 on the first offensive series. Then, instead of bringing in Taysom Hill, they put him out there again, and he throws another interception. Why? Why? Why?

    BYU’s defense was fantastic. They got beat on some long bombs but the passes were overthrown, and Preston Hadley gave too much room on the sidelines on one first down BSU got, but other than that, it was as perfect a defense as BYU has ever had. Congratulations to Bronco on being a defensive genius.

    The decision to go for two was exciting but tragic. There were no time-outs left and BYU didn’t have enough time left to stop BSU if BYU failed on the 2-point conversion try. It’s a ridiculous gamble to go for 2 in that situation. You’re a hero if you convert and a big-time loser if you don’t. If you go for the 99% sure point after, you live to have a great chance at winning this game. The defense has stopped BSU all night and will almost assuredly stop them again in overtime. On the other hand, under Taysom Hill, the team has finally gotten things rolling and BSU is back on it’s heels. What brain blockage was happening in Bronco’s head??? I’m not second-guessing; I would have kicked for the tie, stopped Boise once again, and then won it in overtime. Bronco blew it royally on this offensive call, and if it was really Brandon Doman’s call that was not overridden by Bronco, then Brandon needs to be dressed down—again.

    Two losses on a team that could so easily be 4 and 0 on the season is tough to take. My wife, who loves football, swore off watching anymore because even she sees the idiocy of the decisions that were incorrectly decided last night. Riley Nelson needs to be benched, period. If he plays, he will lead BYU to wins against most of the remaining teams on the schedule (except for Notre Dame and Georgia Tech) but in the process, will weaken the team for next year.

  • Dwight Cornell said:

    I think that Riley fits Teddy Bruschi’s terminology of hero ball, Riley is playing hero ball, but what makes it worse is that he is one major hit away from probably being in a wheelchair.
    Rile is a very tough man and very stubborn, so I think he needs to seriously think this through and be even tougher to admit that he is hurt.
    I do have a ton of respect for Riley, but it is Taysom time now.

  • Martin said:


    If Riley’s poor play against Tulsa was due to his ribs then that should have affected him even more against Hawaii, if those two teams were truly equivalent defensively, as you say. I am not saying that it would not be extremely difficult to play with broken ribs. I personally could not do it, and I will never question Riley’s toughness. But blaming his struggles against good defensive teams on injuries is a red herring, in my opinion. Riley struggles against those teams because he cannot stretch the field vertically with his arm. Those defenses do not respect his arm so they play man coverage and then stack 7-8 in the box and contain Nelson, and thanks to our pathetic O-line, harass him and force him to make bad throws that are easily picked off. Even against Washington State Nelson should have had 3 or 4 INTs but got lucky from defenders dropping the ball, and he was 100% healthy in that game. I am sorry, but that is just who Nelson is. He is tough, he is gritty, but he is not a good passer and defenses have figured out how to shut him down. It does not matter if he is healthy or not, he will never have another good performance against an opponent with a good defense. Notre Dame and GT will shut him down just like Utah and Boise State. Even Oregon State and Utah State will probably be able to shut him down this time around, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Hawaii does as well. If that happens we could be looking at a 5-7 season, and having to tell the Poinsettia Bowl we are sorry that we cant give them their desired match up with San Diego State.

  • Rob R said:

    I can see both sides of the kick the PAT or go for 2 debate, but the thing that bothers me is that after the failed 2 pt try why not onsides kick? There isn’t much time left, you can’t stop the clock and you’re down by 1. Field position for BSU doesn’t matter because they are going to try and run the clock out anyway. So to me, if you’re going to take the risk of going for 2 why not try to recover an onsides kick?

  • Seasider said:

    The biggest mistake in the game for me was not the decision to go for 2 but leaving Riley in the game as long as they did. He should’ve been benched at halftime at the latest. The first red flag for Doman to pull him should’ve been his first pick that killed a scoring drive. That pass that was pitifully underthrown even for Riley standards. Riley obviously has a very strong and convincing personality but Doman has to be able to see through all that and do what’s best for the team.

    The Taysom Hill promotion was a surprise and one that I still don’t fully agree with. Maybe it’s a case where Taysom is just playing better in practice than Lark. Otherwise by going with Hill, Bronco is telling his Seniors that they’re more or less writing this season off in favor of next year.

    The good news for BYU is they have a defense good enough to keep them competitive against whoever they play. All the offense has to do is not turn the ball over so much. They don’t have to be great, just not terrible.

  • John said:

    People talk about losing their jobs. Nelson should lose his. He gave Utah 14 points and Boise State the only points that they could score. He is so proud he won’t even admit it. He pulled the same thing two Falls ago. He was hurt in Fall camp and didn’t tell anyone and then played poorly until he was knocked out in the Florida State game. Weber ought to lose his job. The Oline is abysmal, no running game unless it is to the outside. Doman ought to lose his job. The play calling was worst than Robert Anae’s, and leaving Riley in for so long was his call. Mendenhall is a great defensive coach. But his weakness is that he loves gritty and determined players. That’s why he hired Doman and wants to play Riley. If he can’t make the decisions to play the best players and hire the best coaches and make the right decisions to win games, then fire him. Given the way that things have gone, we will be lucky to win against Utah State, Georgia Tech, and Notre Dame. So we end the season at 7-5 if we are lucky. The coaching has got to improve or nothing will improve.

  • Steve said:

    I love the way our defense is playing. But look at it from another perspective. Even though their defense allowed a touchdown, they could be considered a better defense than BYU’s based on the way the numbers. You use numbers to give credit to our defense. But the same logic could be applied to their defense–rather than against our offense (though of course we know there are issues that need to be addressed). Or the other way, it could be said that their offense looked even worse than ours, so there is a silver lining. If you take away the pick-6, a fumble, and a key penalty, we win convincingly.

  • BigCougar said:

    Riley should have been benched in the 2nd quarter of the Utah game when it was clear to everyone except BYU coaches that he wasn’t right, was playing gingerly, couldn’t throw the ball, and offered no leadership. When the only asset he brings to the table is leadership and he left that in the locker room, there is no reason to keep him in the game.

    Defenses have figured him out and they know he can’t throw deep so they’re stacking the box, taking away his short passing routes and his running lanes. I’m trying not to by hyper-critical of Bronco right now but I was pretty perturbed in his post game interview when asked about Riley and his position on the team. He seemed like he was purposefully being obstinate about the subject of Riley almost like when a kid is showing off on his skateboard, wipes out and skins up his knee in front of a crowd and then while wincing in pain he says, “I meant to do that”. Bronco said that this performance doesn’t change a thing in his mind about Riley. WTH?!?

    Word of advice Bronco, don’t go down with the ship on this. Riley will be fine. His Dad’s a surgeon, he’ll probably do soemthing similar in life (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree). No need for you to be foolish here and make yourself look like an idiot. You’re not being “disloyal” by acknowledging that you probably made a mistake in leaving him in and that he’s not the guy anymore (short term stop-gap measure is more like it).

    My high marks for the game go to:
    Ziggy Ansah – he was an animal last night on national TV and probably locked himself a chance to get drafted in the NFL draft and at the very least get a FA contract and a few years in the NFL to develop. Led the team with 8 tackles and 2.5 TFL’s.

    Taysom Hill – overcame nerves to settle in and lead BYU on a 95 yd TD drive with 3 1/2 to go. He racked up 72 yds on the ground in the final quarter (mostly) and was quick, fast, elusive, tough and on his TD run broke no less than 6 tackles while dragging a half dozen defenders into the end zone. And he’s a QUARTERBACK?!? Tough! The future is now.

    BYU’s defense – shout out to Uani Unga who played on fire in the 2nd half and was an absolute stud, to ‘Tree who again was a rock in the middle, Hadley/Fuga/Sampson for some big and timely hits, Daniel Sorenson for his TD saving hit on Harper at the goal, KVN for coming up big on the goal line stand on 4th down and Jordan Johnson for a great PBU late in the game on 3rd down to stop a BSU drive.

    Honorable Mention shout out to Richard Wilson for a great catch (21 yds) late in the game to kick start our TD drive and get us out of the shadow of our end zone.

    Needs Flogging:
    Doman – 2nd yr of poor QB and offensive play from him in big games (I don’t count the WAC games). If he was the one who made the call to yank Heaps last year to avoid losing the Utah St game what is this sick hold that Riley has on both Doman and Bronco that they can’t in turn yank Riley when he’s on the verge of giving his 2nd absolutely winnable big game in a row over to the other team? He should’ve been yanked in the 2nd Q of the Utah game.

    Braden Hanson and Braden Brown – C’mon guys. You’re seniors and 3-4 yr starters. You’re killing us with all these false start penalties. Have you never heard crowd noise before?! Also, while you’re at it, open some holes, push the opposing DL back a yd or two once in a while, okay? You’re supposed to be leaders of this unit. Act like it! Also, Hanson, you’re looked at as a possible AA candidate and first day NFL draft pick, you’re tanking it pal. Better get things turned around ASAP.

    Should absolutely be ashamed of themselves:
    Riley – I know people think it’s “courageous” when a leader of the team plays hurt. supposedly it inspires the team. Well I’ve got news for you, when your play is so bad that it puts more points on the board for the opposing team than your own and destroys the morale of the team, it’s not courageous, it’s SELFISH and you should’ve been taking yourself out of the Utah game (possibly from the beginning) and letting Taysom get the reps in practice for this game. You KNEW you weren’t right before the Utah game and all you had to do was put the team ahead of your own desires and tell Bronco & Doman you’re not good to go. Instead you put yourself above the team.

    Bronco – Your foolish and stubborn pride will be your undoing (and the decision to go for 2 won’t be forgotten). Also to Bronco, you can be honest and admit when you make mistakes. People appreciate it when you show you’re human and open and honest. It’s when you’re stubborn and prideful that they hold it against you. Riley is finished. You know it and we ALL know it. Just be honest and open about it.

    *Doman – I considered putting him here but put him in the “needs to be flogged” category instead. I won’t hold it against him that he’s not showing himself to be a very good offensive coordinator (Bronco hired him and gave him the controls). He’s made some changes to the blocking scheme on run plays and is squeezing a little juice out of that (ypc is bad but we’re getting yards on the ground the past 2 weeks) but his handling of the passing game is awful.

    In the big picture most people expected to lose 2 of the big 4 road games and we still have 2 winnable games left of those (ND and GT). Our defense has really been impressive and played with tons of heart and grit and determination. Truly inspiring. Bronco needs to quit throwing them under the bus and take back some control of the offense, take some position coaches (one for sure) and an offensive coordinator behind the wood shed and take responsibility for things.

    It’s a slap in the face to your defense when you dishonor all their heart and courage by stubbornly praising and sticking with your QB while he’s gift-wrapping games for the opposition. How about honoring your defense’s effort by acknowledging you made a mistake in judgement and that you have to make a change for the betterment of the team? You will be loved for saying it.

  • RDJ said:

    I am amazed at the BYU Homers who don’t see the truth of what Brett has been saying, not just this week, but for several weeks.

    Brett is telling the truth …and by the way, Brett Richins insight on this subject for weeks…and we need more people to start speaking up as we head towards a 6-6 season due to horrific coaching inadequacy despite some very good talent.

    Frankly, since we are on the subject, I don’t think Bronco is a “great” D coordinator either since while the D is improved due to greatly enhancing our talent on the line and LB, we have still have weakness in our secondary scheme; we have our CB’s playing way too far off the receivers and soft coverage from our safety support, Giff, Steve Young, McMahon, etc would have licked their chops at seeing this and would have carved us up. The truth is, Boise State QB was 15/25 and with a good QB playing for Boise State, the score would have looked much different…we have not faced a great QB yet.

    By the way, on offense, QB is not our only issue, we don’t play our best playmakers at RB…the best RB is our frosh 17-year old, who has great speed, power and instincts, and #42 should NEVER run wide…he is a straight ahead runner. We also didn’t see David Foote touch the ball once, who has some ability as well. Play-makers cannot make plays without the ball and without a scheme to get them the ball. We have watched Brandon Doman, who was hand-picked by Bronco to be OC struggle week, after week after week…only seeing progress with very weak opponents. We cannot beat teams with winning records, but that is the history of Bronco…he doesn’t win the big games.

    Look, Riley Nelson is a wonderful man, he is tough, he is fearless, he is a leader, but that is not enough when you simply don’t have the physical talent. He is hurt, which depresses his minimal talent further. He is not a Division 1 QB because he does not have the arm strength to play against any type of good defense. Even Desert News is speaking up on this subject now…Riley is over-matched, he might have #1 leader talent but not #1 or even #2 QB talent. Taysom Hill is Riley on steroids, much faster, bigger, stronger with a terrific arm, but he will have to be able to pass as well or BYU cannot compete against good teams.

    To be honest, this is not Riley’s fault, he has given 100%, but it like sending a Prius to race against a Nissan Maxima, no matter how faithful and dependable, in a race it will not win. The problem with BYU is coaching…it starts with Bronco, who is not the right head coach…he is far over his head in tactics, game decisions, and the fact he is arrogant, refuses to be questioned, and is impossible for anyone to listen to for more than 10 seconds.

    Did anyone hear him on KSL last night? He was even worse (although much the same as after the Utah game) in what he said…as a BYU fan you should be very concerned.

    In case you missed it, here is a little recap:

    Bronco actually said he made his two point decision on the 20 yard line…he said didn’t think we would have momentum again and said he would not kick the extra point if given the chance to kick it again…he said “I would go for two again in a second”…that is idiotic, and his decision was mocked by everyone who knows anything about football. In a hostile environment, versus a team with no confidence in their FG, you kick the extra point

    The KSL HOMER RADIO HOSTS DON’T CHALLENGE THIS STATEMENT? No time outs, he has 3:37, he knows he doesn’t have TO’s but he hopes he can stop them…even without a first down, there is no time for us to score, especially with our fault FG kickers. What is wrong in ZOOBIEVILLE? How can anyone make concessions for him Bronco has no clue over football tactics, this is not basketball. He has all the momentum…if he kicks the extra point, all the odds are in his favor…Boise State will have to try for win, not hold the ball. His D could get a turnover…the complexion of the game is changed…they have NO FB KICKER…he could win the overtime. This was the subject of every analyst, not just at ESPN, but all over the country last night.

    Only at BYU could this idiot survive…he says the same thing every week “their effort, their resiliency, I love this team, just a great testament to the human spirit”…what is he talking about?

    Bronco does not understand football…he said on the radio; “there is just one standard to measure up to, when they do that in practice the coaches trust them to play.” It is like listening to a Santa Cruz CA Stoner- Bronco is all about New AGE MORMON do babble speak. He said he “lost track of the turnovers…was it 5? “ Wow-really? In the last six quarters of football Riley Nelson has six turnovers…how about that stat?

    He then says; “Well Riley Nelson is my #1 QB, I hope he can play next week”…”I love the kid, I love his toughness”…earth to Bronco…Riley is not a linebacker or a fullback…he is a QB. He tells the KSL breathless radio heads, “I would do it again every time…we were gathering momentum, I could feel it”…we might not get it back”…what?

    Even KSL Radio Homers who are afraid of Bronco cannot stop themselves from saying…”but Coach, you had no time outs left”…Bronco’s answer? “we knew we had no time outs, it just didn’t work out”.

    What is that response-I am clueless and hoped for a miracle? No response from KSL. Bronco is not a strategist or a game manager…he does not care about massive penalty accumulation which stops drives…he says :the penalties don’t both me, they show aggressiveness”. Hello? They also cost you games. Bronco loves toughness since he sees himself…very little talent but a tough guy…tough robot.

    On KSL and to anyone else, Bronco babbles on about Riley being tough, loving this team, blah, blah, blah. His season is DONE…his team is boring on offense, not what ESPN signed the contract to see…they signed for the tradition of passing and exciting offense.

    If Bronco sticks with Riley he is looking at losses to Utah State, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Oregon State…that would be six losses and one more and no bowl game to play the 5th place team from any conference.

    So what does he say to KSL? “This game does not change my belief in Riley…he is still my #1 QB, I love how tough he is”…he keeps saying he loves how tough he is…what is he talking about? HE IS A HEAD COACH…Riley is not 50% the QB as Taysom…and at 100%, he has a VERY WEAK ARM…Taysom Hill is head and shoulders above him in talent…it is obvious to anyone who sees practice…Taysom just needs reps…he is bigger, faster, stronger, great arm, we have other QB’s who are also much better passers…

    This is more of why BRONCO is a terrible coach. He does not get it….playing QB is not just about toughness…it is about talent..Riley is simply not that great a talent, and certainly not close to Taysom in talent. Taysom, unlike Jake Heaps, is well-liked and is also a leader and seems like a pretty tough guy himself…he dragged three Boise State Players into the end zone with him tonight.

    What is the Bronco solution for next week? The KSL boys breathlessly ask him this question and get their answer in Bronco Robot speak: “We need and I need to ask more of the offensive coaches and players to do more and make the expectations clearer…I will ask more and make the demands and ask Coach Doman to do more…I trust him, I will set clearer expectations for him…BYU players do what they are asked”.

    Again, what in the living H and double L is Bronco babbling about? He is not a football coach any more than Obama has controlled the deficit.

    His next comment to KSL is an arrogant and stubbornly pronounced “If anyone will beat us they need to play four quarters… that is what I can see”. Again, what the heck does this mean but KSL responds…oh yes coach, that is true.

    REALLY? WHAT IS GOING ON? Everyone has to play four quarters…that is what a football game is…you played 8 quarters the past two weeks with superior talent than Utah and Boise State and lost both games…and both games were lost 100% on coaching and this game was all on Bronco, letting down his players who played so hard to win.

    KSL-Coach, does Riley has health issues? Oh, that is too early to say…”I can only hope he can play be next game, he is a tough guy (again) he is our leader”.

    I wanted to jump through the computer and smack the robot battery out of him…WHAT IS HE SAYING? HAS Any coach ever talked like this? He would be LOL out of any real university who gave two cents about football…even at division 2…he is an arrogant idiot who is running amok with the program, lecturing and threatening anyone with his false piousness and dependence on hiding behind gospel over winning.

    If Tom Homloe listens to the crap and does not bring this fool into his office and rip him a new one, he should be questioned to his competency as well. Great, we can beat loser teams and the 5th place team from PAC10 and MAC…

    So, KSL asks, Coach, what is your solution for turning it around next week? “They have to play hard to the very end…who knows what the score will be and it isn’t relevant to us, hopefully we get a couple more points but that isn’t the issue. They might be 5-6 more games just like this one this year…”


    I am shocked at this guy being a coach and say what he says…he is not qualified to be a head coach…he should have tied the game and then used his terrific D, great momentum and if necessary overtime to go for the win. Instead, he told all of us he would do it again…and he is proud of it…proud of his stupid decision that everyone is now making fun of him…not just nationally, but also in Provo. His comments alone on KSL is why we need changes.

  • Joe said:

    Agree with Brett 110%! The truth can be a tough pill to swallow, but that doesn’t mean its better to live in denial.

  • Aaron M. said:

    I have no problem with going for 2. You said in your article that you don’t want to put the game in Taysom’s hands. What did you think would happen in OT? With the 2 point conversion, you are asking Taysom to get 3 yards. In OT, you are asking him to make at least 10 to get in range of our outstanding kickers (insert sarcasm). Either that, or score a touchdown.

  • Gary said:

    I do not think Bronco is in jeopardy of losing his players. They are all his players but none more so than the defense and they are playing as good or better than anyone in the country. I see a tough, inpsired defense, not one that is giving up on their coach.

    The QB play is at the top of the list for what is wrong with this team.

    When are we going to learn not to take everything Bronco says to the media to heart? Sure he is going to stand by Riley right after a game. He never second guesses calls of anyone, let alone his own in the heat of post game comments.

    The 2pt play decision was made on emotion and momentum. In hindsight it should have been made on rational judgement. Who hasn’t made that mistake before? If it had been successful few would be complaining.

    Riley Nelson is not a Div1 passing QB. He is a tough leader who will give you a 110% but he can’t pass the ball and when the only person on the field who is being asked to throw can’t do it you will never be successful.

    He hasn’t done it the last 2 games and he hasn’t done it well when he was healthy either.

  • AF Coug said:

    “4 of 9 passing for 19 yards. Three interceptions (not two as Brett incorrectly noted), one of which was returned for a TD. A lost fumble. Man, this sure isn’t the BYU I remember from growing up in the 80s and 90s. Apparently the Quarterback Factory has been shut down.”


  • Dwight Cornell said:

    I have to admit there are alot of negative comments about this game last night, even from me earlier, let’s just all take a deep breath and remember it is just a game people.
    We are all entitled to our opinions and they are just that but life does go on. We all enjoy sports and we want BYU to win every game if possible, but once again it is not going to happen.

  • Chris said:

    Coach Mendenhall needs to rent the movie “Moneyball” and watch it over the weekend. Then, let’s have him come back once again and try to explain why he chose to go for two. If he gives the same answer, perhaps somebody could get him to head over to the Tanner building and take a Statistics 221 class…..

  • BigCougar said:

    I do like Bronco as the HC at BYU and I’m not in favor of changing HC’s at this time. What I wish instead of a HC change is to see change in our HC.

    He’s done some good things from time to time to try and effect some change. I liked his focus this past spring/summer on better nutrition and better fitness levels for players. I think we’re seeing dividends from that by having a stronger team in the 4th quarter of games this season. We didn’t see that in years past and had teams that ran out of gas in the 4th quarter and had no punch down the stretch.

    I like the time they spent this off-season learning from NFL coaches at the Houston Texans camp and also the (iirc) Raiders (?) and then the time that Doman spent at the Oregon Ducks learning about their no-huddle attack.

    Those are nice changes and things that can help us improve but the big problem is they’re not fundamental changes they’re just peripheral and don’t really get at the core of why BYU seems stuck in this rut of being great against WAC and lower tier BCS schools but playing like clowns and buffoons against good teams.

    Those changes must come from Bronco himself and will require him to gain some humility (lose his immense pride), stop the empty rhetoric, be human and admit when he was wrong then take ownership of problems and then fix them.

    Things like his over-developed sense of loyalty to the “Rudy” players at the expense of developing more talented players. At times he speaks to getting the best players on the field but then we see where he’s slow to do it. Example, Riley vs Taysom (and probably Riley vs Lark since last fall) Jamaal vs Alisa, etc. It might be a case where he’s quicker to do it with his defense but is reticent to take charge of the offense and do the same with that unit like he does with the defense.

    I think another key for him that is also one that will take a lot of heat off of him is to be open and honest when he makes a mistake and then be proactive after that so that the team doesn’t continue to repeat the same mistakes over and over. When he keeps blaming our embarrassing losses to the yewts on not playing clean enough football to win the game, it’s like “Duh! Now do something about it!!!”

    I’m sure he wants to come across as being intelligent and in charge of things but when he responds like that it makes him sound just the opposite. Those problems don’t straighten out by themselves. They need a leader directing the traffic and sometimes it means he has to make tough decisions like benching a pet player who’s not performing or reprimanding a position coach or coordinator whose unit isn’t pulling their weight and then doing it in a manner so that the paying public (who pay his salary) can feel confidence that the same ol’ disturbing patterns aren’t going to continue.

    It’s times like these that I’m thinking, “Dude! Give me a reason to feel confident in you, please!!”, because there wasn’t anything he said in his post game interview on KSL that gave me ANY confidence in his ability to manage this team or this situation going forward. I have to say I was a little shocked by his stubbornness to defend and maintain the status quo.

  • outofutah said:

    Let’s get a little perspective here. BYU lost to 2 top 25-caliber teams on the road by a total of 4 points! BYU coaches gave the acknowledged SENIOR leader of the team a little slack when he begged to play injured. A difference in 2 plays would make BYU 4-0 instead of 2-2. I get really tired of impatient, greedy, nitpicky BYU fans. It’s easy to fire a coach. It’s not easy to find a better replacement, especially for one who wins around 80% of the time. I agree the 2-point conversion call was a 50-50 proposition. A linebacker got the tips of his fingers on the 2-point pass by about 2-4 inches–the difference between a genius coach and a goat. Luckily many BYU fans see the big picture and support the coaches and team. As for the live-for-the-moment ones, well………..

  • tommyg said:

    First: Holy cow is BYU’s defense amazing. One of the best in the nation, hands down.

    Second: I am so tired of fans (BYU fans in particular, but all fans really) saying after a loss:

    1) “IF such and such happens, then we win.”

    Unless such a statement is obvious in its cause and effect (i.e. “If, at the end of the game, we have 10 points on the board and the other team has 7, then we win”), it becomes unproven conjecture (i.e. “If we convert that two-point try, or force overtime, then we win”), which, by definition, is a lie. This line of wishful thinking is so small-minded and whiny, typical of a sore loser. First of all, a football game is made up of hundreds, even thousands of small decisions that must be made, from what play to run, to where a player shifts his weight, to when to slow down, speed up, move one way, or move another way. Once a game is over, the decisions are in the books. No amount of questioning those decisions will prove, answer, or change anything. It happened because it happened.

    Here’s an “if” for you: If you really need to make those stupid “if” statements to sleep at night, then you had better make them all. You can’t pick and choose. For example: “If the review officials realize that Alisa was STANDING UP when he fumbled the ball, then they don’t review that play and BSU goes up 14-0. Has any BYU contemplated that IF? Of course not. There’s no point. The play was reviewed, and BYU’s defense ROCKED it the next four plays (man that was impressive). So stop wishing and move on.

    2) “We SHOULD be 4-0, and not 2-2.”

    No you shouldn’t.

    You should be 2-2 because that’s what the scoreboard says. You are 2-2. You shouldn’t be 4-0, 3-1, 1-3, or 0-4. Utah State shouldn’t have beaten Auburn, BYU, Colorado St., or Ohio last year. There are no rights and privileges like that in sports. Unless there are refs cheating, what happens is just and fair.

    You … deserve … nothing. BYU did not deserve to win that game. Nor did BSU deserve to win that game. Nobody deserves to win a game. It is a contest determined by quantifiable results played out in competition, not a judged event where awards are handed out based on emotion or preference. Your tremendous defense deserves nothing. They earn respect by their outstanding play; their offensive counterparts do not. They may WANT or NEED a better offense, but they don’t DESERVE it. A 10-year-old deserves an “A” on a quiz because he got 100 percent on a quiz. He doesn’t deserve a bicycle for Christmas because he’s such a cute little boy. Get it?

    These are two types of fruitless, retrospective justification, which will never stop (so why am I posting this?). “If” and “should” need to be projected forward, into the future:

    “If” we learn from and correct our mistakes, we will do better.

    “If” we can take care of the ball, we have a good chance of winning.”

    We “should” change things on offense so that we play better.

    We “should” work harder on our passing game.

    I know it hurts to lose, but does whining and wishing make it better? C’mon.

  • Jon said:

    You’re WAAAAAY off on the 2 point conversion. If you kick the extra point BSU has a chance to win in regulation and if not you go to overtime. BSU has at least a 50/50 shot of winning. Everyone talks about how our defense had shut Boise down, but they had gained almost 100 yards more than we had. Why would our offense all of the sudden outperform theirs?

    Contrast that with Taysom Hill gaining 3 yards every time he had run the ball the entire night. If he runs the ball on the 2 pt conversion there’s probably an 80% chance he gets in. You get an 80% chance to win you take it. Even look at his touchdown run – he gets hit at the 3, and again at the 2, and again at the 1, and still scores. That happened all night.

    The offense and offensive line are a disaster. Doman and Weber have to be accountable. But blaming Bronco is putting the blame in the wrong place.

  • David C. Moore said:

    Perhaps it’s time to go up to the Boear Room and FIRE two people. Brandon Doman & Mark Weber, YOU’RE FIRED! If Bronco can do it to Jamie Hill, he can do it to these two pathetic excuses, and BYU can do better in attracting the right coaches.

  • El Jefe said:

    Any ideas as to who we could get as an offensive coordinator if doman got fired?

  • NWACougar said:

    Well I agree that the defense is absolutely awesome. The thing I dislike about this whole situation is that if our defense is so good how can our offense sucks bad. Does our defense not practice against our offenses ever? That should have strengthened our offense.
    Like many have said I like Nelson I think it is fun to watch when he is firing on all cylinders. But sit the guy down and get the truth out if him about his health and make him be honest that if he can’t be 100% or at least 95% he is ruining the team’s chances for success and is really playing as the twelfth man for the other team. To Doman, yes it is all on you to fix this offense.

  • Bigjohn said:

    I agree that the 2-point conversion was a mistake. You go with the odds on the road and a 2-point conversion is not a 50/50.

    James Lark earned the backup position during Spring training and Fall camp. Senior or not he should be given the opportunity to play. We’re sending the wrong message when we allow Hill to play over him as a first option. Hill needs to bide his time just like everyone else has. Perhaps during the season he becomes the legit #2, but let’s wait until that happens to play him first.

    Why is the offense so content to play it safe for 3 1/2 quarters? They left points on the board against Washington State, Weber State, Utah, and now Boise State. Let’s stop acting as though every game needs to come down to the wire.

    Defensive aggression/poise: A
    Offensive aggression/poise: D

  • Spencer said:

    To think BYU would have won this game in overtime is a denial of reality.

    When have we seen this offense play with composure?
    When have we seen our broken-back kicker and converted punter make critical field goals?
    When have we seen this offense simply not turn the ball over?

    Do you honestly think that while on the road, in a stadium that boasts one of the most dominant home field advantages in all of sports, that BYU would magically fix these problems?

  • Jeffrey said:

    @BigCougar… absolutely loved the flogging comment! Made my day.
    @RDJ…. thank you for commenting on the post game comments… I too was annoyed to say the least.

    I have thought about the comments by both Bronco and Doman regarding Nelson. I find it amazing that when defensive players are asked about the defense and the coaches, who is their leader that the majority of the answers are lead back to the coaches, especially Mendenhall. You know where the leadership is and who is running the ship. There is an identity and a culture that is bred on the defense that is certain because of strong leadership from the coaches.
    Conversely, when interviewed on the offensive side of the ball both coaches and players mention that Nelson is the leader of the offense. WHAT?!?!? It is noble to have a system that instills leadership and ownership of a program, especially for future endeavors in life. I’m glad that there is a player that can lead on the field, there are plenty of those on the defense as well, if not more. But when the inmates are running the asylum, you have issues.
    This is the same issue that reared it’s ugly head last year. Now, Heaps was not a leader… that was apparent, and the players responded to a leader for them. They were able to pick up the pieces and have a successful season.
    I don’t know and I am just speculating as a fan, but I don’t know if Doman knows how to be a leader off the field because he didn’t have a strong position/OC himself.
    Think about his playing career: He was a returned missionary back up for the final two years of Norm Chow who didn’t think Doman would make a QB. 2000, his junior year Lance Reynolds took over as OC for one year (not enough of a sample size to know the influence). Doman was stubborn, kept fighting and was last man standing during the last two games of LaVell’s career. His senior year was fabulous, but most players agree (after the fact) that the team drove the bus and not Crowton. Doman goes off to the pros with the 49er’s, which at that time are languishing until he comes back as QB coach.
    I won’t speculate to his effectiveness as a QB coach, but Anae was stubborn, hard to change and all the things we as fans didn’t like and complained about. Supposedly Doman was a bit of a buffer between Anae and his players, so I am guessing when he became OC he saw what he didn’t like, but didn’t have anything solid to base off field leadership on.
    Last year, he goes in with a new offense, with new coaches that all like each other and the hope that they can build around the strengths of the players. One can deduct that statement to mean he thought the previous OC wasn’t a players coach and didn’t play to their strengths (ie Utah loss in 2010).
    So, he is a players coach and expects the players on the field to succeed and pick up the offense. When the players don’t pick it up and the offense languishes the team looks for a leader and voila insert Nelson. There’s a catch… Nelson cannot run the same offense, so it has to be dumbed down to match his abilities. Heaps transfers, spring comes, Doman already knows that Nelson is like him and will lead the team, put in the time to try and become a complete QB with out coaches necessary, and a new offense is built again around his strengths.
    I make this deduction by what has transpired over the past two years that Doman inherently (supported by Bronco’s love of Rudy) empowers those that are ‘gritty, tough, warriors, over achievers’. “Riley asked for another opportunity and we let him have it”….”(Nelson) is hurt bad. He’s fighting through an injury that’s significant”. What leader would allow someone that has a significant injury that has turned the ball over 3 times already and has directly given points to the other team one more chance? It makes sense for more than one reason (the future of the team being one) that Hill was promoted over Lark. Hill has gained the respect of the team through his work… once again the leadership is with the players, not the coach.
    Am I up in the night, or is this a problem?

  • RDJ said:

    Jeffrey you are right…this is all about leadership, and we don’t have it. They are obsessed with “gritty and tough” and while that is great, talent, properly coached and motivated will destroy gritty and tough. A real couch would have seen that first interception, underthrown to the endzone by 10 yards, with a wide open receiver in the End Zone, and made the change right then. They did not….they stuck with Riley AFTER HALF-even though he was killing the team…and then they allowed him to go back in again after yet another turn-over because he is “tough and gritty”. You are paid to be a head coach for the TEAM…we lost UTAH and BOISE STATE…despite having superior talent on the field because we were outoached AGAIN…and not prepared…AGAIN. READ THIS REPORT FILED TODAY:

    BYU Football: Time for Bronco Mendenhall to Account for Lack of National Respect By Scott Lambson (Contributor) on September 21, 2012

    BYU IS 4-10 against top 25 teams and 3-5 against Utah under Bronco.

    After BYU’s 24-21 loss at Utah on Saturday night and subsequent 7-6 loss at Boise State on Thursday night, I believe it’s finally time for Cougar Nation to concede that Utah and Boise St. are a class above BYU. Truthfully, we should have conceded it five years ago.

    It’s not an easy thing to do for the once proud football juggernaut that dominated the headlines in the Intermountain West.

    While Utah and Boise St. have enjoyed multiple BCS seasons, it seems BYU has been busy trying to figure out which color of uniform to wear, and where exactly they fit into the college football landscape as an independent.

    The only constant has been a football team stuck in mediocrity. It’s not a new thing, the slide has been happening for over two decades, right around the end of the Ty Detmer era.

    There have been bright spots during the slide, such as the Steve Sarkisian Cotton Bowl, the Beck to Harline miracle, and the Max Hall stunner against Oklahoma, but those types of moments have become extremely rare.

    What Cougar Nation has become familiar with is tons of wins over lowly WAC opponents, and a never-ending string of beat downs to western rivals Utah, Boise State, and TCU.

    The last decade has been literally owned by the above-mentioned football programs, all playing in BCS bowl games. Not only did Utah, TCU, and Boise State play in them, but they won in style.

    SURVEY – Is Bronco the right coach to lead BYU to BCS status?
    • Yes? 25% (these are obviously delusional Zoobie Zombies)
    • No? 37%
    • Yes, but as a defensive coach only? 38%
    Heck, even Hawaii has been to the BCS Sugar Bowl. As for BYU? Nothing. Just one big game loss after another. And while Utah, TCU, and Boise State have been rewarded with BCS conference invites, BYU has been left to an independent road to irrelevance.

    Independence wouldn’t be so bad if BYU had a football program that won big games, but you simply can’t be an independent and lose every big game opportunity.

    Look, facts are stubborn things, and the data shows that BYU can’t perform at a level that even warrants being considered a good national football program, or deserving of a BCS conference invite.

    Over the past 20 years, Utah owns BYU 13-7, in fact, BYU hasn’t beaten Utah by more than a touchdown since 1996. Yes, you read that right, 1996!

    When BYU does win, it’s such a dramatic miracle, whether it’s Beck to Harline, Max Hall to Austin Collie “magic happens,” or Brandon Doman’s miracle win that sent LaVell Edwards out a winner. Come on, BYU hasn’t beat Utah convincingly in nearly 20 years. That’s an astounding fact!

    You would think that at some point, BYU would be able to grab a convincing home win against Utah in the past 17 years. After all, we are talking about Utah, not Florida or Auburn. But they can’t. They have been outplayed and out-coached consistently for over two decades in the Holy War.

    On the national scene, it only gets worse. Since 1999, BYU is a woeful 5-18 against ranked opponents, and many of those losses are against TCU, Utah, and Boise St.

    So what am I getting at? Something is seriously wrong with the program. The competitiveness is gone.

    Even though we are spoon-fed 10 win seasons by Bronco Mendenhall, it’s an illusion, not success. What good are wins over teams like New Mexico State and Weber State when you can’t beat Utah?

    What good are wins over Washington State and Ole Miss when you can’t even win a quarter of your games against top 25 opponents?

    I know BYU is faced with its share of competitive disadvantages, such as recruiting players to uphold the honor code, and players coming and going through the revolving door called missions.

    They are heckled for their religious beliefs at nearly every venue they travel. They are under extreme pressure from fans who want so badly to see them overcome the above mentioned challenges.

    Maybe the success fans want so badly is the true illusion? Maybe the self-imposed restrictions placed on the program are too much to overcome for the coaches and players they are able to recruit? Maybe wins over Washington State and Ole Miss are serious achievements and to ask more of BYU is unrealistic?

    Or maybe there really is something wrong with the competitiveness of the BYU football program?

    I can say with certainty that BYU has been totally unprepared to play the Holy War against Utah in the Mendenhall era. They are just mentally unprepared. It makes you wonder what is happening in practice in the lead up.

    You would think that after a hundred years of experience they would prepare the offensive line for the noise of Rice-Eccles Stadium, or that they would prepare for the energy that Utah ALWAYS brings.

    Every rivalry game in the Mendenhall era is a never ending game of catch up for BYU, that usually ends with a lack of execution, or a mental blunder.

    BYU is always in punt-first or play-for-overtime mode.

    Bronco then spends the entire post game telling the media how proud he is of his young men for coming back and competing.

    What ever happened to just kicking your rival’s backside once every few years? No apologies or comebacks needed.

    But for nearly two decades BYU has been unable to win convincingly in the rivalry game.
    And to me that is the convincing evidence I need to realize that BYU has lost the competitive edge that defined them in the 1980’s and put the program on the map.
    Look, I like Mendenhall, he no doubt saved the program for the train wreck that was Gary Crowton. He has restored integrity to the program, and that is first and foremost.
    But he hasn’t delivered any on field success on the national scale, and has delivered very minimal success in the Holy War.

    So maybe it’s time to entertain the thought that somebody other than Mendenhall could deliver that long lost success, I don’t know?

    One thing we do know is that Mendenhall can coach defense. He proved that again in the 7-6 loss to Boise St. I saw more passion from Mendenhall after BYU stopped Boise St on the BYU one yard line than I’ve seen in Bronco’s entire tenure at BYU.

    He has a passion for the defensive side of the ball. But as a head coach, he has been erratic.
    Even last night when he chose to be aggressive and go for two points to win the game, it was a bizarre decision.

    Here was a Boise team that hadn’t scored an offensive touchdown all night, or had any confidence in their field goal kicker, yet Bronco, who usually does play for overtime, takes the game out of his defense’s hands and goes for two with a freshman QB?

    Taysom Hill had just proven he could move the ball with his previous touchdown drive, the defense was lights out, Boise didn’t even have a kicker, and Bronco hangs the game on one play?

    Yet against Utah last Saturday, he punts with six minutes to go trailing by 10? In the end, whether he is aggressive or passive, the result has been the same against top 25 competition. Failure.

    As I stated earlier, maybe BCS type of success is just and impossibility, an illusion? Maybe the unique circumstances at BYU are too much to overcome in the modern era.

    I’m still trying to figure that one out.

    But one thing is for certain, under Mendenhall, BYU is 4-10 against top 25 teams, and 3-5 against Utah. Success? Not in my book.

    In the meantime, Utah has scoreboard once again, as does Boise St. And yes Bronco, both Utah and Boise St. fans are telling you, and all of us about it, daily!

  • Steve said:


    You mentioned that the corners play too far off, yes they do. But Preston Hadley tells me that is what the coaches want them to do. I watched him play at Snow College and if he could bump and run with the receivers he could do well, he has the ability to cover on most plays. But that is not what the coaches want, it is more risky and BYU could get burned on some of those plays if they did play up closer as you say.

  • Walt Hanssen said:

    Beau G.

    I think everyone was so upset with the game that they totally overlooked your comment. I for one will not sit back and say nothing about your comment that Brett is a clown and doesn’t understand why the defense plays as hard as it does. Here is your ignorant and disrespectful comment:

    “Brett you are clown. You fail to see why we even have the defense we have. You fail to see the reason why the defense plays as hard as they do, and they don’t give up. I agree 100% that the offense needs to get something going, but you gotta know a little about team sports too. Riley is the leader of this team, if anything needs to happen that is Riley stepping up and admitting that he is hurt and get someone out there that is 100% and ready to go.”

    For your information, and you must not be a true BYU fan if you do not already know this, the defense plays as hard as they do because they play for and respect Bronco and it has nothing to do with Riley Nelson. The defense does not play for Riley or any other offensive player or coach. Coach Mendenhall may have made a bad decision about going for two but he knows what he is doing on defense and his defensive players revere him and would die for him.

    Next time you want to make have a post, have a little class and respect. Brett has many years of TV broadcasting and print media experience and is very well respected as the owner and writer of this website. You can disagree with him or anyone else but you don’t need to be disrespectful.

  • Margie said:

    Thanks to everyone for the game analysis. It only confirmed my worst (yet unspoken until now) fear: BYU can’t compete with the Big Boys anymore. I went to school during the Bosco/Detmer/Edwards heyday – so I guess I got spoiled and my expectations are were set high. I left the mighty Cougarnacle for the last time in 1990 after the season that started with the win against #1 Ranked Miami strutting around and Heisman-posing in the end-zone, yet with their heads hanging as the Cougars overcame the hype and handed them a dose of “oh-no-you-di-ent” ringing in their ears. THESE are the Cougars I remember: mentally tough and able to execute under pressure. The defense was great and so was the offense. It is actually painful for me to watch BYU play now. We have roommates living in our house who support TCU, Arkansas and Michigan State. I can’t even hold up my head around them any more. They watched the Boise State game with me (because that was the only game on at the time) and were as disgusted with it as I was. Everyone knew that something very very wrong was going on. The sad fact is, BYU can’t hang. They aren’t mentally tough and my opinion is that RDJ has hit the nail on the head for whatever my opinion is worth. I’m “just a girl” so what do I know…?

  • byuhockey said:

    it’s time for Doman to be replaced. at a minimum BYU needs a REAL QB coach…this season

  • Jeffrey said:

    Quotes from Doman after the game:
    “I don’t know that we have a decision to make. It is all dependent on Riley’s health, and whether or not he can play like he is capable of playing. He’s got to be able to play Riley Nelson football. If he can’t play Riley Nelson football, then we will have to go to an alternative plan. But I am not worried about those decisions”
    “Riley asked for one more drive, and we gave it to him. I’ve got a great deal of respect for Riley and who he is, and what he represents to this football program. So we let him have that next drive, and he threw a pick on that drive…”
    “He’s hurt bad. He’s fighting through an injury that is significant. He’s probably one of the toughest human beings I have ever known.
    At a point in the game we realized he wasn’t going to be able to give us everything that we needed him to give us, and so we made the change.”
    “It wasn’t a perfect display of offense, but it was pretty gritty (Taysom’s performance).
    And I will take grit over anything all day long.”

    What I get from those quotes is the following: The offense is Riley’s, because Doman respects Riley he gets almost as many chances as he wants, the injury is significant, they have a hard time recognizing inability on the offense, and grit wins the day.
    Please give me BYU’s offense, respect the team to sit a guy not cutting it, a significant injury equals very limited playing time, recognize inability sooner, and please play talent and make them gritty if needs be finally BE A COACH!!!

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