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Young Teams and Leadership

9 July 2010 Deep Shades of Blue 181 Comments

cartoon052608With young teams it is extremely difficult to foster the right type of leadership. Even on football teams there is a power struggle that occurs. Most of the time it isn’t prominent, because on football teams the most productive players are normally looked to as the leaders. Yet, with so many offensive and defensive positions up for grabs and little on field productivity to guide players and coaches decisions, what leaders will emerge?

Hopefully throughout the summer players have learned to recognize the players that posses the intuitive leadership qualities necessary to produce cohesive efforts. Things that players should be looking for are an individuals ability to be positive and enthusiastic about the overarching goals of the BYU program. Using these ideas leadership becomes more than individual performance, it’s integrating your performance with the ultimate goals in order to better yourself and everyone around you. It is finding opportunities to unit team members through adversity by ensuring your efforts are always aligned with standards set by the program’s goals.

As an analogy I’ll twist something Coach Hill told us in meetings. Finding leaders pivots around observation and perception. “Players make deposits during the off-season and practice. Each deposit is different in quality and size. The more deposits you make during summer training and camp, the more you’ll have when it’s time to make withdrawals between the white lines on Saturday.” Hopefully, players are making significant contribution to their accounts, so as the season progresses their checks don’t bounce. The way this analogy should be expounded is that players shouldn’t just look for individuals making large deposits, but they should look for players inspiring others to make more significant deposits in order to obtain a better reward.

Luckily BYU has been very successful over the past years. This has given young players the opportunity to observe how significant deposits need to be in order to win 10 or 11 games. The difficult part is finding the right mix of leadership within the team that can extract the deposits necessary to win every game.

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  • Greg Lee said:

    Idea for future (soon) article:

    Why BYU should NOT play Utah anymore. The Holy War is one of the nation’s most heated rivalries, but fan passion isn’t the only reason that things get done. There are a number of other considerations including:

    1) Non-conference games almost always involve payouts (like Jerry Jones to BYU last year in Dallas). With
    2) PAC-10 teams only play with PAC-10 referees. I despise the idea of allowing PAC-10 referees into LES, so we should tell them “no.”
    3) A huge part of Utah’s athletic following each year stems solely from the audiences that tune in only when the team plays BYU. Why keep providing that when BYU’s not getting the same return. [Please note that this argument is very similar to Utah’s idiotic “How we Fare against Top 25 Teams” argument. In the last 20 years, Utah has played a ranked BYU team more often than not, while BYU has played a ranked Utah team exactly three times.]
    4) UVU keeps considering adding a football program. BYU should encourage it, allow them to play at LES on BYU’s off weeks, and create an even more intense, even more local rivalry.

    What am I missing? I think exploring this would make for an interesting article, but I don’t have a complete understanding of collegiate athletics and scheduling.

  • Chrs said:


    UVU as a heated rival in football? Are you kidding e? That had to be a joke right? That’s like saying let’s make SUU or Weber State our rival. We have zero history with either, and neither a D-1 programs, as UVU would not be either to start. That is plain foolishness.

    BYU fans need to stop being so butt-hurt about Utah going to the PAC-10 and looking at the positives that BYU has on its side. Who cares about Utah, and stop comparing BYU to them. It is ridiculous in all ways. Yeah, the MWC sucks after the 4th team, so time to make other teams step up, or lose some $$$. Go to a Big 12 model and reward excellence in athletics. Remind the other schools they have nothing without BYU, and would be the WAC. If they say no, then throw down the Independent card. BYU will be able to schedule games v. WAC teams, MWC team, Big 12 teams and PAC-10 teams. And will be able to get its own deal with ESPN for all home games that will be better than what it gets from the current MTN deal. 7 home games, 5 roadies would not be so bad, would it?

    As to leadership, I still believe it is about an attitude of caring more for the whole than for the 1. guys that get that, understand they need to work hard themselves and help elevate those around them will always rise to the top. because guys love those types of guys. I think BYU will find leadership. They just need to find QB execution. If they do, will be a better season than expected.

  • Ben said:

    I think Jordan Pendleton needs to be the defensive vocal leader. In the mold of Cameron Jensen, I think Pendleton is the perfect personality/contributer to ramp up the D.

    I don’t see offensively how the leader can be anyone besides Heaps. He oozes of leadership and talent, and just needs to put in the work and time and emerge as a leader. By the time that kid’s a senior if he hasn’t already attempted to go to the NFL draft, he’s going to be a big time leader for the team and hopefully take BYU to new heights.

  • kiyoshige said:

    I love the summer articles. As fans we don’t hear much about what goes on during the summer months. Basically we think that football is dormant until fall camp. Hopefully all of the new players have other ideas and have gotten themselves into shape, played some softball or other noncontact team sport, taken some classes to lighten the season load and are ready to tear up some Utes/Horned Frogs/Seminoles this year…

    OK, OK Huskies first.

    The leaders I see stepping it up:
    Offense – Heaps / Matt Reynolds
    Defense – Andrew Rich / Pendleton / So’oto


  • justin said:

    great stuff quinn.

    about the QB battle…

    obviously the QB is one of the (if not THE) leader on the team. bronco has mentioned, even last year, how much of a “leader” riley nelson is. no doubt he is more experienced than heaps is, but quite frankly i think heaps is more talented and has a much higher ceiling, both individually and program-wise. so my question is…at what point do the other players say “ok, this kid is for real and will help us have ‘better rewards’ and help us reach our ‘program’s goals'”?

    so even if they have to put aside personal biases, are they willing to do so? from my outside perspective riley seems like a great kid and the type of kid that everyone on the team loves and respects. i think this is the only hurdle jake has to overcome to officially take over the starting role, because it appears that he can throw the ball around better.

    will the team be able to do this? from all accounts it appears the answer is “yes”, but i’d be interested to hear your thoughts on what you think some players are thinking when this “big shot” #1 QB recruit comes rolling in and dominates spring practice the way he did.

    doesn’t that kind of performance demand respect? (not to mention jake also seems like a great kid that is just as like-able…he’s just new and those relationships take time to develop)

  • ken younf said:

    I like all the posts. I want to see Munns as a backup to Heaps. Munns is a great QB. BYU can’t afford to let him get away. I see him taking over on many plays also——as a big QB with lots of savy, I am hoping Heaps can make it. I think Nelson has been a great asset for BYU as well. I know there will be plays for him, that will throw the defense off in teams like Utah, TCU, and FSU. I think it is so cool of a decision for Bronco not to name the starting QB. It keeps the teams from making plans against BYU so early on, and it really helps BYU—–I see BYU upending Washington, as the start of something big————I love Cougar football……….

  • walt said:

    Quinn- great in depth view of the off season from an alumnus. As of a few weeks ago according to a few players with whom I have spoken, none of the three QB’s has stepped to the front yet. One day Heaps shines and the next it is Nelson but as of yet there is no clear winner. I heard Nelson being interviewed by the Mtn after the Spring scrimmage at LES and he said the Coach Doman had told him to be himself and not try to change his style to fit the prototype BYU QB and that he (Doman) wasn’t the typical mold either. So Quinn, do you think if it stays like this through Fall camp that Coach M will just have to make a gut decision based on everything he has seen and all the feedback he gets from Coach D & the rest of the staff?

    It also appears that our D could be more explosive, stronger and fster than last year’s D with the addition of Van Noy, Bryson, Ogletree (supposedly he is fearless & crazy), Stout, Malosi Te’o (converted to DB from RB) & the DB who is transferring from a JC in CA.

    Finally, Quinn it appears that the 2006 defense was the best, at least statistically, because it only gave up 14.7 pts per game which I believe was in the top 10 in the nation. Would you please weigh in on that defense compared to 07 – 09?

  • cougzag said:

    I agree with the comment on Munns. He may have the greatest pro potential in the group. He’s 6-5 and 235 lbs. He was a 4-star recruit who was offered by a half dozen Pac-10 schools. I remember watching him in spring ball in 2008, and he has an absolute gun on his shoulder. He has already red-shirted (2007), so maybe the best option for him is to wait to play until next year, so his eligibility doesn’t coincide exactly with Heaps.

  • Markell Staffieri said:

    Let me tell you who my leaders are and why.

    Defense:These three are no-brainers.
    Andrew Rich
    Vic So’Oto
    Jordan Pendleton
    And all for the same reasons. Productivity and an aggressive attitude that is full of fire and passion for the game. They are emotional hot-heads and I love that on the defesnive side of the ball.

    Matt Reynolds
    McKay Jacobson
    Riley Nielson
    All for different reasons. Matt Reynolds will be the anchor od the O-Line. He has a wealth of experience and has just the right attitude to lead the trench war. McKay has got to have the best work ethic on the Offense and probably the team. He has the expereince and that quiet confidence that you know he is going to come through and give his all. Not a vocal guy, but talks with his work and play. Riley is the most mature (more on this in a minute)QB and the most experienced. I see him as the veteran player’s pick to be the starter because of that maturity.

    Why Jake Heaps will not be the leader. Without providing too much detail, lets just say that Heaps and some of his rookie comprades feel a little too entitled right now, and that is going to rub the vets the wrong way and probably get him trouble if he doesn’t watch it,or change it. For those who put in the time to return BYU to the top, nothing is more infuriating than watching some young “All-Star” think he can step in and just “make it happen.” He is going to have to earn his stripes before he will lead this team, or he will lead it into the ground.

  • walt said:

    Markell & Cougzag-

    Great comments! Markell & Quinn, would you please comment on the 06 defense since you both played on it and when appropriate would you please comment on the key newcomers or what has to shape up for the D to be great this year?

  • Markell Staffieri said:


    Do you have specific questions on that ’06 defense? I was talking with Kelly Poppinga the other day about the ’06 and ’07 defenses and was asking him if there were any stats to show were those two ranked all time in BYU defenses, bececause with the exception of one game a year (BC in ’06 and Tulsa in ’07) we were pretty dang good!

    I have yet to find out about any stats. But I do know that he felt our secondary will be the best it has been in a really long time! That’s the good news. The bad news is that if you can’t stop the run, teams don’t have to pass. Our biggest question mark is the D-Line. In my opinion, “as goes the D-Line, so goes the D.”

  • Bob Brown said:


    “For forms of leadership let fools contest, the best administered is the best.” This axiom will ultimately determine which brother leads this team. Typically the QB leads the offense and which ever QB (Riley or Jake) performs best by the third or forth game will lead the team. It won’t matter if his skills tend toward throwing, running or mixing it up.

    I don’t know Jake but I have met Riley. I can assure everyone Riley is mature, football smart, intelligent and competitive.

    I pray no one gets hurt. Their QB competition will only make the team stronger.

  • Ben said:

    Markell: I remember that game at Tulsa really well. From your point of view what happened? I remember them just going over the top of us over and over successfully and it was so frustrating..

  • wingback said:

    Chrs- both Weber State and SUU are D-1 programs. They play in the FCS, but are D-1

  • walt said:


    I would think that the most important defensive stat is points allowed. Here are the totals from 06 forward taken from http://www.cfbstats.com/2009/national/index.html:

    06: 14.7 (10th); TCU 12.3 (3rd); Utah 19.8 (37th)
    07: 18.5 (9th); TCU 18.8 (10th); Utah 16.8 (5th)
    08: 21.9 (39th); TCU 11.3 (2nd); Utah 17.2 (12th)
    09: 21.5 (29th); TCU 12.8 (6th); Utah 20.2 (23rd)

    You can tell that giving up another TD from the 06 total drops us down quite a bit (07 was an exception because all teams gave up more points that year). I put in TCU & Utah for comparative purposes.

    A DB told me that Coach M’s gaol for the defense is to give up 24 or less and if that was the case, then last year we would have lost to Oklahoma & TCU instead of losing to Florida State * TCU and still been 11-2.

    Markell & Quinn- why not have a goal to give up less points than the year before?

  • Bob Henstra said:

    I would like to see BYUtv make a bigger impact on BYU sports.

    The technology to televise a game on one HD channel, and move it to another HD channel via a PFV code has only recently been developed. As I mentioned before, KBYU has access to 6 HD uhf channels, they’re using four, and one of those is pretty much a waste of time.

    However, if all the schools in the conference, (if it be the mwc fine, but I’d prefer the new conference with Tulsa, KU, KSU, ISU, AF, CSU, BYU, and BSU myself, a new Big 8!), were to sign on to that type of deal, then every conference game could be televised by each schools own TV student operated tv station, the signal passed on to BYU tv and rebroadcast nationally or internationally (only BYU games internationally) to all the fans in each school who purchased PFV codes for their schools games.

    BYUtv, BYU International, is the aircraft carrier of the fleet. BYU may make more money than the rest of the fleet, because we have a bigger fan base, but there’s no doubt BYU by far has the best access to nation wide TV that could be used for conference PFV.

    Remember, we don’t have to get everybody in the nation or the world watching BYUtv for football, just 100,000 households + 65,000 butts in the seats at LES. BYUtv and BYU International would continue to broadcast nation and world wide with regular programing, only those with the code watching the games.

    The thing is, the people at BYUtv receives thousands of requests from BYU fans “overseas” to watch BYU games, LDS servicemen lead that group! They are already willing to pay $20 bucks a game, and many do so even though the picture quality isn’t very good.

    An all season sports pass for each schools athletic programs (all sports) might be $149.95. Just 100,000 world wide signups would bring BYU $15 million in “just” PFV tv money per year, plus the strong possibility of many single game signups at $15-$20 a game.

    I would even re-up with Direct tv! And be happy to pay the going price for all BYU sports.

    My family belongs to the Legacy club, as a family we donate money for scholarships and so we can get better seats. But each year the seats get worse. A lot of people donating more than we are.

    One option would be to add to the stadium, cost prohibitive I would think in todays economy. BYUtv is already broadcasting nation and world wide, no extra cost involved there. Just add the PFV feature, and you solve a big problem, add to scholarship money and support BYUtv and BYU sports (especially football and basketball).

    100,000 is all it would take. Average 100 signups in each of the 10,000 cities in this nation, and we’ve got ourselves a network!


  • walt said:


    Man, this is what’s great about this blog; Bob, fantastic comment…better pass this on the the AD!

  • jasper said:

    I would certainly purchase access to such a network. I have heard that MWC could recieve an automatic BCS invite. If that is possible and some Board or Committee can subjectively make that decession, then we need to make sure it happens. BYU is already losing players to Utah because of their BCS status.

  • Markell Staffieri said:

    We just tried to do too many other jobs on defense. We came out and stuffed them on three straight drives and then they threw all the shinanigans at us and we freaked out mentally and tried to do too much instead of remaining assignment sound. That is all there was too it. Just not disciplined.

  • Markell Staffieri said:

    Walt –

    You were not mis-informed, but maybe not given all the information. The short version is that when Coach M took over he looked at the 3 most important statistics for success AT BYU (not in college football in general). Those were Points, both scored and given up (24), Rush Yards, both gained and given up (100) and Turnover Margin (+1).

    I don’t remember the exact numbers but since the mid 70’s if BYU accomplished on of those numbers in a game the success rate was over 85%. That is accomplishing any one of them on their own. If combined with one of the other two that number went up over 95%. So those became our “Goals.” For the offense to score more than 24 and then defense to give up less than 24. Then for the offense to rush for more than 100 and the defense to not give up 100 and then as a team to end the game +1 in the TO margin.

    While 85% does not seem elite, our 11-2 seasons in ’06 and ’07 were only 84% victorious (11/13=84.61%) so the formula works.

    The offense only felt satisfied with both the 24 and 100 goals, but I think it is safe to say that for us defensively the two most important were 100 and +1. I promise you, if you end the game +1 and don’t let the other team rush for 100yds they will not score more than 24 pts. (Maybe Hawaii and Texas Tech, but not teams we play).

    I hope this helps clarify that we did have tough goals on D, that led us to an avg of 14.7 and 18.5 pts/game in ’07 and ’06 respectively.

    PS Did you know that according to points/game our ’07 defense was the 2nd best since 1984. Not bad.

  • kiyoshige said:

    Like the “entitled” remark – that is certainly the sin of our generation; no freshman has ever started at QB for BYU (from Wrubell’s blog); they have all had to earn their stripes.

    I think Heaps is good enough to start. Whether or not he does will depend on what he has been doing the past 3 months and this next month. If he is “entitled” and decides to not put in the time in the weight room, the film room, and throwing a g-zillion passes this summer he won’t start.

    If he is hungry, is sprinting 100s like he’s trying to walk on to the track team, is using Travis Bright as his lifting partner, is up at 0600 and asleep at 2130, is eating well and is watching more film than Twilight fans, I think he’ll be the first freshman QB to start at BYU. His spring numbers were good, now he just has to overcome the sin of his generation.


  • Seasider said:


    Lavell once started true freshman Drew Miller back in 1997 with not so good results. Miller also ended up leaving BYU the following year. BYU’s history has always been one of extreme reluctance to play freshman QB’s. Lavell didn’t like doing it, Crowton was not in favor of it and Bronco doesn’t seem to be a fan either.

    If Heaps starts it will the first time BYU has started a true freshman to open the season. I think one of the ESPN got it right when he said that Heaps will have to be head and shoulders above the competition by the time fall camp ends or else he won’t start.

  • Markell Staffieri said:

    OK Let’s settle one question and bring up another. I hate to break the hearts of BYU fans, but I can all but guarantee you that Heaps will not be the starter. I am 99.9% sure that it is really not up for debate. The team needs leaders and established players, and the QB has to be the biggest leader and the Vets just aren’t going to follow Heaps leadership with some of the stunts he’s been pulling.

    The real question is this…BYU is young and inexperienced and they play four challenging games coming out of the gates, so my question to you Cougar fans is if BYU ends up 1-3 or 0-4 after those four games, will you all be calling for Riley’s head? Or let him finish the year, because with the exception of TCU our schedule is much easier in the tail end than it is in the beginning.

    I for one hope that Riley goes out and starts the year 3-1 and stays the QB throughout the season. Meanwhile, Heaps is learning how to work like a champion.

  • B said:

    Markell Staffieri said:

    Let me tell you who my leaders are and why.

    Defense:These three are no-brainers.
    Andrew Rich
    Vic So’Oto
    Jordan Pendleton
    And all for the same reasons. Productivity and an aggressive attitude that is full of fire and passion for the game. They are emotional hot-heads and I love that on the defesnive side of the ball.

    Matt Reynolds
    McKay Jacobson
    Riley Nielson
    All for different reasons. Matt Reynolds will be the anchor od the O-Line. He has a wealth of experience and has just the right attitude to lead the trench war. McKay has got to have the best work ethic on the Offense and probably the team. He has the expereince and that quiet confidence that you know he is going to come through and give his all. Not a vocal guy, but talks with his work and play. Riley is the most mature (more on this in a minute)QB and the most experienced. I see him as the veteran player’s pick to be the starter because of that maturity.

    Why Jake Heaps will not be the leader. Without providing too much detail, lets just say that Heaps and some of his rookie comprades feel a little too entitled right now, and that is going to rub the vets the wrong way and probably get him trouble if he doesn’t watch it,or change it. For those who put in the time to return BYU to the top, nothing is more infuriating than watching some young “All-Star” think he can step in and just “make it happen.” He is going to have to earn his stripes before he will lead this team, or he will lead it into the ground.

    With all do respect Markell, and you probably have more sources in the program than I do, but from what I know, Riley is not a leader in any way shape or form. I’m not going to go into details though.

  • Markell Staffieri said:


    To B honest, I am not impressed with the way any of the QBs are handling the “competition.” The funny thing about leadership is that they are not always the best guys…ie:Hitler, but it is a matter of who can get people to rally around them. The vets are going to rally around Riley more than Heaps is the main factor.

    But i’d be interested to compare notes with you on why Riley and Jake are not good leaders. I have not heard anything really negative on Riley. Intriguing. You are going to make me dig deeper I guess.

  • walt said:

    B & Markell-

    Not sure where you are getting your information but I don’t think Heaps is coming across as “feeling entitles” but he certainly feels like he’s the one who should start. The real problem is that no one has separated themselves yet and if that is the case by the end of fall practice, you would have to go with Riley.

    Also, I think you are overlooking one key player on D who is a leader, is respected, is a senior and is our best cover guy and that is Brian Logan. He has already proven himself as have Jordan & Andrew.

  • Markell Staffieri said:


    I’ll give you the entitled story, but I’ll probably get in trouble for sharing, although it is pretty well known around town from what I have been hearing.

    At the end of every spring every player changes their locker. There are only 2 rules in picking a new locker…1) Seniors pick first, then juniors, then sophomores, etc…2) It has to be at least 3 lockers away from where your current locker is.

    Well Jake and some of his freshmen buddies (those big name recruits you all love) felt like they could take whatever lockers they wanted to and taped them off with their names on them. Jake then kicked back and didn’t worry about going down with the true freshman to pick their lockers. When asked why he was not down in the locker room he said, “Oh I already taped off my locker, I don’t need to go down.”

    Needless to say the lockers were in a prime spot usually taken by upperclassmen, and they didn’t let the tape stop them from taking those lockers.

    It sounds petty, and it really is, but it’s one of those things where I know if say, Max Hall would have done that, we would have been all over him and would have been pretty upset for him thinking he could just show up and take what he wanted, and Max came in as a sophomore. The thing is, as arrogant as people may think Max is, he would not have done that. He would have respected the system and respected those of us who had been around the program longer.

    Two great quotes on leadership:

    The greatest leaders are the also the greatest followers

    To gain respect you must give respect.

  • Markell Staffieri said:


    One more thing. It is pretty much an unspoken rule in football that unless you are CLEARLY better than the upperclassmen you will not take his spot. This is the great point that SEASIDER made.

  • Steve said:

    Yikes, I didn’t realize that the upperclassmen of the team were feeling this way about Heaps. I recently spoke to an O-lineman and he said he wanted whichever quarterback that would give the team a better chance of winning to be the starter. I asked him who he thought that would be and he said probably Heaps. He also said he liked both Riley and Jake and he would support either one of them as the starter. Maybe my conversation was before the whole locker incident. I just hope that whoever is named starter will have the support of the entire team. If the team is divided one way or another it will manifest itself in a bad way on the field. Markell, do you think that if Heaps were to be named starter the upperclassmen would be able to look past issues like the locker room incident and fully support Jake for the good of the team? I hope that in the end Jake will pay his dues as he should and that all the players can accept him because sooner or later Jake will be the starting QB at BYU.

  • J 2 said:

    Manna from heaven! It is wonderful to get something during the dog days of summer, especially from former players that have relevant information.
    @ Bob… spot on. Even sports personalities in SL stated that the new BYU broadcasting facility is on par or better than those in the market. BYU should be leveraging the technology that they are integrating into the broadcasting building for bigger and better things for the sports programs at the university. Rarely is it mentioned or researched (and if it is researched, there is no public comment) the viability of BYUTV and the impact that it could have from a WORLDWIDE fan base. There is just deference to the conference and the good of the conference. BYU took a hit when the Blue and White network got eliminated with the inception of the MWC; it is about time BYU took leveraged again what they had in the past and run with it. Be it with the MWC or in another conference, there is a bigger fan base than is given credit that would gladly sign up for the chance to see the Cougars play anytime on a network that is already around the world.

  • Chris said:

    J 2,

    BYU has actually used BYUtv for sports recently, and might again this coming year. As you recall, BYU played Michigan State in hoops 2 years ago in SLC, and the game was broadcast on BYUtv. BYU is also playing another hoops game in SLC this year–HAwaii, I think, and could do the same thing. The isues with BYUtv is not the tech abilities, but the selling of ad space to make money on the broadcast. Not sure BYUtv is allowed to do that, if it is non-profit. And not sure BYU wants to switch BYUtv to for profit, and it is used to deliver specific content for BYU and the LDS Church. Might make more sense to just use ESPN on a game by game basis as needed and could demand decent $$ per game for it.

  • J 2 said:

    Very valid points regarding the nature of BYUTV’s programming goals and mission. Bob made mention of 6 signals that BYU Broadcasting has available to them, which right now leaves one channel unused and theoretically could be utilized in a possible way that Bob envisions.
    It was great to see the basketball games televised that were not under the contract of the mtn. It would be amazing to see the possibilities that could be there with the technology that is going into the facility being built with the coverage that is already available. Leverage it as much as possible and see what may happen.

  • Ryan said:

    Markell…I’ll just say this. Consider your source…

  • Jody said:

    Regarding the Heaps v Nelson brouhaha which Markell has seen fit to bring up, I find it interesting that right around the time that rumors have started to surface about how “involved” riley’s dad has been this past summer, that the team has created a new policy which severely restricts family access to practices this fall.

    A lot of local players’ families are none too happy about it.

    It is pretty clear that the coaches want to make this a true competition between the QBs, and they don’t give a rip about anything except performance.

  • YLife said:


    Are you friends with Riley Nelson and if so why wouldn’t you choose to stay mum on such dirty laundry issues? (I would have to say it’s not common knowledge how Jake chose his locker.)

    You have the respect of Bronco Mendenhall, senior leaders, and various others connected to BYU football, so let’s keep it that way. You know the right and proper way these complaints should be handled and dealt with, so use those team-oriented avenues for those locker-room issues and let’s use this forum for inside information without too much of the “inside” if you know what I mean. I know you don’t want to be seen as someone driving the hard-working, I’ve-earned-this-spot seniors vs. the up-and-coming, talented, slightly prima-donna freshman wedge deeper.

    For my part, I have a vested interest in seeing BYU win football games, so I hope the coaches are level-headed enough to name the best player as the starter – even if it is a freshman who has a redshirt available to him.

    By the way, thanks for all you do. I have appreciated the insights over the last couple of years.

    Go BYU! Beat the Huskies.

  • Nate said:

    Markell, making a big fuss over lockers really?

    I have some pretty solid info that casts doubt on what kind of leader Riley is, he is rubbing some offensive players the wrong way. And I am not talking about just younger guys, I am talking multi year starters.

    I expected alot more from Riley coming into spring, given his time in the system he should have been clearly ahead of Jake and should have had a firm place as a leader. But he wasn’t clearly ahead of Jake, in fact most observers thought Jake was better, and he wasn’t the unquestioned leader. I would have expected Riley to be ahead of Jake given his experience, but he wasn’t, I think that says good things about Jake and not so good things about Riley.

    Jake is young and still learning how some things work, taking the wrong locker is a small thing that can be looked past. That doesn’t exactly strike me as a selfish entitled move, just his youth shining through a bit.

  • Chris said:

    Markell did nothing wrong in pointing out something that happened to illustrate his point. Heaps is not hurt in his chance to start by people knowing this, and Nelson not helped by it. It is simply anecdotal. If it went down that way, Heaps handled the locker room selection poorly, did not give those at BYU who have been there longer the respect they deserve and did not respect that tradition. It is the lack of respect to a tradition BYU had in place that bothered me most if this is what happened. Hopefully, the kid got set straight by that. I am sure he had to be embarrassed and humbled by how it went down, and he should be. Gotta earn your spot, and respect is definitely to be earned.

  • Uncle Rico said:

    Every BYU team has had little stuff like the Heaps incident you mentioned. Did you get Jake’s take on his “stunt”? Remember, there’s always 2 sides to every story.

    Bronco has publicly pleaded for the team not to become divisive. As a former Cougar, I expected more from you! Let your buddy Riley and his family do their back-channel politicking, but let’s keep it off the message boards.

    Just stick to the facts….Heaps outplayed Riley in the spring and he’s outplaying him in the summer. It’s not looking good for Riley in the fall, but who knows what will happen. Let Riley earn it on the field without resorting to leaked “dirty laundry” from his buddies like you.

    Go Cougs!

  • Nate said:

    Chris, I think a small incident like that should be kept in the team, that stuff does not need to be made public especially by a player or former player. This stuff gets back to the team and it can create divisions in the team.

  • IceBlue said:

    It seems a bit disingenuous to tell a story like that around. I think it goes outside the norm of responsible reporting/fanhood. Every locker room has its back and forth crap. It usually only becomes damaging to the team when it becomes public knowledge. I hope this is not a personal bias coming out. I am not saying it is, but I certainly hope not for the good of the institution.

  • Markell Staffieri said:

    @ YLIFE –

    I am an old dog man. My only “friends” left on the team are Vic and Matt Reynolds…I use the term loosely because I have not talked to either since last season.

    I have never met Riley or Jake, nor do I have plans to do so in the future.

    I don’t think that I will lose respect from anyone, or I would not have shared. Nor do I think it is that big of a deal. It is just a simple illustration of a point. Trust me, there are bigger issues that get fought out on the field than a locker discretion.

    I’m sure it was handled by the upperclassmen and Jake learned something. I don’t think that anyone lost respect or is going to blackball Jake for that. On the team guys do things, you confront them on it, and you all move on as a team. I can’t tell you how many times defensive guys get in fights with offensive guys in practice, full blown brawls, and then in the next drill you are all buddies again.

    That’s just football

  • Jody said:

    By the way, most fans realize that this tension between competing QBs is nothing new, right? Almost all QB are entitled (especially the ones BYU recruits, because they are highly regarded), and ALL of their families are.

    The stories about the rift between McMahon and Wilson were legendary, and such things continue. When Engemann was here, his mom got in a screaming match with Norm Chow after one practice, and on the other side the team was convinced that Feterik’s Dad gave Chow a set of custom-made golf clubs (just out of friendship, you understand. ;) ).

    When Beck and Berry were competing, to their credit there wasn’t any public harping between the two principles, but Beck’s Dad used to trash the competitors on message boards, and Berry’s friends used to do the same, talking about how terrible Crowton was, and that Beck was a butt kisser who got the nod because he was a teacher’s pet.

    With Hall and Bowers, Bower was so paranoid about favoritism that he slugged Doman, and his family and friends waged a months long campaign to trash Doman on message boards.

    Even when Hall won the job, there were people on the team who thought he was an arrogant SOB (he was, but he channeled it for Good, same as Collie ;) ).

    The latest struggle between Riley and Jake is just more of the same. I am glad that the team is taking steps to keep the families out of it as much as they can, though. The families can really poison the water barrel.

  • IceBlue said:

    FWIW I’m glad to hear that last comment.

    Move along here folks. Nothin to see here.

  • Dave White said:


    Not a good idea to air dirty laundry on a public forum like this. Let me say this. If Riley Nelson is the best quarterback, I want him to start. He should start based on four things in this order.

    1) Talent
    2) Work ethic
    3) Understanding of the offense
    4) Leadership

    It should not matter that he is an upperclassman. I don’t care if he’s a returned missionary. I don’t care if he is one of the three Nephites. If Jake Heaps is better, he should start. End of story. Entitlement goes both ways, you know.

  • James said:


    Your character assassination of Heaps is right in line with what he has been putting up with since arriving at BYU from a particular players camp that you have mentioned in your post. One that you tout as such a great leader.

    It is curious to me that you didn’t SHARE with everyone that Particular player has been taken to task by the coaches for politicking and character assassination and has been asked to STOP… ( signs of a great leader for sure)

    Heaps has kept his head up, mouth shut and purpose clear. He is learning the ropes that is true… the only entitlement I see going on is with some… NOT ALL … of the older players that feel that just because they are older than these young upstarts coming in should get to the back of the line… your words echo that feeling your position is clear… talent means nothing just age and a sense of entitlement.

    You say you know things, well I know things too… Heaps does have support of ALOT of the older starting players on the field. They like and respect him all you have to do is look to their own words, or should we just believe you and not the starters that have spoken themselves?

    Here’s a hint… a bit of wisdom.. in the end you have to do it on the field of play. No amount of bad mouthing, politicking or undermining is going to get you into the end zone or win you a starting role.

    Sadly you have exposed the mean spiritedness in which a certain player and his family are trying to win the starting job.

  • YLife said:


    That is good to know, thanks. I guess your tone was somewhat alarming in how it sounded like there was a fairly large divide between upper and lower classmen. I hope that’s not the case.

    I’m not expecting to hear the guys are getting together to sing Kumbayah, but I would hope this year’s team understands better than previous teams how to get along and not disrupt team chemistry.

    The stakes are higher than ever before, BYU’s schedule is as difficult as ever, and Bronco’s job this year is the toughest he has faced since his first year. BYU needs to outpace TCU and Utah on the football field. Even though BYU is expected to have a rebuilding year, BYU needs to, for recruiting purposes, show they can reload instead of rebuild. This is a critical year for BYU football, and I certainly hope that the team truly acts like the Band of Brothers it is supposed to be. The task that lies ahead is too difficult for a divided team.

  • kiyoshige said:

    Agree completely on the entitlement issue. This is truly the sin of our generation and Wrubell’s blog points out that no freshman has ever started game 1 for the Cougars. I was on Team Riley for a long time and it was only after the Spring numbers that I switched to Team Jake.

    That being said, if he is not doing windsprints this summer like he’s trying to walk on the Men’s Track team, if his lifting partner isn’t Travis Bright (who’s turning some heads in Dallas, I hear), if he isn’t eating well, if he doesn’t have the best interest of the team in mind, if he isn’t throwing footballs to every wide receiver on campus, and if he’s not watching more film than a Twilight fan, then he doesn’t deserve to start.

    Sure, he’s coming in with a very talented frosh class. But they have yet to prove anything on the field, they will get put in their place when fall camp opens and green jersey or not he’s going to have some pissed off defensive players ready to take his head off. He’s got to learn that just because he helped get these players to BYU that everyone has to prove themselves on the field each play, each practice and that no one’s playing time is connected to anyone else (i.e., just because he’s starting so does Apo or Stout). Can’t wait for Rich or So’oto or Pendleton to tee up on him as much as the coaches will let them. They’ll probably get kicked off the field for it but it will be worth it and Heaps is somewhat asking for it.

  • Markell Staffieri said:

    @ YLIFE and KIYO –

    My tone may have been a little alarming due to the fact that this freshman class is so hyped. For my feelings on recruits and hype go to the archives and look up “Staff’s Two Cents on Recruiting.”

    I just hate recruiting and recruits all together. In fact I wish Jake and Co. would read it.

  • DK33 said:

    Sounds like some Vets are getting a little nervous about playing time….. I love it. Earning your spot goes both ways, Vets that don’t cut it talent wise need to step it up. Max Hall once introduced HIMSELF to my son and I as the starting QB of the Cougars before he had even taken a snap or had been named as such. Sometimes the ‘old’ guys need to get there feathers ruffled a little bit.

  • cougarenthusiast said:

    I was able to watch a 7 on 7 throwing session during the youth football camp that my son was attending. I understand the whole “pay your dues” mentality but there is clearly something that sets Heaps apart from the other quarterbacks: his ability to make all of the throws. Frankly, it’s not even close and I think that same conclusion would be drawn by anyone watching these drills.

    As for the leadership and lack of respect supposedly shown by Heaps, that’s a little difficult to believe and is always anectodal with a dubious source. I think anyone who knows Heaps would describe him as humble and hard working with plenty of leadership ability. Granted, there could potentially be difficulties with some of the older veteran players accepting the young talent — but if we’re interested in winning games, let’s see the best players. If Nelson beats out Heaps, he will have had a great camp. If Heaps shows better, why delay the inevitable? Note: This logic also applies to Apo and other members of the recruiting class of 2010.

  • Nate said:

    Kiyo, how is Heaps asking for it?

  • kiyoshige said:

    Sorry for the redundancy on that last post but I think Jake is not the typical freshman on the field, though he might have some maturing to do off the field and in the locker room; it is always tough coming into a new area when you are used to being “the man.” Certainly D1 football is a lot different than high school so if Riley starts I won’t be surprised, certainly he has been groomed, but if in the past 20 years anyone has been threatening to start as a freshman it’s Jake; I think the majority of players just want the best person to start and so I think they will back whoever earns it and it will be a great battle come fall. I just can’t believe that Riley is the starter with 99% certainly based on the Spring numbers. If it was 99% certain I think that Bronco would have named him, especially to provide the leadership through the summer sessions. But that is why this blog is so great because you have former players who are in the know that can tell us fans who don’t really know anything!

  • Nate said:

    Markell, I understand why someone wuld hate recruiting. But why hold it against Jake and others because they were hyped, because they had offers from all over? I don’t understand that.

  • Arthur said:


    I just don’t get how you can say with 99.9% certainty that Riley Nelson will be the starter since fall camp hasn’t even occurred yet. For you to truly know such a thing would require you to have spoken to one of the main coaches, meaning you spoke face to face with either Bronco, Doman, or Anae. Now I’m sure you run into those coaches all the time so I’m not questioning whether or not you communicate from time to time with the coaches. But I highly doubt any of them have made up their mind as to who the starter is, and I doubt even more that any of them would share that info with you. And I mean no offense to you at all when I say that.

    Let’s think about this logically. Why would the coaches already have their minds made up before the REAL QB competition even begins in the fall? I think our coaches are more fair than that. Don’t you? To eliminate Heaps this early in the game (as your 99.9% indicates) would be foolish on their part…especially since Heaps outperformed every QB in spring ball.

    If what you say about the locker incident is true then that’s unfortunate. But I’m sure it was used as a teaching moment and people moved on. If some players are too immature to move past that and get behind their QB, then that’s more a reflection of their attitude and not Heaps’ actions. Especially if these players are upperclassmen. You’d think they’d have the maturity to correct the problem, explain how the tradition goes, and get over an incident like that. Hopefully they have.

    Along those same lines, I can name several incidents that have happened in Summer workouts where Riley has completely rubbed his teammates the wrong way. I can even give names of specific players and upperclassmen who are not pleased with the manner in which he runs some of the summer workouts and that they’ve sensed a similar “entitled” attitude from Riley. If your goal with this website is to try and give inside, accurate info, with little bias, then perhaps you should look into those incidents I hinted about and write about those things as well. I will take your word when you say that you aren’t friends with either Heaps or Nelson, but digging into the info I gave you and reporting it would go even further to prove that what you say is honest and true.

  • Markell Staffieri said:

    @ Kiyo

    First, I need to clear the air on my 99.9% prediction. That is only a prediction. I am not in the know on that decision.

    Second, Bronco hasn’t made an announcement, you’re right…that is why I gave you guys a 0.01% chance.

    Third, I have heard that Jake is VERY smart in his football knowledge and had great QB coaches from early on in school, so he IS light years ahead of “normal” freshmen. However…just like Ryan Leaf, Jamarcus Russell and hundreds of other guys who didn’t make the jump to the “Next” level, I just never put my stock in all the hype until I see it on the field.

    People may disagree with me on this but, I look at Clausen from Notre Dame and all the hype he came out with. I think that Hype out of high school is the only thing that got people excited about him come draft time. He did not have a blow your mind career at Notre Dame. He was just an OK QB. I don’t remember him doing anything really awesome in college. Yet all that HYPE…that’s why I’m glad that one lucky ND fan got a good shot on him outside the restaurant.

  • Markell Staffieri said:

    @ DK33 –

    There was no competition when Max showed up. Everyone in the world knew Max was the starter. It didn’t have to be introduced, because there was no battle.

  • Markell Staffieri said:

    @ Arthur –

    I would NEVER divulge information I received from coaches. I am purely making assumptions. I also don’t talk to any of the offensive coaches or Coach M about the team.

  • Markell Staffieri said:

    @ Nate –

    I am not holding anything against these guys. If you read my article on recruiting my stance is simply, I’ll be impressed when I se you perform at this level, until then you are just another freshmen.

    Guys I knew were going to help us right away in practice were, Austin, Harvey, Dennis. That is all I can think of that made that kind of impact.

  • Markell Staffieri said:

    @ Nate –

    You are not reading my comments very well. I think you need to go back and track the comments I have made a little better.

    You and I are on more of the same page.

  • Chris said:

    If there is one thing that we can all agree on here, it is that Bronco values experience and is loyal to players who have paid their dues. Bronco has created an atmosphere in his program that shows his players that hard work is rewarded and nothing will be given away based upon hype. Look what happened with Kyle Van Noy in spring ball as proof. You need to have your head set straight or Bronco will do it for you, and I totally respect hat. I am sure Staff can confirm this as well. It is a huge part of the BYU culture. The players have bought into it and will police it first, then the coaches if needed. You earn your spot with hard work and commitment to the team. You may be the best, but you need to back that up with your work ethic.

  • Bob Henstra said:

    In my view, and I did have a view. During Spring Jake was the best at the pass, but Riley run the team better. Riley read the D better, has much better wheels, and throws as good a pass as Max Hall, not quite as good as Jake, but the little intangibles, including leadership, will make Riley the starter.

    Considering depth and talent, this years team will be as deep as any team we’ve had in the past, I like this teams chances.

    My view!


  • j said:



    “Why Jake Heaps will not be the leader. Without providing too much detail, lets just say that Heaps and some of his rookie comprades feel a little too entitled right now, and that is going to rub the vets the wrong way and probably get him trouble if he doesn’t watch it,or change it. For those who put in the time to return BYU to the top, nothing is more infuriating than watching some young “All-Star” think he can step in and just “make it happen.” He is going to have to earn his stripes before he will lead this team, or he will lead it into the ground.”

    There’s a whole other side to this type of situation. I played college basketball at a small school in Kansas. I had a couple better offers but turned them down for sure playing time before my mission. I knew I could start at pg since the previous starter had just graduated and knew that I was better than the other guards on the roster as I had scrimmaged with them on my recruiting trip. I guess in a certain way I could have been viewed as entitled, even though I didn’t view myself that way. I just felt that I was better and would therefore earn the spot.

    When I arrived on campus that summer to workout with the team and get ready for the season, it became maddening as I experienced how the “veteran” players on the team tried to create around me and label me with the same narrative as you described above.

    When I got there, the pg who only played mop up time the year before (just like nelson) and who already had friends on the team acted like it was his foreordained right to run the team and be THE point guard. He would bark out orders and tell us what drills to run, how many sets etc. (That part didn’t bother me.)

    Then he would always make sure he ran with the previous years starters, while I for the most part had to run with some of the scrubs on the team so that he could win. It was so painfully obvious to me that I had better basketball skills than he did but because he was older, a “work out warrior,” could out lift me in the weight room, acted like he was the leader of the team and had his buddies with him, it seemed like no matter how many shots I put in his face, he still thought he would be better for the team as the starter because of “intangibles,” etc. Due to all this, to me, he had more of a entitlement attitude than I did.

    When practices started I was disappointed to see the head coach seem to value seniority over talent as I was running with the second team. Thankfully, one of the assistant coaches kept telling me to do what I was doing and things would work out. To make a long story shorter, by Christmas break I was inserted into the starting lineup and by the end of the year I was playing 36-37 minutes a game with only garbage time once again going to the other pg. Suddenly I was seen as a leader. Not cause of my great communication or command of the other players but because I just knew how to play the game.

    Overachiever types sometimes seem to hate the talented types even if the talent does work hard. It stinks to work your tail off and still have another guy be better than you no matter what you try and do about it. Everyone knows this feeling cause at some point everyone meets up with someone that is better than they are. It would be like if you Staffieri were a vet on the team and a guy like David Nixon or a Kyle Van Noy or a Manti Teo showed up. You may think you deserve it more than them and that they need to earn your spot but the inevitable will just happen anyway and at some point, they would take your spot with or without you being a leader and them feeling entitled. In fact I can remember one day when you went out side with Harvey Unga (before anyone knew who he was) and Tom Sorensen and ran some sprints. You were running twice as hard as Harvey was and I thought that Harvey needed to take a q from you and work (run) harder. It looked like you thought the same thing. But we all know how things turned out and Harvey will be in the NFL in a few days. (Plus, that was only one workout and I’m sure he worked a lot harder in subsequent workouts.)

    During the Pete Carol years, USC understood this and had multiple starts become backups to more talented true freshman “all star” types.

    I have seen both Heaps and Nelson play in person both in spring ball and in off season work outs (before they closed the 7 on 7’s last month) and if Nelson is the starter I will be mystified. It will be just like my situation and it will result in a waste of the first few games. Nelson can’t hold off Heaps for ever, even with hime being in the program for (only) ONE whole year, the vets bias against the young “all star” type as you call em. Heaps is simply and CLEARLY a better QB than Nelson, like it or not for the returning players.

  • j said:

    “Bob Henstra said:
    In my view, and I did have a view. During Spring Jake was the best at the pass, but Riley run the team better. Riley read the D better, has much better wheels, and throws as good a pass as Max Hall, not quite as good as Jake, but the little intangibles, including leadership, will make Riley the starter.”

    Nelson throws no where near as good a pass as Max. And doesn’t read the D better than Heaps. Heaps is already better in that department and by a good margin.

  • Nate said:

    Markell, you are right we appear to be on the same page on some things. I agree that what they did in high school entitles them to nothing, I agree new guys have to earn their stripes.

    A couple of things we disagree on.

    #1. Your 99.9% prediction that Riley would start, I don’t agree with that. Other factors play into it, but production is ultimately what matters, who moves the ball the most, who makes the least mistakes, who makes, who gets the most points on the board. Riley is losing the production battle, I know it’s only spring ball and summer workouts, but Jake has been more productive.

    As I posted earlier I thought Riley should have clearly been ahead of Jake in spring because of his experience. But most observers would have said Jake was better, or at the least they were even, and the stats obviously favor Jake. That’s not a good sign for Riley.

    And as I and others have said Riley is struggling as a leader. I won’t release details, but while Jake may have some maturing to do(he’s 18 that should be expected), so does Riley.

    Also give your view on this. Do the veteran players really see Riley as a veteran? He started a few games at USU 4 years ago in an offense completely different then BYU’s, and he saw soem garbage time last year. Not exactly what I would call a veteran in terms of game experience.

  • kiyoshige said:

    Nate, I think Heaps is asking for it simply by the HYPE that has been built up around him. And I’m a great supporter of his press conference and everything (unlike Markell – I love that Heaps brought this bit of pop culture to BYU). I am just putting myself in a D-line or linebacker’s shoes and I’m thinking, I’ve been in this program for 2-3 years. I have worked my tail off and proven myself on the field. I was not a 5 star recruit out of high school but I have played against all of these top players and I think I can hold my own. Now some frosh thinks he’s going to come in here and put yards on me?

    So, it’s not Heaps with his personality or anything he has done per se that is asking to get leveled (except for maybe locker room or personality shenanigans as above), it’s just the pride of a defensive player that some hot shot QB freshman thinks he can come in here and take over this team? Let’s see him try.

    Contrast this with Max Hall/John Beck/Ty Detmer going into their Senior years – nothing to prove, no defensive player wanting to level them, already clear and proven leaders.

    In a sense, this will give Heaps a chance to prove himself on the field as much as he can before a “real game” anyways. None of the QBs this year have a plethora of “real game” experience, obviously. But Riley has definitely paid his dues so to speak in the Cougar system.

    This is a point of view from just a pure sports fan who has been to one fall practice ever, but has followed BYU football for 20 years, so take it FWIW – nada mucho.

  • Nate said:

    Bob, if Riley read the D better why did he make more mistakes? Jake’s strengths are his arm, his knowledge of the game, and his ability to read the defense quickly, and his accuracy.

    Also word is that Riley wants to be more of a drop back passer and not use his legs as much, he needs to play to his strengths. And getting in a drop back passing compititon with Jake is not a good idea for him, he will lose that battle because he is not the passer Jake is.

    I also disagree on him having as good of an arm as Max, he doesn’t imo.

  • walt said:

    Brett, Markell & Quinn-

    My heavens, I’m trying to get some work done & there are so many comments hitting my screen; it’s almost like Hitchcock’s “Birds”. Congratulations to you! that’s 66 comments (half of them today) & Quinn’s post is three days old!

    By the way, Quinn, what is the record for number of comments on a single post?

  • Nate said:

    Kiyo I see what you are saying. But don’t you think Jake did enough in spring to earn at least some respect from other players so they won’t want to tee off on him?

  • Markell Staffieri said:

    @ Nate –

    Sounds like you have more of a personal gripe against me, but you can read on…am I the over-achiever? Because I seem to remember starting a lot of games my freshman year and sophomore year and then ripping my hamstring completely off the bone and then still starting two games my junior year and starting my senior year, so was I ever envious or scared of a Dave Nixon, or anyone else? Not for a second. I knew how good I was, and I proved it on the field.

    I don’t think you know anything about my story at BYU nor my relationship with Harvey. But I am glad you accomplished your goals, as I am sure Jake will.

    @ All –

    I think that everyone is reading a little too deep into everything. Let’s all take a big step back…

    This little tid-bit I shared was like 5 lines long and after it I said “It sounds petty, and it really is.” Guys this is not as big a deal as you are making it out to be. I am not putting down Jake or building up Riley.

    I really don’t care who starts at QB for BYU because I know Coach Doman, Anae and especially Mendenhall will not put a guy on the field who they don’t fully believe will give us the best option to win the game.

    The biggest thing is that I think you are taking my OPINION too much as FACT. We are all fans now, myself included. I don’t maintain a relationship with the players and I think the last practice I was at was a bowl practice before the UCLA game.

  • Markell Staffieri said:

    Walt –

    There is a link at the bottom of the page that says “Most Commented”…

    BCS post was 132
    John Beck’s Final Drive was 107
    Season Melt-Down was 106
    Staff’s Recruiting was 85

  • Alex said:


    It goes without saying (but i’ll, of course, say it) that you were a lot of fun to watch and seem like a good guy.

    However, you admitted that you’ve never met Jake or Riley, did not hear this from the coaches, and are only “friends” with a few players with whom you have not spoken since last season.

    I think it is safe to say, then, that you heard this “locker” story from a second-hand source. Regardless of the veracity, I hope you will agree that it was bad form to publish a rumor about an 18-year old member of our community based solely on hearsay.

    If this is the type of welcome we are giving to our recruits, I don’t think we will have to worry much longer about these hyped “all-stars” coming to our campus.

  • Nate said:

    No personal gripe Markell, sorry if that’s how I came across, that was not my intention. I remember you playing as a freshman and sophmore, always liked the way you played, I remember feeling really bad for you when I heard how you tore your hamstring.

    Just throwing out some opinions based on things I have heard, and want to see what you think about them.

  • Markell Staffieri said:


    I don’t think they see him as a BYU veteran, but they probably do give him some more credit for competing at the college level.

  • Markell Staffieri said:

    Let me offer up a new debate…

    Who is going to star as our RB this year? I was really disappointed that Bryan Kariya did not get more touches last year after his performance in TX.

    I also have not seen his name much in spring ball or over the summer.

    What say ye Cougar Nation?

  • walt said:


    Thanks for educating me. Now I am breaking my rule to not do personal stuff during my work day for one minute to ask you two questions and I will sign off & read it tonight:

    1. What happens if Riley is perceived to be the better leader and Jake is perceived to be the better QB…who starts in this case?
    2. Somebody asked what happens if Riley starts the season and we go 0-3, 1-2 or 1-3…when do you pull him for Jake? My question to you is, will we at least add our 5th 10 win or more season or are we really going to fall back this year?


  • Nate said:

    I think JJ starts out as the main guy at RB, Kariya will get some toches, but by the end of the eyar I think Quezada will emerge as the best RB.

  • BYUJACK said:


    Keep up the good work and keep the opinions coming. I don’t agree with everything you say and probably never will. I don’t know if this really happened with Heaps or not, and if it did so what, hopefully we have team leaders/coaches that can handle this sort of very minor thing. If not we are more screwed than we could imagine.

    I hope Heaps starts, because if he does that means he is way better than anyone else. Because if it is close, I think the coaches go with experience, and nothing there excites me unless we are going to run the option 40 times a game.

  • Alex said:

    Well, Markell, Kariya will probably start since I heard Quezada jumped in front of a veteran at the Cougareat Taco Bell and now has a .01% chance of starting.

    I kid, I kid. I would like to see JJ start. For a little guy, I was always impressed with the way he bowled over tacklers. If we can solidify a good lead blocker, our run game should be solid.

  • Bob Henstra said:

    J said, “Nelson throws no where near as good a pass as Max. And doesn’t read the D better than Heaps. Heaps is already better in that department and by a good margin.”

    You actually had a view, you saw? Or are you just listening to somebody else?

    In my opinion, best man starts. The QB position is no different than any other position on the team, best man starts!

    I’m not taking sides, I only report what “I” have seen. Personally I hope one of the four QB’s rises head and shoulders above the others, takes ownership of the position. But from what I’ve seen at QB, presently that person is Nelson.

    If Heaps beats Nelson out at Fall practice, then good-un on him, but Lark and Munns may have something to say about that, and I hope they do! I hope they push each other to new heights!

    As I said, best man starts!


  • j said:

    Bob, as I have stated earlier, yes I have seen them both multiple times in practice. Not going off of anything anyone else has said. If I knew nothing about them before hand I would still say the same thing. That is the honest truth. Heaps is better.

  • Markell Staffieri said:

    @ WALT –

    1. Coach Mendenhall’s criteria for starting are (in order of importance):
    a. EFFORT
    b. Knowledge of Assignments
    c. Making Plays

    So In your scenario I think that Jake wins out as he would be the one making plays and Riley will be tested to see if he can lead from the sidelines, which is a the sign of a true leader.

    2. First off, I was the one who posed that question, and my response is I don’t know what kind of team we are going to have. I think that the “easy” teams are getting better. Utah State and SDSU I think are going to be REALLY tough this year. They will not be roll over wins. What scares me the most is not knowing what our D Line will be like and not having an established (decided upon) Mike LB (Think Poppinga or Jensen).

    So I think it is really up in the air. The good news, Walt is that we get tested right out of the gate. Unlike ’08 where our first test was really TCU 5 or 6 games in. We will know how good we are/are going to be, after those first 4 games.

  • Markell Staffieri said:

    I wish JJ could be the Nate Meikle of our offense. I want to have that shifty slot guy back in our pocket. But if I remember correctly he doesn’t have as good of hands as Nate.

  • Nate said:

    Ok this is bugging me I have to ask. Markell in your post earlier you said to me

    “I don’t think you know anything about my story at BYU nor my relationship with Harvey. But I am glad you accomplished your goals, as I am sure Jake will.”

    I am still trying to figure out what you meant by that, how did it relate to my posts since you directed that at me?

    Again I will reaffirm that I have no personal gripes with you, so don’t take any of my comments to mean that I have any problems with you, I don’t.

  • Markell Staffieri said:


    Not a rumor…but I think we can all move on from that story.

  • Markell Staffieri said:


    Let’s put it this way…it’s as much a rumor as fans on here quoting my posts to their friends. But I think we can all move on from that story.

  • j said:

    “Nate said:
    Ok this is bugging me I have to ask. Markell in your post earlier you said to me

    “I don’t think you know anything about my story at BYU nor my relationship with Harvey. But I am glad you accomplished your goals, as I am sure Jake will.”

    I am still trying to figure out what you meant by that, how did it relate to my posts since you directed that at me?”

    I think that was directed towards me Nate. Although I very much know Markell’s story at byu (heck as was at most practices – you were good Markell), didn’t claim to know anything about his relationship with Harvey, I only mentioned a workout that Markell, Harvey and Tom did together in the summer of 06 I believe before Tom tore up his knee. I know you better than you think. (You know me a little bit too:)

  • Markell Staffieri said:


    yeah…so that should have been to J…

    But to J –

    This is me calling the Kettle Black, as I seem to have read too deeply into your post as I am accusing readers of doing to mine.

    This paragraph..
    “Overachiever types sometimes seem to hate the talented types even if the talent does work hard. It stinks to work your tail off and still have another guy be better than you no matter what you try and do about it. Everyone knows this feeling cause at some point everyone meets up with someone that is better than they are. It would be like if you Staffieri were a vet on the team and a guy like David Nixon or a Kyle Van Noy or a Manti Teo showed up. You may think you deserve it more than them and that they need to earn your spot but the inevitable will just happen anyway and at some point, they would take your spot with or without you being a leader and them feeling entitled. In fact I can remember one day when you went out side with Harvey Unga (before anyone knew who he was) and Tom Sorensen and ran some sprints. You were running twice as hard as Harvey was and I thought that Harvey needed to take a q from you and work (run) harder. It looked like you thought the same thing. But we all know how things turned out and Harvey will be in the NFL in a few days. (Plus, that was only one workout and I’m sure he worked a lot harder in subsequent workouts.)”

    …came across to me as more of a personal attack after your story and then asking me about Dave and Manti (ie: your veteran PG who was no good v. you). However, I have gone back and re-read it a few times and it makes clearer sense now.

    For one, the first time I read it, I thought it said something to the effect of “I told Harvey he needed to work harder” when that is not what you said.

  • Markell Staffieri said:


    I am glad that you are so mysterious, but seeing as how you are not part of my immediate family, I still say you only know the tip of the iceberg, or you would understand more of my dissatisfaction with the comment and related stories…

    But I am glad to know I had an admirer…;)

  • Bob Henstra said:

    J, I haven’t seen Jake on the field during a game against D1 caliber athletes. Jake hasn’t been leveled with a great hit by a D1 linebacker, as of yet.

    Remember last years Utah game, Winn was hit hard and just wasn’t the same after, he over threw numerous receivers. I’m going to wait and see if Jake is better in actual game situations. I want to see what he’s like after a hard hit. I know how good Nelson is, and I just do not see Jake starting against the likes of Washington, experience is needed.

    Nelson is one tough kid, is Jake that tough? We’ll see!

  • Chris said:

    Nelson may be a tough kid, but he is 1-6 as a starter and his passing stats are not awesome. But if we add some option sets for him, attack the flanks with he and Q like we did with Doman and Luke, it could work. Kariya and JJ are not fast enough for that though, unless JJ finally got all his speed back from injury. Not holding my breath.

  • Nate said:

    Bob, Nelson does not have any real experience either, and truth be told we don’t know how tough he is or isn’t.

  • Bob Henstra said:

    And J, Is “J” short for Jake???

  • Jim said:

    Wow!!! I still think Heaps wins the battle. As my boss use to say “I don’t care how hard you work none of that matters without results.” Jake had the results in Spring Practice and we will see what happens in Fall practice.

  • Bob Henstra said:

    Guys, I’ve been watching football practice for over 46 years. And I’m not blind (yet). It doesn’t take much to see who’s currently doing the best all around job. 7 on 7 drills may tell you who’s the best at the pass, but “is that the only criteria?” In what other way do the coaches judge a QB? Not just by how good he passes, he’s got to run a team!

    Can Jake be rattled like Winn was last year? If Jake starts, do you think the other teams are going to come after him hard? I think so! Hope he can handle it!

    We’ll see!

  • kiyoshige said:

    I think JJ and Kariya will run the show in the backfield. They have the most experience. Quezada looked good in spring, but being a freshman I wouldn’t mind seeing him redshirt this year. Didn’t Harvey grayshirt a year or something like that?

    Kariya can be an “every down” back. He proved that against Oklahoma. I don’t think he got as much touches just because of how good Harvey is. I think JJ will fill in when needed and I love him catching the screen out in the flat – I like his chances against most LBs.

    But this is a big weakness of our offense since Harvey isn’t returning and is not getting as much press as it should due to the intriguing QB situation.

  • j said:

    Markell Staffieri said:

    I am glad that you are so mysterious, but seeing as how you are not part of my immediate family, I still say you only know the tip of the iceberg, or you would understand more of my dissatisfaction with the comment and related stories…

    But I am glad to know I had an admirer…;)”

    It was not my intention to make it seem as if I knew a lot about you, just about your carrer. I saw a lot more of it than the average fan. In fact I was one that stuck up for you when fans were saying that Wagner was a lot better than you back in the day. As I said before, you were good for sure.

    And I admire all athletes as I know it takes a lot of hard work to entertain others, especially football players. Football is a tough sport so I admire them, even if it does take more skill and coordination to play basketball:)

  • Seasider said:

    It seems Markell’s comments caused a bit of a stir on Cougarboard as well. I try not to have too much of a personal investment in these players. Whoever starts this Fall is probably the best guy for the job but I have a feeling that whoever it is is going to disappoint some of us much like John Beck did in his first year but as the team gets better so will that QB. My hope is that whatever growing pains the team goes through are short lived.

    As for the RB situation. Losing Unga will be tough to overcome but we have guys like Kariya and DiLuigi who have been in the system for a couple of years and even Hague has had some playing before his mission. We have some talented incoming freshmen in Quazeda and Philips but I’m guessing that Anae and Reynolds will defer to the veterans while easing the new guys into the offense.

  • swing cat said:

    staff: you are awesome
    gooch: likewise. good to have you back writing articles.

  • kiyoshige said:

    People who are offended/worried/concerned about locker room type comments should grow thicker skin. As already noted, bottom line is best players play and Mendenhall has done VERY well in that respect. Does anyone know of players who rode the pine that were clearly better than others during the time he has been coach?

    Those of you who don’t realize these things go on in the locker room have never carried the water jug to and from the practice field, have never had to pick up the cones and carry the equipment, have never had to have the half-locker or use the junior weight room or go through that “waterboy” rite that goes on in team sports from grade school to the NFL. No matter HOW good you are.

    No way does the team get divided. Bronco won’t let them. Sure the factions and “cliques” and whatnot are going to be there to some extent, but the second those things start affecting the team, Bronco will put an end to it and you will see players off the team quicker than a vampire running down a fly ball.

  • j said:

    About the H back situation.

    I agree Diluigi would do well there but now without Harvey we’re going to need him at RB a lot more this year.

    I also think Jacobson (still at ZR a lot), Haffoka(XR), Falslev, maybe Marshall and R. Brown (ZR) could all do well at the HR. Especially McKay, Spencer and JD.

  • Will said:

    It kind of sounds like you have a gripe with young “All-American” high schoolers coming in and lighting it up without paying their dues.

    Does the TEAM really choose the QB? If so, why would Bronco and his staff allow that to happen, rather than the coaches making the decision and seeing WHO on the team will step up and follow the chosen leader?

    From everything I have heard, Heaps does not act like the spoiled HS hero you make him out to be. WHO is telling you that on the team right now? Of course, you won’t name them, but the point is, you are pointing a finger at Heaps as essentially a troublemaker on the team without having to name any sources.

    Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate all you did on the field (and the other unseen investments off the field and in the classroom) for the football program, but … for a former player to be in a position of trust with fans (and current football players on the roster) and then make claims like this, well, it reminds me of a former baseball coach at my high school who adamantly believed in a seniority playing time rule. Despite the fact the younger players were better and more talented, the guys with the most seniority in the program took the field, because he felt they had “paid their dues” and “earned it.”

    Needless to say, the program never attained a championship level of play because you always had some dogs in the lineup that should have been replaced by younger, better talent coming up in the system.

  • Jody said:

    Markell says that Jake Heaps = Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell.

    Yea, it is obvious that he is completely non partisan on this subject.


  • detmer14 said:

    I really don’t think it helps any of the players passing around gossip about how any player is “rubbing other players the wrong way”. Eventually, some of these comments are going to make it to team members and will generate a bad attitude for the whole team. The team needs to come together as a group. It seems that we, the fans, are contributing greatly to these “wedges” being driven in. I think we need to take a huge step back and let the coaches do what they do best. They know how to lead the group, they know how to discipline, etc. Besides, how can we be sure the MAJORITY of the players feel a certain way about a certain player? Feelings can change quickly. Some of these guys are barely out of High School and have a lot of maturing to do.

    I agree that we want the person best-fit for each person, but this isn’t just skill, it’s how well they know the BYU system as well – which the vets will obviously have an upper-hand. That’s how it works anywhere – sports teams, jobs, military, etc. You have to earn your stripes so to speak. It’s the same reason why all MWC teams will do their best to put BSU in their place when they join the conference in 2011. To shut them up and make them earn their place – like what happened to TCU for the first few years.

    Heaps may or may not have known the significance of what he did with the lockers. He may have his nose high in the air a little, but let’s rely on the coaches to sort things out – we don’t have to fuel the fire ourselves. We should be pointing to the coaches to solve the issues, not trying to solve them ourselves with our limited knowledge of what really goes on.

    I don’t mind Markell’s comments at all. I will take the comments as just giving us what information he had, not pushing any agenda. And I know most people won’t agree with this, but I’m choosing to be optimistic about any insider info I can get and I appreciate it greatly.

    Also, let’s not jump to conclusions and assume any of these great bloggers are siding with anyone. Like Markell said, how would they know these players that well? They’ve been on the team before, they know the team works as a whole, they know not to brown-nose other players up to the coaches and fans. They have been through the system and already know that each player has to do his part. They know how things work on and off the field much much better than we do. And who are we to attempt to correct them? Seems, we as fans are starting to get overblown egos ourselves.

    So I think it’s for the best if we, as fans, keep any of our own gossip to ourselves. I will not help the team one bit. Why not brush it all off and just trust in the team as a whole? Let’s all have a group hug – sorry for the cheesyness – and get back to rooting for our team.

  • detmer14 said:

    As for the RB situation. I am also surprised not to be hearing more from Kariya. I thought he did an amazing job filling in for Unga, and would probably be the starting RB on some other teams. In my opinion, he’s got the hands we need for an RB to get a catch out of the backfield. He’s big enough and quick enough. I am very glad we have talent coming in to make it a good competition. I’ve never been greatly impressed with JJ. Seems we hear great stuff about him during camps, but there is nothing amazing when it gets to the regular season. I would love to see him be able to break out to the sideline and get us yards the way that Ronnie Jenkins used to do.

    I can’t say anything about the new-comers because I can’t watch practice of course, but it will be interesting to see what happens during fall camp. Here’s to hoping we have a great running game like we have consistently had throughout the decades.

  • Chris said:

    If there is 1 position a true freshman can come in and play at, it is RB. Unga did it well for us, as did Staley. I expect Q to play and to have the job as starter by the Nevada game. He is a game breaker that we have not had since Staley played. Kariya is solid and would be a great FB if he could bulk up, JJ a great spot duty back. Neither are 20+ carries a game guys, while Q will be in short order.

  • Markell Staffieri said:

    You’re not reading deep enough. I was comparing Bronco to Ryan Leaf’s gig school coach and myself to Jamarcus Russell while simultaneously comparing myself to Kiy p and Riley to a rebel soldier in the south

    Next time spend a little time thinking it through. I tried to make it pretty obvious

  • BYU DUDE said:

    Markell Staffieri


    From some one who is a veteran, I Don’t understand where you are coming from. You are the rookie here 99.9% percent what a joke. I was at most of the practices and can tell you first hand, it will be decided on the field, not on your calculator. Leadership gets the ball in the end-zone, if Jake does that, and he does the Job is his. Riley is a self proclaimed general, that the players laugh at. I mean that is his nick name “”Self proclaimed general””!!! and I do mean a good number of the seniors, and other players talk about him because he thinks the job is his. If you are around the program like you proclaim, you would know that nick name. Gooch Me,!!! Markell should apologize.

  • Steve M. said:

    Clearly Markell Staffieri has an agenda. I’m glad he gave his all to BYU but he needs to stop helping the Nelson family try to put their son over, even though on the field he is not as good as Jake. I for one will never trust Markell Staffieri again. Even if he doesn’t know it, Markell Staffieri is being used as a pawn to further Riley’s attempts to gain a starting job he clearly doesn’t deserve.

  • B said:

    I’m not going to throw out stories like you did Staff, but if a Heaps bash session starts, I’ll have to keep it fair and let out what is really going on behind the scenes right now. I will say this, Riley is a punk, and although I didn’t care who was the starting QB, I can say that I do not want Riley starting. He is more about himself than the team, and he needs to quit being a baby. He has not had a good summer and I know he is feeling the pressure.

    Also, someone needs to shut up Riley’s uncle. Guy is just a big of a jerk as Riley and frankly, he is out of control. Those who actually know what is going on will know exactly what I am talking about.

  • Bcool said:

    Markell Staffieri,

    starting quarterback will be decided on the field! I believe you owe certain people an apology, with your loose lip opinions. You are still a young man and your comments show that.. your comments are deeper shades of blue that should be kept to yourself.
    Ask yourself what good did your comments prove? And am I sowing seeds of discontent to a team you’re no longer a part of?
    I like this website for what it is offered.. but Markel you need to check yourself!

  • Steve M. said:

    Sources have said that story is FALSE and people put Jakes name on that locker and the self proclaimed “general” Riley Nelson came by and took the locker from Jake, EVEN THOUGH, Jake never put his name on it in the first place. Markell is married to Beck’s sister, Beck just happened to have Riley fly out to help him. No vested interest? Whatever

  • Greg said:

    I only got one derogatory comment about my suggestion that BYU should look at creating UVU as a new rival in the place of Utah, so I’m admittedly jealous of Markell. He tried to do us a favor by sharing some “inside” information that I’ll never have access to and hasn’t gotten blasted for it. Here are my (perhaps futile) attempts to take Markell’s infamy which I so covet:

    (1) When are we going to break through the “good” threshold? I think that Bronco is an EXCELLENT head coach, but he’s a mediocre coordinator. He needs to stick to the tradition and molding young men that he’s obviously superb at while allowing some innovation from the rest of the staff. Hill needs to coach the entire defense. Anae needs to think up some trick plays. I want an undefeated season, dang it!!!

    (2) Are we ever going to hang with TCU again? I attended both of the last two games against the Horned Frogs, and it’s obviously that they’re ready for us every time we play. From comments I’ve read by Patterson and his team, they spend all season gearing up to play BYU. We are their #1 rival now. When we spend time really preparing for mediocre teams, we destroy them (see UCLA circa 2008). When we prepare for excellent teams, we hang with them (see OU circa 2009). Why don’t we win any tough games later in the season?

    (3) Why do we care that Unga is gone? Look, he’s a great guy and an excellent player. I’m proud of the way he handled the Honor Code issue and I’ll cheer him on in the NFL, but he was the MWC Freshman of the Year. Every article I read makes it sound like we’re sunk because we lost such a stellar running back. Everyone seems to forget that we were in the EXACT SAME POSITION when a Mr. Curtis Brown graduated. I think everyone should be given the chance to step up and play. I don’t care if you played for another school before playing for BYU (I’m looking at you, Max and Riley) or thought your mission was the best 10 months of your life (still looking at you, Max). Show me what you can do!

    (4) Will our defense ever be fun to watch again? I was at the Palace that Jerry built for the OU game last year, and it was AWESOME seeing the Cougars rush six and seven. Where did that go later in the year? Especially when playing TCU and FSU? I’ve never been a defensive coordinator, but it seems like you make the opposing offensive coordinator’s job a lot easier if you do the same thing (rush 3) play after play after play. If you give her some time to throw, my two-year-old daughter could pick apart a defense. [Please note: this is why I’m so grateful for the outstanding offensive lines we’ve enjoyed for years. The guys in the trenches made us QB University.]

  • Greg said:

    Please be sure to ridicule my typos, also. I typed it up WAY too fast and I never bother to proofread. Enjoy!

  • BYUX06 said:


    I have heard that BYU does not prefer to have a two quarterback system, but I have noticed that the offense has really changed to accomodate the talent they had (e.g. h-receiver in ’05-’06, but double tight ends sets since ’07). People often criticize Coach Anae for not “game planning” enough, or whatever, but the fact is, this offense has seemed to be evolving. In fact, we have even gone away from the check down pass to the running back in the flats, which I thought really killed TCU in ’06 and ’07, because they could not account for that. Just look at Harvey’s reduction in receptions over the last three years.

    Anyway, do you have a sense about rotating the quarterbacks, or atleast bringing Riley in for “wildcat” sets if he is not going to be the starter?

    Also, a close friend is on the team right now, and he said that if Jake doesn’t start, he will be mad. I think mostly because he is a senior and wants to have the best chance to win each game. This is not a criticism of your original post because I can understand how the veterans all need to buy into the quarterback. The quarterback needs to be a person the team rallies around and supports. My friend is a defensive starter and so he probably doesn’t really have that close of ties to the offense, but he is still quite connected I assume.

    However, I also realize he does not make the decisions. I hope the best of luck to both quarterbacks. It really seems that all four of the primary candidates are decent guys and you hate to have some ride the pine.

    I felt the same way for Jason Beck. The way he came in against USU in ’06 and didn’t miss a beat, I thought must have been great for him. I really respected John though and thought if he would have had one more season in ’07, BYU would have won a BCS bowl, but such is life in college f-ball.

    Thank you for this great site and your fantastic perspectives. Lest you think the majority of fans that visit this site are a bunch of sour, gripers. I think the fans that come here are extremely greatful to you and others for your insights. A hearty thank you to you and Quinn, and other former athletes who are kind enough to post here.

    I especially love to hear about your personal success outside of BYU and other insights from former teammates and their experiences beyond BYU. Kudos to you!

  • BYUX06 said:

    Some of the comments I read here and probably a little too hot. Keep in mind that no one on this site makes any difference as to what is actually going to happen on Saturdays so try not to take people’s opinions so personally.

    I would also like to see Jake start, but only because from what I have heard, not seen, and read he seems the most capable on the field quarterback. However, if there is one thing that I have learned over my five years of attending games, Coach Mendenhall has a proven formula for success and he has taken a lot of heat, for no good reason, for his talent and his team themes. If Nelson is to be the starter, best of luck to him and I will be content to let a proven Coach make that decision and be satisfied with that.

  • BYUX06 said:

    When I said “talent” above, I meant philosophy. That is what happens when you are trying to type and listen to someone at the same time. =)

  • el capitan said:

    I’m surprised that everyone is attacking Markell like this. That said, I don’t necessarily agree with everything, but that’s OK. I’d rather he express his bold opinions instead of becoming another bland and boring blogger who never risks anything. Keep going Staff, don’t let the haters keep you down.

  • Brandon said:

    Why the vilification of Markell? He thinks Riley will win the starting job- so what? He hasn’t attacked his character or done anything inappropriate and the decision will be left to the coaches alone- not former players or fans.

    Let’s all take a deep breath and be grateful we only have a few weeks until fall camp.

  • Steve M. said:

    RE Brandon said:

    Why the vilification of Markell? He thinks Riley will win the starting job- so what? He hasn’t attacked his character or done anything inappropriate and the decision will be left to the coaches alone- not former players or fans.

    Hasn’t attacked his character? Really? Really? Either you are Riley Nelson or you did not read any of his posts or the story he “retold” in which he tries to make Jake look like a spoiled prima donna.

  • JDawg said:


    I really enjoy your site and your insights into the team, but the rumor you posted about Heaps was completely ridiculous. Even if it were true (and I have heard from other reliable sources that it is not true, at least not the whole story), there is absolutely no good that comes from it. Why knock a freshman that you admittedly have never met? Why spread second hand rumors that do nothing but spread contention within the fan base and potentially the team? What does that accomplish?

    I understand that you have a problem with recruiting and conceited recruits, but would you rather have BYU not recruit? Are you sorry we were able to get the top QB in the country last year? Do you have any evidence that Heaps is arrogant? Have you even met the guy? (you already said you haven’t)

    Again, I love your site and will continue reading it, but your credibility took a big shot today with me and a lot of other cougar fans.

  • Brett Richins said:


    This is not Markell’s site. Am am the owner and managing editor. Markell’s remarks were his own and were made in the comments section. They do not represent the opinions of Deep Shades of Blue.


  • BYU DUDE said:

    el capitan Steve M.

    Some things stay in the locker room. Markell Staffieri just got excommunicated from the BYU coaching staff. If you have a problem you better have your fact’s straight. You live and learn, it is just to bad a good guy has to learn the hard way. QUINN GOOCH time to distance your self on this one. This benefits no one, not Jake Heaps and certainly not Riley Nelson.!!! A few out of control parents are The main reason for the new rules of Players Parents not being able to attend practice. They get to attend the first two practices that are worthless.
    and the same practices the public get to attend. And then during the season they get to attend only once a week. I know for a fact 15 families moved here to see there kid’s play, one of them told me that his son probably is never going to see the field and the only way he gets to see him play is at practice. I hope Bronco sees through the smoke and institutes some strict rules for parents makes them sign it, and does not punish all the parents for a few who miss behave badly.And not letting the the big time boosters attend that will back fire big time, this is more like a concentration camp.

  • BYU DUDE said:

    Brett Richins

    Thank you,

    email me if you want the real story. I promise it will be worth your time.

  • Steve M. said:

    It’s actually kind of pathetic that I am even on here having to tell what actually happened, but since it’s been that big of a deal, I mine as well shed some light on it. I have multiple friends on the team, so this is where this comes from.

    On the day locker room’s were picked, Seniors got the first choice, then juniors and so on just like Markell explained. When the juniors picked, O’neil taped off 4 lockers in a row so Jake could be by the receivers. The tape was for O’neil, Ross Apo, Mckay Jacobson and Jake.

    Apparently Jake willingly took his tape off, and oddly enough Riley has the locker that was taped off for Jake, and Jake has one of the worst lockers in the room. Markell really needs to check on his sources or take a walk through the locker room. So Bogus. So sad that this even was a topic of conversation today from an out of touch former player.

  • JDawg said:


    Sorry, I didn’t realize you were the owner now. I didn’t mean to associate his comments with the opinions of Deep Shades of Blue. Markell, I still appreciate your comments and insights though, just not this time.

  • BYU DUDE said:

    Steve M. Thank YOU.!!!

    That is exactly what happened. If you knew anything about Jake Heaps he is laid back. You would know this Lockergate BS, means absolutely nothing to him. But there is so much more to this story than Lockergate.

    I am just glad Brett Richins stepped in to put a stop to this.

    It will be so refreshing to see this settled on the field.!!!

  • Steve M. said:


    If Markell doesn’t work for Deep Shades of Blue then you may want to remove this as it leads people to believe he is on staff.

    “Markell Staffieri joined the DSB crew as a contributor and has done a wonderful job at breaking things down and keeping people interested in what’s happening in Provo. He was a hardworking player how took pride in the X’s and O’s of the game.”

  • Seasider said:

    Geez, and I thought this was gonna be one of those talkbacks that never made it past 10 comments. But as others have pointed out, we all need to a chill pill. If I wanted to read about finger pointing and personal attacks, I can get that everyday at Cougarboard.

    Jake may be some stuck up prima dona who thinks everything should be just given to him or a modern day Gandhi and an angelic QB who leaves the toilet smelling like roses when he’s done his business. Franky my dear, I really don’t give a hoot either way. If he can show up and lead us to victory week in and week out and get us to the BCS and beyond, I’ll be cheering him on.

  • Seasider said:

    Steve M.

    I believe Brett said he doesn’t own the site and that his comments were strictly his as a talkback poster. If Brett wants to make any changes to the site, that’s his call not yours.

  • Brett Richins said:

    Thanks Steve M,

    Yes we do need to update that page…


  • Joe said:


    You are my least favorite former Cougar.

  • Jerry Hatch said:

    I used to enjoy reading the articles and posts here. Now I feel they are inaccurate and destructive to our teams unity. Lies entertained in here are inexceptable to me.Get the facts right about Jake Heaps! After reading recent comments on DSOB I refuse to read from this site anymore.

  • Brett Richins said:


    Markell doesn’t write articles for DSOB anymore. He was making a comment on an article that Quinn wrote.


  • j said:

    Your still a great former cougar MS. Don’t worry about everyone hating on you. And this is a great site and I like Brett’s youtube video’s.

  • Markell Staffieri said:

    @ WALT, SEASIDER, KIYO, BYUJACK and the other day one regulars…

    This is my last post ever on deepshades. It’s been a fun ride with a lot of great conversation. Walt, you are someone I would really like to meet in the future. Although I don’t want to post on here anymore I will check back in on any article but this one. So if you have any other questions down the road, let me know what they are and how to get a hold of you and I will answer them. In the words of Jim Craig (Man from Snowy River) “I’m not hard to find in the mountains, you all are welcome at my campfire any time.”

    To the rest, You are all way too into this hype and QB battle. I am grateful that when I wake up tomorrow my life will not be impacted in any way shape or form by who is BYU’s QB. I believe in Jim Rome’s saying, “Have a take and come strong.” I am glad that I can have my take and stand behind it. I’ll gladly attach my name to every one of my opinions and not cower.

    Joe I am sorry to dissappoint you. But the truth is, a man that I trust with my life, a man I would die for who is inside the BYU program called me to comment on how out of control this post got (I asked him to read it) and he agrees on two things 1. Nothing I have said is conjecture and 2. Nothing I have said is new knowledge to the guys that matter and will have no bearing on the team’s chemistry. And quite frankly his opinion is that only one I need.

    So long…

  • Joe said:


    So is it his opinion, or is it fact? You are contradicting yourself. My source tells me you are wrong. Look I can do it too.

  • Will said:

    I have to add that I would be happy seeing a 2-Qb system like Leak and Tebow pulled off in Florida’s national championship season a few years ago. Anything that moves the program beyond the wall and gets us into BCS bowldom.

  • dultso said:

    Thanks to all here!! I have been so bored lately with BYU B12 news dying down and I don’t care about baseball or the world cup. I love summer but nothing good and juicy BYU FB news to chew on– bored bored bored. (It’s even so bad that they’re makin’ stuff up on CB–I know what you’re all thinking–“NO NEVER!!!”)

    So today was a refreshing Jerry Springer slap fest. I loved it!! Thanks for stirring the pot Markell (Brett you should thank him too–not publicly though–some people need a villan)–thank you others for the inside info on lockergate–but I have to say–without Markell we would not have been able to weasle that story out of the closed-lip insiders.

    CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! To all. Now I can eat my cookie, drink some warm milk and go back to bed with a smile on my face.

    Yes–I am a Heaps fan. But I’m also a BYU fan so in the end–may the best man win. And to anyone who ends up riding the pine–you’ve got better seats to a coveted BYU games than those fat old millionare boosters–kudos and enjoy.

  • walt said:

    Markell, Quinn & Other Former Cougars who have volunteered their insight over the past year or so-

    I wish you would reconsider your decision to leave this site. I have never met Quinn but have traded e-mail with him off & on and spoken with him by phone a few times; but what I do know about him and from the spirit of his articles, I don’t think what happened today is how he envisioned it to be. All of these comments, including mine, do not reflect the kind of camaraderie that should exist between BYU alumni, SA’s, friends and families of this great university. We bash the Ute’s all the time with our self righteousness but if any fan, be him/her a Ute, Cougar or from any other university were to stand back and read through all our comments today, he/she would be appalled and sick over the pettiness, discourtesy and unprofessionalism shown herein.

    I have loved and still do love the insight of the former SA’s who have played football at the Y and especially those who have played for Coach Mendenhall. They know what it’s all about, they did it, and they gave it their very best and are like any former player who joins the broadcasting crews that we watch on television. They may not have all the facts but their opinions are as valuable as Bill Gates’ would be if he were to author a business blog entitled “Business At The Speed Of Thought” and let everyone make comments and ask questions. Maybe he wouldn’t have all his facts correct either, but his insight and wisdom would be priceless.

    Quinn, Markell & Other Former Band of Brothers, please forgive us fans who get a little too worked up, opinionated, near sighted, etc., but who have one thing in common…a love for BYU football. Maybe we can get a good rest tonight and wakeup tomorrow (today) and feel grateful for living in a free country where they play football and realize we are so fortunate to have our team right here in Happy Utah Valley.

    Finally, I would like to leave you all with this quote:


    “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

    Theodore Roosevelt; “Citizenship in a Republic”, Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

    P.S. Markell, I hope you come back but if not, I can be reached at walthanssen@comcast.net.

  • dultso said:

    Markell don’t go man!! Today was my first post ever–and it was all because of the stir you made on CB. Now you’re going?! No way man. Take a breath . . . watch a few episodes of Wizards of Waverly place on Netflix (sorry–that’s what I do– . . just sayin’). . . and THEN GET BACK TO THAT KEYBOARD YOUNG MAN! Don’t let these yippers get your goat. What would Bronco do if you let the fans get inside your head during a game? He would go all Caveman on you (a little plug for AF–for those in the know). Markell–I love you man!

  • Me said:

    Who gives a rip about someone picking their locker? Come on Markell…wow, this is really bush league stuff here. If you want this site to be taken seriously, leave this petty stuff for CougarBoard. I expect more from a former player.

  • Chris said:

    @Markell – You just don’t get it, do you? It doesn’t matter if your story about the lockers is “conjecture” or 100% true. Why would you want to post such a story here? And even if it was true, who cares?! LMBO! Is that all the “dirt” you could come up with on Heaps? He picked his locker out of turn? Oh noooo! What a scandal! LOL

  • Mars said:

    Clearly Staffieri is in the wrong here:

    He attacked an 18-year old kid (“too entitled”, “rub the vets the wrong way”, “get him trouble if he doesn’t watch it”, “he will lead [this team] into the ground”, “the Vets just aren’t going to follow Heaps leadership with some of the stunts he’s been pulling”, “the vets are going to rally around Riley more than Heaps”), just because he was a more highly-rated and sought-after recruit than he himself was. He published a false version of a true story without remorse, even knowing that he speaks to NO ONE currently on the team or the coaching staff and doesn’t attend practices. He guaranteed a starter, then much later admitted that he had absolutely no clue who the coaches would start. He said our BYU QBs need to be more like Hitler. He said “I hate recruits”. He compared Jake Heaps to Ryan Leaf, Jamarcus Russell, and Jimmy Clausen, then said he was glad when Clausen was punched in the face by a fan.

    Talk about a Mel Gibson-esque rant! What an embarrassing day for a formerly popular ex-Cougar. Others are not to blame here for what STAFF himself said. He obviously didn’t think before posting any of this. There’s no need to go out of your way to cause divisiveness in your former team or your fanbase.

    A good coach starts the best player, not the oldest. We’ll know who the coaches choose soon enough.


  • kiyoshige said:

    Staff thanks for the great insight and I’ll miss the clues from the LB position especially since I’ve never played football and I feel like I enjoy watching the game way more now (much to my wife’s chagrin). No longer do I watch just the ball but I see how individual players take on blocks and assignments and I couldn’t do this before this site.

    Who knows maybe someday I’ll get out of Texas and head back home to CA and show up at the campfire with my boys. And I might take you up on your offer and hunt you down if I have a burning question that I think can only be answered by a LB.

    The Mel Gibson comparison is a bit harsh. Markell’s was less vulgar.

    Agree completely that nothing said on message boards, websites, by families, former players or whatever affects the team. One of my former coaches used to say about the media, “That and 50cents will buy you a cup of coffee at Winchell’s.” If our football team is not above WHATEVER is out there in the media then our coach is not Mendenhall. When you look at how all of the controversial incidents have been handled since Bronco took over, he has formed our team into a ship tighter than a Navy aircraft carrier and his results and player satisfaction has been downright unbelievable. Manase, Harvey, Van Noy have all been through some of these tough times being in the spotlight as a college football player and their actions speak louder than any message board.


  • Sam said:

    Honestly, I agree with Markell on the starting aspect. As of right now, Riley will start, guaranteed. Think about it, Jake has played 0 games in DI football, both came out of spring “dead-even” as said by Coach Mendenhall, the starting and most experienced running back won’t be here next year, and we’re hitting the ground running once the season starts. All aspects point to Riley because he has DI playing time under his belt and the veterans understand how he runs the offense since they played with them last year. He has experience on the game field and the practice field. If the first game were tomorrow, Riley would start. Who knows what’ll happen during Fall camp. Maybe Jake will emerge as the starter or maybe Riley will. The competition could very well continue to the third or fourth game into the season. But if the game were tomorrow, there’s a 99.9% chance that Riley would start and a 0.01% chance that Heaps will start.

    With Markell’s add of how some of the players feel entitled, obviously the locker room issue is kind of big deal because that’s something that happens in a place that’s second to home for the guys. There’s a certain structure set in place that everyone abides to. To have some new kid come in and disregard the structure that’s been set in place would stir up some kind of contention with the older guys. It’d be like living with roommates for 3-4 years then you get some new roommate who puts his name on your food. Hype is one thing, but performance is another. JJ was pretty hyped up before he came to BYU, but he had a rough freshman year. Obviously he’s coming into his own now, but stars, hype, etc. is just a bunch of words until it’s proven on the field. Dennis had 0 stars, Austin was a 3-star recruit and now he’s doing well in the NFL. A lot of the guys from the 07 defense were walk-ons and yet we won a conference championship.

    Markell and the staff know how something that small can ruin the chemistry of the team and even though to us it may seem petty, it does make a big difference on teams. Guys who respect each other will play their hearts out for each other, but guys who don’t respect each other play for themselves. It takes tons of unselfish acts to gain respect and one act of selfishness to lose it.

  • Dusty said:

    I come her specifically to read opinions by former players. If Markell was asked to leave by the owner of this blog (Brett, I am referring to you), then the blog has just become less important to one BYU Fanatic. How long is it going to take for you to run Quinn? I haven’t seen any insight from Criddle either.

    One last comment before this page gets removed from my favorites list. To all you fans who think that the most important thing in your life is to see Jake Heaps start on day one next year, are you going to quit being BYU fans if Nelson, Lark, or Munns wins the job? Are you going to call for the benching of the current starter or the head of Bronco if we lose a couple games next year with Heaps on the bench? This is one of the reasons I love BYU but am embarrassed by the fans. BYU fans always know more about football then the coach. It was the same when Lavelle was on the sidelines, if the fan favorite wasn’t the starter, Lavelle was “out of touch”. Frankly, I don’t care who starts but you had better believe that whoever wins the job is the guy that the coaches believe will help them to win games and consequently help them keep their jobs.

  • Jay Miller said:

    I have enjoyed some of your insights in the past. Unfortunately I feel like you spoke the unspeakable. First by reporting a negative spin that could have no good outcome. Even worse, this bit of “Dissinformation” (as it turns out) was not double or even triple checked for accuracy bdfore being spread as fact. In the first place NEVER trust one source. Always verify. And in the second place have the wisdom to know what is appropriate. This story, and I’m referring to your bit on the locker selection, had no place being aired even had it been true. Now in the light of day it looks like you got played by someone with an agenda! There it is! That is my take on the situation. You allowed youself to be manipulated, whether innocently or not. So I will not be one of those asking for your return.
    One other thing. I think you need to be man enough to apologize to Heaps. It is pretty cowardly and beneath you to say it is all true then sneak off. You played like a man so you should step up as you always did as a player and do the right thing. As I said before, even if it had been true you would owe him an apology for putting it out there.

  • Brett Richins said:


    Markell hasn’t been asked to leave. He has been a key contributor over the past couple of years to the success of Deep Shades.

  • JDawg said:

    The problem with Markell’s comments about Heaps and “Lockergate” is that it just is not true. What he told us is not the whole story. I don’t blame Staff, but it was a little tactless to post that kind of second hand information without knowing all the details. Heaps may or may not start, but the locker situation is not true and will have absolutely no impact on whether he does.

  • sejo said:


    you asked if there has ever been a clearly better player sit the bench behind someone who is not as good:

    yes, when Andrew Rich sat behind Kellen Fowler

  • Gary Jacobson said:

    Fellow Cougars, this is just the type of disunity that Bronco warned so strongly against, because it can so quickly, so completely, utterly destroy the chemistry of a football team. None of us want that. Pointing fingers and passing on negative and disengenuous rumors with innuendo and half-truths, not knowing the facts and embellishing what you do know with conjecture not only mislead, they assassinate character and a man’s very moral fiber. They also assassinate the very chances of a team’s winning. Disharmony can destroy everything, and is to be avoided like the plague, at all costs, for you do not want to see a program like our beloved Cougars in dissarray.

    Markell, I respect you still, for your entertaining dominance in the trenches of the BYU defense, for your grit and perseverence on the field of battle, and for your qaulity information on this and other sites. But in lampooning Jake Heaps, you crossed this line … and yes, I did read and reread your comments deeply. You admitted you were not privy to coaches thinking on the matter, had talked with no current players, attended no practises, did not know the parties involved whatsoever … yet you made judgements on scanty, negative rumor and hearsay. You talked as if you had inside information about this admittedly petty lockerroom fuss … though there were people in the know saying Jake had nothing to do with it whatsoever … that Chambers put his name up there because he wanted to be by him. It’s that simple … that innocent!

    All I have heard until now was how humble Jake is, how mature, how unassuming, even with his talents in passing and running the team, with abilities to read defenses and make plays that surpass his age. Most important of all, spring statistics show he moves the team like no other candidate, and scoring is the bottom line. Of course he has to earn his stripes on the field, but you know any player worth his salt, in any position, requires he have self-assured confidence in his abilities …. but this does not mean entitlement to an automatic starting role, but jake has shown nothing but the desire to work to let his actions prove themselves. That is how it should be!

    I will gladly wait for Bronco to make the decision, trusting in his ability to see what is best to make the team winners.

  • Logan said:

    When did this blog turn into Cougarboard? Markell, perhaps you should keep your rumors to yourself. Just a suggestion. Also, those who “guarantee” Riley will start are dillusional. That is all.

  • Mike said:

    This is all laughable. Someone mentioned that if outsiders were to read this thread they would be appalled? Are you kidding me. This is such a mormon thread. Everyone is trying to be so Christlike in their negative comments, its disgusting. Just have fun, its football. Your salvation does not depend on any of this bull crap. No one would be appalled, they would just think you’re wierdos. Really weird.

  • walt said:

    Come on fellow Cougars, why beat a dead horse? There isn’t anymore that can or should be said about this subject. Do we want to form a grand Jury to see if there is enough evidence to convict someone? Please let’s forgive and forget or as President Kimball used to say, “We have paused on this plateau long enough…”

    Brett- please post another article quickly so we can talk about something else.

  • Gene said:

    I personally was able to watch quite a bit of spring practice.

    IMO, Jake is a far better QB than Riley, especially in BYU’s system, and here is why. BYU’s system is not geared for a running QB with a mediocre to slightly above average arm. John Beck was by far the best at running this system and that was because he used every single WR/TE/RB on the field.
    For a QB to be great in BYU’s system, he has to be an excellent ball distributor that can take advantage of the D when they try to crowd the line and take away the short and intermediate routes.
    This is no knock on Riley as he seems to be a very fiery competitor, but I’m just not sure he can make all the throws necessary to run the BYU O the way it is designed. IMO, Coach Anae would have to dramatically change the way the O is run to account for Riley.

    There were 2 plays spefically form spring practice that showed me Heaps was well ahead of the other 2 QBs, and they both took place on the first day of spring ball. Neither of the 2 plays were passing plays. On Jake’s first play from scrimmage in 11’s(11 on 11 drills), now remember this was his very first time in a D1 practice, and his very first snap under center, Jake audibled from a pass play to a run. He saw something in the D and checked off to a handoff to Harvey that went for 12 yards.

    If you have never played, you have no idea how much NAD it takes to do such a thing as audible in that type of situation. That takes some serious stones.

    Towards the end of that same thing practice, once again in 11’s, Jake checked off again out of pass play and to a run. That ended up being a handoff to Josh Q that went 35 yards untouched into the end zone.

    Jake is by far miles ahead at reading a D and spotting its weaknesses prior to the snap.

  • BYUJACK said:

    This thing is crazy and out of control, I thought it was bad yesterday morning.

    Staff, I wish you luck in whatever you next pursue. I have enjoyed reading your information and opinions (even the ones I disagreed with). I wish you wouldn’t run away and hide, but I understand why you feel you should or it might be the right thing to do now. I think the personal attacks on you from us “who are all perfect” has become way over the top.

    Once again, best of luck to you, and I can only speak for myself, I hope you change your mind and re-engage.

  • Chris Turner said:

    The problem with webboards is that clowns get courage from anonymity. Most posting here do so anonymously, and Staff didn’t. Yet some anonymous clowns are now taking shots at him because you know who he is, yet none of us really know who you are. And the fact is, if your real name was next to your posts, I guarantee much of this garbage would not be here. That is the real problem with web boards. Guys get brave behind their keyboards and type things they would never say face to face or if their real name was tied to it. So sorry, if your name is not next to it and you are calling someone out, hard to really respect that. At least staff has my respect in that regard, because he put it out there.

    Tempest in a freaking teapot if ever there as one. All the way around.

  • Casey Adams said:

    Logan’s take is the best one here … I should say it is the best second to Markell’s and some of the Kyoshogi takes. Anyway, I digress, this article and this post turned into Cougarboard. Markell had a concern, a thought, an issue that he brought up. Those who didn’t like what it indicated, attacked him personally. The attacked his credibility and were obnoxious. I came to this blog to get away from Cougarboard. I don’t want Cougarboard to follow me here. Staff, Gooch, Rose etc. have created an environment that allows average fans to gain above average insight into the sport. The result is amazing. Now the strength of this blog is being hurt by those who don’t like to hear other’s opinions.

    I may have to start my own blog with only former players allowed to post anything but questions.

  • Seasider said:

    Sooo how about those tight-ends? Just trying to change the subject.

  • kiyoshige said:

    sejo, i’ll give you rich for fowler. But I’ll also say that Rich still got quite a bit of PT in 2008. According to the school site, Rich played in 13 games as a sophomore with 3 starts. So that to me says that the coaching staff was making an effort to get the best player on the field, even though Fowler had also proven experience and could make plays.

    Rich blew up his Junior year (I was able to witness him cause two fumbles against OU) and he is going to be a force to be reckoned with this year. I fully enjoyed him and SJ bobbing their heads in that secondary last year ready to decapitate players. Somebody tell Rich to tone it down so he doesn’t get any PF for spearing.

    Over the past years our depth has improved quite a bit and that reflects a complete team effort – coaches, recruiting, players.

    On the QB topic, have y’all noticed that none of the 4 QBs have announced transfer plans? This tells me that they have bought into the BYU system somewhat. They are willing to sacrifice PT to be at BYU and that speaks volumes of our system. Maybe a bit premature (it’s only July), but I think it’s significant. If all 4 stay it will be unbelievable.

  • Robb Cundick said:

    I’m sure glad I was out of town and away from computers yesterday.

  • tony dibiase said:

    The whole thing was stupid. We have some extremely paraniod fans. These kids are men, let them fight their own battles. Mark don’t hide, come back and give your insights. Some people think this whole thing was a conspiracy by the Nelsons to get Mark to slander Heaps. That is just plain stupid. The fans don’t get to vote on who the quarterback will be. They will play it out and we should support who ever gets the freakin job. Seems like a lot of the fan base has sworn their allegance to one side or the other on some highlight tapes and a few practices and don’t even want to consider the other guys in the race.

  • Chodilicus said:

    I will preface this by saying that I liked you as a player, Staff, and I like this site and your commentary. However, you have me a little perplexed on this.

    On the one hand you state that you did not see any of spring ball, you do not know either Jake or Riley, you don’t have friends on the team that you talk to, and you don’t seem to have spent much time around the program. Yet you then make fairly definitive conclusions about who should start and about the leadership abilitities of these QBs. I guess I am just wondering what the basis is for these conclusions since you have basically admitted to ignorance on the issue?

    I mean you relay a story that is clearly just someone’s perception of events (lockerroom story), although it is still unclear exactly how you found this out other than rumor. I mean it sure seems like you are biased towards Riley in this situation but I am not sure why other than the fact that Jake is a Freshman and was highly recruited, which for some reason you seem to hold against him.

    So in all honesty, why should we listen to your insight on the matter when you don’t seem to have any real inside knowledge? I mean other than being a former player, you seem to have about as much insight into this situation as I do.

    I mean it is one thing if you say that generally it is harder for freshman to be leaders. But you made some pretty bold predictions about the specific leadership abilities of one particular freshman and I just don’t know how you could possibly know that or why in the world you thought that would be good to share.

  • oceanographer said:

    Holy cow! I miss the site for a few days and when I get back online I can’t believe the number of comments for a rather innocuous post escalating from, it seems, an even more innocuous comment by Staff. I am really impressed with Heaps and look forward to him being the starter, but I totally agree with what Staff said. It makes sense, given how talented that he is, so what’s the big deal? Both Heaps and Riley can deal with it, so why can’t some fans. The point, from the beginning, of DSB was to give us fans inside information that we couldn’t get anywhere else and opinions from former players who DO know what they are talking about. Staff, I don’t know if it will do any good, but I had to add my 2 cents and ask that you please stay. DSB is the best BYU website because of people like you. I’m sorry that some commentators here can’t really take the “inside” information. I accepted, long ago, that BYU football players aren’t perfect, but there is no team, at any level, I would rather root for.

  • Chodilicus said:

    to Dusty,

    Look, I agree completely with your point about wanting insight from past players. I also really hope that Markell comes back to this site because he has had some great insights. However, as with anything else in professional life, you must live up to your obligations. When you proclaim yourself as an expert in something, no matter what that thing is, then you must take that as an obligation to be fair in your assumptions and have facts to support claims that you make. I am a real estate consultant for the U.S. Military so when I make some claims about real estate in a certain market, I better actually know what I am talking about and have some facts to support them.

    The reason that I want insight from past players is because I assume that they know what they are talking about. In other words, I assume that their opinions are actually based in facts, first hand knowledge or experience. Therefore, when Markell makes a definitely comment about who he thinks should start or about certain characteristics of certain players, I assume that he actually has a foundation in fact to make those conclusions.

    That is where I think a lot of fans got upset about this post. We feel like Markell misled us. He came across as an expert and we assumed that what he said was true. Then it turns out that he has about as much connection to the current team as I do. He didn’t watch any spring practices and doesn’t talk to current players. So how can he possibly make the kind of accusations and assumptions that he did? You just can’t do that. People feel deceived and lied to by someone they thought they could trust.

    So it is fine to have an opinion but make sure that everyone knows it is an opinion. If Markell just said “although I have not seen either of them practice and do not know them personally, I think that Riley will start because he is an upperclassmen and knows the system better. Furthermore, I have concerns about how well a team can be led by a true freshman QB”, then there would be absolutely no issue at all. But instead he stated it as fact that Jake is a bad leader with a huge ego and that it is a sure thing that Riley will start. It turns out the Markell doesn’t have any reliable information to support any of those claims.

  • cory said:

    well that sucks! way to go ya little tweeny girls. now the man with great insights and great feedback has no interest in helping us out. Can’t blame the man. Seriously though, let it go!
    Staff although I know you will never read this, thanks for everything and please feel free to come back the true fans love you!

  • Seasider said:

    Remind me to bring my rope and harness next time I visit this talkback section. I feel like I was in free fall scrolling down to the bottom.

  • Brett Richins said:


    I think it’s just best that everyone stays back from the precipice here! LOL!

  • Trey said:

    These comments are amazing… and not necessarily in a good way.

    Markell, thanks for your comments, I love em. I appreciate all info from actual players who are in a little on “the know.” Having played for Bronco, you know how his system works. You know how he ticks. I will never get in on a debate with you acting like I know more about that man, or BYU football for that matter, than you do. From the outside looking in, Bronco appears to be a very business oriented coach. He looks for ways to keep players focused, and he demands respect and hard work. It seems to me that it would be very difficult for a true freshman to learn the ropes of Bronco’s system that fast. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but I would be surprised to see it.

    Unlike all the experts on this blog, I don’t live close enough to see any of the spring camps etc. I did not get to see Jake or Reiley in action. I don’t anything about their personalities, who is more mature, who is evil, etc. I do know that practise is not game time. Even “garbage time” in a real game is something. Too many times I’ve seen great high school talent not perform too well come game day. I can relate to the entitlement crappy attitude. I have seen many co-workers with the same disease. It’s one thing to be entitle if you can back it up with your skills, but if there is one thing I can’t stand, it is those who think they are entitled but prove to be nothing more than lazy and spoiled.

    The good news is it all works itself out in the end. And Bronco, to date, has done a good job of figuring it out.

  • Ice Peak English said:

    I have to say it makes me sad to see Staff go. I always enjoyed reading his comments on the articles. It seemed he hadn’t really been officially involved with this site much since Brett came on. If I read it correctly it’s just Brett and Gooch now.

    I’m glad the same thing that happened to pwrides site won’t happen to this one, since Brett and Gooch have a lot to give us Coug fans.

    I’ll just miss reading Staff’s comments. Whether you agree with him or not he’s an awesome guy.


  • James said:

    Yeah, thanks for all the MISINFORMATION and flat our bold face LYING about one of our new players. Your a heck of a guy!

    Also, way to put down and try and disenfranchise an ENTIRE class of in coming freshman… your to cool for school…

    For those that will miss you,.. I’m sure there is somewhere where you can all congregate and bash on all kids ranked and talented. Why, just look at Texas, Oklahoma, Florida,Alabama, ect… and how many of those darn entitled ranked kids they bring in each year to help them achieve BCS bowl status and runs at the NC championship game.

    Yeah, we will sure miss your enlightened comments… NOT

  • walt said:


    You talk about misinformation and yet sources closer to/on the team confirmed Staff’s story. Why not file a lawsuit and take Staff to court, bring in as many witnesses as possible and finally get to the bottom of this?

    You rake a Staff member over the coals for disenfranchising an entire class (actually only two of them are mentioned/affected) & then you turn around and do actually the same thing by your post. Now, just one final question, do your comments add to or detract from the overall mission (used by Tom Holmoe in yesterday’s press conference) of the football program & BYU?

    Maybe Staff made a mistake, who knows because it’s all in the minds of the beholders, but let’s forgive him, if in fact he needs to be forgiven, and invite him back for the season so we will have an in- depth view & opinion of the team throughout the season.

  • walt said:


    Your site is great…this discussion is just a minor hiccup in your quest to move it onward & upward towards being the most informative site for BYU football and other sports, or as Glenn Beck would say, “the fusion between enlightenment and entertainment.”

  • James said:


    Staff’s story is NOT confirmed… PERIOD. I will forgive him when he see’s fit to apologize for the stupid post he made.

    You may think its ok to character assassinate someone on our team let alone a young player but I don’t. I also don’t think its right to go after a entire recruiting class based solely off their ability to achieve a high national ranking. (at any other school Staff would be laughed right off the message board)

    I’m so glad Staff’s moving on… the current BYU team, future recruits and their families don’t need guys like this trying to bring down the collective.

  • walt said:


    No one is qualified to make the statements you are making unless they knew the heart of Markell. I for one do not believe that he was trying to assassinate the character of anyone in the class of 2010 let alone the entire class. That simply is not possible and is unthinkable of him or any former player who has invested (fully) more than any of the rest of us ever will who sit in the stands and watch & cheer…even if we do it for 90 years or more; it simply is not possible. Eventually and hopefully he will return and I along with a majority on this blog will welcome him with open arms.

  • James said:


    I am qualified to make the statements that I am making. He showed his heart with his ugly comments and defended his comments with more hate.

    I see we will have to agree to disagree on this subject… but I will be very disappointed if Richins lets Markell back on this site… for obvious reasons. Hate and prejudice are not things I associate with BYU football.

  • kiyoshige said:

    If Staff “character assassinated” anyone and went after the entire recruiting class, then I will gladly do the same. I’ll crown them with whatever glory they deserve when they prove it on the field.

    I’m sure if any of those players have gone to Walmart and gotten themselves a can of “man up” lately they’ll use it as motivation. Or, even more likely, they aren’t bothered with media junk and are too busy training and getting ready to live up to their billing that they don’t have time to care about what others think about them.

    Let’s not miss the forest for the trees here. Whether you agree or disagree with the exact words, the exact details of the incident, or whatever, the overall issue is one of earning your playing time through talent, hard work, fanatical effort and making plays.

    In a way, I feel somewhat responsible for this melee, so blame me and not Staff. The original post asked about who will become the leaders of this young group. I, a long-time blue blooded fan with no inside knowledge of the team, conjectured that I thought Heaps and Reynolds would be the offensive leaders. Staff came back with the idea that Heaps would not be and his reasoning for it. His “but I’ll probably get in trouble for sharing” was so prophetic. A lot of long-timers on this blog shared the same sentiment that it would be difficult for a freshman to earn playing time at QB (and thus be a leader on offense). So that is the bottom line point. If you are worried about the details of some locker room incident, I think that you miss the point.

    Seasider, the tight ends are questionable and will be a drop this year. Much as the running back situation. We lose two proven players that are among the best in the country at both positions! But, like the running back situation, we have plenty of young talent…

    (1) When are we going to break through the “good” threshold? Multiple 10 win seasons in a row aren’t good enough for you?

    (2) Are we ever going to hang with TCU again? Yes, we’ll beat them this year. And we’ve beaten Utah and won our bowl game 2 out of the last 3 years and so I would say that we can win at least some of the big games late in the season, sometimes.

    (3) Why do we care that Unga is gone? He’s got a bunch of BYU rushing records! I bet you were one of the fans that didn’t miss Collie last year.

    (4) Will our defense ever be fun to watch again? Wait, I missed it! Our defense was fun to watch? When? Did someone DVR it for me?


  • detmer14 www.realfansstand.com said:

    The defense was fun to watch back when we had Derwin Gray – remember the “Gray Zone”? But it hasn’t been the same since.

  • Ben said:

    Quick comment then I’ll be quiet:

    Staff, Gooch and co.: Hopefully you keep writing for DSOB with comments and feedback. I’ve enjoyed them over the last year or so.

    Fellow Cougar Fans: I think it’s fine if people have other opinions on the team. We ALL want BYU to win all the time, period. Whomever the QB is that gets us the most wins, let them be the QB. I like Riley and Heaps, and think either would help us tremendously.

    My thanks to Brett, Gooch, Staff, and all the guys from the beginning for their work on DSOB. Love this site. I for one hope everyone keeps commenting.

    Can’t wait til’ kickoff. As always….. Go Cougars!


  • kiyoshige said:

    For the record, it looks like Staff was correct that Nelson would be taking the first snaps at UW. Good call and I will admit I was wrong in my prediction…

    99% from Staff was pretty good info and I should never have doubted it…

  • Woody said:


    The only thing that is for certain is this: ““We plan on playing both Riley and Jake at quarterback and feel both will be effective leading our team,” Mendenhall said. “Each is a talented player with a different style, which will pose some difficulties for opposing defenses. Both players are committed to this decision and excited to lead our team.”

    The discussion has always been, who is going to win the starting job and in fact they were both dead even. Whoever takes the first snap will not have beaten out the other. Now whoever wrote this post today from the AD said, “It is anticipated that Nelson will take the opening snap against Washington but both quarterbacks will play.” “Anticipated” and “will” don’t have the same meaning.

    By the way Staff, the depth chart is out, I sat next to Kyle Van Noy, O’Neil Chambers & Ross Apo at the BYU Women’s soccer game tonight (BYU beat Weber State 5-1) and they confirmed it, do you have it yet? By the way, Pendleton is still not 100% and is questionable as a starter in the opener.

    Yes, Kiyoshige, I agree with you, the Staff has done an incredible job.

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