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Brad Rock: BYU Cougars need to move beyond the Riley Nelson era

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  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 4:03 p.m.

    Fairly well said, only about 6 - 8 weeks late. Isn't Monday-morning-quarterbacking fun? No one is bettter at it than sportswriters (after all, they need something to write about) and former officials (of which I lay claim).

  • 54-10 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 4:06 p.m.

    Every year we read about predictions of greatness for BYU football and every year they don't meet those expectations and that is with a less than difficult schedule. We have seen what happens when they play average teams - they lose. With the schedule next year being even slightly more difficult than this year, don't see how the BYU "fan" can expect anything more than a 4-6 loss season.

    Truth is, the bar that is set by the BYU "fan" and the local media is way higher than the team will EVER be able to reach. Whether it's Riley or someone else, BYU will never reach the lofty expectations of the BYU "fan" and the "fan" will continue to grumble.

  • Dan the Fan PROVO, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 4:07 p.m.

    I believe that Lark should start, but we all know that there is no way that Bronco will start him. Bronco has proven time and again his inability to make decisions based on skill but rather on his relationship with the player. Nelson has proven his inability to win big games and a bowl game is just that. People talk of Nelson's leadership, but leadership is shown when a team is struggling, has it's back to a wall or needs someone to step up. It's easy to be a leader when you win, or a vocal leader. Nelson has no skill and Bronco has no judgement. Start Lark!

  • Down under Pullman, WA
    Nov. 29, 2012 4:12 p.m.

    Bronco is so fixed on Riley that I'm not sure that he can see reality. Lark is a great QB and given the chance would have put BYU in a much better bowl position especially if you consider that BYU lost 4 games by a total of 14 points or so. Lark would have nade the difference.

    If we have to put up with one more season of Bronco's poor decision making then I say we move on with a new coach that can restore BYU to what they used to be. Just Saying!!

  • dumprake Washington, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 4:14 p.m.

    Brad Rock is spot on. Thank Nelson for sacrificing his body, play Lark and get Hill ready for next year.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 4:15 p.m.

    I have no confidence in Mendenhall to do the right thing here. It is funny but there are a lot of things I like about Mendenhall, but there are also some things baout him that I really don't care for. His dislike of, and disrespect towards, BYU's fans for one. I find it incredible that he would have so much contempt for the people that make the entire program possible.

    I also dislike that he thinks none of the fans know anything at all. Certainly we are not on the inside of BYU's program but many of us played football, coach football, watch football, have kids that play football, etc. We can see who can actually throw the ball and who cannot. We can see who makes good decisions and who doesn't. We can tell an athlete when we see one.

    I'm sure Nelson will start, and because of that a game which should probably be a fairly easy win will instead go right down to the wire with victory for BYU very much in doubt.

    I think Mendenhall dislikes the fans so much that he almost enjoys losing just to stick it to us.

  • SoonerUte Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 4:20 p.m.

    Lark should hope Nelson starts the bowl game. Lark built his legend against hapless New Mexico State. Why risk tarnishing his image against San Diego State?

    "Showmanship, George. When you hit that high note, say goodnight, and walk off." -- Jerry Seinfeld.

  • LindonMan Lindon, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 4:23 p.m.

    Nelson 12-6 as a starter? I don't think so...

  • Cougar Claws Lindon, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 4:24 p.m.

    If Nelson is the selfless, team first guy that he is constantly talked up to be he will swallow his pride, step aside and endorse James Lark as the starting QB for the bowl game (who by the way has been with the program longer than Nelson has, and obviously is a better drop-back quarterback). Brendan Gaskins was man enough to step aside to let Nelson play, and to me Nelson's true colors will show through based on what he decides to do with this last game. I hope Bronco lets Lark play too. I recall a quote from the New Mexico State post game, to paraphrase, said something along the lines of "I am happy to finally see James Lark get his shot" or something like that. Are you really Bronco? Because if you are as happy as you made it sound in the post-game, you will let him have another well deserved shot in his final game as a cougar. I hope that this is the case, not only for James Lark's sake, but for the rest of the team's sake, and quite frankly for the future of the program's sake.

  • jbkhbrmz Saint George, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 4:30 p.m.

    I completely agree with Brad Rock. Lark has earned his shot. Now give him an opportunity to show that the last game wasn't just a fluke. Start Lark. If Mendenhall doesn't make the move it will further demonstrate his inability to make good coaching decisions, which at the end of the day is what a head coach is judged on.

  • montanacutter2 KALISPELL, MT
    Nov. 29, 2012 4:39 p.m.

    As I said earlier Bronco goes by energy not sence. Doman goes with what Bronco says even if he disagrees. Nelson's pick 6s this year more than show he lost the games with forcing the issue with the ball. Lark should start and may be Nelson comes in when the Y is ahead by 21 with 3 minutes to play in the game. If he throws a pick 6 it won't matter. It is all about winning this time of year nothing else. The should be on Bronco's mind at this stage of the game not by the energy Nelson shows on the field good or bad. And when Nelson is bad he is bad.

  • CougFaninTX Frisco, TX
    Nov. 29, 2012 4:40 p.m.

    I wish Bronco would start Lark, but we all know he won't unless the trainer says Nelson can't play. And we know the trainer won't say no to Nelson. The trainer should have said no to Nelson in the 2nd half of the SJSU game when he was grimmacing in pain.

    I only hope that if Nelson struggles, Bronco will be quick to make the change to Lark.

  • Cougar Claws Lindon, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 4:42 p.m.

    By the way, it's not likely that either of these guys have a future in the NFL. (even though Lark, to me, probably would have NFL potential had he been played as a starter for his whole career). So since it is just about getting to play your last football game, Lark more than deserves that chance. Nelson has had his "turn" and the gracious thing to do for Lark would be to give him a chance to play after sitting on the bench almost his entire career.

  • taraxopoios Lake Tapps, WA
    Nov. 29, 2012 4:50 p.m.

    Maybe Mendenhall needs to take a lesson from Harbaugh. Harbaugh chose Kaepernick to replace Smith, not because Smith can't play or has been playing poorly, but because Kaepernick has the hot hand and is arguably more talented. Lark would appear to have the hot hand at the moment...especially with Nelson recovering from back and rib injuries. I seriously doubt Lark will start and if not, he ought to at least share time with Nelson in this last game of their careers.

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Nov. 29, 2012 4:51 p.m.

    @Duckhunter

    I think you are on to something. I sometimes wonder if Bronco would rather lose his way than win the fans way. It reminds me a little of Jerry Sloan.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 4:56 p.m.

    Man, if I were a Ute fan I would being saying ANYTHING at this point!!!!!

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 4:59 p.m.

    As a ute fan, toosmartforyou has become an expert on high expectations and low achievement. Thanks for your "wisdom."

  • Pipes Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 5:04 p.m.

    Unfortunately, Bronco's arrogance will win out and Nelson will start. Riley Nelson will go down in history as one of the worst quarterbacks in school history!

  • spokaloo Adin, CA
    Nov. 29, 2012 5:08 p.m.

    @Lindon Man

    Yes. Riley is 12-6 as a starter. He was 4-5 this year, and 8-1 last year. He has beaten the bad teams and lost to the good ones.

  • sammyg Springville, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 5:10 p.m.

    This was a no-brainer headline.

    We are all ready for change. So glad that Lark got to play last week. I only listened to the game. I guess I should catch a rerun on BYUtv. Yeah, we got that!

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    Nov. 29, 2012 5:29 p.m.

    BYU gets what they deserve for poaching Nelson from USU.

  • DH48 West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 5:38 p.m.

    Let Lark play, what difference does it make? Lets see if he does well against better competition than New Mexico State. After the way he has been ignored lets give him a legitimate chance to show his stuff. Neither one of them will be back next year so what harm would it do, other than create more criticism concerning the season psst if he plays well. Hmm...

  • Downtownchrisbrown ,
    Nov. 29, 2012 5:42 p.m.

    The Cougars have played lots of weak opponents in the last two years. However, in Lark's first game at least 2 players had career high receiving yards. That says something.

  • Hatch Sandy, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 5:56 p.m.

    Lark

  • Billy Budd Saint George, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 6:10 p.m.

    I love BYU sports.
    I'm biased.
    I've enjoyed Riley's efforts.
    I wish him well.
    Being from Saint George, it would be nice to see more of Lark in his final game at BYU.
    I hope the recovery goes well for Hill.

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Nov. 29, 2012 6:18 p.m.

    @Cats

    What does that mean? Are you saying that because Utah had a downer of a year, that BYU is above any examination of their many issues and flaws?

    Going to the Poinsettia bowl doesn't make BYU any better than Utah. Utah beat BYU head to head again (8 of 11), and the difference between 5-7 and 7-5 is the four cupcakes on BYU's schedule. Utah had two cupcakes; Northern Colorado and Colorado. WAZU was a common opponent.

    BYU's cupcakes were ALL cellar dwellers in the Big Sky, WAC, and MWC. In those weak conferences, these schools (Weber State, Hawaii, Idaho, and New Mexico State) went 5-39.

    Utah's next weakest opponent was Washington State, a common opponent of both Utah and BYU. Both won, although Utah beat them by more. Then you have Oregon State, another common opponent that both schools played (both lost) but Utah lost by less on the road while BYU was at home. More common opponents? Utah head to head over BYU. Then you have Utah State, the only one of the four common opponents that BYU compared better on. However, Utah lost in overtime and BYU won 6-3 at home.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Nov. 29, 2012 6:37 p.m.

    Why wasn't Ziggy a starter till an injury put him there? Let's put the best players on the field.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Nov. 29, 2012 6:39 p.m.

    Hmmm? And why didn't Williams start the season. What happened to Adam Hines?

  • Troy06 OREM, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 6:51 p.m.

    I'm personally excited to see Bronco start Riley. Then it will be fun to watch Riley throw 4 interceptions including 1 pick6. This will further embarrass the program and get Tom Holmoe all fired up.

    I love Bronco, but he needs a dose of humility.

    Watch how strong & healthy Riley starts the first possession. Then watch him after his first interception - he'll grimace and grab his ribs like he's hurt. I believe he uses his previous injuries as excuses too often. When he's winning he's healthy. When he's losing he's hurt.

    The cool thing is we haven't had to read any Riley comments for two weeks!

  • bribri86 Phoenix, AZ
    Nov. 29, 2012 7:02 p.m.

    I love the Ute fans trashing on anything BYU right now. Of course, what else would they be doing...

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 7:39 p.m.

    Commits too many turnovers and. Interception taking over touchdowns. Amen to both. Play Lark. Riley will say he is okay and then goes out for everyone (except the coach) to see that he is not okay.

  • camera2head west jordan, utah
    Nov. 29, 2012 8:04 p.m.

    No question about it, if lark would have started every game Byu would be going to the SHIP,and be the only undefeated team in the nation!

  • BYUfaninWashSt Everett, WA
    Nov. 29, 2012 8:30 p.m.

    Lark had a day in the sun. I now support whoever will be more likely to help fuel a coaching change. If Bronco starts Riley, if he is the cause of a few turnovers, and BYU loses the game, ... yes I can hear the angry roars now. Start Riley. BYU needs to press the reset button ... the big red reset button, not the little blue button.

  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    Nov. 29, 2012 8:31 p.m.

    Wow, I must say that I'm a little surprised and disappointed by all the hatin' on Riley going on here. I'm all for letting Lark play two quarters, and I'm thrilled that he got a start last week... but this is Nelson's team. If he is healthy he should start. It's kind of a slap in the face to the whole team to let Lark start a second game unnecessarily as they've battled with Nelson for two seasons. Either way it'll be a great game but I say do the right thing and stay with Nelson.

  • WestGranger West Valley City, Utah
    Nov. 29, 2012 8:32 p.m.

    Bronco did fine this year. Riley should have played less when he wasn't playing well injured.But if a coach doesn't show confidence in his starter then we have chaos at quarterback.It has been a disaster in the past. Lark didn't win the starting job for a reason although Bronco reports they are all excellent quarterbacks.Football is a team game. BYU's offense had some problems.

  • 3grandslams Iowa City, IA
    Nov. 29, 2012 8:59 p.m.

    Lark should only start if Nelson isn't 100%. He just not effective wounded.

  • rafinsure Elk Grove/U.S.A., 00
    Nov. 29, 2012 9:26 p.m.

    I've truly been disappointed by this season due to Coach Mendenhall and Coach Doman's poor offensive decision making. Allowing an injured quarterback with no quarterback IQ and throwing arm has been horrific. BYU football has truly forgotten its past and lost its way. Lark, who has a BYU prototypical throwing arm should have been the starter last year and this year with Hill and Heaps as his backups. Hill should never have gotten hurt in that game and should not have been playing in it to begin with. Nelson should have never been recruited by BYU. He had zero stars out of high school. It was Lark's turn to play. The offense has been shaky since Doman took over the offense last year, but it's been over the top this year. Robert Anae was fired for similar mistakes during his OC tenure at BYU. Therefore, I expect Holmoe to clean house at the end of this season. Brandon Doman will be fired, Mark Weber (the offensive line coach) will also be fired, and Ben Cahoon (the wide receiver coach) will be let go as well. Coaching wise, the 2013 season will be a rebuilding year.

  • JayTee Sandy, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 9:44 p.m.

    Should have stayed at USU, Riley. You'd be having a winning season this year.

  • NWCougar Wilsonville, OR
    Nov. 29, 2012 9:47 p.m.

    Last year Riley was 6-1 as a starter (Heaps was 4-2, counting the Utah State game). This year, 4-5. Overall 10-6. His wins came against:
    2011 Oregon State (3-9)
    2011 Idaho State (2-9)
    2011 Idaho (2-10)
    2011 San Jose State (5-7)
    2011 Hawaii (6-7)
    2011 Tulsa (8-5)
    2012 Washington State (3-9)
    2012 Weber State (2-9)
    2012 Georgia Tech (6-6)
    2012 Idaho (1-11)

    Wow, I forgot how bad those teams were! Literally, some of the worst teams in the country! Tulsa and Georgia Tech are the only average teams on the list and the Tulsa win was about as lucky as they come. The rest of those wins were against below average and just plain horrible teams. Who wouldn't have won those games as a starter?

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Nov. 29, 2012 10:25 p.m.

    Lark should start, but I feel bad for Riley relative to how he will be remembered. Bronco kept showing his love for Riley each week by further embarrassing him by starting him. That said, Riley did lay down the faux paws on the field despite showing all the heart in the world.

    If Riley starts in the Poinsettia Bowl, which is likely, a win won't do much for his legacy (or lack thereof), but it would be a nice pat on the back to end a career. A loss however, would just be pouring salt on the wounds.

    Flipside, playing Lark in the Poinsettia Bowl, and winning it, would be a great boost to a guy leaving his college football days in Provo behind. The fans want this and Lark is a guy who never really got a shot on the field anyway.

    So with Riley it's kind of a letdown win or lose in a way. With Lark, a win would do more for the QB and the fan base.

  • Informed Voter South Jordan, UT
    Nov. 29, 2012 10:45 p.m.

    Regarding Bronco's evaluation of talent: Ziggy did not start until Game #5 this season, and now he is likely a 1st Round NFL draft pick. Irespect Nelson's grgit, but I think Lark deserves to start and should have been allowed to do much more than sit on the bench every year.

  • manutd San Diego, CA
    Nov. 29, 2012 10:49 p.m.

    interesting to see the quality opponents nelson beat the last 2 years. That is pathetic. Cant remember the last quality win we had. Bronco needs to pull his head out, start lark, and reorganize for next year. Starting with a game plan for the utes, tired of losing to them.

  • The Deuce Livermore, CA
    Nov. 29, 2012 11:22 p.m.

    The BYU Cougars need to move beyond Bronco Mendenhall! When will the AD shut down this coaching staff and get back to the great days of BYU fotball?

  • MC NM Albuquerque, NM
    Nov. 29, 2012 11:36 p.m.

    First off, BYU is playing in a minor bowl of no significance and choosing between two seniors in their last game, so who cares? Bronco needs to pull a Harbaugh and start the hot quarterback. But, based on comments about his love for Riley's grit and refusal to bench him when needed this season, and the fact that he derides the negative and overly analytical comments of BYU fans, and doesn't want to prove that he has been playing the wrong QB most of the season, and if he's even somewhat healthy, and based on his comments in the NMSU postgame, of course he wants to start Riley and probably will. Which means BYU has another chance to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. BYU won't give up on Bronco as the HC since he's perfect for this very specific role representing the church and university and is a great D coordinator, but Doman and others have to go. Too bad we can't somehow demote Doman to some minor role (to keep him for his recruiting). A ruined season& 2013 is a disaster in the making.

  • OCoug Ogden, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 12:29 a.m.

    Riley certainly hasn't performed up to the offensive expectations at the Y, but neither have the offense line, tight-ends or field-goal kickers for that matter. I say start Riley, give him the rock, if he's ineffective shut him down for Lark. Either way, Broncoman (Bronco+Doman) is in a tough situation.

    Just beat the Aztecs, please.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 12:33 a.m.

    I still have to ask, after learning that Nelsomn was allowed to grab his hemet and run onto the field against SJSU while having his injured rib examined: Who's in charge of this team? Anyone?

  • indycrimson Franklin, IN
    Nov. 30, 2012 12:49 a.m.

    For some reason "era" is an odd word to use in this situation... Not sure what actually fits here but I'm thinking??? Riley Nelson endured period? Riley Nelson stint? Riley Nelson experiment?

    Lets talk about some meat and potatoes, real important stuff!! What slogan will Bronco put on his tee shirts next. That is where his real talent lies?

  • ClarkeinAK Anchorage, AK
    Nov. 30, 2012 12:54 a.m.

    I'm sure Bronco will do the wrong thing and start Nelson. BYU brass should then do the right thing and show Bronco the door. Andy Reid should be offered the job immediately!

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Nov. 30, 2012 1:16 a.m.

    Rather I find Coach Mendehall smug or not, he is the RIGHT guy for the unique head coach job at BYU. You don't just pull out the LaVell Edwards ping pong ball each draw. Besides, what fans expect today is not what they expected for the first 15 years or so of LaVell's tenure. The landscape is different now. BYU ran an offense ahead of its' time for many years. Now it's the type of offense that many college teams use.

    BYU's administration focuses on the honor code more than ever. Bronco has handles that really well.

    Look, if I were a BYU fan, I would be going crazy with Bronco sticking with Riley Nelson at all costs, but I am probably just as frustrated with Whittingham's choices at QB in recent years. Sticking with Wynn for the last three years when his arm strength was gone after the first injury was maddening. Then this year, after September woes, the offensive line started gelling and White IV got healthy, only to see Whittingham go to the freshman Travis Wilson at the same time (Utah was only 0-2 in conference then). That move sunk the ship.

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 2:55 a.m.

    Sadly Riley convinces coaches he is well and then goes on the field for everyone to see he is hurting. This hurts the team.

  • BYUHOCKEY American Fork, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 7:02 a.m.

    Bronco is being considered for Colorado buffaloes job per denver post's woody Paige

  • Bill Shakespeare Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 7:23 a.m.

    Come on, Bronc! Leave Riley in! He's got a heart of gold!

  • Brother Wolf Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 7:26 a.m.

    Bronco, can't you see the boy wants to play? For the love of all that's holy, let the boy play the ballgame!

  • summs6 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 7:36 a.m.

    @54-10 "Truth is, the bar that is set by the BYU "fan" and the local media is way higher than the team will EVER be able to reach. Whether it's Riley or someone else, BYU will never reach the lofty expectations of the BYU "fan" and the "fan" will continue to grumble."

    I do not profess much loyalty to either team but I believe your statement is false. With the talent the team has they should be expected to win win 10+ games when they play so many WAC teams and a very mediocre to poor Utah team. These are not unrealistic expectations at all. This year the schedule was such that a 10+ win season would have been difficult but not unrealistic with a quarterback who has the talent to play at the D-I level.

  • MajMarine Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 8:17 a.m.

    Here, fundamentally, is the problem--

    First, Mendenhall is NOT a head coach. He is a fine DC, but what we are witnessing is the Peter Principle at play. While there are exceptions, the records show that good HC's come from the ranks of good OC's. DC's? Not so much.

    Second--Nelson is NOT a quarterback. A running back, sure. And, he plays like a running back that has been asked to fill in at QB. Not his fault--he's doing the best he can and knows how to do. He'd be great in a pick-up game at your local school yard on Thanksgiving morning, but he is not D1 QB material. Put in a Lark at QB, and wildcat Nelson. THEN you've got something going.

    Third--Doman is NOT an OC. At least, not an experienced one. Not his fault. But, as an inexperienced OC, who is/has been his mentor? When you have an inexperienced OC working with a less-than-qualified HC, you're asking for problems.

  • Cougar Nation #1 Provo, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 8:40 a.m.

    Isn't riley nelson 11-8 as a BYU starting QB? I agree time to move on from the riley nelson era.

  • Aloha Saint George Saint George, Utah
    Nov. 30, 2012 8:56 a.m.

    "The best guy plays" this is true at Utah, USU, and SUU. Many insiders claim it's true at BYU. Does it matter who plays during the bowl game even though Nelson and Lark are seniors?? It has nothing to do with the two seniors. It does matter to the recruits you're trying to bring into your program AND to those faithful BYU fans who are doing the same to their own companies. Football is much less forgiving.
    USU- this clearly is demonstrated. Utah, they had no one very good at QB- but the best guy is playing. Be patient UTAH fans, I think in time they'll be a force.
    With Lark, they looked like the BYU of OLD. Can he do it again against San Diego St?? Can BYU as a whole? We'll see

  • Fish71 mesa, AZ
    Nov. 30, 2012 9:49 a.m.

    Rock has hit the nail on the head. Sometimes I have waited too long to make a decision and the consequences continued to mount. Make the Change now. If you turn the ball over, your time should be over. End of Story.

  • Informed Voter South Jordan, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 10:26 a.m.

    Brother Wolf: If you are talking about Lark, I agree with you.

  • SkookumDon Tacoma, WA
    Nov. 30, 2012 10:31 a.m.

    If BYU really wanted to move toward the future, Doman would start Jason Munns at quarterback since neither Riley nor James will be around, and Hill won't be back until next Spring (hopefully).

  • JonnyDanger HOUSTON, TX
    Nov. 30, 2012 10:39 a.m.

    I think I'm late on the board... But one of the commentators during the SJSU game made an interesting point about how small Riley's hands are, and it really got me thinking. I watch a lot of college football, and it is amazing how often quarterbacks take hits from the blind side without coughing up the football. Even though the lineman or backer hitting the QB is usually swatting down with both arms trying to strip the ball, it rarely happens. Except, of course, to Riley Nelson. Every time I saw pressure coming from the back side I closed my eyes in fear that it would be yet another fumble. And far more often than is usual, it was. I think much of that can be attributed to those small little hands of Riley's.

    Really this is just another data point to justify the conclusion that we all (including Bronco and Riley) know very well: Riley is a fierce competitor and a great motivator, but his physical talents are not ideal for the QB position.

  • longtime fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 12:11 p.m.

    I was excited to see James Lark finally get his chance to shine, and it's great that he had an outstanding day. I like to re-watch games after the fact so I can see the plays and evaluate the game without the emotion. After watching the New Mexico State game a second time this week, I have to say that they have one of the worst defenses I have seen in D1 football. I don't want to take anything away from Lark, but it is hard to gauge a QB's performance against the NMSU defense.
    While Brad Rock and most BYU fans are awarding the Bowl game starting job to Lark, I hope the cougar coaches will ignore popular opinion, evaluate the film along with Riley's health, and choose the QB they think gives the team the best chance of winning against SDSU. I believe this is what they have tried to do all season. They may have chosen wrong in a couple cases, but we'll never know for sure without replaying the games. Whether it be Lark or Nelson, let the coaches decide--they are the best informed to make the decision.

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 12:39 p.m.

    " I don't want to take anything away from Lark, but it is hard to gauge a QB's performance against the NMSU defense."

    That may be true, but is it the ND defense that kept Riley from hitting a wide open Hoffman for a game-winning TD? Is NMSU's poor defense responsible for Lark being able to put the ball right into Hoffman's hands in stride? That's the issue.

    The bottom line is that Nelson cannot throw the ball very well, while Lark can. We fans see the games and see that Lark is making completions while Nelson is making turnover after turnover. So forgive us for judging Nelson's talent based on game-time performance rather than practice performance.

  • longtime fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 1:47 p.m.

    There's no question James Lark has a better arm than Riley Nelson, but so did Jake Heaps. The QB position is much more than being able to throw the ball on target. Some examples: pre-snap reads, drop back reads, checking down to 2nd & 3rd options, knowing when to flush out of the pocket and run for the sticks, or when to flush out to buy time, knowing when to stand in the pocket and deliver right before taking the hit, etc. Nelson was chosen over Heaps because his intangibles outweighed Heaps' arm.
    Coaches stuck with Nelson because they thought he gave the team the best chance to win based on the information they had at the time. Now, with new information about Lark, the coaches may decide to give him a larger role or start him in the bowl game, but as fans, we don't have all the information. One stellar performance against a weak defense, where multiple receivers were wide open on almost every play, may not be enough to start Lark over Riley.
    I prefer to let the experienced coaching staff make the decision rather than desk job guys on this forum.

  • BigCougFan Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 2:26 p.m.

    It must be a cold day in.. well, in Provo, because for once I agree with Brad Rock. It doesn't happen very often that I can say he's absolutely correct. The sad thing is that Bronco is going to do whatever he pleases to do and he's not listening to me and he's not reading Brad Rock.

  • utahcountyute Cedar Hills, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 2:43 p.m.

    Ducky

    Bronco's disdain for byU "fans" is completely warranted.

    I hope he plays Nelson too...and then goes to Colorado.

  • blue & white Boise, ID
    Nov. 30, 2012 8:34 p.m.

    start Lark, no brainer- Brandon. just look at the 49ers what they are doing at QB. it was plain to see in Utah, Boise state, and SJS that Nelson was hurt and not helping the team. coaches must have courage to do the right thing. If Nelson was a team player he would bench himself. pleae don't call another QB running play but let the QB run as needed when the play breaks down. Frustrated fan!

  • BleedCougarBlue Enid, OK
    Nov. 30, 2012 10:32 p.m.

    Article quote: "He (Nelson) has proven to be a quarterback that takes too many hits and commits too many turnovers."

    Especially turnovers. Lots of turnovers.

    Coach Mendenhall, it seems to me, is a little biased towards Nelson because he (Nelson) reminds him of himself: a hard-working athlete with a huge heart, under-appreciated by the huge name schools, but still nonetheless just a somewhat better than average athlete.

    The first thing Mendenhall needs to do is acknowledge that fact....the slight bias.

    The second thing Mendenhall needs to do is realize that all the heart in the world does NOT consistently win games. If it did, we'd all be playing in the NFL.

    Desire is nice, desire and passion are huge but in the real world heart and desire just don't consistently beat talent.

    Start Lark!

  • coleman51 Orem, UT
    Nov. 30, 2012 11:48 p.m.

    I don't expect Bronco to do the right thing and start James Lark. He is a very proud man and he has the full support of the administration at BYU. Bronco knows this and has been given a free hand to handle the football program any way he wants. He is not one to be told by fans that his judgement is lacking and is not humble enough to admit he has made a mistake in starting Riley Nelson when it was obvious Riley could no longer play. He wants a running quarterback regardless whether it wins games or not. I expect to see Riley Nelson start at the Poinsettia Bowl and the results will be the same with every other game he has started against a good team.

  • CWEB Orem, UT
    Dec. 1, 2012 12:02 a.m.

    McMahon would not have played under Bronco.
    Steve Yound may have been passed over under Bronco.
    Ty Detmer would have been too little, and passed over by Bronco.
    Doman may have played.
    I don't know what all the Max Hall hype was...he threw picks like kids throw rocks. All the time. Remember Utah game? 6 Picks!

    Nelson is done after one more game...good luck Doc! You'll be rich I'm sure...but the legacy will be sour for most of us.

    Can't wait to move on. Want to go to the bowl game...but do not want to watch it muffed. It will be.

  • cougar76 Raleigh, NC
    Dec. 1, 2012 5:57 a.m.

    Where is a u football article on which I can post my disparaging remarks? Oh...their season is over.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    Dec. 1, 2012 10:34 a.m.

    @ Cats 4:56 p.m. Nov. 29, 2012

    As a Utah fan, I'll oblige.

    I am really really phenomenally & incredibly apathetic about the war kittys, their HC, OC, & QB.

    How's that?

  • Cougar Claws Lindon, UT
    Dec. 1, 2012 12:19 p.m.

    Re: Hank Pym

    . . . says the Utah fan who actually takes the time to post the comment.

  • CT98 Saint George, UT
    Dec. 1, 2012 4:37 p.m.

    Beautifully written Brad Rock. You are spot on. We all love Riley but we don't want him playing if there is another viable option ready to come into the game and WIN it for the cougs.

  • RU Serious Washington, UT
    Dec. 1, 2012 10:16 p.m.

    Sounds like SDSU is going to have a lot of fans at the game. A lot of them in Blue. Seems like you can't wait to see the coaches and their quarterback fail. Wait, you are finally playing a competent opponent and you are already making excuses. Way to be so hard on the team that brings a lot of us Utahns enjoyment on Saturdays. Shame on us all for judgements so harshly thrown at those who entertain us. It brings to mind Theodore Roosevelt's speech " The Man In The Mirror". I am as guilty as everyone else, but reading our comments has brought a dose of reality. I will read the speech again, it is quite profound.

  • fender Washington, UT
    Dec. 2, 2012 5:54 p.m.

    longtimefan,

    Sure, NMSU's defense isn't great, but it's 11 spots higher ranked than Idaho's and Lark performed better against NMSU than Nelson did against Idaho. In addition, not everybody on here is a non-football "desk job" guy, and this isn't the first time some of us have mentioned Nelson's deficiencies and Lark's strengths. This isn't new information. The very things we saw Lark do against NMSU, some of us have watched him do in spring and fall practices for the last couple years and have commented on it frequently. Plain and simple he outperformed Nelson in practice. Why he has never been given a serious opportunity to compete is anybody's guess and a tragedy for him and BYU fans.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Dec. 4, 2012 11:24 a.m.

    I stopped watching BYU football when the Jake Heaps and Robert Anae era ended. I certainly didn't miss much over the past 2 sorry seasons. It sure would be refreshing to get a whole new coaching staff to redeem this program but I'm afraid BYU fans will have to wait another year for that to happen. Bronco would be a good defensive coordinator somewhere - even the NFL - but as head coach he doesn't cut it. Every BIG game (with two exceptions ) BYU has flopped under Bronco at the helm. The Oklahoma game and the one TCU game a few year back are the ONLY big wins. I think back to all the other TCU blowouts and the Florida State blowout on National TV and on and on... Ugly. BYU had the chance ....by winning against TCU and Florida State to be in the BIG 12 now but those blowouts proved that the Y was not ready for prime time.