Nelson, Hoffman finish game injured

Riley Nelson misfired over and over again in the fourth quarter of BYU’s 20-14 loss to San Jose State but completed six of his last seven passes and did so injured.

I talked to Riley in a tent in the rain outside the locker room and he only made an issue of Hoffman’s injury and performance. But I saw first hand how much pain Nelson was in. While talking to me and a KSL-TV producer, he grimaced twice when the rib moved and pain shot through his back.  “Ahh, there it goes again,” he said.

This explains, at least to me, some of his errant throws when BYU was in scoring position on four fourth quarter possessions.  He overthrew David Foote, threw behind Hoffman, threw a pick when underthrowing Hoffman near the goal line and overthrew JD Falslev.  In my game story, I pointed this out, how these miscues were huge.

I didn’t know Nelson was injured.

But isn’t this situation kind of the story of this 2012 season and Nelson. And BYU’s offense?

Earlier in the game, Nelson ran a keeper on the option and got hit and fumbled. He recovered the ball but in the pile, he felt his torso twisted and left a pop in his rib cage. It was a dislocated rib.

Cody Hoffman, who caught 13 passes for 155 yards, played the second half with a separated shoulder. His injury occurred in the fourth quarter, diving for yardage on a quick slant.

“I couldn’t be prouder of Cody and how he played in this game with that separated shoulder.  He really showed me something tonight,” said Nelson.



  1. rtl

    Isn’t this the same thing that happened earlier in the year that cost the Cougars two games because Riley couldn’t play well? That scenario was a repeat of an injury that Riley suffered before or during the bowl game last year when he was nearly intercepted three times and couldn’t pass a lick.

    Does the team never come before Riley’s wishes even when he isn’t physically capable of playing? All the fine work of the defense in the second half was wasted.

    And, how was it that the defense was clueless in the first half?

  2. StadiumHopper

    That NELSON has ever taken the field as a BYU QB is inexcusable. He’s gritty, gutsy and completely talentless at the one position where BYU has always excelled. He and his coaching staff have a hundred thousand BYU followers, donors, people with checkbooks completely befuddled because everyone knew guys like Sean Covey only got two Riley Nelson Games to their name and were gone. None of the guy’s we barely remember ever had the bad Karma Riley Nelson has and injuries were never the excuse. Walsh, Feterik anyone? None got the leash Nelson has gotten and all were vastly better, more accurate throwers.

    My wife said it last night, “BYU’s quarterback looks like a typical High School quarterback you see everywhere on Friday nights.” He chucks the ball in a direction and completely misses targets. She said watching again last night, “BYU’s receivers try to run good routes, but Nelson’s idea of a target is a zip code. He throws will be behind the player about 70% of the time or tossed hopelessly over his head.” Even SHE sees he has no game.

    Then I hear people close to the program that say stupid things like his feet can get him out of trouble. Wait! When did BYU suddenly need a QB that could evade a 4 second pass rush. BYU used to beat down opposing D-Lines and protect it’s QB’s for 4-6 seconds. Most of the time, it still does though Weber is clearly no solution to the Missing Roger French!

    The fact is, Nelson’s happier running than throwing. Why then was he ever put in that most important position on the team everyone called QBU? The buck stops at Bronco’s desk and never has a head coach looked less and less like he is having fun. He hired Weber (failure) and he hired Doman and put him in a position where he’s obviously failing. He kept Lance Reynolds as TE coach, a position that before Reynolds took over had produced as many great TE’s as BYU had QB’s and Linebackers. DuPaix and Cahoon are assets. BYU is wasting 3 of it’s five coaching positions on guys that are not getting it done. Time to pull the plug on either the Head Coach or if nothing else, those three assistants who have failed miserably.

  3. Crane

    There are great QBs(70% completions,80% TDs to picks), Good QBs(60% completions, 60 to 70% TDs to Picks) and then there are Pathetic QBs(50% completions and more intercetions than TDs) Unfortunately Riley Nelson falls in the latter category! When will Bronco realize that hard work and grit must be accompanied with TALENT?? Even Nelson’s completions are off target and mostly result from great off balance receiver catches. Why is Bronco so set on staying with an under performer who can’t throw an accurate pass over 15 yards, especially when he is injured?? Bronco’s QB decisions, Nelson’s pathetic performances, and Doman’s predictable, unthrilling, and limited offensive sets, have cost the Cougars 4 out of their 5 losses.

  4. Phil

    Hello Dick,
    I completely agree with the assessments of the first three who commented above. I’m sure this will not be published but I firmly believe the following with regard to Bronco:
    1) Bronco can be an effective defensive coach, although he does have some glaring mis-steps on the defensive game plan and has to make major adjustments in the 2nd half of many games (example with SJSU and not applying pressure to QB in 1st half). He at least has the sense to make the defensive changes needed, albeit late.
    2) Bronco is NOT an effective head coach. He plays around at the role of head coach but has no real vision that he demands and drives into his assistant coaches. That is what Edwards was able to drive consistently, even with enumerable different offensive and defensive coordinators. BYU did not change with the wind or whoever was the current offensive coordinator.
    BYU = QB-U
    BYU trademark and branding = the passing game.

    3) In retaining the role as head coach, Bronco excels in recognizing the religious aspect and role of the LDS church to the university & football. In my opinion, Bronco expertly uses this knowledge to gain favor and support to continue in his role as head coach. His outspokenness (continuous comments slipped in here and there) for firesides, players possessing certain “character” traits, the mission of BYU and independence, and many things of this like … are all good things, but they don’t need to be part of the public expressions that he makes. I believe that is purposeful on his part to support himself, and accounts for much of the support that Bronco receives. That, and some guaranteed wins against patsy opposition is what keeps him with a certain level of support from the BYU community at large. As a head coach, he is out of his league. Words such as impostor, pretender, poser, fake, and charlatan are what come to my mind. Bronco has some defensive skills, but that is where it ends. The sooner we have a real head coach with vision, talent, leadership, principle (not faux-principle), the sooner BYU could have a shot at national success and positive recognition.

    No, this won’t be published, but it is good to articulate at least a very small portion of the deception that I believe is going on. This deception will continue to go on until enough losing records force a change. However, that will be very hard to do when BYU continues to schedule weak opponents to beef up the win column. Thanks for listening Dick!

    • Russell Hamblin

      Phil forgets that the ultimate decision about Bronco staying as head coach for BYU is specifically the reasons he (Phil) lists as deceptions. BYU is not like other schools and does not focus slavishly on sports winning “at all costs.” Remember Davies a couple of years ago? BYU is, more than probably any other university, about promoting men and women to be good, productive, upstanding, honest people and at the same time promoting and spreading the name of the university’s parent organization, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Bronco’s position as head coach will remain as long as he wants it to AND as long as the board of trustees (headed by the president of the church and other general authorities and Apostles) think/feel he should stay. In short, does winning football, basketball, volleyball, soccer, etc. games help the university? YES. Does it help spread information and favorable recognition of the Church? YES. Is it the sole purpose of the events? NO. Fans, all of us, need to remember that and take the wins, the losses, the comments before/after the game, etc. with a grain of salt. Could we do any better in Bronco’s, Nelson’s, Rose’s, or Carlino’s place? Probably not.

  5. Chewyjj

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

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

    Bronco made a horrible mistake by not pressuring the SJS QB in the first half and the D gave up 80% passing % and 300 yards of offense to SJS. Bronco then shocked everyone by making the in-game adjustment and put pressure on the QB, shutting down SJS, but Bronco doomed BYU to losing by refusing to make the change to Nelson at the same time he changed his D scheme.

    Nelson does not have a Division 1 arm and he does not recognize coverages…a deadly combination, but Bronco threw away 2012 by stubbornly refusing to admit have “true grit” is not enough to make up for lack of talent.

    Bronco topped out to the level of his competence a couple years ago…for two years in a row BYU under-performs their talent level. Three years in a row, they lose to Utah, and Bronco’s poor record versus good competition continues to mount. This year his bad coaching decisions, including sticking with Nelson, cost BYU a real chance to be a BCS buster.

  6. thawk

    Riley Nelson and Matt Carlino are one in the same. Coaches are too loyal to little talent and the ability to make both of their teams worse the more they play.

  7. Chaksk

    While I believe that Bronco has made a mistake in sticking with Riley Nelson, I don’t believe that BYU is a BCS Buster this year. Yes, Nelson and Bronco’s stubborn refusals have cost the Y games against the Irish, Boise State and the latest debacle San Jose State. Don’t forget that the Cougars lost to Oregon State by double digits and Notre Dame (while mentioned above for Nelson’s errant throw “toward” Hoffman in the fourth quarter) was running the ball at will toward the end of the game. Another place that blame lies is in the field goal kicker(s. These guys can’t hit anything beyond 30 yards and sometimes can’t make an extra point.

    While Coach Mendenhall does need to pick it up, I don’t believe his job is on the line. He does pad his record against so-called “Patsy’s” it’s a circumstance of the change to independence. Coach Edwards stats were padded with wins against lower tier teams as well. The WAC has never been a powerhouse, football juggernaut. To me our coach is a terrific Defensive coach and a serviceable head coach. The true test will come next year with games against Wisconsin, Georgia Tech, Utah, Boise State, Notre Dame and Texas. If the Y wins 75% of those games I will consider it a successful season. With the recruiting restrictions at BYU, it’s unlikely that they will be a football powerhouse year in and out. Most likely, they will have a golden year sprinkled in with the good ones.

  8. christopher

    people need to give riley a break. he is not a typical pocket passer, and that is ok. he is not a perfect decision maker, and that is ok too. he sometimes makes big mistakes by trying to force things, but sometimes he makes incredible plays by forcing things. it’s not all on him all the time. in the utah game, tushaus snaps the ball when riley is not even looking, let alone asking for it.

    i do agree that bronco/doman should not play him when he is injured, and that is first and foremost for his own well-being as well as to allow the team to compete.

    byu has made mistakes this year, mostly in offense playcalling and execution, which is related. doman, why do you call a power run off tackle on 4th and 1? especially when we hadn’t really established the run yet? and then again same exact play a few downs later on 3rd and 2? it seems the coaches don’t always learn from mistakes and continue some bad game management and play calling at times.

    the losses have been tough this year, mostly because they were all winnable games. even against oregon state. yeah, it was double digits, but that was down to fluke plays and osu playing career nights for vaz and cooks.

    byu is a really strong team that played a tough schedule this year and unfortunately shot itself in the foot and came up a few plays short here and there. i hope they finish strong against nmsu and in the bowl game.

    by the way, hoffman and van noy should stay for their senior years. they are dominant players but can still improve their games before trying for the nfl. i am not sure if van noy has the strength to play lb at the nfl level and would see him as more of a ss mould, unless he is able to bulk up.

    GO BYU!!

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