By Kevin Graham
Follow him at @KevinGrahamKFAN
Three reasons the BYU Cougars coaching staff is squarely to be blamed for the 7-6 loss to Boise State:
1. You don’t go for two. The BYU offense was anemic. In fact its play was flat out embarrassing. But finally it found its groove. Taysom Hill with a combination of his legs and clutch throws led the Cougars to their first touchdown of the game. The momentum finally turned. Considering how great the defense had played combined by the fact Boise State didn’t have a kicker they could trust the game was theirs. All they had to do was kick the extra point, make another stop, go to overtime and win. Add in that the Cougars didn’t have any timeouts left the decision for coach Bronco Mendenhall was simple. Kick the extra point. But that would make too much sense. Why would a coach who called a brilliant defensive game against a traditional offensive power in Boise State want to win it with his defense? Remember this coach does everything unconventionally. When other teams tackle in practice his team does not. While other coaches spend 70+ hours per week preparing for opponents Mendenhall’s staff works a traditional 40 hour work week. Why other schools put football first or close to it, under Mendenhall it’s the fifth priority. So why would he use common sense, kick the extra point and try to win the game in overtime? He hasn’t before so no one should have expected it then.
2. Brandon Doman is lost. One would think the second year offensive coordinator learned his lesson a year ago–that when you run the ball with big talented backs like Michael Alisa good things happen. Better yet, you win. While he did hand the ball to Alisa more in this game it still wasn’t enough. The play calling lacks any kind of flow. It’s like he looks at his chart, closes his eyes and points. How else can you explain trying to throw before running? Running the option to the short side of the field? Running the option to begin with? What is the Cougars offensive identity? It doesn’t have one and that falls squarely on the shoulders of Doman.
3. The Riley Nelson era is over. In fact it should have never even begun in the first place. Despite what Mendenhall said after the game that Nelson would still start he won’t. He can’t trot him back on the field even if he is healthy. Cougar nation would rush the field grab Mendenhall and throw him out of the stadium. Everyone loves this kid. How can you not? His fire and passion is unmatched. Too bad he has the quarterback skills of a high schooler. But it’s not his fault. He’s working with the skills that were bestowed upon him. It’s the coach’s fault. They should have seen what everyone else saw—he can’t throw the ball. But instead they fell for him, for his leadership and because he beat mediocre teams a year ago. And worst yet, they catered the entire offense around him. They decided to take the offense that put BYU on the map, led them to national prominence for years and build it for a kid that had limited skills. Now your next quarterback appears to be just a slightly better Nelson. “QB U” has become “Running QB U.” Or a better description—“No QB U.”