By Kevin Graham
Follow him on Twitter @KevinGrahamKFAN
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” —George Santayana
History says BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall mismanaged one quarterback situation which ended in the nations number one QB recruit Jakes Heaps to trasnfer. Now his undying loyalty to the player he chose over Heaps in Riley Nelson is showing that history is repeating itself.
At halftime of Friday night’s game BYU quarterback Taysom Hill had rushed for 146 yards on just 12 carries and a touchdown. Throwing wise he was 10 of 15 for 88 yards, a touchdown and interception. The Cougars led the lowly Hawaii Warriors 20-0. Still during the halftime interview coach Bronco Mendenhall told ESPN that Nelson was his man:
Then after the game that saw BYU win 47-0 with 540 total yards of offense, with Hill accounting for 255 yards or 47 percent of its production, and three touchdowns, Mendenhall dug his heels in again that once Nelson was healthy he would still be his guy:
“Taysom is doing his part. It is just, there is not as much history between he and I as between Riley and I, and our team. I am a Riley Nelson fan, and believe in his leadership ability when he is healthy, and when he is capable of playing the kind of game that he can play.”
History? Like that wonderful game Nelson played against TCU last year? Or how about those magical moments this season against Utah and Boise State? It’s getting to the point where this no longer can be explained. The mancrush Mendenhall has on Nelson is beyond ridiculous. I realize Hawaii is awful and a 100 percent Nelson would have led BYU to an easy victory as well. But no one can argue against the fact that Hill has the bigger upside. He has a stronger arm and he’s more explosive running the ball than Nelson. He even is better at reading defenses. Is he perfect? Heck no. In fact he’ll have his struggles against good competition probably starting Friday versus a strong Utah State defense–that of course is if he plays.
“History” dictates that if Nelson is inserted back in the starting lineup BYU will lose the next four games. That’s because he’s not capable of beating good teams. While everyone else seems to realize this why can’t Mendenhall? Because he’s in love and as we know that has a tendency to cloud one’s judgement. Mendenhall is holding onto the “history” of Nelson’s leadership, his determination to run over 300 pound defensive tackles and posting “big” wins against the likes of Weber State, Idaho State, and New Mexico State. He forgets about the “history” of losses to good teams and the ugly turnovers.
If Mendenhall suddenly is a historian, he may want to consider “recent history”–and that is Hill is clearly the better quarterback and should start the rest of the season. Otherwise when Mendenhall has left BYU he may look back on his “history” of mismanaging quarterbacks and regret it.