The end of the 2012 football season was a sigh of relief for Cougar fans, for a few different reasons. Reasons that I’ve already written about in the recent past regarding the plague that was the Riley Nelson era of BYU Football.
Nelson recently came clean to the local media regarding his back injury in 2012:
“The fractures were unstable in the University of Utah game meaning I could feel them grinding and shifting and moving in my back. … at halftime … there were moments where it was kind of hard to keep your mind focused, to keep your hand from shaking, but, you know it was great to have an opportunity to go out there and battle. … it was my senior year to play Utah at Utah — there was no way I was going to bow out or throw in the towel and my coaches were gracious enough to let me go ahead and compete.”
It’s good to have some vindication for when I first reported of Nelson’s injury. Remember this?
I know what you’re thinking to yourself: “Chesh, you haven’t written in months, and here you are again taking a Louisville Slugger to a rotten horse carcass.”
We won’t play the “Why did coaches allow him to play for so long like that?” game, or the “Jake Heaps got benched much earlier, for much, much less … while healthy.” game. What’s done is done.
Most coaches wouldn’t be returning, let alone being rumored of signing a contract extension after playing a severely injured kid all season, who clearly couldn’t put a satisfactory performance on the field. It was also clear that there was sufficient talent and ability riding the bench behind him, which makes the allowance of such even much more head scratching.
Consider a similar piece I wrote last fall. The difference now, is the rumors of Coach Mendenhall’s contract being renewed. Bronco is rumored to be sticking around for at least three more football seasons, barring him leaving for other opportunities, which is very highly unlikely.
Lets take a look at the current state of BYU Football. They’re entering their third season as an independent. 2013 boasts, arguably, the best home schedule of all time as Mendenhall’s Cougars host the Texas Longhorns, Boise State, Georgia Tech and the bitter arch rival on the hill up north, the Utes.
Currently, Mendenhall is on a three-year losing streak to Utah. The last head coach to do that was forced to resign. Of course, the situation is much different, but with the Holy War taking a two-year hiatus, and after the 44 point loss the last time the game was played in LaVell Edwards Stadium, this is a must win, or fans will be calling for Bronco’s head … again. Enough of this, “lose to Utah but make up for it by seasons end” garbage. I won’t even mention Coach Mendenhall’s all-time record on the third game of the season. Just win man. Anything short is unacceptable.
Now, there is much to look forward to. 2012 ended much like 2010 did. A frustrating year, but the amount of returning talent gave some solid hope for the following season. A talent that Coach Mendenhall has been criticized of developing poorly with the lack of amount of NFL draft picks during his tenure, which could very well stem from his love of the “under the radar, make up for talent by effort” players. Nothing wrong with that, until it’s grossly hampering the team’s performance on the field. The best players must play.
There seems to be a drive that Bronco had when he first became head coach that has since left him. The most recent visibility of that was after his defenses epic goal line stand on the smurf turf in 2012. That needs to come back. Get excited. Get fired up.
Since becoming head coach in 2005, Coach Mendenhall boasts a record of 74-29. That alone explains the contract extension. However, 14 of those losses have been in the last three seasons which all include, like I stated above, losses to Utah, including the most embarrassing Holy War loss of all-time. That’s not exactly upholding tradition and it’s not flat lining either. But, BYU is BYU, and that’s why he still has the whistle around his neck.
Coach, we know you don’t care much for the fans opinions, or the media’s for that matter, but for Jimmer’s sakes give them all something to be excited about. Give the fans more reason than Tradition alone to put their butts in those 65,000 seats.
The world is your campus, and your games are broadcasted to a national audience. Just win man. Who cares if we can predict what you’ll say in your post game interviews, and we can. Just win.
follow Jimmie on twitter @CheshSports