Let me start off by saying that I think BYU’s offense has been nothing but average. If it weren’t for Cody Hoffman or Jamaal Williams, the offense would have been abysmal. But is that Brandon Doman’s fault? I don’t think it is.
All year, Riley Nelson squashed the hearts and hopes of BYU fans. He was flat out awful. In my opinion, he was not a D1 caliber quarterback. Whether his awful play was due to his injuries or his lack of decision making is debatable and for a different argument. What we do know is that Bronco Mendenhall has stated that he is in charge on who plays QB. Now, Bronco gets to chose the QB and Doman has to make the best of it. People don’t like the offense that Doman was running, but what else besides the spread can you run with Nelson? It is the only type of offense that works for him. Riley was horrendous as a pocket QB and did not do a good job of working the check list. If the first option was gone, he’d go scrambling. Granted the offensive line struggled all year, but Nelson often left the pocket well before there was pressure. I don’t blame Brandon Doman fully for this. Instincts cannot be coached, and Nelson’s instincts were off. The only way for Doman to try to optimize the play of Nelson was to run the spread.
Bronco has said that he is responsible for deciding who the starting quarterback is. With this in mind, who is really to blame? The person that refuses to try another QB? Or the person that has to just try to make the best of someone else’s decision? I personally think Bronco is to blame. Bronco lost us more games this year than Doman. At Boise St, Bronco made the call to go for 2 without taking a time out and with a brand new freshman QB at the helm. At Utah, it was Bronco that kept Riley in after he had so many turnovers that it caused Cougar fans physical pain to count them. It was Bronco that didn’t manage the clock well against Utah St, which led to the injury of Taysom Hill. (“It was miscommunication, and I’m responsible for it when any player gets hurt,” said Mendenhall.) It was Bronco who said that if Riley was healthy, he would start over James Lark in the Poinsettia Bowl the week following Lark’s record tying performance.
The blame was on Riley Nelson and on Bronco Mendenhall; not Brandon Doman. I feel bad for Doman. He did the best with what he had. I think he deserves a chance to show what he can do with a good quarterback. Taysom Hill will learn the offense and is a very capable starter. Sure the Utah St game wasn’t perfect, but it’s arguably BYU’s best win of the season. I’m not calling for the firing of Bronco either, I just don’t think that Brandon deserved to be let go or demoted.