23 August 2010

Bronco and The Great Quarterback Controversy of 2010

To begin with, I'd like to say that I love Bronco Mendenhall. His overall performance as BYU's head coach has been borderline spectacular, and to take the team from where it was in 2004 to where it is today has been great to see as a fan.

That said, he needs to pick a starting quarterback already.

For those of you who live in a hole (or don't care about BYU football), the story of the Cougar offseason has been "Who will start at quarterback in 2010?" Here is a quick rundown of the contenders, in alphabetical order.

Jake Heaps: True freshman, very, very highly recruited coming out of Skyline high school in Washington state. Has a great long ball.

James Lark: Came from Pine View high school in Utah, was named the 3A MVP his senior year. Redshirted the 2006 season and served a mission in Russia. I've never seen him play.

Jason Munns: Recorded a pass efficiency rating of 140.8 his senior year at Southridge high school in Washington state. Stands at 6' 5" and redshirted in 2007 before serving a mission in Mexico from 2008-2010.

Riley Nelson: Started eight games at Utah State as a freshman, completing 55 percent of his passes for 925 yards and six touchdowns while rushing for 290 yards. Mobile.

All four of these guys tore it up in high school and have the ability to start for an FBS program. The problem is, at most, two guys can get significant playing time, and most schools would rather have one guy get the majority of the snaps.

So as unfair as it may be, the race is between Heaps and Nelson for the starting job. That's how it was during spring practices, and that's how it is now, during fall practices.

Now, I feel that Heaps should start, if just because he has more eligibility left than Nelson and has a higher ceiling. Add these reasons to the fact that Bronco steadfastly continues to comment that both players are playing equally well, and you have a junior quarterback who can't clearly beat out a true freshman. Let's just make it Heaps and be done with it.
With the season opener against Washington a little less than two weeks away, coach Bronco Mendenhall said the quarterback race is "dead even." He added that a starting QB probably won't be named until game week.
Is this true? Does Bronco really believe both quarterbacks would do equally well starting for BYU? Or has he chosen one of them and decided not to announce this publicly, the better to make sure everyone involved keeps working hard?

Either way, I'd like to see a decision made public by the end of the week. Since the play styles of Nelson and Heaps differ so greatly, the offense needs to know how they will be playing against Washington, or the game will be a scrimmage for BYU, where they try to learn on the fly.

On the other hand, if Bronco is keeping his decision a secret in order to throw off Washington's attempts to prepare for the Cougars, then kudos to him.

And on the other other hand, maybe he's planning on giving both quarterbacks extensive playing time, like Utah did last season or Florida did with Chris Leak and Tim Tebow a few years ago. While I'm not a fan of this method, it can work, and if Bronco wants to give it a shot, I trust him enough to not complain too much.

The more I think about this, the more I think I'm not really bothered by not knowing who will start in a couple weeks as long as Bronco knows what he's doing. It adds to the suspense and anticipation I have for college football in general, which makes everything a lot more fun. Only 12 more days to go!

1 comment:

Josh said...

I actually figured out a long term plan that could work. Start Nelson in 2010 and 11,(assuming Jake Heaps goes on a mission after 2010 season) start either Lark or Munns in 2012 and 13, and Heaps will be back by 2014. But I'd prefer Heaps to start.