23 May 2013

Goodbye, Riley


This will be my last post about Riley Nelson. My disdain for him is well documented, But he's gone now, having finally used up all of his college football eligibility. Having landed at Logan High School, teaching offense to bunch of teenagers, he will never throw another pass for BYU ever again.

Earlier this week, Nelson was interviewed on a local Salt Lake sports radio show. Among other topics, the hosts asked him about his health last season, when it was clear he was struggling to even move his arms in certain games. When asked specifically about the Utah game, Nelson gave this response:

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.

Are you kidding me? A healthy Riley isn't even a competent quarterback, and here he is telling us that even terribly injured, he wasn't going to give up the chance to play Utah during his senior season. There's no mention of team. No mention of wanting to win. Just a selfish desire that it be HIM out on the field, gritting it out like only he know how.

The fact that Riley Nelson started 14 games for the Cougars is unfathomable. That Coach Mendenhall fell in love with Riley's heart and spirit and amazing good looks is very distressing. Can't we just play quarterbacks who are quarterbacks? I don't care if they are a prima donna (see: McMahon) or cries after losses (John Beck). If they can make all the throws with zip and accuracy, play them. If not, they ride the pine.

As far as this applies to the 2013 season, we know Taysom can run. We know he can throw the ball 60 yards. What we don't know is if he can get the ball where he wants it, every time. This season is his proving ground, in my opinion. Here's where he has to show accuracy. If, by the end of the year, he still has trouble hitting tight ends over the middle or dropping a pass into the hands of a streaking Cody Hoffman, I am all for exploring other options.

My point is, I hope we learn from the Riley Nelson fiasco. May we never play a converted fullback at quarterback again.

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