Carl: Tough question to answer. Nevertheless, I’d venture to say there should have been a quarterback controversy with Lark and Heaps. Especially when Heaps faltered early and often his freshman year. Lark could have had three productive seasons at BYU. And if Lark did win the job, Heaps still would have left. Lark should have been our leader, our next formidable, throwing quarterback. We’ll never know if he possessed those qualities. And yet, I refuse to ask the ‘what if’ question because I refuse to feel cheated or let down.
Don: We would all be a lot happier right now and BYU would be 10-2. Not sure what else to say. Not a Riley Nelson fan.
Matt: Oh man, I could go on for hours. If Nelson had never darkened the field at LaVell Edwards Stadium, we’d be a completely different team. For three seasons now, the team has been mired in a quarterback controversy. He required a complete re-tooling of the offense to cater to his limited abilities, which really aren’t spectacular in their own right. This season he beguiled Bronco Mendenhall into a hook, line, and sinker swallowing of his grit and determination and then as a leader, refused to accept when he was too limited by pain to play. He single-handedly cost the team wins in Salt Lake and Boise this year, and likely Notre Dame and San Jose State as well. Yes, I know I went there. I don’t know that we win one or four of those games with Taysom Hill or James Lark under center, but the point is, his limited ability combined with his disability in his back cost the team the chance to be successful at critical opportunities all season.
So with all that out there now, if Nelson hadn’t come to Provo, I don’t think you’d see such a large number of fans (and now admin) looking to bring on Mendenhall’s replacement so soon. It is very possible BYU would be looking at a 9 or 10 win season pending the bowl game and all would be well in Cougar Town.
Mike: I remember when the Riley to BYU announcement came out wondering what difference it would make. Never would have guessed Riley coming to BYU would lead to a blue chip BYU QB transferring to Kansas, a ruined 2012 season and the glaring short comings in decision making from the BYU coaching staff. Strange.
Carl: I’m an Andy Reid guy. I like the way he handles the professional players. That signifies that he could easily handle a bunch of college kids who actually want to be at practice every day. He’s an offensive coach. BYU desperately needs offense. The fans need offense; it’s our lifeblood. Otherwise we’d be Alabama fans. Not that we don’t like defense, especially this season, but OFFENSE puts hineys in the stands year after year in Provo. But I digress. Reid has coached collegiately. He’s familiar with the landscape, especially at BYU. He understands fully what it will take to be an effective head coach and he won’t take the job if he doesn’t believe he can win. I fail to see a downside with him, other than you might have to pay him a larger sum.
Don: Honestly, I don’t think Bronco is going anywhere and I don’t think there is anyone available right now who would fit the requirements of being a head coach at BYU that is likely to match or exceed Bronco, so I don’t want him replaced nor should he be replaced. (See my twitter post from yesterday). IF by some miracle Andy Reid became available, he would be the only one I would be comfortable with, but that’s not going to happen.
Matt: First, I don’t think Bronco goes anyway . . . this season. His contract expires in 2013 and I doubt he’s back after that season. To answer the question though, here are my top choices (presented in no particular order):
Andy Reid – brings a solid pro and collegiate resume to Provo and a history of success with the Eagles, this season notwithstanding. His national profile brings immediate credibility to the team and with the right personnel, he could start winning immediately and make ripples around collegiate football.
Darrell Bevell – Who? In his high school career, Bevell was a top target for the next BYU quarterback, until he broke a finger. BYU turned its sights to Texas and stepped up recruiting for Ty Detmer. Bevell served a mission and then led Wisconsin to its first ever Rose Bowl win in 1994. In his coaching career, he has been quarterbacks and receivers coach, as well as offensive coordinator in Green Bay, Minnesota, and now Seattle. He’s a student of the west coast offense. And he coached Brett Favre in Green Bay and Minnesota.
There are a few more names I’ve looked at but I would like them in other positions if they were willing to be assistant coaches in a new place. But I’ll refrain from speculation at this time.
Mike: I would try to hire Ken Niumatalolo. What he’s done at Navy is more remarkable then even Bronco’s achievements. He’s had 4 winning seasons, had a 10 win season in ’09, beat Notre Dame in consecutive seasons; all of this with college football’s leftover athletes. Truly remarkable.
Carl: The team just doesn’t look comfortable on the floor at stretches. Whether it’s the lack of cohesiveness or a bona fide leader, they’re simply not in a rhythm when shooting. It’s too early to panic. Trust in Rose’s system, that he’ll get his guys performing when it matters, during conference season. Plenty of games still exist to build a resume for an at-large bid as well. Rose will come through.
Don: I think they will become better over the course of the pre-conference slate of games simply by developing more consistency, but they just are what they are….a solid team that can play with and beat most of their schedule when they are clicking in every way, but will struggle every time key cogs in the wheel are off on any given night. Davies and Haws need to play lights out and you need a third player, preferably Carlino, to have a solid night for the Cougs to win. JC transfers are stinking it up right now but if they can get production out of one or both of them, this team would then be as good as, or better than last year. But it’s somewhat irrelevant, because this team will never be great nor will they suck it up. An additional player or two may elevate them to “barely in” and a first round March Madness, but most likely they will end up an NIT team. The needle isn’t going to move up or down very much for this club unfortunately. This year is a transition year to much bigger and better things for the next six years.
Matt: Lack of depth and it can’t really be fixed. Counting on and then losing Chris Collinsworth and Stephen Rodgers is going to be costly to BYU this season, but here is the real reason why. Matt Carlino and Nate Austin have been completely MIA this whole year. Brandon Davies is going to his thing, and as long as he can stay on the floor, he’s an asset on both ends of it. Tyler Haws has been a better revelation that anyone could have imagined and he’s going to get more defensive attention as he continues to shine. There needs to be a third person in this group that can step up, but there isn’t. Josh Sharp, Cory Calvert, Brock Zylstra, and Craig Cusick are all great role players, but if BYU can’t find one of these role guys to step up to the mantle of being the third member of BYU’s version of the Big 3, then don’t expect much better than a 4th place finish in the WCC and a streak of consecutive NCAA tournaments to break in March.
Mike: This is a mystery. The team should be better. It has to be a chemistry issue that Rose has to figure out. Rose is a great coach I see him figuring it out come league play.
Carl: 10%. Although, if he’s looking for a school to go to for one season, he could save his body the rigors of a physical schedule of say a Duke or Michigan State. Likewise, he could pad his stats through a softer schedule, help BYU make a run in the NCAA tournament, and still preserve his first round draft status.
Don: 25% chance, although that’s completely a guess. In the end it will come down to two things that will sway his decision (and no, the LDS culture has nothing to do with it. He can find that wherever he goes): One, how effective was Coach Rose at selling his pitch to Parker about the future of BYU and the potential the upcoming group of amazing recruits if he is part of it, and two, the influence of the new recruits on making him feel like they actually WILL do something special if he joins them. In the end, if they can paint the picture of him being a pivotal figure at building on the hype of the Jimmer years and taking BYU basketball to a new level , that may appeal to him as opposed to being nothing more than the next chapter of success at Duke or elsewhere. BYU is still in play in my book, but I’m not holding by breath either.
Matt: I would put my odds at 33% and here is why. There are five teams in his final five but I just don’t get the Florida or Stanford choices. Neither presents him with the greatest opportunity for success in my opinion. Duke meshes well with the goals I see as priorities for him: great coach, personal and team success, and ultimately an opportunity to be a top NBA draft pick. Michigan State offers much of the same points plus it is closer to his Chicago home. BYU is the wildcard. I feel Dave Rose is a great fit for him and the talent that has been recruited to BYU for the next several seasons is top notch. If he committed to BYU, I would also put BYU in the lead for the Payton Dastrup running, but I digress. The tradeoff at BYU is lack of national exposure that he would get at a Duke or Michigan State in return for a more solid footing in his beliefs, especially if he decides a mission is what he wants. And therein lies my rationale for why BYU is on an equal flooring with Duke and Michigan State.
Mike: I give this 25% of happening. It’s difficult for BYU fans to see things from the superstar athletes’ perspective. Jabari Parker will be in the NBA. Superstar athletes have to get the maximum exposure as they head towards professional sports. Playing in the WCC does not expose players the way the ACC might.