We wanted to try something a little different as this off-season is getting underway. We asked ten questions of some of our Cougar contributors about the state of the BYU football program as well as what they say in 2012 and hope to see in 2013.
We will post one question with each response every day for the next ten weekdays. Make sure to check in every day to get your BYU Cougars update from our roundtable of Cougar faithful.
1. Before BYU ever kicked off against Washington State this season, what was your #1 expectation for this season and how did the team fare against it?
That Riley Nelson would be a better quarterback than the previous season. He was very rough around the edges last season; not a traditional QB. I was hopeful that with an off-season to prepare, he could learn more skills on being a traditional QB. With his ability to grow into that position, BYU would have a promising season. He fell well short of those expectations I had hoped for. I even knew that he hadn’t progressed year over year after the Washington State game. While everyone was praising BYU, I aired my concerns in ATI 2.2.
Nothing less than a conference title . . . ha-ha OK…too soon? 🙂 My expectations leading up to WSU game as I laid out with @fuegote on the BYUofU Podcast was at least 10 wins. My rationale? I anticipated a great defense, strong play from a returning starter as a 5th year senior QB, and did not expect OSU or ND to be as strong as they were. So what happened? Riley happened (and the offensive line to be fair)…or didn’t happen. The defense was better than advertised and their numbers, impressive as they were, would have been mind bogglingly good if we had produced even an average offense. Final grade compared to expectations? A solid D.
When we previewed the local college football season with Dog and Deuce (episode 83), I boldly proclaimed that Riley Nelson would:
- Not get hurt and would play in every game
- That he would have a season much like returning senior quarterbacks in BYU’s storied history.
Wow, I couldn’t have been more wrong. My feeling that he was a victim of poor circumstances and not injury-prone could not have been more wrong. And because my errant prediction was so erroneous, BYU suffered through a season unlike any in the Bronco Mendenhall tenure.
My expectation was to see offensive improvement. Brandon Doman had a year under his belt, as did Riley. With the Hoffmans, Apos and Alisas combined with a senior QB Doman had all the tools to show us what his offense could do. Defensively I felt confident that they wouldn’t be losing many games with the linebackers and secondary we saw in spring ball. Offensively I think anyone paying attention saw BYU take a step backwards. Defensively I don’t think anyone saw Ziggy making the impact he would make. Bronco’s defense being ranked in the top 5 most of the year was surprising but I think the offensive struggles were more remarkable.
My #1 expectation was quality play from Riley Nelson. I know. Hindsight is 20/20, and it sounds crazy now. I thought that since Riley did what he did in 2011 without any real reps, how awesome would he be after a whole off-season of being “THE” guy. Apparently, not at all. All the breaks he got in 2011 did not go his way in 2012. Fumbles were recovered by the opponent, bad passes were intercepted, interceptions were returned for touchdowns, and wins became losses. (And every Cougar fan became an expert.)