BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall on Monday confirmed that freshman QB Taysom Hill sustained a season-ending injury in Friday night's home win over Utah State.
Following what the coach called a "miscommunication" that led to Hill running the ball on the game's third-to-final play, Hill took a direct hit on his left knee, hyperextending the joint. The resulting injuries were damage to the LCL and a hamstring tendon, as well as what is being called a "deeper ligament connection." Head trainer Jeff Hurst termed it "a complex lateral injury" that will require surgery sometime in the next week.
Recovery time is expected to be four to six months.
It was before the start of the 2010 season, and BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall was talking about the remarkable run of health enjoyed by his starting quarterbacks in the seasons from 2005 through 2009.
John Beck and Max Hall had started 63 of 64 games during that five-year span, and Mendenhall said at the time that the string of healthy starts "speaks to our schemes. Seldom does the opponent have a clear shot at the quarterback before the ball is delivered. Usually the only time our quarterbacks get hit is when they don't read the play out correctly. The ball is gone too fast."
Jabari Parker--the nation's most heralded high school basketball recruit--has narrowed his list of potential college destinations to five schools, including BYU. The other schools on Parker's list are Duke, Florida, Michigan State and Stanford.
Parker's family and high school coach confirmed the selection on Friday, with coach Robert Smith cited as saying that Parker, "who is Mormon, didn't include BYU out of generosity."
"All five schools are schools he's really interested in and really thinking about attending," Smith said in the aforementioned article. "He's really thinking about BYU. I know his faith has a lot to do with it. The coaching staff has been great with him. They've been a winning program. That's one of his choices."
BYU and Utah State meet Friday night in a game that should determine whether the Cougars are indeed back on track, and whether the 2012 Aggies really are the best team to come out of Logan in decades.
After consecutive losses at Utah and Boise State while starting a physically-hampered quarterback, BYU was last week sparked by backup QB Taysom Hill and fellow freshman Jamaal Williams in a home-field shutout of Hawaii.
This week's edition of "BYU Football with Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall" followed a win at home against Hawaii--a game in which both sides of the ball performed well, with the offense in particular showing some life after two stagnant performances at Utah and Boise State.
Tuesday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium's President's Loge, Mendenhall was joined by senior starting right tackle Braden Brown to talk about that game and the upcoming match-up against Utah State.
You can hear the entire broadcast in "Cougar Cuts," left, or in the audio archive on the show page in the "BYU Sports Menu," lower right.
It wasn't long after BYU's Tuesday practice wrapped up that head coach Bronco Mendenhall was again asked about Riley Nelson's availability for Friday night's home game with Utah State.
Nelson didn't take any practice reps during Monday's session, but Mendenhall said Tuesday saw Nelson participating much more extensively.
"He got probably double what I had expected him to get," Bronco said of Nelson's live snaps. "He took team reps, skelly reps, so it's moving in the right direction; still too early to call as to whether he'll be ready or not."
BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said senior quarterback Riley Nelson "is still beat up" and nursing a back injury, while true freshman QB Taysom Hill got all of the first-string work in Monday's practice.
As it relates to the starter's designation for Friday night's home game with Utah State, Mendenhall said "we'll just go as long we can, and see how it progresses during the week."
The game will feature the players in a Nike-designed black uniform, with fans being encouraged to wear black to LaVell Edwards Stadium.
The last time a BYU quarterback with "Fr." next to his name won his first start, Taysom Hill wasn't born yet. It was 1988, when a redshirt rookie from Texas named Ty Detmer led the Cougars to a 65-0 shutout of New Mexico.
24 years later, Hill became the second BYU freshman and first-ever true frosh to make his debut a winning one--this one, too, in a shutout, 47-0 over Hawai'i Friday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
For the longest time, the idea of a freshman starting at quarterback for BYU was just this side of unthinkable. LaVell Edwards took over as head coach in 1972, and it was 16 years until a greenhorn actually took the reins to start a game, and even then, in 1988, Ty Detmer had already benefited from a redshirt season.
The only first-year player to step under center in the Edwards era was Drew Miller, who as a true freshman straight out of high school, started exactly one game in 1997.
And that was it: in 29 seasons as head coach, LaVell Edwards started a non-redshirt freshman QB only once.
Following BYU's second straight loss last Thursday, Cougar fans had a lot of questions, and head coach Bronco Mendenhall took time to answer just about all of them on Wednesday night during KSL Newsradio's broadcast of "BYU Football with head Coach Bronco Mendenhall" at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Mendenhall was joined by starting Kat safety Daniel Sorensen as this week's player guest; you can hear the entire broadcast in "Cougar Cuts," left, or on the show page in the BYU Sports Menu, lower right.
With BYU's home game against Hawaii set for Friday night, head coach Bronco Mendenhall reiterated on Tuesday that he is still not ready to name the game's starting quarterback. "If he's (Riley) not looking really good tomorrow or somewhat good tomorrow, then we could make a decision then; but we're going to hold out as long as we can." Mendenhall said.
As far as Tuesday's practice was concerned, Mendenhall said Nelson was "limited and not ready yet." Freshman quarterback Taysom Hill once again received the majority of the reps. If Hill gets the starting nod on Friday, it will be his first ever collegiate start. "I'm extremely excited if that does happen," Hill said. "It would be a great experience. I love college football and to be able to come in, in this environment, in our stadium at home against Hawaii would be a great experience. "
Senior James Lark seems to be the odd man out at the quarterback position. After starting the year as Nelson's backup, Lark was replaced by Hill as the team's #2 QB. Riley is very good friends with Lark, and said circumstances have been tough. "He's handled the situation with complete and utter class, which I wouldn't expect any less of him. It's not been easy and there's been a lot of decisions made that he has no control over, but he realizes that and still comes out here and puts his heart and soul; he's invested as much, if not more into this program as any player that's come through here."
BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said Monday that despite a back injury to quarterback Riley Nelson, "nothing has changed in my mind" and that his team's starting quarterback "is the same one that we've had," heading into Friday night's home game with Hawai'i.
Mendenhall would only call the injury a "sore back," but acknowledged that Nelson "is a little beat up still."
"Might take til the end of the week before we know for sure if he can play or not (v. Hawai'i)," said Mendenhall after Monday's practice, "...but he's tougher than any of us."
In the wake of a second successive heartbreaking setback, the BYU Cougars are left to pick up the pieces and proceed with a season that has devolved from one of promise to one of pathos, all in the space of two games, over six short days.
Two straight losses. A failed two-point conversion. Another two-quarterback situation. The number "two" figures prominently in assessing the Cougars' current predicament, so let's break it down:
With BYU on a short week going into Boise State on Thursday night, KSL Newsradio's broadcast of "BYU Football with Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall" took place on Tuesday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
The show featured Coach Mendenhall and stand-out tight end Kaneakua Friel, and you can hear the entire broadcast in "Cougar Cuts," left, or on show page in the BYU Sports Menu, lower right.
In the aftermath of BYU's gut-punch loss at Utah, the end of which featured two missed last-second field goal attempts, a number of people have asked me: when was the last time BYU won a game with a kick?
It's a good question, and after some research assistance by my broadcast statistician Ralph Sokolowsky, I can report that it has been more than a decade since BYU last secured a win on a final-play kick through the uprights.
The once-promising career of BYU Basketball forward Chris Collinsworth is over with the news that he will undergo another surgical procedure.
Almost two years after a knee injury that led to microfracture surgery and caused him to miss most of the last two seasons, Collinsworth will have a similar surgery on his left ankle.
When you're not one of the BCS big boys, or more acutely, when you play as an FBS independent not named Notre Dame, your college football season is really a series of one-game seasons, relative to staying in the BCS mix. If you win the first game, you remain in consideration for the top five big-money bowls, into the second game, and so on, until you lose.
BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall has repeatedly acknowledged that BYU's BCS hopes are annually pinned on an undefeated season, and any prospective national championship hopes would ride not on a single, but multiple unblemished campaigns.
Those being the stakes, every season starts with a considerable amount of pressure. Boise State (twice), Utah (twice), TCU (twice) and Hawaii are non-BCS programs who have withstood that pressure, gone undefeated in the regular season and shone under the brightest lights on the biggest stage.
It was after four straight losses early in the 2010 season that head coach Bronco Mendenhall had seen enough. His team was not only dropping games, but his defense had seemingly lost the ability to stop anyone--particularly on the ground.
The four-game losing streak featured the opposition averaging 32 points, and 292 rushing yards per game. Following a desultory defeat at Utah State, defensive coordinator Jaime Hill was let go, and Mendenhall re-claimed his old responsibilities. The impact was immediate.
The next week, BYU not only snapped the four-game skid, but held San Diego State to 21 points and 53 rushing yards.
KSL Newsradio's Wednesday night broadcast of "BYU Football with Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall" presented a focused coach, a defensive captain and an esteemed author.
After seeing his team jump out of the gate with a 2-0 start for the first time since 2009, head coach Bronco Mendenhall welcomed two guests this week: defensive captain Brandon Ogletree and co-author of "Running into the Wind," organizational behavior guru Paul Gustavson.
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