Riley Nelson Should Remain BYU's Starting QB After Air Force Debacle

Scott LambsonContributor IIISeptember 12, 2010

After the debacle at Air Force a day ago, it would seem most BYU fans would like to see Jake Heaps replace Riley Nelson as the starting quarterback for BYU. The majority would also like to see an end to the two quarterback system that coach Bronco Mendenhall implemented at the start of the season.

While I do agree that the two-quarterback system should be shelved, I totally disagree that Riley Nelson should be the backup.

After watching BYU play both Washington and Air Force, it is clear to me that Riley Nelson is the better quarterback right now, and as far as I'm concerned right now is all that matters.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard BYU fans say, "Let's sacrifice this year to get Jake Heaps experience."


Since when does BYU sacrifice entire seasons?

What's crazy about the aftermath of the Air Force game is how quickly BYU fans turned on Riley Nelson. After all, wasn't it Riley who led the BYU offense and threw two touchdown passes against Washington to win the game?

Wasn't it Riley who bowled over the Air Force defense on his first two possessions of the game for scores.

Wasn't it Riley who had a second half touchdown pass dropped by O'neil Chambers?

It wasn't Riley Nelson who lost the Air Force game, it was the play calling, the defense, the offensive line, the receivers, the running backs, the punt kicker, the secondary, etc.

Riley? The kid led touchdown scores on his first two series.

Riley did have a costly fumble at midfield but don't forget he carried the ball 20 times. You have a problem with him carrying the ball 20 times? Blame the play calling, not Riley. He also had the above mentioned key touchdown pass dropped by O'neil Chambers and don't forget Di Luigi's fumble on on the five yard line on a Jake Heaps drive.

Chambers and Di Luigi's turnovers took 14 points off the board.

However, despite the turnovers, and poor offensive line play, it was the defense who really stunk it up for BYU.

Air Force simply did whatever it wanted to the BYU defense. They passed, ran option, ran up the middle, ran trick plays, double reverses, you name it. Air Force did it all and BYU had no answer.

The only bright spot against Air Force was surprisingly Riley Nelson. He didn't have a great game but he continued right where he left off against Washington, leading BYU to two touchdowns on the first two series of the game.

Riley can't catch his own passes, he can't play defense, and he can't protect himself on the offensive line! He can only play quarterback, and so far has done a marvelous job.

In his first two games against quality teams he has led the Cougar offense to five touchdowns including two with precision passes. He has only one turnover in two games.

So why is everyone hating on Riley? I could understand it if he was playing poorly, and couldn't move the Cougar offense, but that's not the case.

The final three quarters of the Air Force game were not Riley's fault. The play calling was bad, the offensive line was bad, the receivers were bad, and the punting was terrifying.

I'm not saying Jake Heaps, given the chance wouldn't be great this year. But the truth is, the receivers can't even catch his passes.

So let's focus on the real problems with BYU right now, and it's everything but quarterback.

BYU still has a chance at a conference title. It's everybody else that needs to pick up their game and show up ready to play.

Riley is doing just fine.