BYU football: Nelson 'desperately' wants to play against USU, but 'still beat up'
Provo • Just as they did last week, BYU coaches aren't saying for sure who will start at quarterback on Friday night when the Cougars take on red-hot Utah State at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
But if Monday's practice is anything like the first practice last week, the starter will be freshman Taysom Hill, who started in the 47-0 win over Hawaii.
"Riley [Nelson] is still beat up," coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "Taysom took all the reps today. â¦ We will go as long as we can and see how it progresses during the week."
Offensive coordinator Brandon Doman said Nelson "did a heck of a lot more today than he did last Monday," but reiterated several times that Nelson, who started BYU's first four games, won't go unless he's fully healthy.
"It just isn't worth it for Riley, and it isn't worth it for the team," Doman said. "Taysom will continue to [get most of the reps], and will play in Friday's game, unless we are told otherwise."
Nelson said he felt better Monday than he has felt in quite some time and said he was able to make most of his movements without pain.
As for Hill, the freshman said he's preparing as if he will start against a USU defense that is ranked No. 11 in the country.
"It is one of those things right now where I am planning on being the guy," Hill said. "And that's my mindset. That's my preparation right now. That's the path that I am going down."
Mendenhall said he can't predict when Nelson will be 100 percent.
"So much of it is just based on how he feels, and his pain tolerance, which I know is really high," the coach said. "He wants to play desperately in this game, but he is also realistic. â¦ Again, I am just following a very similar plan to last week, other than the chances are probably even more likely that he will play, than last week. But I thought there was a chance he would play a week ago. So it is hard to tell."
Running back Mike Alisa underwent surgery on the two broken bones in his right forearm on Saturday and will be out six to eight weeks.
Running back Adam Hine (quad injury) practiced in a limited role Monday and is "possible" for the USU game, Mendenhall said.
Safety Mike Hague (torn calf muscle) did not play against Hawaii and said he is "iffy" for Friday's game.
TV, blackout for Oregon State
BYU announced that its Oct. 13 game against Oregon State will begin at 1:30 p.m. and will be televised regionally by ABC as part of a split national broadcast.
The school is calling the game a "blackout," and fans are urged to wear black. The Cougars will wear black uniforms and helmets, created by Nike.
Utah State at BYU
P Friday, 8:15 p.m.
TV • ESPN