BYU football: QB Riley Nelson is still the starter, Bronco Mendenhall says
Provo • The growing number of BYU fans who want to see a change at starting quarterback won't get their wish this week.
Coach Bronco Mendenhall gave Riley Nelson a vote of confidence after practice Monday, saying the senior will start Saturday's 1:30 p.m. MDT game against Notre Dame on national television and discounting the notion that another multiple-turnover performance would be cause for yanking the fiery leader.
"I really don't [envision a scenario where Nelson would be pulled]," Mendenhall said. "I think Riley is improving our team. There was a lot of that through three and a half quarters [vs. Oregon State]. A few decisions were not wise. But there was a lot of stuff where he answered touchdown for touchdown for a long time. I am kind of focusing on that point. But we do need to take better care of the football."
Nelson was intercepted three times, but two came at the end of the game when the Cougars were desperate to get back in it.
Nelson said he came out of the game "pretty unscathed" after missing the previous two with a sore back.
"I didn't take one single pop," he said. "Legs are a little sore because I was shut down for [two weeks]. But that's just from the workload of playing 87 plays."
Mendenhall said Nelson has recovered enough to be taken off the injury report.
"So he is kind of self-reliant at this point," the coach said.
Offense adds a wrinkle
Perhaps lost in the misery of Saturday's 42-24 loss to Oregon State was the fact that the Cougars added a little wrinkle to their offensive attack the Utah Pass, made famous by former Utes quarterback Lee Grosscup. Some call it the shovel pass.
"Hopefully that is one more thing defenses have to prepare for, and hopefully will keep them a little more honest in the pass rush," Nelson said.
TV plans announced
It was announced Monday that BYU's Oct. 27 game at Georgia Tech will kick off at 1 p.m. MDT and will be televised by ESPN3 and the ACC's Regonal Sports Network. The possibility exists that it could be picked up by ROOT Sports, which is Ch. 683 in Utah on DirecTV, Ch. 414 on the Dish Network and Ch. 52 or 693 on Comcast systems. BYUtv also could become involved, much like with last year's game at Oregon State.
BYU at No. 5 Notre Dame
P Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
TV • Ch. 5