The good news (sort of): Riley Nelson has had almost three full weeks off from game play, so he's well rested. But is that enough time to heal "some" (implying multiple) fractured vertebrae? (I guess that wasn't just a rumor after all!) Ummmmm . . . I'm two years post herniated disc (not sure if that is better or worse than fractured vertebrae, but neither one is pleasant, to say the least) and I'm still not even close to 100%. If I so much as trip on a crack in the sidewalk, I'm practically stuck flat in bed on a heating pad for a week. In fact, my back is aching right now just thinking about it. And I don't play football. So I'm super skeptical. But he claims to be back to normal and insists he will will be playing at 100% again starting this Saturday with Oregon State . . . whether that's true or not, I guess we'll see.
After Monday's practice, head BYU athletic trainer Jeff Hurst said, "I wouldn't let him play unless I felt very comfortable with him playing . . . He looked like his old self out there today." Well, that sounds good, but Riley is notorious for playing through the pain and keeping a smile on his face. After getting some broken ribs and a punctured lung in the Idaho game last year, he kept going for 6 more plays before he stumbled off the field and passed out. It almost killed him-- literally.
And even more discouraging than Riley's injury is Taysom's-- not only does this unfortunate situation hurt BYU's chances of having a good second half of the 2012 season, but it also decreases their chances of a successful 2013, when Taysom will be the clear starter and team leader. He's an amazing football player, but I think he really needed more practice before the weight of the whole team gets put on his shoulders, and now that's not possible. It's iffy if he'll even make it back for spring drills next year, and that's not a good way to start to the toughest schedule in school history.
Something has got to be done to protect these football players, especially the quarterbacks.They're not only getting injured, but they're getting injured BADLY, and that's, for lack of a better word, really BAD.
Who's to blame? Not sure. For Riley's injuries, probably Riley. That's just the way he is, always running into trouble. But the play calls contribute, too. Both Bronco and Brandon Doman have admitted it's their "fault" Taysom got hurt. They were trying to tell him to take a knee, but somehow Taysom interpreted that as "quarterback draw" (um, I'm pretty sure those two signals need to be changed, if they are so similar they can get confused with each other. That's bad.) Doman tried to call a timeout when he realized what was happening, but it was too late. Thankfully, an LCL injury is not as bad as an ACL injury, so as long as he is dedicated to his rehab, Hill should be able to come back just as good as he was before-- hopefully even better.
On this week's True Blue, Dave McCann and Blaine Fowler talked about the possibility of Brandon Doman and Coach Mendenhall telling Riley to take it easy-- i.e. don't run the ball nearly as much, slide to avoid tackles, etc. But they agreed (and so do I), that Riley won't be Riley if he does that. The best way for him to be an effective football player is to run and take hard hits. If he "takes it easy," he won't be successful. He's not THAT great of a passer, nor are his receivers (the exception being Cody Hoffman) super stellar. They're good, sometimes great, but not great enough to make up for Riley "taking it easy". It's a tough situation, needless to say.
Whether the Cougars are ready or not, the Oregon State blackout is coming this Saturday. It's kind of weird to have Homecoming be the second-to-last home game of the season, but I guess when you're an independent team, you have to take what you can get. OSU is currently ranked #10 in the country, but ironically, the OSU quarterback, Sean Mannion, is also out with a knee injury, and their backup, Cody Vaz, hasn't played a game in two years. Combine his inexperience with the unstoppable BYU defense, and we may have a shot. A lot is riding on Riley's shoulders (or vertebrae, as the case may be) and whether we can find someone who can kick field goals, or at least a P.A.T.
|Sad but true. From www.bloodrunsblue.com.|
Hopefully things will turn around soon. Good luck, boys. I'll be there as usual, cheering you on!