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Mendenhall understands QB Nelson's frustration

The Sports Xchange

--Head coach Bronco Mendenhall said he could relate to fiery QB Riley Nelson's frustration with the number of injuries that halted most of spring camp. But the coach is quick to remind that this is just spring ball -- a development period, and no games can be won now -- and that the emphasis is on not getting more guys hurt.

"There are a lot of guys out, and the quick whistles are to try to keep our team as healthy as we can," Mendenhall said. "So yeah, (Nelson) is a competitor and he wants to score touchdowns. I would be upset if he wasn't frustrated. Luckily, most of (the injured players) are experienced, and if you were to say, would I have liked to have had them all spring? No question. Would we be a better team if they were all practicing in the spring? Absolutely. Am I frustrated that they are not out here? Yeah, more than I can say. But we have modified practice as much as we can, to find out things as best we can, and we are trying to develop players around them."

--Second-year offensive coordinator Brandon Doman has what appears to be a streamlined job this season. He doesn't have a quarterback controversy in play since Jake Heaps transferred (ending up at Kansas). Doman talked all camp about developing a clear identity for the offense. He feels like Riley Nelson, who likes to run the ball, can still be effective passing in a West Coast-style offense. Nelson has told reporters he spent a lot of time in the winter studying some of BYU's greatest quarterbacks, like Steve Young, Jim McMahon, Gifford Nielsen and Virgil Carter.


S/CB Mike Hague -- Could start at either spot this season as BYU's coaching staff prefers to use "hybrid" players in the secondary. Coach Bronco Mendenhall has regularly praised his leadership and "position mastery" -- a popular Mendenhall term -- that will also be a key factor in the former running back's playing time.

OL Blair Tushaus -- Saw a lot of reps because the Cougars' expected starters were out with various ailments. Tushaus put himself in position for meaningful time at center in a battle with incumbent Houston Reynolds. "I have to go into fall with an attitude of proving myself," Tushaus said. Though it wasn't all good for the spring, as Tushaus tore a meniscus in the last week. It will be about a month of recovery time.

QB James Lark -- Had a pretty quiet March 24 scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium, but coach Bronco Mendenhall said he and the team have seen a lot from the anticipated backup quarterback.

"I can't speak a lot in terms of what I saw today, but the volume of work this spring, of all the quarterbacks after Riley (Nelson), he has had an excellent spring. I think James has our team's confidence, which is a huge thing. Because now it is not just about how Riley plays. He has elevated his status from the team's perspective. Again, I am speaking about his body of work," Mendenhall said.

"Riley is a fierce competitor, of course he wanted to be out on the field. But coaches wanted to let some of these other guys get some reps, and let them play some football. Riley is never going to be happy when he's not playing. That's how he is." -- Backup quarterback James Lark on Riley Nelson, who was frustrated to not be given an opportunity to play in the March 24 game as a rash of injuries convinced the coaching staff to hold out starters.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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