Nelson addresses key points

There were some pleasant surprises that came out of the Washington State game, and there were also some revelations that weren't so positive. The Cougars will have some time to address some of those issues as they face the Wildcats of Weber State at LaVell Edwards Stadium this Saturday.

First, the positive. In the second quarter, Riley Nelson was replaced by Taysom Hill on a fourth-and-1 situation on WSU's 18-yard line. On the first play of his college career, Hill threw a touchdown pass to tight end Kaneakua Friel.

"I was really excited for him," said Nelson. "I would have been happy if he had just got that first down. I thought I would have been just as excited, but the fact that he saw Kane [Friel] leak out there was really good recognition and awareness on his part. It was a fun way to start off his career."

While not quite as exciting as Hill's first play, Nelson remembers his first play. In fact, he remembers the first series.

"I hooked up a post for about 53 yards on my first pass ever," recalled Nelson with a smile. "I knew I had an outside post and I didn't want to read it. I knew I had one-on-one, so I hucked it up and he came down with it. The very next play, though, I got blindsided and fumbled it and they ran it back for six.

"Mine isn't the same, but, no, of course I remember those feelings of how excited and jacked you are. Now that's over and done with, [Hill] will be just another player and will go out there and execute and help our team win."

Seeing Hill's maturity and skill as a true freshman, Nelson is confident that the future is bright at the quarterback position.

"No question," Nelson said. "The coaches are really giving him a role to handle, but he's not your typical freshman. He's served a mission and is a mature kid as it is. You know, even if you come in here at the age of 18, he's different than your typical freshman. Yeah, I mean, I just hope he continues to help us improve, score points and win ball games."

As for a negative in the season opener, the interior of BYU's offensive line didn't perform as well as anticipated. Far too often, defensive linemen were pressuring Nelson and running backs in the backfield. The blocking in the middle and the run game weren't as sharp and crisp as they could have been, despite the renewed emphasis to shore up the line as a dominant feature of the offense.

"[WSU's] nose guard was really good, and Weber State's got some decent players," said Nelson. "And of course we're going to face some of the best in two weeks as far as interior defensive tackles."

The Cougars will go to work this week polishing up the chemistry on the interior line.

"We've got a lot to learn from, a lot of tape, and it was probably 50-50 technique versus mental, you know, making sure the calls and targeting the blocks right," Nelson said. "And so, we'll get all that ironed out. The talent's there and the capability is there. Now it's just a matter of that attention to detail and targeting."

There was some concern heading into the game against Washington State that the center position might not be ready to go given the fact that Blair Tushaus and Houston Reynolds were rotating there and no starter had been named. However, Tushaus ended up handling center duties against WSU, and his performance in his first college start drew praises from his senior quarterback.

"He did fantastic," said Nelson with a smile. "I felt like he was very confident really for his first snaps in college football, and I had fun out there working with him and he did a really good job."

The Cougar interior line will have a chance to solidify and shore itself up for Weber State in preparation for Utah a week later.

Meanwhile, the question is whether Taysom Hill will receive more playing time against the Wildcats. That's a question that will be answered on Saturday.

"Well, I sure hope so," said Hill. "I guess we'll have to wait and see if that's the case or not, but I would like to get more playing time as the season wears. That's really up to Coach Doman though, so we'll see how it all works out."


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