Nelson talks about last home game

Riley Nelson

The Cougars will have 29 seniors playing in their last home game this Saturday against the Vandals of Idaho. One will be senior quarterback Riley Nelson, who hasn't really given much thought concerning it being his last home game in LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Senior quarterback Riley Nelson has been through it all. He's led BYU back from defeats and, well, has had some not-so-stellar games. Regardless, he feels he's learned a lot about who he is playing on the grass of LaVell Edwards Stadium.

"Yeah, it's been a place where I've experienced a lot of joys and also some trials," said Nelson. "I had to be rushed out of there to the hospital in an ambulance. I've been on that field when our fans rushed the field after wins, and then I've had some pretty bad losses and close losses. You know, it's a place where I've learned a lot and kind of became a man."

If there was a single narrative to describe this season, it would be a season of lost opportunities. But although the cards didn't stack up in favor of the Cougars in 2012, LaVell Edwards Stadium is a place Nelson feels is special.

"Yeah, because it's our BYU home field and you want to protect your home turf," Nelson said. "I mean, it's yours and it's your property and you want to protect it. You don't want anybody coming into your place and beating you, so, yeah, LaVell Edwards Stadium is a great place to play and there's a lot of history there. You want to protect that as much as possible."

But what about playing in that special place for the last time?

"It hasn't really crossed my mind," said Nelson. "I'm not the very sentimental type. We still have more games on our schedule. Maybe if this was our bowl game or the last game on the schedule, then I would be a little more sentimental and feel a little bit different. We still have a good chunk of the season left for me to get too wrapped up in that."

So next up on the Cougars' schedule is Idaho. Head coach Robb Akey was let go following a 70-28 drubbing at the hands of Louisiana Tech. The Vandals are currently 1-7 on the season.

"Whenever there are coaching changes, especially mid-season ones, there's an effort to change what you're doing before," Nelson. "If it's bad enough to where a coach gets fired, what you're doing before obviously wasn't working. To be honest with you, I'll mostly watch the San Jose State game and break it down.

"I may watch their Louisiana Tech game just to watch how their backers run and handle play action. It will be mostly for personnel, but I'll mostly watch the San Jose State game."

Against San Jose State, Idaho switched up their defensive front with a mix between the 3-4 and the 4-3.

"They like to switch up the fronts and did a good job of confusing San Jose State there at the end," said Nelson. "Now, San Jose State has a good passing attack and are really good on offense. I kind of think they wore them down as the game went along, but they did some really good things in that game to confuse them."

The Idaho defense likes to zone blitz based on what they feel their opponent's offense will do.

"They mixed up their fronts and brought some pressure," said Nelson. "We really expect them to do the same thing against us as they did against San Jose State."

BYU's offensive line will have to pick up the zone blitzing, and, according to Nelson, there will then be some opportunities downfield.

Nelson said that the Vandals are "going to come out with a lot of energy initially. We've started fast these past few games, so if we can start fast on them, then obviously it will help us to feel comfortable and get into a rhythm. Then we can take some shots downfield and really open some things up with the passing game."

The Vandals use zone coverage in their secondary.

"They don't feel confident in man coverage, whether they've had injuries or whatever it may be," Nelson said. "They'll come up and press the receivers at the line of scrimmage, but then they'll drop back, giving some space. So, they'll play a man-zone coverage and if they come up to press they'll drop back into a zone. It should be a good game and I'm excited to go out and play."

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