The BYU Cougars turned to quarterback Taysom Hill to help them pick up a few wins while Riley Nelson recovers from a back injury, but after what the BYU coaching staff is saying is their fault, Hill will now be lost for the rest of 2012 after suffering a season ending knee injury on the third to last play of the Cougars’ 6-3 win over the Utah State Aggies on Saturday.
BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall and offensive coordinator Brandon Doman are both taking responsibility for allowing Hill to suffer the injury that will end his season after surgery to repair his knee will put him through a rehab process expected to last 4-6 months.
“It is our fault as coaches for not communicating clearly,” Mendenhall said.
Head athletic trainer Jeff Hurst confirmed that the hit Hill took on the third-to-last play of the game, when he could have taken a knee, caused damage to the LCL in his left knee, hyper-extended the joint and damaged a hamstring tendon.
From what we have seen from players recently, an LCL injury is not as devastating as an ACL or MVL injury. It takes less time to rehab and players can make a quicker return. That is why BYU is hopeful that Hill will be able to return for spring practices in March. But nothing will be known until at least next January or February.
Doman said that on the play where Hill was injured, he told his quarterback to let the clock run down. He said that Hill “misinterpreted” that to mean he should run a play. That was the play that Hill too the hit that ended his season.
Mendenhall said the sideline coaches gave a rolling hand signal to Hill to let him know the clock was running, but Hill thought that meant to hurry up and run the next play. When they realized he was going to run a play, they gave him the “victory formation signal,” but Hill had turned his head. They also tried to call a timeout, but the ball had already been snapped.
“It is my fault, at least that’s how I feel,” said Doman. “I’m responsible for that, and I don’t know that I will ever get over him getting injured the way that he did.”
BYU will now turn back to Nelson, who started the first four games of the season for the Cougars that resulted in a 2-2 record. He will return in time to face the No. 10 Oregon State Beavers on Saturday, who are also dealing with their own injury. Starting OSU quarterback Sean Mannion is out indefinitely after suffering a knee injury last week.
Whereas the Cougars’ offense has been erratic, they will once again have to rely on their defense to stop Oregon State if they have any plans of pulling of the upset.