The "Domanator." (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
What a difference a year makes.
On the BYU football team, nowhere is that more true than with Brandon Doman, 6-1, 195, who is now the Cougars starting quarterback.
At the start of the 2000 football season, Doman was listed third on the depth chart at quarterback behind Bret Engemann and Charlie Peterson.
Doman, a senior from Salt Lake City, planned to red-shirt the season and was considering a switch from quarterback to free safety, where he felt he would get more of a chance to play.
But Doman's plans came to a sudden end against Syracuse when Engemann went down with a dislocated shoulder in the first half that ended his season. The injury forced Doman into a back-up role for Charlie Peterson.
His red-shirt status officially came to an end in the second half of the BYU/Syracuse game. With the Orangemen up 42-14 at the start of the fourth quarter, Doman went into the game at the 11:06 mark. He finished the game 6-of-9 passing for a total of 66 yards and rushed once for seven yards.
To that point in the season Doman had been considering the change to safety, even though it would have been a reluctant change for him.
"I always wanted to be the quarterback," Doman said. "I started out as quarterback and I've been the quarterback since the sixth grade. That has always been my love."
Mostly Doman just wanted his chance to be the starting quarterback for the Cougars to show his skills.
"I always figured I was going to get my chance to compete for the starting quarterback job," Doman said. "But until then I just wanted to play, that was my basic complexion."
Against New Mexico, Doman finally had his dream of being the starting quarterback for BYU become a reality when he was called on to start the final home game of LaVell Edwards coaching career.
"It was just everything I had ever wanted," Doman said. "After being around forever and watching, once the coach came up to me and said 'You're starting,' it was a dream."
Getting something he wanted wasn't only applicable to Doman on the football field, it also played a big part in getting him and wife Alisha together for the first time.
When Brandon was at Skyline High School, Billy Joel had a concert in Salt Lake City that Brandon really wanted to attend but had been unable to get tickets.
One of Brandon's good friends had been given a couple tickets to the concert by his parents on the condition that the friend take a date to the concert. So Doman couldn't use his friend's second ticket.
But his friend told Doman that his little sister had just turned 16 and her parents had said she could bring a date as well. So Brandon offered to pay his friend 16 dollars if his friend talked his sister into having Brandon be her date to the concert.
About five o'clock that night, Alisha Barker gave Brandon a call and invited him to go to the concert with her.
"She was probably a little embarrassed because her brother had talked her into it," Doman said. "But from that point on, my entire senior year of high school until I left on my mission, I dated her."
When Brandon returned from serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Bahia Blanca, Argentina, Alisha was a nursing student at the University of Utah and Brandon started school at BYU again.
"Our dating didn't really click when I first got home from my mission," Doman said. "It took us about a year before we decided to really give it a shot and see how things go and we took a couple years to get married."
When the two finally did get married, for the first time in his life Brandon had to deal with people in his family who weren't BYU fans. Quite a change considering his own family's support for the Cougars.
"Her family has been Crimson Club members at the University of Utah," Doman said. "Her dad is the first-down marker for the Rice-Eccles Stadium chain gang. Her grandparents and now her parents have been Utah fans forever."
The wedding reception for Brandon and Alisha's summer wedding in 1999 was at the University of Utah football stadium tower of Rice-Eccles Stadium, complete with an ice sculpture that had a U and a Y connected.
The two families have not made much of an issue about the rivalry since the marriage. And this year, for what Brandon believes is the first time ever, his father-in-law has become a BYU season-ticket holder.
"The rivalry has always been a joke between us but her mom and dad have been excellent," Doman said.
The support of his wife and the added responsibilities of marriage have changed the way Doman looks at football and his schooling.
"I remember being single and I didn't do very well in school," he said. "My focus was on football and girls and whatever else. Since getting married my grades have improved, my football has improved, my work out habits have improved and I have a focus for the future."
The two years Doman spent on a Church mission also changed his perspective on the importance of football to life.
"Before my mission all I cared about was football. Going on my mission gave me some insight on what life is about," Doman said. "When I'm in my everyday routine, the mission gives me some good perspective on life and how unimportant football is in the grand scheme of things."
While he maintains that outlook on life throughout the week, when game day comes, just like any great football player, football becomes everything for Doman.
That competitive fire and desire to win has always been with Doman and has led him to win on every level. As quarterback at Skyline High, Doman led his team to the state championship and Doman has continued to win since becoming the starter at BYU.
"A quarterback is successful when he gains the respect and confidence of his teammates so every time he walks into the huddle they feel like something great is going to happen," Doman said. "When that happens, teams play great and the entire team becomes better."
But all the praise that comes with being successful as a quarterback really comes not as a result of what the quarterback does, but other players making big plays, according to Doman.
"If Luke Staley has a couple touchdowns and Reno Mahe makes some big plays, everyone is going to think I'm great," Doman said. "In all reality, it's not me. It's Luke, Reno and my linemen and all the rest of the players making big plays."
As the quarterback, Doman knows his success as well as the team's success is directly related to his relationship with his offensive linemen.
"The offensive line is the heart and soul of what happens and if they don't like the quarterback then there goes your whole team."
The friendship Doman has developed with one of his past linemen reflects itself in part of his pre-game routine.
"My center in high school passed away right after our season. He suffered from spinal meningitis and died," Doman said. "I wrap a piece of tape around my belt before every game. My center was #53 and his nickname was Q so I always put 53 and a Q on my belt."
Doman's love for playing football and his intensity on game day make being on the sideline tough for him, even as the starting quarterback.
"Being on the sideline and not being in the game is terrible," Doman said. "It's the hardest thing in the world to stand there and watch your teammates that you're with all day long every day and not be out on the field competing with them. Even when I'm playing it's hard for me to sit there and watch the defense. I'm usually up yelling and chanting, trying to get the defense fired up but that's just my personality. I've got a competitive spirit."
In the final game of the 2000 season, BYU traveled up to Rice-Eccles Stadium to face rival University of Utah.
In the game, LaVell Edwards' final game of the season and Doman's second as starter, the Cougars built up a 26-10 lead going into the fourth quarter. But Doman knew the game wasn't over yet.
"I had a weird feeling the whole fourth quarter that Utah would make a comeback," Doman said. "For some reason it always seems like it has to happen like that, especially in Coach Edwards' career here."
So when the Utes rattled off 17 consecutive points in the fourth quarter to take a 27-26 lead with only 2:11 left to play, Doman was neither surprised nor nervous as he led the offense onto the field.
"I really thrive off the times when you have to score and there isn't much time on the clock," Doman said. "I didn't know what to anticipate but I looked at all the offensive linemen as we were getting ready to take the field and they were just as excited as I was. We figured we were going to win the game."
So the offense took the field and soon found themselves in a fourth-and-13 situation deep in their own territory. With good coverage on his receivers, Doman rolled out trying to find someone to throw the ball.
As he rolled he threw the ball toward the middle of the field for Jonathan Pittman, just hoping Pittman could make a play on the ball.
As Pittman came around to get the ball, he lost the defenders and found himself alone in the middle of the field and was able to make the catch.
"It was more of a desperation throw than anything," Doman said. "I was just hoping Pittman could make a play on it. When he caught that ball and our chance to win the game was suddenly revived, I figured the game was ours."
Doman led the offense down the field from that point on and scored the final touchdown of the game on a four-yard quarterback keeper.
"Those moments when you are down but you go out on the field and figure 'This game is ours!' are what football is all about," Doman said. "That's when BYU football is at its best."
Take it from the Domanator. He knows a little about football and a lot about winning.
BYU's Four Horsemen at Notre Dame
The Doman brothers from left to right: Bryce(1988-94), Cliff(1996-99), Brandon(1998-2001), and Kevin(1985-86).
Ask any Cougar fan to name the most memorable games of the '90s for BYU football and the 1994 team's 21-14 victory over Notre Dame in South Bend is likely to be one of the games mentioned.
But nobody could have realized the impact the team's victory that day would have on BYU football seven years later.
On the sideline as a Notre Dame recruit that game was a young option quarterback from Skyline High School in Salt Lake City, Utah by the name of Brandon Doman.
Doman's visit to Notre Dame played a big part in his decision to sign a letter of intent with BYU early in December of 1994.
"I went on a trip to Notre Dame, and after that trip and looking at everything that was out there, I realized BYU was where I wanted to be."
The Doman family has been heavily involved in BYU football since 1984, with four brothers spending time on the team. Since 1984 there has been a Doman on the team's roster every year with the exception of a four-year period from 1987-1990.
So it should come as no surprise that more than one Doman was in South Bend attending the game.
In fact, all four brothers were in attendance at Notre Dame Stadium for the game that day for various reasons.
Kevin, the oldest of the Doman boys, was living in New York at the time and made the trip down to South Bend to see the game.
The only Doman on the team roster that year was Bryce, who, as a senior, started the game at wide receiver for the Cougars and had two receptions for 44 yards.
The last of the four brothers was Cliff, who had recently completed a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chicago. Verl and Sue Doman, the brothers' parents had flown out to Chicago to pick Cliff up and then made the trip down to South Bend for the game.
Until he walked out on the field that day, Brandon had not seen his brother since he'd gone to Chicago as a missionary.
"I walked onto the Notre Dame sideline, with my name tag showing me as a recruit for Notre Dame," Brandon Doman said. "I looked out over the field and there was my brother, who I hadn't seen for about two years. We ran out and gave each other a hug in the middle of Notre Dame's football field."
The Domans' family history with BYU led to the end of Brandon's consideration of Notre Dame that day.
"The Notre Dame coaches knew exactly where I was from and who I was. They knew my brother was on the team. The game ended and Lou Holtz didn't even talk to me after the game," Doman said. "So I had a sour experience there and just said 'I'm not coming here.'"
The four brothers are not the only members of the family to have some involvement with BYU sports. Brandon's oldest sister Debbie is married to former Cougar quarterback Bob Jensen, who started four games in the 1987 season. Debbie and Bob now reside in Orem, Utah.
Completing the BYU athletic connection for the Doman family is Tiffany, who is married to former Cougar basketball player Alan Pollard (1985-86). Tiffany and Alan now live in Alpine, Utah.
Kevin now lives in Lindon, Utah and is a director of WOW TV. Bryce lives in Cedar Hills, Utah and is in venture with his father Verl in a business called Landecor in Provo. Cliff is currently in dental school at Lexington, Ky.