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Bronco: 'If we don't respond, it certainly could set us back'

Bronco: 'If we don't respond, it certainly could set us back'



Estimated read time: 5-6 minutes

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Coming off a 54-10 Saturday setback to Utah, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall used his weekly press conference to assess the aftermath of the worst loss in his head coaching tenure.

"The more wins we can get the better, in year one of independence," said Mendenhall, "but as we already can see, it's not going to be easy."

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Mendenhall was asked if a loss like the one to Utah is "worse" because it was seen on an ESPN platform, and the coach said that "I bet it is, because more people saw it."

"It wasn't really indicative of two teams playing at their highest level. Take nothing away from Utah; they played a very good game. We were mistake-laden and had a lot of miscues, but a lot of people saw that and it might have damaged our credibility."

"That takes time then to rebuild."

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The coach addressed the loss to Utah in light of independence and the pressure on his program to perform at its best, given the brighter national spotlight.

"If we don't respond, it certainly could set us back. If we able to respond, and finish with a strong season...is (winning) seven games a strong enough season, is eight games a strong enough season, is nine games a strong enough season, or is ten? The number as it goes up, increases your chances."

"That really in the broader perspective is something that I have have to acknowledge, and then put all the rest of my time into helping us prepare at as high a level as possible for Central Florida."

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With the Knights next on the agenda, Mendenhall said he is "looking forward to improving our football team with a stronger showing than we had the other night."

"Looking forward to executing at a higher level, protecting the football at a higher level, and I think those two things in general will make a difference."

Mendenhall said Central Florida "is certainly a capable team, and another difficult test."

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Asked if a review of the game confirmed his belief that BYU competed until the end of the game, Mendenhall said "it really did."

"It was actually one of our stronger defensive performances in a lot of critical situations. We had two plays that were poorly fit against what we call 'run fits,' at the end of the game. The timing of the game and when they happened, that was the problem."

"In terms of eight or nine players chasing the guy down as hard as they could go, they played the same. They just didn't execute very well on those plays."

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Mendenhall responded to an inquiry about the changes made to his offensive staff and the lack of anticipated results to this point, and he said "the day-to-day functioning of the organization, and the way the players are responding and the way they're being treated, and the way they're being coached--all of that I'm comfortable with."

"At some point that's going to show on game day; I'm convinced of that. It's certainly taking longer than the fans would like, but I'm confident and positive that it's going to happen. I like the decision (to re-structure the offensive staff); results forthcoming."

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More Mendenhall--

On offensive coordinator Brandon Doman coaching from the field:

"I don't intend to change it. Brandon will be given the choice to (coach) wherever he feels most comfortable...that's not a decision I would like imposed on him, as I wouldn't want it imposed on myself. With his personality and with his strengths, I'm comfortable with where he is, at the moment."

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On if he's concerned about the possibility of BYU being left out of any 'superconference' realignment:

"I think the program is too strong with too much tradition and having won too many games recently to be left out."

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On whether more of his assistants might have been in the office on Sunday, "trying to look for ideas to change things around," as was suggested by the questioner:

"I hope none of them were here. Sunday is not a day that I want them here, nor is it a day that I believe they should be here...Monday mornings we start our staff meetings at 6:00; the coaches are here before then."

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On his approach with the team in preventing a "hangover" effect versus Central Florida:

"My personality isn't one that yells a lot or berates a lot; my personality is much more one of teaching. When I see them today, I'll show them the things that clearly could be corrected, that are in our control, ask for them to make sure they put emphasis on those things and look forward to applying those things against our next opponent. Hopefully that leads to a cleaner game and a higher quality of play."

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On the possibility of over-reacting to the Utah loss:

"There's no one who's more urgent or wants the team to perform at a higher level than I do, and our coaching staff. When we learn to secure the football at a higher level, when we add some running game that can balance the passing game with it, and then play a full four quarters of dominant defense, that's sequentially what will happen. When this team reaches its potential, that's what you'll see."

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On concern with the BYU rushing attack (ranked 118th nationally):

"Eventually you'd like to see the result, either statistically or even signs of it that says 'we're making progress.' Haven't seen enough yet to say that we're making progress, in relation to the emphasis."

"The design has to be looked at first and foremost--what runs are we doing and with whom are we doing them, and then in what situations...we haven't seen yet what the run game should look like in relation to our offense, and that's going to have to happen soon."

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On his team's struggles to play a complete game:

"Our preparation hasn't reached the level to equal consistency yet, for four quarters. As we continue to coach even harder, with more diligence and even adding more volume, and making sure that can translate over longer periods of time in the game, eventually that will show."

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Greg Wrubell

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