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This week's edition of "BYU Football with Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall" followed a win at home against Hawaii--a game in which both sides of the ball performed well, with the offense in particular showing some life after two stagnant performances at Utah and Boise State.
Tuesday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium's President's Loge, Mendenhall was joined by senior starting right tackle Braden Brown to talk about that game and the upcoming match-up against Utah State.
You can hear the entire broadcast in "Cougar Cuts," left, or in the audio archive on the show page in the "BYU Sports Menu," lower right.
Of the win against Hawaii, Coach Mendenhall said "it couldn't have come at a better time." He continued by talking about the upcoming stretch of tough games against teams including Utah State, Notre Dame and Oregon State and called the win against Hawaii "critical" going into that stretch.
Injuries to experienced starters saw true freshmen Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams take center stage against the Warriors; Mendenhall said "Jamaal (and) Taysom both did a really nice job as freshmen. (Newcomer) Paul Lasike ran with power, which I really liked, and some changes in the interior both at center and the guard spots I think paid some dividends as well." The coach also praised the leadership and poise of Williams and Hill who combined to score three touchdowns on the ground against Hawaii.
The question on most fans' minds continues to center around the Cougars' quarterback situation. With Taysom Hill starting at quarterback last week and putting up successful numbers, combined with concerns about Riley Nelson's health, Mendenhall's decision regarding a starter remains a hot-button issue.
As of Tuesday night, Mendenhall said it "it's too early to say" who the starter will be against the Aggies, "but I think as either quarterback, they need to prepare and think that they are going to get all the reps."
Nelson did not take any snaps during Monday's practice but picked up the pace on Tuesday, splitting reps with Hill.
Mendenhall said Nelson's back injury is not the kind that would worsen if he were to play, and reiterated that Nelson has been cleared to play by medical personnel as long as he can tolerate the pain.
In terms of players taking medication, Bronco said he becomes concerned about a players mobility and decision-making "the minute they take it." He continued by saying there are sometimes up to seven players taking medication before any given game to deal with an injury. "Any time that happens, I'm worried about them all," he said. "I think it certainly does (affect their capacity)."
Reacting to a local sports blog report that Nelson would be quitting football due to his injury, Mendenhall said he did not see the article but added that "it's certainly not even close to being accurate, it's not factual and doesn't deserve to be written about and certainly shouldn't have been followed."
During the player-guest segments, Braden Brown talked about his career at BYU, which began with him playing as a tight end and fullback before making the switch to the offensive line. "It was a fun opportunity," said Brown, "and I've just tried to make the most of it."
The final segment was open for the fans to ask questions of Mendenhall. The first question presented was regarding running back Adam Hine, who had been missing games due to a quad injury; Bronco said Hine will have a test on Wednesday to see how healthy that leg is and if he is ready to get some playing time in the near future.
Oregon State comes to town during Homecoming week and BYU is scheduled to debut its all-black uniforms. Mendenhall said he does not expect the black jerseys to be an annual thing.
"Our players were really interested in doing something unique and special," said Mendenhall. "We also wanted to make a unique experience for the fans coming for a particular game this year."
While he said he expects the black uniforms to be a "one-time event" he said there is a possibility fans could see royal blue jerseys come out every now and again for "significant games".