Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
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Following BYU's second straight win, head coach Bronco Mendenhall addressed the Cougars' quarterback situation and welcomed the only player that was on the team for Bronco's first season--DL Russell Tialavea--on Wednesday night during KSL Newsradio's broadcast of "BYU Football with head Coach Bronco Mendenhall" at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
You can catch the entire show in "Cougar Cuts," left, or on the show page in the BYU Sports Menu, lower right.
BYU hosts no. 10 Oregon State this Saturday, as the Beavers play in Provo for the first time since November 15, 1986. On that day, Mendenhall started at safety for OSU, and helped the visitors to a 10-7 victory.
Mendenhall has said that after being passed over by BYU in his quest for a scholarship, the main reason he chose to attend Oregon State was the fact that BYU was on the Beavers' schedule.
"After the game... I was spread-eagled on the 50-yard line for about 10 minutes just soaking it in, and then got up and basically thought, now what?"
Flashing forward, Mendenhall knows the current BYU offense needs to put more points on the board by finishing drives (BYU had scoreless series of 11, 12 and 13 plays v. Utah State), but said he saw significant progress against the Aggies. On the other side of the ball, he referred to the game as a defensive "masterpiece."
Mendenhall mentioned that his lack of confidence in the kicking game may have robbed BYU of six to nine points.
Looking ahead, Mendenhall believes Oregon State has a great defense but found many silver linings in the way the offense performed against USU.
If it seems like players are disappearing from the depth chart, it's because they are. Injuries have robbed the roster of several key players for the remainder of the season.
"(On offense) from the start of this year we've lost five players in the two deep, that's through six games. I've never been apart of anything like that," Mendenhall said.
Perhaps the most jarring injury for BYU fans was that of an offensive player who started the season third on the depth-chart: QB Taysom Hill. After speaking of Hill's "bright future," Mendenhall addressed the perplexing quarterback keeper that ended Hill's freshman season.
"Through really poor communication...an offensive signal caller going the ‘clock is running' when we want it to run, to Taysom thinking that means run the next play," he said. Once Mendenhall realized Hill was going to run a play he tried to call a timeout, but it was too late.
Although Riley Nelson may have been starting anyway, he will definitley get the green light against Oregon State. Mendenhall said, "He's still probably not quite there (100%) but from what I've seen in practice, he's close."
Coach Mendenhall had plenty of high praise for his senior defensive lineman Russell Tialavea, and in turn Tialavea praised his coach, and several of his teammates.
"I loved the people here," said Tialavea of his decision to attend BYU, starting in 2005--Mendenhall's rookie season. "My family lives in Salt Lake... and coach Mendenhall doesn't lie to you."
Speaking of his teammates he wondered aloud about fellow lineman Ziggy Ansah. "That's amazing, how can a guy that big have that much athletic ability?" He said his teammates as a whole are positive, focused and encouraging.
If you're wondering about the future of the program, during the question and answer portion of the broadcast Mendenhall rattles off the names of several he anticipates making an impact in the near future.