Bronco Mendenhall show: 'Unity to define BYU's team'

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PROVO — A loud and rowdy crowd met Tuesday evening for the season's second "BYU Football with Bronco Mendenhall" show.

The crowd was unified in its cheering as Mendenhall entered the building. Equally unified were the show's attendees when wide receiver Mitch Matthews walked to the front of the room.

Unity doesn't just belong to Cougar Nation fans. According to Mendenhall, unity is what must define this year's BYU squad. Despite a 1-0 start to the season, the team has to deal with the reality that it will not have senior quarterback Taysom Hill leading this year's campaign.

Mendenhall recognizes that the absence of Hill and Jamal Williams will change the offense.

"(We) might be able to expand in some areas and taper in others," Mendenhall said. "It will take more from everyone."

Mendenhall mentioned his senior receiver Matthews as one of those who the team will expect to step up.

Matthews described the ending of last week's game as bittersweet.

"(You're) very excited, but (then) you see Taysom and you feel humbled," Matthews said "It challenges us to be focused for this next game."

The Cougars will need to be focused this next week as they square off against Boise State at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Boise State is 4-1 all time against the Cougars, including last year's spanking in a 55-30 win in Boise, Idaho.

Photo: IMG College Sports
Photo: IMG College Sports

Reflecting on last year's loss has upped the intensity level of practices for Matthews.

"We don't want to be embarrassed again," he said. "We don't forget those feelings. We want to be able to redeem ourselves."

The BYU coaching staff recognizes that one receiver cannot carry this year's team. That unified theme was evident through the distribution of BYU's passes on Saturday.

Six of BYU's receivers had at least three catches and none of them having more than five in Saturday's win against Nebraska. That sort of ball distribution was part of the game plan Mendenhall employed.

Alongside the offensive and defensive squads, the special teams will plan to fill in gaps as well. Jonny Linehan and Trevor Samson are ready to fill those gaps.

Lineham had five punts on Saturday for an average of 51 yards, including a jaw-dropping 77-yard punt. The rugby player turned punter was awarded the Firehouse Subs "Firestarter of the Game" by Mendenhall.

In addition to Linehan's incredible punting, BYU boasts another powerful leg in Trevor Samson. For his career, Samson is 80/83 on field goals and point-after attempts combined.

The special teams, receiving core and the rest of the football team will look to help freshman Tanner Mangum in his first start as the Cougars' quarterback.

Mangum, who grew up in Eagle, Idaho, is looking forward to playing against Boise State. Matthews said that when asked about playing against his former hometown team, Mangum flashed a big smile.

Just like Mangum, the rest of Cougar Nation is excited to see what Saturday's matchup brings. David Boyle is a student at Brigham Young University studying journalism. He is from Monticello, Utah, and is thrilled to be covering BYU football and basketball for fall 2015. Follow David on Twitter @dboyle119

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David Boyle


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