Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
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In two prior outings with Florida State, BYU has struggled with Seminole defensive speed, allowing eight sacks, two safeties and turning it over six times in losing 44-28 (1991) and 29-3 (2000).
Bronco Mendenhall talked about FSU defensive speed and a variety of other topics in last night's "Bronco Mendenhall Show," and my show recap is as follows:
: Bronco talked about the importance and difficulty of getting teams like Florida State to travel to Provo. He says if big name teams want a chance to play a quality team and a ranked opponent, then "who better" than BYU; "if they want something else, then they're probably not interested."
: the coach added that "another opportunity" to schedule a BCS conference foe happened on Wednesday, but that the team wanted a two-for-one, with Bronco re-iterating his stance that he just "wont do it any longer." He says that in terms of his scheduling philosophy, "to be safe is something I'm not interested in at the same level I was before."
: while an official at BYU told me that ticket and media credential demand for the FSU game is greater than for any other game he has worked in the last 14 years, Bronco says (not surprisingly) that he hasn't notice extra hype "any more than normal."
: Bronco says he will meet with OL Jesse Taufi on Monday to assess his academic progress. Meantime, former nose tackle Jordan Richardson is now in the two-deep as a tackle, while tight end Braden Brown is being cross-trained at tackle; in fact he says both players were at opposite ends of the line operating as tackles together in practice sessions this week.
: Bronco notes that that he will likely over-sign "by two or three more players" for the recruiting class of 2010, adding that he has "three or four commitments" for 2011.
: Mendenhall says "I don't think we'll see a faster team than the one we've already seen (Oklahoma)," but that execution, precision and collective effort are the "antidote" to Florida State's speed.
: Harvey Unga is still the #1 back, and "will get a lot of snaps" versus Florida State, based on how well his hamstring holds up. Bronco says Unga "can get to 100% of what he has been in the past and possibly even exceeding that." He cautions that it could be "mid-season" before Unga is where he hopes to be, health-wise.
: Relative to BYU's current running back rotation, Bronco says it "may be more impactful to have a fresher back than a healthy Harvey Unga getting a majority of the snaps from beginning to end." He says it wasn't a plan they were considering, but that the play of Bryan Kariya and J.J. DiLuigi has helped to alter his thinking.
: Safety Scott Johnson will be a gameday decision, as he has yet to pass his concussion protocol. Bronco says he could be held out this week or even the week after depending on the protocol assessments. He restated that Andrew Rich would likely move from Kat to Free in place of Johnson if he cannot play, with Shiloah Te'o then taking Rich's spot at Kat. Bronco says both Craig Bills and Te'o have an excellent chance to play versus FSU.
: Bronco is aware that ACC officials will be working the game, and that "through past experiences" the coaches "know what the (officials') tendencies could be," and are "prepared as much as possible to handles those."
: the coach says he is "confident" in BYU's kicking game," but has been "more confident in past years." Bronco says placekicker Mitch Payne is trustworthy and capable and "deserves a chance for (coaches) to stick with him through a struggle here or there, within reason."
: about Florida State on defense, Bronco says the defense is based on disruption, and that the 'Noles can "seldom be totally assignment-sound all the way across the board...they know what the risks are and take chances accordingly."
BYU has now won seven consecutive regular season non-conference games, since losing at Tulsa in 2007. The BYU record for consecutive regular season non-conference wins is 15, set from 1978 through 1981.
For what it's worth (and it's not worth much, I freely admit)...
By game number, Bronco's worst record is in the third game of the season. He is 1-3 in game #3, his only losing record by game number. Bronco is undefeated in the 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, and 10th game of the season. In case you're looking ahead, TCU is the 8th game of the season this year. Utah is the 12th game, where Bronco is 2-2 (loss v. Cal in '05, win at Utah in '06, win at SDSU in '07, and loss at Utah in '08). This season represents the first time Bronco's 12th game will be played at home.
With wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez out for a month with a knee injury, the Indianapolis Colts are signing former New Mexico Lobo and Philadelphia Eagle Hank Baskett. While the Colts and Peyton Manning were said to be pleased with the play of former Cougar Austin Collie and holdover Pierre Garcon during Indy's season-opening win, they need a little more proven depth at the position, and Baskett provides that. The team worked out other cast-off wideouts earlier in the week.