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Two days after the BYU Cougars suffered a humbling 54-28 home loss to Florida State, Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall remains optimistic about what lies ahead.
"I was disappointed with our loss," said Mendenhall. "But, again, after watching film, I'm as or more optimistic than ever about our football team, about our future and about reaching our goals."
After reviewing film with defensive coordinator Jaime Hill, Coach Mendenhall counted 27 simple assignment errors.
"That's over a third of the plays where a player at the point of attack just didn't do what he was supposed to do at the same level he'd been doing it the previous two weeks," said Mendenhall. "Fundamentals and execution really changed the game and those are things that we have a chance to control. So optimism comes from things that lie within your control and now we have a chance to apply that."
The players also hope to learn from mistakes made against the Seminoles as they begin conference play Saturday.
"I think there's a new resolve," said defensive end Jan Jorgensen. "Guys don't want to experience what we just experienced for the rest of the season. We want to bounce back and learn from our mistakes."
"We were able to see that we do have weaknesses in a lot of things that we have to correct and we haven't arrived where we would like to arrive yet," said cornerback Brandon Bradley. "I think that was a learning experience and we are going to take every bit of it and use it as fuel so we can get better during the regular season.
The Cougars now move forward with a challenge coming to Provo this Saturday. The Colorado State Rams are 3-0 for the first time since 1994 when they finished 10-2 and won the WAC title. The Rams led by as much as 29 points in a 35-20 win over Nevada on Saturday.
"There's a different energy, a different confidence, and a different competitive spirit they are playing with," said Mendenhall.
The Cougars experienced the Rams resurgence first hand last season. They needed a last second touchdown by Dennis Pitta to escape Fort Collins with a 45-42 victory after a wild and wacky shootout. BYU players know they will be even better this year.
"They're feeding off the success they had last year and they've started off with a good season this year, said Bradley. "It's just another one of those games that we have to be prepared for and know that they have the capability to win."