Bronco: "This Will Be a Great Football Game."



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BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall anticipates a game worthy of the national attention the BYU-TCU game is getting ahead of their Saturday showdown in Provo.

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Mendenhall met the media in his weekly press conference this morning, and said the game "should be a lot of fun." He says BYU and TCU have "earned" an appearance by the ESPN Gameday crew, similar to the way BYU and Oklahoma earned spots in the season opener at Cowboys Stadium.

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Mendenhall was asked about the fact ESPN (not a Mountain West Conference broadcast partner) is coming to Provo to cover a game that carrying league partner (Versus) will not be able to provide to DirecTV subscribers. Mendenhall says the people at ESPN are "going out of their way to find the very best way to draw attention to (the BYU-TCU game)," adding "you would think that would have been a philosophy held by others--especially our partners--and if that is not the case, then I would be alarmed and think there is something wrong."

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On the injury front, Mendenhall says he expects NT Russell Tialavea, FB Manase Tonga, LB Brandon Ogletree and S Steven Thomas to be cleared to play. He expects to know more about WR McKay Jacobson's status tomorrow. He said Jacobson is "hopeful" of playing on the weekend.

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Relative to last year's loss at TCU, Bronco speculated that his team "might have have had a false sense of security, that we were a little bit better than what we were." He said BYU came out of that game knowing the program needed to prepare better for come-from-behind scenarios.

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Mendenhall says he sent two penalty calls from the BYU-SDSU in to league offices for review; the personal foul call on Coleby Clawson, and a holding call during a BYU running play.

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Asked about the emotional component in a budding BYU-TCU rivalry, Bronco says that aspect is acknowledged, but that essentially every team in the league considers BYU a rival due to its tradition of success.

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The coach said there is still a concern that last week's flu bug could spread through the team, but that reasonable precautions are being taken to prevent any further spread.

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Considering TCU coach Gary Patterson's propensity for finding "bulletin board material" to motivate his team, Mendenhall says his general philosophy is such material "has no bearing." He says his players might occasionally post motivational clippings on the BYU bulletin board, and "if I see 'em, I'll pull 'em down."

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Mendenhall says TCU runs the football in much the same way BYU throws the football, using multiple players with multiple approaches. Last week versus CSU, 14 different players recorded rushing yards, for a total of 275 yards on the ground--no player had more than 47 net rush yards individually. Bronco says the TCU "system is designed to keep fresh bodies coming at you."

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Asked to comment on Patterson saying "it was kind of a circus listening to BYU talk" ahead of last year's BYU-TCU game, Bronco says "I don't recollect saying anything, but again I don't listen (to the media)." Of the buildup to last year's meeting, Bronco said it seemed like "just another football game against a quality opponent, is what I remember."

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Asked to compare the defensive approach his team used against Oklahoma to what the approach might be versus TCU, Bronco says TCU's less-conventional style will make BYU "pick and choose" where it might want to use a "change-up," because of the volume of different things TCU does on offense. He says OU was less diverse on offense and although the Sooners operated with a high-tempo and with excellent players, TCU has a "lot more diversity in type of things they do."

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QB Andy Dalton, DE Jerry Hughes and WR/KR/PR Jeremy Kerley were all singled out for praise and identified as players BYU has to be particularly concerned about. Bronco said he saw Kerley's punt return for touchdown in the CSU game during the flight back from San Diego.

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Mendenhall says his relationship with Patterson is "probably a little bit more than professional; there's a friendship developing there and a mutual respect, just out of the type of programs that are being run." Patterson preceded Mendenhall as defensive coordinator at New Mexico.

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A reminder that you can all of Mendenhall's comments, plus group interviews with Harvey Unga, Terrance Hooks and Brett Denney by clicking their respective audio links in the "Cougar Cuts" box to the upper right.

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In case you missed the news out of MWC headquarters:

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Max Hall (BYU), Brian Hendricks (Wyoming) and Jeremy Kerley (TCU) are Mountain West Conference Players of the Week for games through Oct. 17. Hall earns the Offensive Player of the Week honor, while Hendricks garners the Defensive Player award and Kerley receives Special Teams recognition. This marks the third player of the week honor for Hall this season (seventh career), while Kerley collects his second (both season and career). It is the first career accolade for Hendricks.

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OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

MAX HALL, BYU

Senior, Quarterback, Mesa, Ariz./Arizona State Max Hall accounted for 393 yards of offense and four touchdowns in No. 19 BYU's 38-28 win at San Diego State. Hall completed 27-of-39 attempts for a season-high 346 yards and three touchdowns through the air while adding a career-best 47 yards on 14 carries and one touchdown on the ground. The senior quarterback scored his rushing touchdown as time expired in the first half to give BYU a seven-point lead at the break. Hall connected on two touchdown passes on key third-down plays in the second half to keep the Cougars in front, helping BYU convert 15-of-21 third-down plays in the game overall. The Mesa, Ariz., native spread the ball around to nine different receivers and did not throw an interception for the second straight game.

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