Men's Football Blog

Florida State Pregame Fireside

Sep 20, 2010 - Posted by Carey Hoki at 10:26 am | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

It was a packed stake center in Tallahassee on Friday night as the team held its traditional pregame fireside, featuring talks by sophomore running back Mike Hague, senior defensive back Brandon Bradley and head coach Bronco Mendenhall.

Mike started by retelling the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies and the covenant they made with the Lord to bury their weapons and refrain from killing. Even when they were attacked by the Lamanites, the Anti-Nephi-Lehies held true to their promise, a great sign of obedience and faith.

"There is a great power in that example," said Mike. "True discipleship requires a change of heart. Not only did they have a change of heart--they also obeyed their covenant."

While serving in the Tennessee Knoxville mission, Mike had a similar experience with one of his investigators. The investigator was a smoker, but after learning about the word of wisdom, he decided to bury his cigarettes in a 6-foot deep hole in his backyard.

A native of Tallahassee, Brandon was the second speaker of the evening. He shared several experiences that have had significant impacts on his life. He pinpointed three key areas that help develop true disciples of Christ: faith, humility and endurance.


While being recruited by Louisville in high school, Brandon was nervous to tell the coaches about his plans to serve a mission following graduation. His mother offered the advice, "You have to have faith in the Lord. He has given you the change to play college football and won't take it away if you serve him."


After returning home from his mission to Sao Paulo, Brazil, Brandon's attention returned to football. He had high hopes for his career at BYU, but those were derailed when he suffered a season-ending knee injury prior to his first fall camp. Even though he was frustrated at the time, looking back he realizes there was a different plan for him.

"Everything happens for a reason," said Brandon. "I have a great wife, daughter and education. I wouldn't change anything for those opportunities."


"Our Heavenly Father puts us through ups and downs," said Brandon. "They all have a purpose and help prepare us to be disciples of Christ."

After Brandon's talk, the congregation heard junior defensive back Travis Uale and sophomore offensive lineman Walter Kahaiali'i sing "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy".

Coach Mendenhall followed the musical number and opened his talk by sharing 2 Nephi 2:11.

"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility."

"On the verge of every great opportunity is the adversary, trying to get in the way," said Mendenhall. "We signed up for the chance to come to Earth. The greatest thing we have is agency."

2 Nephi 10:23 reads: "Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves—to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life."

Mendenhall shared one final scripture, 3 Nephi 12:16 before closing his talk.

"Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven."

Cougar Football Speaks at Two Firesides

Sep 10, 2010 - Posted by Carey Hoki at 10:47 pm | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

The BYU football team and members of the coaching staff spoke at two firesides in Colorado Springs, Colo., Friday evening.

BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall and his wife Holly spoke at the impressive chapel on the Air Force Academy campus to over 200 people, half of whom were LDS cadets. They were joined by freshman tight end Devin Mahina and sophomore offensive lineman Walter Kahaiali'i.

The fireside was conducted by Captain Zeb Beck, the Air Force Academy LDS chaplain and second cousin to Mahina. The service began with a 21-member LDS cadet choir singing "A Child's Prayer."

Mahina spoke first, focusing his words on overcoming adversity. Mahina described the challenges of his LDS mission to Madagascar, including learning Malagasy, the island nation's native language. In the end, he said, "We must not only endure, but endure well. There is a difference."

Following Mahina, Kahaiali'i played the piano while singing "O Lord, My Redeemer."

Holly Mendenhall spoke next, emphasizing to the cadets that people are always watching them because of the many things they represent. She gave one example of being with her son on vacation when a woman asked what the CTR ring on the boy's finger meant. While Sister Mendenhall admitted she was nervous, her son instantly piped up, "Choose the Right! It's for my church!"

Finishing the night was Coach Mendenhall. Mendenhall explained that motivation comes from three sources: the desire for autonomy, the desire for mastery or to be great, and for a purpose beyond self.

He went on to describe an interview with President Henry B. Eyring, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve.

"He sat with me, just the two of us, face-to-face, knee-to-knee about as close as you can be," Mendenhall said. "He didn't ask me a single thing about football; he just wanted to hear my testimony."

Mendenhall described how football is fifth on his program's list of priorities after faith, family, education and friends. Even then, he said, football success should help serve a better purpose: "If through how we play, our academics, our service people are impressed to ask 'what do they believe?' then our mission is accomplished," Mendenhall said.

At the close of his remarks, Captain Beck presented each of the participants with a special coin to remember the event. Following the closing song by the choir, a member of the group gifted an Air Force Academy hat to Coach Mendenhall.

At the regular team fireside, the first speaker was redshirt freshman tight end Richard Wilson. He opened by reading the scripture found in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

“This is in essence being a true disciple of Christ,” said Richard. “Everything we do should be surrounded by love.”

He then shared the example of discipleship found in his grandmother. Since being diagnosed with a serious medical condition, she has been called as her ward’s Relief Society president. Her love for the sisters in her ward is evident in how she serves them.

Following Richard was junior running back Bryan Kariya. He highlighted “standing in holy places” as one of the aspects of being a follower of our Savior.

Reading from Doctrine and Covenants 45:32, “But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die.”

“Out of all the darkness in the world, His followers will stand in holy places and be unyielding in doing what is right,” said Bryan. “Hopefully in our homes we are surrounded by reminders of the Gospel and those covenants we have made.”

He closed his talk by sharing a quote by President Harold B. Lee, “You cannot lift another soul until you are standing on higher ground than he is. You must be sure, if you would rescue the man, that you yourself are setting the example of what you would have him be. You cannot light a fire in another soul unless it is burning in your own soul. You teachers, the testimony that you bear, the spirit with which you teach and with which you lead, is one of the most important assets that you can have as you help to strengthen those who need so much, wherein you have so much to give. Who of us, in whatever station we may have been in, have not needed strengthening?”

Junior defensive back Travis Uale sang the song, “O Lord, My Redeemer” with junior quarterback Riley Nelson accompanying him on the piano.

Senior defensive lineman Vic So’oto followed the musical number by bearing a brief testimony. His main message to the congregation was stressing the importance of making righteous choices and making the most of your opportunities.

“There are people who came before and people who will come after you,” he said. “The only thing that matters is what you do when your name is called.”

Thursday's Hero - Paul Peterson

Sep 10, 2010 - Posted by Carey Hoki at 11:43 am | Permalink

This past June Paul was diagnosed with a very aggressive brain tumor. He has since undergone surgery to remove the tumor, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. The surgery eliminated his ability to speak, and the movement of the facial muscles on the ride side of his face.

After recently finding out the tumor had reappeared, Paul underwent a similar surgery this past Friday. The surgery did not keep him from watching the Washington game, however, as his wife threatened to turn it off several times if he didn't calm down.

A convert to the Church, Paul was baptized while attending the Air Force Academy. In 1984 he moved to Orem and has been a Cougar fan ever since. It's a family tradition to attend the BYU/Air Force game in Colorado Springs whenever possible, and this year will be no different. Paul, his children and grandchildren will be in attendance at the game on Saturday.

Washington Pregame Fireside

Sep 07, 2010 - Posted by Carey Hoki at 11:57 am | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

The Cougars kicked off the 2010 season with their first pregame fireside Friday night, prior to the Washington game. Held at the Pleasant Grove North Field Stake Center, the fireside featured talks from freshman tight end Austin Holt and sophomore offensive lineman Clayton Gruber.

Austin, who returned home from an LDS mission to St. Louis, MO two months ago, started the evening by defining the role of a true disciple of Christ. "A disciple is one who is learning to become like Christ. It involves the total transformation of a person."

Back in 2004, Austin attended one of BYU's pregame firesides and had the opportunity to hear and learn from then-freshman wide receiver Austin Collie. Collie shared his excitement and willingness to put football on hold for two years and serve the Lord. "He set a great example for me by saying that," said Holt. "If I can offer any advice, it would be to serve a mission. It saved my life and gave my life more meaning. I know it can do the same for you."

Sophomore offensive lineman Walter Kahaiali'i followed Austin's talk by performing a musical number. He played the piano while singing the Primary song, "When I Am Baptized."

Clayton was the next speaker and opened by sharing a little bit about himself and how he ended up at BYU. After high school, Clayton expressed his strong desire to serve a mission while meeting with the coach of a Division III football program. The news wasn't taken with much enthusiasm, resulting in Clayton taking a break from football for eight years before landing a spot as a walk-on on the BYU roster.

"I've learned that this team is not about winning," he said. "Being part of this team is more than that. I've learned so much."

Clayton went on to quote Elder L. Tom Perry when he said, "The word disciple comes from the Latin word meaning a learner. A disciple of Christ is one who is learning to be like Christ—learning to think, to feel, and to act like he does."

Clayton then closed by posing the question, "Do you represent the Savior in all you do?"

BYU Football with Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall

Sep 02, 2010 - Posted by Brett Pyne at 1:33 am | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

Wednesday evening "BYU Football with Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall," presented by University Parkway Ken Garff Dealers, kicked off the 2010 season on KSL Newsradio with a different look and sound compared to past seasons.

The weekly Wednesday night radio show, now known by the same name that belongs to the Sunday night coaches show on KSLTV, reflects the focus on "BYU Football" by emphasizing the importance of the team itself and the values it represents.

Now the host of both the TV and radio versions of the program, KSL's "Voice of the Cougars" Greg Wrubell introduced the revamped show that includes new features that draw greater attention to BYU Football's core pillars of "Tradition, Spirit and Honor."

Wednesday night's show on KSL Newsradio (7-8 p.m.) originated live from the centerpiece of the BYU Football program: LaVell Edwards Stadium. BYU Athletics Director Tom Holmoe and senior safety Andrew Rich were guests on the first show of the season Wednesday night. Some 50 people attended the live broadcast from the President's Loge in the stadium pressbox.

For more information about attending future shows or to listen to the audio archive of Wednesday's show, CLICK HERE.

Cougar Kickoff

Aug 17, 2010 - Posted by Brett Pyne at 9:49 pm | Permalink

Members of the BYU football team participated in the annual Cougar Kickoff event Tuesday evening at Haws Field.

Players signed autographs and met with fans during a fun-filled evening that included many other BYU teams such as women's soccer, women's volleyball, men's and women's cross country and men's and women's basketball.

People in attendance were able to not only interact and met with the players but also participate in many activities.

In addition, fans got the opportunity to hear from head football coach Bronco Mendenhall and several Cougar football players as they were interviewed by Jeff Call of the Deseret News. Members of the Deseret News sports staff interviewed players and coaches from the other BYU teams as well. KSL radio's Greg Wrubell, voice of the Cougars, emceed the event.

Date Night at LaVell Edwards Stadium

Aug 08, 2010 - Posted by Brett Pyne at 12:51 am | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

Coming from far away as Hong Kong, 120 couples joined the BYU football team on Wednesday night, Aug. 4th, to kick off the 2010 season by participating in Date Night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

The couples clinic took place in the stadium and included a catered dinner, skill instruction, locker room tours, giveaways, a question and answer session, photo opportunities with head coach Bronco Mendenhall and much more.

Greg Wrubell, the Voice of the Cougars, served as master of ceremonies. All proceeds from the event went towards the team’s Thursday’s Hero program.

Click to watch the video.

CLICK HERE to read more about the couples clinic.

Gridiron Rumble!

Jul 31, 2010 - Posted by Brett Pyne at 11:05 pm | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall and members of the Cougar coaching staff participated in the Gridiron Rumble motorcycle ride on Saturday, July 31, to benefit people with special needs.

A good turnout of riders joined the Cougars coaches on the benefit ride that started at Timpanogos Harley-Davidson in Lindon. The riders made their way to Fairview Canyon, down Skyline Drive to Huntington and on to Price before returning to Timpanogos Harley-Davidson in Lindon for some games, giveaways and a complimentary lunch.

Cosmo was also be in attendance. Proceeds from the ride go to Thursday's Heroes, an initiative of the BYU football program for people with special needs and circumstances. The Gridiron Rumble was presented by Timpanogos Harley-Davidson and The Fully Invested Foundation.

Click to watch the video.

MWC Football Media Days Kickoff 2010 Season

Jul 28, 2010 - Posted by Duff Tittle at 12:20 am | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink


The 2010 Mountain West Conference Football Media Days began Monday, July 26, with a series of meetings for the conference media relations directors and later the nine head football coaches.

Held at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, the day concluded with the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas Student-Athlete Bowling Challenge. BYU’s All-American candidate Matt Reynolds bowled a 159 to lead his team to a victory with fellow Cougar Andrew Rich adding a 137 to the team's winning effort. When asked about his winning strategy by a reporter from The MTN, Reynolds said, “bowl, just bowl, bowl, bowl.” He then added it might have something to do with the Cougar blue bowling ball he used.

Click to watch the video.


Day two of the 2010 MWC Football Media Days is in the books. To say the day was a marathon would be an understatement. Tuesday began for Andrew Rich and Reynolds at 9 a.m., with television interviews on VERSUS and concluded at 5:15 p.m., with The MTN.

In between were countless print and television interviews, mixed in with several live radio shows. Add in a lunch break around 11:30 a.m., and it was a very long day. Both BYU student-athletes got word early Tuesday morning they had been selected to the 2010 Preseason All-MWC Team, as chosen by conference media members. Both were humbled when asked about being selected.

“It’s an honor to be named to the Preseason All-MWC Team. At the same time it is preseason,” said Rich from the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas. “The award is not about the individual, but the team. It’s my teammates and the coaches that really deserve the recognition.”

“It’s always an honor to be recognized for your efforts on the field,” said Reynolds. “My focus is to perform well and help our team be successful.”

Coach Bronco Mendenhall was also busy throughout the day. Beginning with a CBS College Sports interviews at 11:30 a.m. and concluding with an interview with James Bates of The MTN about 6 p.m. Along the way Mendenhall answered questions about the upcoming season, personnel issues, recruiting, conference expansion, the BCS, scheduling, and a myriad of other topics.

“I’m a big believer in the collective. While it’s a much more compelling story to talk about the individual, that’s really not the way I operate,” said Mendenhall during a print media session. “I’m completely confident the pieces will fall into place when they are supposed to ... we have good players and we have good people, we just try to find out who (will play which roles) as quickly as we can.”


Wednesday’s activities began at 8 a.m., for Coach Mendenhall with some promos for The MTN. MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson addressed the media at 8:30 a.m., with his annual “state of the conference” address.

The rest of the morning Coach Mendenhall and the BYU student-athletes did one-on-one interviews with The MTN, CBS College Sports and A one-hour, one-on-one interview session with the print media concluded the week’s activities for Reynolds and Rich at 11:30 a.m.

Time to head back to Provo. Fall camp opens on Saturday, Aug. 7 — just 10 more days Cougar Nation. What happened to the summer?

CLICK HERE for more information about MWC Media Days

Unga Works Out for NFL Scouts

Jul 08, 2010 - Posted by Jordan Christiansen at 7:54 pm | Updated: May 2, 2011 3:35 pm | Permalink

Click to watch the video.

PROVO, Utah (July 8, 2010) - Former BYU running back Harvey Unga worked out for NFL scouts from 20 different teams on Thursday in preparation for the upcoming NFL Supplemental Draft.

Unga, BYU's all-time leading rusher in only three full years with the program, participated in regular combine drills during a personal workout for over two hours at the Student Athlete Building complex.

"I'm just looking for a shot or an open door," Unga said. "I felt good about everything and am just thankful for the guys that came out. I did all that I could."

After being measured and weighed, Unga bench pressed and tested his vertical and standing long jump. After going outside, Unga ran two 40-yard dashes, then participated in various drills testing his speed, feet and hands.

"There's been a lot of outside help. I've talked to [former Cougars] Fuhi [Vakapuna], Fahu [Tahi] and Manase [Tonga]," Unga said. "There's a lot of help especially from the Polynesian guys. We're a tight-knit group."

The NFL Supplemental Draft will be held July 15. After the order for the draft (roughly worst record first and then continuing on to the best record) is determined, each team submits to the league via email the name of the player(s) they are interested in, as well as the round of the supplemental draft they would like to choose them in. The team that submits the highest bid is awarded rights to the player. If more than one team bids a pick from the same round, the team with the highest pick in the round wins out.

If a team uses a pick in the Supplemental Draft, they must forfeit their choice in the corresponding round of the 2011 NFL Draft.