Men's Football Blog

The Bronco Mendenhall Era broadcast photos

Jun 27, 2012 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 4:23 pm | Updated: June 27, 2012 4:26 pm | Permalink

Check out these photos from The Bronco Mendenhall Era broadcast.

BYU Media Day--Brandon Doman

Jun 27, 2012 - Posted by Aaron Sorenson at 4:22 pm | Updated: June 27, 2012 4:30 pm | Permalink

Continuing on with our BYU coaches and players interviews, we were able to talk to offensive coordinator and former BYU quarterback Brandon Doman. Doman said he is constantly trying to learn and improve as a young coach.

"My former offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers, Greg Knapp, he's now the ofensive coordinator for the Raiders. I loved him as a player and coach, he's been very successful and he's got a wealth of knowledge. I lean on him a lot ... I want to be mentored by the best. Sometimes you have to be a pest to get in with those guys and for them to eventually mentor you but I want to be around the very best of the best and learn from them and how they do it. I'm still a young guy, I've got a lot to learn."

He said the decision has already been made to have him calling plays from the press box as opposed to on the sidelines.

"I'm going to be in the press box, calling the game. We [the offensive coaching staff] are going to continue to improve the way we comunicate a little bit better. We have some things we need to change, develop and improve that way."

When asked how he would handle quarterback Riley Nelson or another player who may be frustrated or angry, Doman said he trusts his coaching staf to help out.

"Between Coach [Joe] DuPaix, who's played quarterback and Coach [Lance] Reynolds who has seen all the greats around here, if I need somebody to sit a guy down or calm someone down, those guys can do it."

Q&A with Michael Alisa and Eathyn Manumaleuna

Jun 27, 2012 - Posted by Mason Porter at 3:58 pm | Updated: June 27, 2012 4:09 pm | Permalink

Q: How has this offseason treated you?

Michael Alisa: I think this is the best offseason I've had in my life in terms of working out. It's been different, not just for me, but for the team as a whole. I think that's fueled me through workouts. Other than that I've been working at sports camps as a counselor. You get to stay at the dorms every night and eat at the Cannon Center for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I'm just eating like a runaway train trying to put on some weight for the season. Besides that I've just been dating around here and there. 

Q: What's the chemistry like on the team, do you have any best friends?

MA: Eathyn used to be one of my good buddies but then he got married and went MIA.

Eathyn Manumaleuna: I've got a new best friend now (laughs).

MA: But really, I don't feel like there are cliques. I feel like last year there were cliques on the team, but not this year.

EM: I feel like it's because we have more leadership on the team this year. Riley Nelson has helped a lot, he's brought a lot of leadership.

MA: Last year we had colonies, this year we have a strong central government (laughs).

Q: How does that leadership affect the team?

EM: We all love Riley Nelson. He brings a great atmosphere into the locker room. He's got great leadership qualities and we all love him. It even helps make us want to practice harder.

MA: We all come to practice excited to be with our guys and we work hard together. When you do that, it brings you closer together. So it's just a cycle.

Q: What are the biggest games on the schedule this season?

MA: Washington State is a big game. I've got my eyes on a few teams, though. Notre Dame, for one. Going into South Bend will be fun because of the atmosphere over there and it's a historic place to play. I've got some friends on that team too, so it'll be a friendly rivalry game.

Q: Do you enjoy playing on the road?

EM: I love playing on the road. When we went to Ole Miss last year, I felt like that was our home field.

MA: Texas was fun, too.

EM: I like to go to away games and try and make it our home field. It gives me a little chip on my shoulder and a little more motivation. I think it's really exciting to play on the road.

Q: What's it like to quiet a crowd on the road?

EM: It's the best. Last year, in Texas it was quiet most of the game.

MA: And you hear your own little fan section in one corner making noise, so it's fun.

Q: You lost some players from last year, how do you feel about that?

MA: We lost some guys in the O-line. Matt Reynolds and Terence Brown were really good players, but having Brock Stringham and Ryker Mathews step in ... those guys are legit. I'm just as excited about our O-line this year as I was last year. The main thing is keeping them healthy.

EM: On defense I think we only lost a few guys.

MA: Yeah, the D-line especially is going to be solid. You've got four guys who have started for three years. That's unheard of.

BYU Media Day---The Bronco Mendenhall Era

Jun 27, 2012 - Posted by Aaron Sorenson at 3:33 pm | Updated: June 27, 2012 3:41 pm | Permalink

The second live show on Media Day came right after lunch as BYUtv focused on head coach Bronco Mendenhall.

Six former BYU players--including John Beck, Curtis Brown, Vic So'oto, Max Hall, Dennis Pitta and Austin Collie--came to Provo to help host the second live program during BYU Media Day. BYUtv titled the show "The Bronco Mendenhall Era" as Mendenhall and the former players relived their favorite moments over the seven years of Mendhenhall's leadership.

Mendenhall began his career at BYU in 2003 as the defensive coordinator. After two years as the cordinator, he took over the head coaching job and is now one of the winningest coaches in the nation.

He said the winning didn't come immediately. When he began, he said he didn't know how to change things around other than working his players hard. Beck recognized and discussed Mendenhall's decision to help his team earn their postiion and really gain a desire to win and be the best they could.

Mendenhall also revered former coach LaVell Edwards by noting he thinks of Edwards, "just everyday." He asked how he could not acknowledge Edwards and all those great players who came before. Mendenhall said he sees his position as a steward of "LaVell's program."

Though the first panel of Beck, Brown and So'oto spent a lot of time joking around with each other, So'oto said his best memories of BYU came not from football but from the relationships he built during his time in Provo.

The second panel and newer generation of Hall, Collie and Pitta spent a lot of time talking about the wins against Utah and the great rivalry that has existed over the years. Pitta said the golden moment at his BYU career was in his senior year and the overtime win against Utah when Hall completed a pass to tight end Andrew George to seal the victory.

"It would be a shame to college football and to the state of Utah to get rid of the rivalry," Collie said of the recent talks of the BYU/Utah series possibly ending.

At the conclusion of the show, Mendenhall gave much of the credit to his former players who had the leadership, ability and confidence to influene an entire team. He said coaches can provide a steady influence but sometimes "you just gotta get out of their [the players'] way." He also said the four decades of success this footbal team has seen is largely due to the standard of the people who come in as players.

Getting to know Manase Tonga: Q & A

Jun 27, 2012 - Posted by Jamie Morris at 3:19 pm | Updated: June 27, 2012 3:24 pm | Permalink

Manase Tonga played running back at BYU from 2005-2009 and is currently playing for the Oakland Raiders.

Q: What have you been doing this summer?

A: I've been training this summer, trying to get my body 100 percent for training camp and to get ready for this upcoming season.

Q: How’s your life in the NFL?

A:  I can't complain. I'm grateful to have a job. I'm back in my hometown which is definitely a blessing. Like I said, I can't complain.

Q: With training camp coming up, do you get to see your family often?

A: For the first part of the summer, yes [i get to spend time with my family]. And then once we start getting into training camp and things like that, the time really gets cut down to the point where I only get to see them right before they go to bed. It's definitely hard.

Q: What’s the difference between training camp in college and the NFL?

A: Aside from everybody being freakishly athletic, it's almost the same. Basically, just like in college, we still have two-a-day practices. The only difference in the NFL is it's a month long instead of a week and a half. We're in it for the long haul and it's a longer season. For the most part, other guys' mentalities are to maintain their bodies to last throughout the season. They're very smart at how they practice.

Q: What are the main differences between college and the NFL?

A: The coaching. It is crazy. As an offensive player, we need to learn defenses. These defensive coordinators are very exotic with their looks, their packages and blitzes that they have. You have to be consistently on top of it. When it comes to game planning, you have to know their tendencies. Coaches at the next level are very exotic but they do a really good job. Offensively, the playbook is just insane, man. For instance, my rookie year, I had to kind of learn how to play football all over again. When you get to the NFL level, everyone is physically gifted. So what sets them apart is knowing their assignments, their technique, the mental part of the game. So trying to get to that level mentally in your preparation and all, is definitely very different.

Q: What do you think of BYU being independent?

A: Honestly I’m really jealous. I wish it would have been independent a long time ago just because the quality of teams that they’re playing. Me personally, I felt like my senior year was probably the funnest year because we got to play Oklahoma and we played Florida State. You know, we were playing these big name schools and now [they] get to do it on a year-to-year basis. This year [they have] a pretty tough schedule and I’m not going to lie, I’m a little jealous. I wish we would have played those kinds of teams when I was playing. I think we would have done really well. But hey, I’m just glad that BYU’s moving forward and I’m glad that the players are responding to the level of competition. They’re basically showing the world that we’re not far off and we can compete with the best of them.

Q: Anything you want to tell the fans?

A: I just want to say to the fans, keep being faithful and keep up the support. That’s what drives this whole team. We always rely on the Cougar faithful to keep us going and now that I’m a former player, I always want to come back in support and be a part of this program in any way I can. So it’s an exciting time to be a Cougar fan.

BYU Media Day--Marcus Matthews Interview

Jun 27, 2012 - Posted by Aaron Sorenson at 3:02 pm | Updated: June 27, 2012 4:06 pm | Permalink

As we continue our interviews with BYU coaches and players, BYU Athletic Communications talked to tight end Marcus Matthews about the upcoming 2012 season.

"Summer for me, I've been marreid for two months now. I went on my honeymoon to Hawaii and that's my vacation for the summer. I've been gone long enough,  now I want to be here [Provo], I want to be working out. My summer is just going to be football now. Now that school is over, I have nothing to focus on but football."

He said being married is great and he loves having someone to support him. He had this to say about meeting his wife:

"She saw me on someone's Facebook account and she thought I was cute so she added me as a friend. Once she added me, I said, 'Hey, we should hang out.' I got her number, we hung out the next day, and I've never hung out with anyone else ever since."

Matthews, an exercise science major, said he has been really focusing on improving his body to be a more effective player.

"For me personally, my goal this summer has been to gain weight and still maintain my speed and incease my strength. At the beginning of last year, I weighed 205. Right now I weigh about 235 and I'm just as fast as I was last year and I'm way stronger than I was back then. My goal is to be able to play as a more traditional tight end so I don't have to come out of the game so much due to certain packages. I don't want to limit myself and I know I can handle playing as a tight end."

I asked the junior tight end how he was able to gain all the extra weight.

"I've been working with our nutricionist for a while now. He's got me on a diet where I eat about 6,900 calories a day. I'm gaining good weight, I still have about 10 percent body fat. That's my summer, I eat all day."

We ended the conversation talking about football and what game he looks forward to the most this year.

"I'm looking forward to Washington State so we can go out there and show how dominant we can be and set the tone for the whole season. I'm really looking forward to opening the door and getting going."

Interview with Coach Nick Howell

Jun 27, 2012 - Posted by Mason Porter at 1:58 pm | Permalink

BYU secondary and special teams coach Nick Howell is entering his second year with the Cougars. After spending the offseason immersed in recruiting duties, Howell said he looks forward to a great year from his returning defensive backs.

"I think all of our players are looking to have some break-out years," he said. "Every year they just get smarter, more comfortable and just get better."

According to Howell, one player in particular, senior defensive back Preston Hadley, is prepared for a big year. "He played good for us last year, I think he had like 15 pass break-ups," Howell said.

In reference to his spring recruiting trips, Howell said they kept him busy. "In May we're never home," he said. "May is recruiting on the road for four weeks until the week after Memorial Day. Then our summer camps kick in, which is also a big recruiting tool. Recruiting never stops, there's no clock on recruiting."

Howell said June has been a month of game preparation and that next month will bring a welcome, albeit short, break for the coaches. "In July we take some time off before fall camp so we have some time with our family," he said. "Once August hits though, we're back at it."

More interview photos from Media Day

Jun 27, 2012 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 1:48 pm | Updated: June 27, 2012 1:52 pm | Permalink

Here are a few more pictures from interviews at Media Day.

Media Day-Cody Hoffman and Preston Hadley talk about football

Jun 27, 2012 - Posted by Jamie Morris at 1:40 pm | Updated: June 27, 2012 2:50 pm | Permalink

Both senior defensive back Preston Hadley and junior wide receiver Cody Hoffman grew up with a love and a desire to play football.

Hadley said he was curious about football since he was little and started playing a little bit later than most kids.

“I saw it and I liked it, so I asked my parents if I could play,” Hadley said. “Once I started playing, I was kind of good at it so I kept playing.”

Hadley said he recognizes what an opportunity he has to play college football. “I know that not a lot of people get the opportunity [to play college football] so I try not to take it for granted,” Hadley said. “It’s the best. I’m living my dream right now.”

Hoffman shared similar sentiments as he talked about his journey to becoming a college football player.

“I always watched [football] on TV and my mom would never let me play,” Hoffman said. “Finally, she let me [play] and fortunately she did or else I don’t know where I’d be right now.”

As the son of avid San Francisco 49er’s fans, Hoffman grew up watching the great Jerry Rice. He hopes he can be an inspiration to others like Jerry Rice was to him as a kid.

“It’s surreal to me just because it’s almost like a dream come true to be able to have this opportunity and to have kids look up to [me],” Hoffman said. “I know I was one of those kids and I just hope I can inspire them to chase their dreams.”

Hoffman even gave some advice to his younger fans, telling them that hard work always pays off.

“Never give up,” Hoffman said. “I came from a small town and it just shows that my hard work really set me above and gave me opportunities [to] show the world what I could do.”

Media Day interview photos

Jun 27, 2012 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 12:48 pm | Updated: June 27, 2012 12:52 pm | Permalink

Check out these photos from the interview sessions at Media Day.