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Men's Football Blog

Q&A with coach Nick Howell

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by Spencer Shamo at 1:42 pm | Permalink
Where have you been this summer?
“I’ve been a lot of places. All over the West, back East a couple of times and Texas. We’ve done a lot of travelling this year.”
Anything you’ve done with the family this year?
“I was able to coach my kid's baseball team, that was fun. Hope I can keep on doing that. They did well. The kids did well and won a few games.”
What do you watn the attitude of the secondary to be?
“I think we want to continue what we’ve been doing. They’re going to be really sound and play really hard. It’s going to be hard to pick us apart. I would like to increase the emphasis on turnovers. We've got to get more turnovers this year. We've got a lot of guys who like to get physical. We’ve proven over the past couple years that you’re going to get hit back there, but we’d like to turn a bunch of those into turnovers. That will be more of our mindset this year.”
Who’s the toughest coach on the defensive staff?
“Coach Tidwell, hands down, is the toughest guy.”
What is the food that you eat in those defensive staff meetings?
“Pickled and peppered spits, sunflower seeds, we’re huge on those. Coach (Tidwell) and coach Poppinga like the Coke Zeros. Coach (Kaufusi) and I are water guys. You know the traditional foods, we sit around chewing seeds and eating jerky talking about defense.”

Q&A with coach Kelly Poppinga

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by Spencer Shamo at 1:32 pm | Permalink
What bonds you as a deffensive staff?
“I think just having common goals and being trained by the same guy. Coach Mendenhall coached effort, discipline and passion. Coach Mendenhall, that’s him and it’s come down to every single one of us. All of us have those core values and what we want to teach our guys, and that’s what brings us together.”
You and Nick are not afraid to speak your mind (being the youngest defensive coaches)?
“No, even when I was a graduate assistant, coach Mendenhall didn’t treat us like graduate assistants. We were able to speak and give our opinions. You know sometimes those opinions were shot down.”
Toughest coach on the defensive staff?
“Coach Howell.”
Favorite place to play?
“That’s the University of Utah.”
Toughest coach you’ve gone against?
“That’s a good question. I would say Gary Patterson.”

Q&A with coach Jason Beck

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by Spencer Shamo at 1:27 pm | Permalink
Where are the places you like to go to with your family?
“We always go to Seven Peaks because we live close to there. A couple times a week we’ll go for an hour or two and cool off during the summer. Hiking the Y is always a popular place to go. Ruby River, I was excited to come back and go to Ruby River. That’s the place.”
Coach Atuaia listed you as the toughest offensive coach. What are your thought on that?
“He’s messing with you. I wouldn’t take that seriously.”
Who do you think the toughest coach is?
“Toughest? I don’t know, we’re all pretty dedicated to what we’re doing. I’d give it to the chief, coach Anae, he’s probably doing this the longest. O-line guys are always tough playing (the position) and coaching it.”
What are you looking forward to most?
“Really it’s just the daily challenge of pushing myself and my guys to be the best that we can. Wherever we're at, it’s getting better and better every day. Obviously when you show up on Saturdays it’s a pretty exciting opportunity to display it in front of the TV, the crowd and the fans, but it’s that daily effort to push yourselves the furthest you can.”
Do you think the fans will enjoy the new offense?
“As long as we move the ball, I think they’ll enjoy it. Now if it’s three fast plays and a punt, not very much. If we’re moving the chains and getting up and down the field, you know, it will be a lot of fun to watch because there is less time between plays.”

Q&A with coach Mark Atuaia

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by Spencer Shamo at 1:20 pm | Updated: June 26, 2013 1:22 pm | Permalink
What are your expectations going into the season?
“They’re tempered right now. I’m trying to make sure we get our guys aligned with what coach Anae and coach Mendenhall want us to do. Quite frankly, I believe we’re moving in that direction. There is always room for improvement. My expectations are we’re going to follow whatever they say.”
What is the next level for the running backs?
“Right now I think we can improve on a lot of things. We've got a lot of talented guys in our group, but if we just rest on those laurels we’re not going to go anywhere.  I think we have a lot of opportunity now to get better."
Who’s the toughest coach on the offensive staff?
“Don’t ask them (the other offensive coaches), but I’m going to say Jason Beck, how about that? Just so I make Guy Holliday, Garett Tujague and coach Anae mad. Jason Beck, the toughest dude on offense!”
What have you been doing over the summer?
“Recruiting never stops in this job, so we’ve been recruiting a lot and holding summer camps which are going on today. This job is always busy, and you’re always doing things. Different aspects of your job are done at different times of the year, so I don’t think our workload ever stops.”

Coach Robert Anae on the Offense

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by McKay Perry at 1:15 pm | Permalink
Coach Robert Anae sat down to talk with us about the new offensive philosophy: Go hard. Go fast.
The new philosophy is rooted in Anae’s experience at the Univeristy of Arizona. When Rich Rodriguez became Arizona’s head coach, the system changed.
“How you conditioned in the off season, how you approached the weight room, how you practice, how you’re graded--that all changed,” Anae said. “I thought, ‘Dang. That would fit Bronco Mendenhall’s staff,’ because that’s exactly what he’s doing on the defensive side that promotes greatness.”
The application of the offensive philosophy will require more effort on the part of the players.
“Every guy in exit interviews said, ‘We had no idea. Oh my gosh, I’ve got to approach summer with a whole new mindset or this offense will throw me in the ditch,’” Anae said.  “Every guy came out of spring with a new awareness that he’s gotta get stronger and faster. They [the players] said to every one of their position coaches, ‘I was not ready for this.’”

Coach Guy Holliday on coming to BYU

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by Sugene Lee at 1:04 pm | Permalink

Receivers coach Guy Holliday is entering his first season at BYU, with 20 years of coaching experience, and already has the heart of a Cougar.

“I’m a Cougar, and I’m not going to let you disrespect what’s happened here in the past or the future,” Holliday said of critics. “You’re not going to sit here and walk over us, and that’s the bottom line.”

As a newcomer to Provo, he is pleased with what he has seen so far.

“I’ve had a chance to work at a lot of places, but I think the main difference I’ve seen here is that, obviously you have a little more mature players and just the whole value system,” Holliday said. “Things you don’t have to worry about managing are a pleasure to be around.”

Holliday has high expectations for his players, and he will not accept anything less.

“Demand it,” Holliday said. “If they don’t do what you want, they don’t play… So you just demand it.”

Coach Steve Kaufusi on his son, Bronson, and coaching at BYU

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by Sugene Lee at 12:59 pm | Permalink

BYU defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi is entering his 11th season with the Cougars and hopes to see the best of his son, Bronson Kaufusi, this upcoming season.

“He’s excited,” Kaufusi said. “He feels like he’s in great shape, he’s stronger, he’s bigger, understands the scheme a lot better, so he’s excited to get going. He says, ‘Dad, I’m ready.’”

Bronson joined the BYU men’s basketball team during the 2012-13 season and as a result, got into better shape and can now “run like a deer.” Despite worries about injuries during the basketball season, Kaufusi allowed his son to make his own decisions.

Bronson even made a name for himself with his football nature on the basketball court and Kaufusi teased him about it as well.

“I’d tell him his job is to go in there and foul out,” Kaufusi joked. “I said, ‘Look, (Gonzaga) has a guy who’s supposed to be all that, well put him on the ground when you get a chance.’”

Aside from being excited about Bronson, Kaufusi is also grateful to be able to work at BYU with a calling as a bishop as well.

“I pinch myself everyday and ask myself, ‘Do I work here?’” Kaufusi said. “Sometimes we forget to smell the roses and look around a little bit and enjoy the blessings that we have working at a place like this.”

Coach Tujague on the offensive line

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by rwaite at 12:37 pm | Permalink
New offensive line coach Garett Tujague wants his offensive linemen to hit the ground running as the season gets started in the fall.
“They have to get in and get their feet wet,” he said. “There’s no standing on the side and watching. You can be a vicarious learner, get in the film room and do those kinds of things, but you have to get out there and do it.”
In his first year on the staff, Tujague faces the challenge of coaching a young offensive line and wants them to show him first that they are ready to fight in the trenches.
“Each one of our guys coming in has to demonstrate that they have a hard edge, that they can go out on the field and cross the line and get after it and be a nasty football player,” he said.
Tujague, who played on  BYU’s offensive line in the early 90's, knows the only way his athletes will be able to do that is by putting in extra effort.
“They can control their effort,” he said. “There are few things in life that we really have control over, and we can control our effort and we can control our attitude.”

Bronco Mendenhall talks contract extension

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by rwaite at 12:23 pm | Permalink
After it was announced by athletic director Tom Holmoe that head coach Bronco Mendenhall’s contract had been extended through the 2016 season, Mendenhall sat down with the media and discussed some of the details of his contract and his reasons for extending.
Mendenhall said the details in his contract are different than any other coach in college football.
“Normally contracts are tied to revenue, meaning how much money you make is comparable to how many wins, it’s compared against the national average, it’s compared against a top-25 ranking; but none of those things are relevant to BYU,” he said. “BYU has its own existing structure that’s different in every way when you’re negotiating contracts. Ultimately you have to have a really strong core value that BYU is different and you want to be here.”
After becoming an independent two seasons ago, the Cougars have headed what Mendenhall calls, “uncharted waters.” This season, BYU faces new challenges of a complete revamping of an offensive coaching staff and one of the most difficult schedules in the country. Mendenhall feels as he faces these challenges, he is the one to lead the team.
“I have not chosen to stay here for a conference or for money. If that would have been the case I would have left two contracts ago,” he said. “I am here because I think I am supposed to be here, and I want to be here. This decision (to extend) was just based on that. I think I’m supposed to be the one to lead the program into those uncharted waters.”

Hill, Olsen, Van Noy, Hoffman and Williams join True Blue for Media Day special

Jun 26, 2013 - Posted by Jamie Morris at 12:10 pm | Permalink

Quarterbacks Taysom Hill and Ammon Olsen first joined Dave McCann in the BYUtv studio to discuss injury reports and player outlooks. Both claim to be 100 percent for the upcoming season after receiving knee injuries during the 2012 season and offseason.
Hill feels that he needs to continue to showcase his running talents and hopes that all of the hard work in the offseason will pay off as they face Virginia in the season opener Aug. 31. Olsen credits the strength of his defense for preparing him and says the whole team is working hard to get ready for a successful season.
Both feel that Skyler Ridley and Mitch Matthews will make a big impact on the receiving end of the field and will also hand off to some stable running backs in veteran Michael Alisa and sophomore Jamaal Williams.
The BYU defense ranked in the top five in five national defensive categories at the end of the 2012 season and will look to replace a few key players this season. Defensive players Craig Bills and Bronson Kaufusi met with McCann to discuss the team defense.
Kaufusi credited basketball for keeping him in shape during the offseason, and Bills said the whole football team was excited to see him on the basketball court. In answer to a fan question, Kaufusi said that there is definitely more pressure and focus under the lights of the Marriott Center as opposed to being hidden under his helmet at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Running backs Alisa and Williams appeared next with McCann. Alisa, who is coming back from a season-ending arm injury last year, said that the experience humbled him and made him more grateful than ever to be a BYU football player.  Both guys are looking forward to a new offensive set up and a revamped offensive line.  
McCann took a break from interviewing players to discuss the team’s bowl bid for 2013 which will feature BYU vs. a Pac-12 team on Dec. 27 on ESPN in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
Pre-season All-Americans Cody Hoffman and Kyle Van Noy joined McCann to wrap up player interviews. Hoffman updated the viewers on his shoulder surgery and rehab, saying that he’s been able to recover and hopes to be at full strength before the start of the season. Hoffman is close to breaking Austin Collie’s records in career receptions, career receiving yards and career receiving touchdowns.
Van Noy will return for his senior year and knows that every opponent they face will be working hard to beat them. He says the team needs to look at the bigger picture and wake up every day with the mentality to go forward and improve.
BYU football analyst Blaine Fowler joined McCann to close out the show and look at the season prospects.
Stay tuned on BYUtv for more Media Day football shows and check the Media Day Central page for more information.