Men's Football Blog

Media Day 2011: Bronco Mendenhall Announces Three Year Extension

Jul 12, 2011 - Posted by Taylor Wilson at 10:44 am | Permalink

During the first breakout session of the 2011 BYU football media day, head coach Bronco Mendenhall announced his intentions to lead the Cougars into independence with a three-year contract extension.

“I have extended my contract for three more years,” Mendenhall said. “I am absolutely satisfied with my job here and I have been treated more than fairly. I am very realistic and there is a lot on the line going independent, so I want to ensure that I am worthy of my position. I want to give everything I have for those three years and lead the charge through independence.”

In his six years at the helm of BYU, Mendenhall has led the Cougars to six bowl games and a 56-21 (.727) record. His winning percentage is the seventh best among current FBS head coaches with at least five years experience.

“Tom (Holmoe) wanted to announce this extension but I didn’t want it to be another story,” Mendenhall said. “I get enough attention just being the BYU football coach.”

BYU will begin its first season as an FBS Independent with an opening game at Mississippi. The schedule has been a strain to put together and the benefits of going independent are not without risks.

“I am invigorated at the chance to keep the program moving forward and I am anxious to be the coach to take this move on,” Mendenhall said. “There is a huge amount of risk in going independent but it’s also a great opportunity for the program.”

In four of his six seasons, Mendenhall has led the BYU to double-digit wins. The Cougars began 2010 with a 1-4 start before finishing 6-2 in the final eight games, including a 52-24 New Mexico Bowl victory against UTEP.

“I am hoping I am the coach that can navigate us to independence successfully but this move is way bigger than the head coach,” Mendenhall said. “This is about BYU football, which has a tradition unlike any other. I am ready to help this team prove our worth at the national level.”

Keep up with BYU football media day on byucougars.com for the remainder of the day. Online interactive chats will begin at 11:00 am MT and will continue until 12:00 pm. The Legends Show, featuring a variety of past BYU players, will begin at 1:00 pm.

Media Day 2011: Behind the Scenes in the Control Room

Jul 12, 2011 - Posted by Kyle Chilton at 10:26 am | Updated: July 12, 2011 10:32 am | Permalink

Here's a look behind the scenes at what's going on in the control room during Media Day.

Media Day 2011: Football State of the Program

Jul 12, 2011 - Posted by Whitney Weekes at 10:23 am | Updated: July 12, 2011 11:47 am | Permalink

Football State of the Program with BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe, BYUtv’s Derek Marquis, ESPN’s Dave Brown and BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall:

Benefits of BYU broadcasting

“Back in September when we had the actual announcement of independence, we said how are we going to be able to pull this off, and it’s because of this new building. We’re thrilled to bring people here and show it off.” – Marquis

“Walking through this facility I would swear I was in Bristol. This facility is so impressive, its technological capabilities, it is all the same as ESPN. It’s going to be great. One other thing is the ability for us to work closely with BYU broadcasting just to get everyone more opportunities and more exposure. This deal just opens up more doors for all sports and will help fans get more access to BYU.” - Brown

“It’s impressive and it’s unprecedented and it’s what is helping us do this.” – Mendenhall on BYUtv’s impact on going independent

“This is a great moment for us. Anyone that has watched us over the years knows how many great games BYU has given us and we’re really excited about the opportunity to partner with BYU broadcasting and to get BYU football in front of as big of an audience as we can.” – Brown

“BYU television was created with the fans in mind, getting access to as many fans as we can.” – Holmoe

Scheduling

“Our goal is to win a National Championship and to do that we know we will have to go undefeated and at some point I know we will be. With the schedule and the exposure I would say we have more to play for now. I think the tough schedule is a benefit rather than a hindrance at this point.” – Mendenhall

“People love playing BYU. The schedule moving forward will give us an opportunity to play games across the country.” – Brown

“I’m looking forward to Notre Dame, it’s a natural rivalry. It’s not regional but it’s national. I like the idea of Boise State as well. We restore an old rivalry with Hawaii also.” – Mendenhall on future rivalries

“We are in the beginning stages of the schedule. As we go on, BYU will be able to balance out the schedule. Teams from the Big East, ACC, and others will play BYU in October and November. We have such a strong partnership with BYU so we want to assist them in any way possible to get them the schedule they want.” – Brown

BYU Independence

“I am hoping I am the coach that can navigate us to independence successfully but this is way bigger than just the head coach. This is about BYU football, which has a tradition unlike any other. I am anxious to help this team prove our worth on the National level.” - Mendenhall

“The intrigue is more ‘awe’ as in – how are you going to do it? What they don’t understand is that we have our own TV network. That alone boggles their mind, and what they don’t really understand is the BYU brand. Its gone much smoother than anticipated but many still cant believe we are doing it. Awestruck and anxious is where other colleges are in terms of how they think of our independence move.” – Mendenhall on other colleges’ opinions of BYU independence

“I think the fans should know that going independent was long thought out. Looking at players that are on missions and our young players, there are some good personnel. Our team is going to be personnel wise ready for this move. He [Mendenhall] is well aware of the pressure that he is under to perform this season. He wants that and embraces that.” – Holmoe

“We want exposure. We want to give our fans access. Our fans want to see us play the best teams throughout the country. We are a national university with 390,000 living alumni. We can go to different parts of the country and wherever we go, they will come. So when we strategize about our schedule, we are going to try to travel throughout the country.” – Holmoe

Honor Code

“I think positively and it certainly does exclude those from coming that don’t want it. I only want those that do want it. No one lives in perfectly but the intention of the honor code is to help people reach their potential. They aren’t perfect and our goal is to help them grow, even when they make mistakes. We make our standards clear form the beginning. Our program is not about enticing, its about explaining what they want and if they want to play under our standards.” – Mendenhall

“It is the greatest strength I have to coach to and recruit to. To coach kids with those standards is the greatest opportunity in my life. Can you win games with these standards? We are doing it. We want more people throughout the world to see who we really are. Why move independent and stay the same? This is a defining movement in the institution's history. To not take the risk, that wouldn't be right." – Mendenhall

Partnership with ESPN

* ESPN will be available on BYU’s campus cable this coming year

* Ten games will be on ESPN this year and eight are already scheduled for next year.

“BYU will be right at the top of exposure on ESPN. This deal for BYU will put them at or near the top and will put BYU up there with the SEC guys.” – Brown

“We feel very positive about where we’re going with the WCC and how our sports, particularly basketball being on ESPN again, this will benefit our basketball team and all of our other Olympic sports.” - Holmoe

“The landscape of athletics these days is always changing and it’s nice to be able to have people at BYU and ESPN to help us.” – Holmoe

“We’ve worked closely with ESPN and it is exciting to know that we will have teams coming to BYU that haven’t been here before and even this first year we’re going places that we’ve never been before.” –Holmoe

“Our program is strong, we have a world-wide following and we’ve partnered with a world-wide partner of sports.” – Mendenhall

“Our schedule was lacking because we didn’t have BYU on.” – Brown on ESPN’s schedule

“We aren’t and won’t lose a single recruit by not being in the Mountain West Conference. Now kids around the country are seeing that we are independent like Notre dame. Then they hear that we are starting at Ole Miss and at Texas, and about our nationwide partnership with ESPN, and they realize that something is happening here. It’s not taking much for recruits, boosters to see that this isn’t a step backward, it’s a step forward.” - Mendenhall

Media Day 2011: Catching Up with Greg Wrubell and Kurt Kragthorpe

Jul 12, 2011 - Posted by Taylor Wilson at 9:14 am | Updated: July 12, 2011 10:39 am | Permalink

The 2011 BYU football media day is upon us. Months after announcing their football independence, the BYU football program is prepared for its first ever independent media day. We caught up with Greg Wrubell, the voice of the Cougars for KSL Radio, and Kurt Kragthorpe of the Salt Lake Tribune just before the first live show.

“The events today will give us as the media a chance to see where BYU is now compared with where they were when the made the independence announcement a few months ago. The media will see why this was the right move for the school and the fans will get a chance to see what they have to look forward to over the next few years,” Wrubell said.

Kragthorpe is attending his first media day. He is looking forward to find out more about BYU going forward and how prepared the team is for independence.

“I actually never attended a Mountain West Conference media day, so I am so glad BYU is hosting its own event. I hope to find out how independence is different and what will change without a conference championship on the line.”

Exposure is the key for the BYU program on this first annual media day. For national and local media alike, media day will serve as a barometer of the newest independent program in the NCAA.

“I think BYU facilities and the way everything has been presented thus far justifies the decision to go independent,” Wrubell said. “It is hard not to be encouraged about the future just based on how things have come together thus far.”

BYU football media day will begin at 9:00 am MT with the BYU Football 2011 Live Show featuring head coach Bronco Mendenhall and athletic director Tom Holmoe, among others. Stay tuned to BYUtv and byucougars.com for complete coverage of BYU football throughout the day. 

Media Day 2011: What is a Media Day?

Jul 12, 2011 - Posted by Kyle Chilton at 9:00 am | Updated: July 12, 2011 9:02 am | Permalink

On Sept. 1, 2010, BYU announced its football independence. On July 1, 2011, the Cougars officially became independent. Today, July 12, 2011, BYU is hosting its first Media Day. So what exactly is a media day?

A media day is typically an opportunity for the media to meet the coach and a few players from every school in the conference. It’s also a chance for the conference media partners to gain access to the teams and gather information so they are ready to broadcast games in the fall.

Because the Cougars are not in a conference, the athletic department and BYUtv decided to take on the challenge of throwing their own media day. While it will mirror a traditional media day, here are a few ways in which BYU’s media day will differ from a traditional conference media day.

  • More than a dozen players and several coaches will be available to the media.
  • Several former players and hall of fame coach LaVell Edwards will also be in attendance.
  • More than 50 members of the media, including local newspapers, radio stations and TV stations as well as national publications such as ESPN TV, ESPN.com, CBSSports.com and USA Today will be in attendance.
  • BYUtv will hosts two live shows and provide live content throughout the day.
  • Two of the live shows will also be available on ESPN3.com.
  • KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM will host a two-hour live show from the BYU Broadcasting Building.
  • To highlight BYU’s membership in the WCC, commissioner Jamie Zaninovich will be in attendance and available to the media.

Media Day 2011: Photos from True Blue Fall Football Preview

Jul 11, 2011 - Posted by Kyle Chilton at 10:47 pm | Updated: July 12, 2011 3:10 pm | Permalink

BYU photographers Mark Philbrick and Jaren Wilkey went behind the scenes to capture the filming of the True Blue Fall Football Preview on BYUtv.

Media Day 2011: Great Expectations for Matt Reynolds

Jul 11, 2011 - Posted by Whitney Weekes at 8:40 pm | Updated: July 12, 2011 8:07 am | Permalink

In preparation for the 2011 BYU Football Media Day, we checked in with senior offensive lineman Matt Reynolds to see what he's been up to this summer and his thoughts on media day and the upcoming season.

Reynolds, who usually takes some time off during summer, said this year has been a little different because it's his last. 

"With it being my senior season, I've really stayed home more and it's been all about football," Reynolds said. "My emotions coming into this season are just absolute excitement. We have so much to prove with Independence. And really, I have a lot to prove. There have been some high expectations set for me so that is very motivating for me. I'm really excited for this season."

Along with helping BYU prove to the country the type of program it is, Reynolds, who decided against declaring for the draft to return to BYU for his senior year, said going Independent will help him prove himself.

"One of the things I had heard back was that they hadn't really gotten to see me play against some of these teams these other guys are playing against," Reynolds said. "I feel like if you're a good player, you're a good player. I'm going to approach it the same way but I do think it'll help people be able to compare apples to apples, where they can watch me play against one guy and then watch another person play against that same guy and see the differences and similarities."

Reynolds said seeing how real his dream of playing in the NFL is, is both rewarding and motivating.

"It's rewarding to start to see your dreams come to life," Reynolds said. "To see everything you've put into this, all the hours and all the sweat, the surgeries, everything, start to pay off. But at the same time it's hugely motivating to realize that it all comes down to this year. Every game it's going to come down to every single play. It's been really motivating me."

Reynolds is looking forward to media day, especially in the new broadcast building.

"This is my first time in the building, it's pretty impressive," Reynolds said. "I was at the media day last year in Vegas so I kind of know how the system runs. I'm excited about this year because it's something new being Independent. It's a really good opportunity for everyone to get to know the players this season and know what to expect."

For all your 2011 BYU Football Media Day updates check out Football Media Day Center Tuesday. 

Media Day 2011: McKay Jacobson on Media Day

Jul 11, 2011 - Posted by Whitney Weekes at 8:16 pm | Updated: July 12, 2011 8:06 am | Permalink

Senior wide receiver McKay Jacobsen took a minute to talk media day with BYU Athletics. 

"I'm excited to be thinking about football," Jacobsen said. "Media day means one step closer to the season. I think the fans really enjoy it too."

Jacobsen, who said he was busy taking classes in the spring, just returned from a trip to Japan. After serving his mission there, he said he wanted to take his family.

Being an Independent team this year has Jacobsen even more excited about this football season.

"It's going to be fun to play different schools that we haven't played in the past and to play in different venues across the country. We have a great schedule and it's going to be a great season. I think it'll be great for BYU to get this exposure."

Check out Football Media Day Central Tuesday for more interviews with Jacobsen and BYU football players.

Media Day 2011: ESPN's Holly Rowe Back at BYU

Jul 11, 2011 - Posted by Whitney Weekes at 8:06 pm | Updated: July 12, 2011 8:04 am | Permalink

BYU Athletics spent some time with ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe Monday while she was getting ready for media day.

Rowe shared with us some highlights of her career. 

"One of the things I'm really excited about is that I do the Saturday night prime time football game on ESPN," Rowe said. "So usually we're getting one of the top one or two football games of the week for college football. We do a ton of SEC games and I can just remember some key moments at Florida or at Auburn. I got to interview Cam Newton this year and got to ride that bandwagon for a little bit. Those have been some big moments I've enjoyed being part of."

Despite moving on in her career, Rowe has a special place in her heart for BYU. 

"This was my first job," Rowe said. "I got my first start as a sideline reporter doing BYU and Air Force football games for the old Blue and White Sports Network that use to run out of BYU. It was such a great start and I am so grateful for it. I was just driving down the hill from Orem and saw the stadium and almost started to cry because there are so many great memories and I just love it here. I got this warm, special feeling when I saw the stadium. I was excited to come back here today."

Rowe was especially impressed when she saw the new home to BYUtv.

"This is my first time here in the broadcast building," Rowe said. "This is unbelievable and I'm so grateful. The foundation is really in place for BYUtv to be a success and be an Independent conference. I don't think people realize what a great foundation has been laid here and this building is a big part of that. I think it's going to be off the charts successful."

As many are, Rowe is excited for the relationship ESPN and BYU has developed. 

"When I worked here I would have to contact TV stations around the country and see if they wanted to carry BYU football games," Rowe said. "We had about 63 stations at the height that wanted BYU football and so I knew, this was 15 years ago, that there was a huge interest nationally in BYU football. To see where it's come to and see that ESPN has continued that interest. The Vice President of Programming for ESPN, Dave Brown, would call me once a month and ask me what's up at BYU. There has always been this great love, respect and interest. I think it's all following a very natural course and culminating a very neat relationship right now."

Check out Football Media Day Central Tuesday for more interviews from BYU football players, legends and many more.

Media Day 2011: Catching up with Jake Heaps

Jul 11, 2011 - Posted by Whitney Weekes at 7:41 pm | Updated: July 12, 2011 8:02 am | Permalink

While sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps was getting ready for media day, he took some time to share how his summer has been going and some things he's most excited for this football season.

Marriage

"I just got back a couple weeks ago from getting married. We just got married June 25 and it's been great. It's awesome to have the opportunity to just have someone that you can rely on and you can lean your shoulder on and vice-versa. So far it's been great and it's awesome to be able to grow and evolve with each other over time and as different situations go on. We just got back to our house and trying to get settled in so that'll be crazy and stressful but it'll be fun to get settled in."

"Her dad played strong safety here and went on to the NFL. He played with Coach Reynolds back in the 70's with the team that went to the Fiesta Bowl. It's fun to be able to talk to him and see what it was like back in the day and see what Coach Reynolds was like. They are huge BYU fans. She's one of those people that loves sports and cares about it and stays in touch with it but at the end of the day it's not her focus. As far as our relationship goes, she checks in and will see how practice is going and see what's going on and is always very supportive in whatever I need to do. After the conversation is done with how that's going though, we don't really talk about it much more. I'm pretty lucky. I've been blessed."

Work

"I'm just working right now, trying to earn some money. I'm in marketing for a mortgage company and having a good time with that. I'm more of a laid back guy and like to hang out with friends and enjoy people's company. I'd rather hang out at home then go out and do something. It's been a great summer so far."

Basketball

"Besides work, just going out playing basketball, softball, just trying to find things to do to have fun this summer. I like to think that I'm pretty good at basketball. I'm not as good as I use to be. It's always frustrating going back and not being able to do what you use to be able to do. It's always fun to be able to go up and down the court and just play with friends. I always have a good time."

Football

"There isn't one game that I could pick out that I'm most excited for. Ole Miss is going to be a good game. But then you have Texas. And then there is Utah at home for the opener. Central Florida is a great team. You just go on and on down the list. Every game is exciting and fun. Not only being Independent, but now we have these fun schedules for fans and for ourselves. It's a great opportunity for us to have this fun vibe and buzz around campus. Before, you would have a big game and then some weeks you wouldn't really feel it. Being able to be partnered with ESPN is an exciting opportunity for our fans to be really involved and have an opportunity to see us week in and week out and watch really entertaining games. We're going to have a fun, successful year on top of that which will make it great. Each game has it's own story line. It's a great opportunity to prove to the country that we're as big of a program as anybody in the country." 

"During the offseason here it's fun because you get a chance to relax and recover but you're working out and trying to get stuff done. You're trying to throw and get 7-on-7 going. Everyone is really itching to get back and get this thing going. We all want to get to fall camp. It's been fun to watch how hard these guys have been working in the off-season. I just want to skip forward to fall camp. We're excited for our development and to get the ball rolling. After fall camp, everything is a blur and next thing you know it's Sept. 3 at Ole Miss."

Check out Football Media Day Center for more interviews with Jake Heaps and others.