Former BYU and current St. Louis Rams linebacker Bryan Kehl sat down with the BYU Athletic Communications staff to discuss the state of the BYU football program and the current NFL Lockout. Kehl, who last played for the Cougars in 2007, believes the BYU program is in good hands with Bronco Mendenhall at the helm.
"Bronco is a one of a kind guy," Kehl said. "I have said this many times in many different circumstances and my opinion hasn't changed: Bronco is the best football coach I have ever been around. He is just an all around great coach and we are just lucky he chose to coach football. I think he could have been an excellent coach in any sport because of the way he leads men. He is not a guy that loves being the center of attention but he loves coaching young men to success. As long as he continues to coach I know he will be successful."
Kehl also believes independence will help the BYU football program, although it is not the most important aspect of the upcoming season.
"There is one common denominator when it comes to being a successful football program is winning football games," Kehl said. "It really doesn't matter what conference affiliation the team is a part of. If you win 10 games, it was probably a successful season. If you win four games, it probably didn't go so great. If BYU is able to win games they will benefit from this exposure and will be able to create a new fan base. It could be great for the school and hte football program."
Currently a member of the St. Louis Rams, Kehl is awaiting an agreement between the NFL owners and the NFL Players Association.
"Life is good right now, I'm happy to be in Utah and I hope they get a deal done soon so we don't miss any regular season games," Kehl said. "It won't break my heart to miss some mini camp or training camp because I have been working hard. I could play football tomorrow if I needed to. NFL training camp really isn't fun, you can ask anyone that has been a part of it. But NFL games are fun, so I don't want to miss any of those."
In terms of the issues that are preventing the NFL from reaching an agreement, Kehl agrees with both sides on some topics.
"I agree with the owners in terms of the rookie wage scale," Kehl said. "Sam Bradford doesn't deserve $78 million dollars. He is a great player, I played with him, he won Rookie of the Year and he is an awesome guy, but that is Peyton Manning money and he just isn't Peyton Manning. They need to fix the first round of the draft and model is after the NBA with a slotted system. Other than rookies, however, I think we are all compensated fairly. The average NFL career is only three years so we have to make the most out of our time. Some fans think its billionaires vs. millionaires in this lockout, but that is not the case. I have been in the league three years and I am no millionaire. The guys that make up the core of the special teams units have to do some tough jobs and it hurts now and will probably hurt worse 10-20 years from now. I take my life in my hands every time I run down the field on a kickoff and its scary. So I think players, aside from the first round rookies, should continue to be compensated in the same way we have been."