One of the greatest traditions this team has is to honor an individual each Thursday as the team's "Thursday's Hero." Today's heros were Zach and Brady Jensen. Zach is 10 years old and Brady is 5. Both boys battle Muscular Dystrophy. Offensive lineman Jason Speredon, who attends church with the Jensen family, introduced Zach and Brady to the team.
Coach Mendenhall also presented the two boys with a team coin and told them they were now part of the team and would be responsible for having the coin with them at all times. Coach explained to them if they were asked by one of their teammates to present the coin, they would have to do so or they would be, "in big trouble."
Coach Mendenhall explains to Zach what might happen if he is caught without his coin. He brought Michael Reed up to have him explain since he was recently caught without having his coin.
After having the rules explained, Zach and Brady were each given a team coin.
Jason Speredon presents Zach and Brady with their own team jersey.
After the presentation, each member of the team shook hands with the boys. The thing that impressed me most was that each player told each boy, "Thank you for coming today."
Thursday's are awesome because of this tradition.
BYU-TV TO BROADCAST WEEKLY PRESS CONFERENCE
We are excited to announce we have finalized an arrangement with BYU-TV to broadcast "live" our weekly football press conferences. BYU-TV's "True Blue" will produce and broadcast the program each Monday, beginning at 10 a.m. (MT). Held each week at Legends Grille, the press conference features Coach Mendenhall as well as two players. True Blue will package the press conference around highlights from the previous game, as well as a look at the Cougars’ next opponent.
We are absolutely excited about this opportunity. This will provide our program yet another presence on the national and regional scene, and will provide opportunities for the national sports networks, including ESPN, FOX, CBSC, and others to pick up and use "sound bites" from the press conference as part of their college football coverage.
The press conferences will begin on August 26; however, the first live broadcast won't be until Monday, Sept. 8 due to previously scheduled commitments. We will provide a complete schedule after all the details have been finalized.
To see if BYU-TV is available in your area, click here.
WE NOT ME
Every year there seems to be something said to a reporter that stirs up a little controversy. A few years ago, a very talented receiver came in to camp and said he expected to start. He took a little heat from his teammates, and it certainly got the attention of the media. Last year, we had some guys goofing around with a radio station and some of their comments were not received well. Managing 105 guys and what they could say to the media on any given day is something that would be very easy to lose sleep over; however, we are very, very fortunate to have 105 great guys to work with. I hardly ever worry about what will be said in the media.
Having said that, this year's early buzz involves another freshman and some comments he made to a national reporter. Like many of our local media, I have a lot of respect for this reporter's knowledge of the college sports scene and for her experience. To speak plainly and honestly, this is in no way her fault.
The fact of the matter is, this is a "program failure" as Coach Mendenhall explained. While this young man and I had previously spoken about the media and what his role might be, he simply had not been properly educated on how to handle these situations, and what the consequences might be as a result. The matter has been addressed with the team, and with the newcomers. I do not believe the player intended to offend anyone or to appear as cocky and selfish. Nevertheless, I believe he has learned an important lesson. As Coach Mendenhall said, "This program is about we, not me."
I also appreciate the local media guys for giving our young player some space. He was available for interviews following practice, but the media showed professionalism and respect for the young man by not attempting to throw salt in the wound. I know they are sometimes under pressure from editors to dig, but in this case, the way they handled the situation is greatly appreciated.
I also have to mention how outstanding our players are. Many understand the situation, and did not give it a second thought. For those who may have been at practice today, they noticed that his teammates were out there, supporting him, helping him learn plays, and encouraging him. This speaks volumes about the kind of young men we have in our program.
So, from a program standpoint ... it's over. It's been addressed, framed appropriately to the team, and now it's time to move on.
What used to be an all-day event, well a solid three to four hours anyway, has turned into a well-oiled, highly efficient event that lasts just under one hour.
For some reason, standing in front of cameras is not a favorite activity for these guys.
In year's past, the team always gathered on the very first day of fall camp, giving media an opportunity to come to the stadium, interview everyone, take tons of photos, and then we would all leave with sunburned faces and all the freshmen would have second-degree sunburns on their freshly shaved heads.
Since moving the "Photo Day" to near the end of the first week, much of the media attention has died down and it has become more of a series of photo sessions for a number of our publicity needs.
The players first sit for the team shot, then we take photos of all the returned missionaries and the Eagle Scouts. Then the different position units duke it out to go next. The quarterbacks won this year and had their group shot taken first while all the other units played rock, paper, scissors for the second spot. (Just kidding about the rock, paper, scissors thing.)
Once in the Indoor Practice Facility, the newcomers sit for their head shot in their coat and tie while everyone else goes through a series of individual shots for use by the national networks and other outlets. One of the photos we take during photo day is the TV Head Shot. This is a shot of every player on the team that we put on a CD and send to every national and regional sports network. Those who watch the games on television are familiar with these shots. These photos are used to introduce the starting lineups at the beginning of the games.
Don't forget about tomorrow's player chat. David Nixon is scheduled to join the chat at 12:45 p.m. (MT).
Here are some photos from today's practice.