BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
The following is a partial transcript of BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall's weekly press conference:
Good morning. After a difficult loss on Friday night at Utah State we’re anxious and hopefully well-rested to take on our second conference opponent. It’s a great opportunity for our team to regroup, to redefine ourselves, to learn from our mistakes and some of the successes we’ve had through the first five weeks, and to improve our football team.
Would you talk about redefining yourself?
I’ve learned a lot over the past five weeks even though this is my sixth year as a coach. Adversity and challenges bring out not only the best but the worst in people and also forces you to look hard at everything you’re doing and how you’re doing it, but maybe more importantly why you’re doing it. In terms of redefining, I’ve got to be able to continue to inspire, motivate and get to our team’s heart and have them play from a place our previous teams have played from and exhibit more soul. I don’t feel I have been as successful at getting to this team’s heart and lay it out there at a high enough level not only execution-wise, but really effort-wise. I’m not saying they’re not trying, but I am saying I haven’t been able to connect at a deep enough level yet with this team.
What led to the decision to let go Jaime Hill in the middle of the season?
First of all, I appreciate what Jaime has done for our program. He came to BYU at a time when I certainly needed help managing being the head coach and the defensive coach. Jaime helped us have a lot of success over the past few years. I also know right now is a pivotal time for our program. That’s the way I’m defining it to myself and others, and quite frankly at my seat as being the head coach, I was not having enough influence, not being able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder and arm-in-arm and have the players see the work ethic and the modeling I think our team really needs. I consider my influence on the defense my strength and where I can have the most leverage and it’s where I think I can influence our program the most for the rest of the season. Underlying that, knowing there were and are core differences in leadership philosophy and those would’ve been highlighted without making the change. So, I thought it was best. I am the only one that was influenced to make the decision. No one had any say in it other than myself. I did what I thought was best for the program. It was a difficult decision.
Will this be the only coaching change this season?
I’ll evaluate everything in our program ongoing through the end of this year and at the end of every year I always have staff reviews with each coach. I also pull our program apart and reassemble to see what needs to be worked on. I’ll do that again at the end of this season.
How will this move affect your head coaching responsibilities
I’ll have to delegate more. Duane Busby, our football operations director, I trust him dearly. He’ll handle a lot more of the day-to-day administrative things. My administrative assistant, Carey Hoki, will work hand-in-hand with Duane. I’ll delegate more to Lance Reynolds, our assistant head coach. Until this [press conference], I’ve been in the defensive room all the way from six o’clock in the morning until now and intend to get back in as quick as I can. My hope is that I can continue to do the counseling part for the players. That’s what I’m most concerned about.
Why did you decide to make personnel changes it at this time?
As a leader, there are pivotal times where there become, you can call them feelings, instincts, promptings, whatever you’d like, and that’s exactly what I felt and I chose to act on it immediately. I don’t expect it to be popular with anyone other than I think I did the right thing for myself and for our program. It certainly was not easy and it doesn’t mean I don’t care for Coach Hill and his family because I do.
Once again, you’re face very experienced quarterback, can you talk about that and about facing Rocky Long on the other side?
I’m seeing quarterbacks in my sleep right now. We’ve seen some really good ones. My hope is that we can continue to improve at a higher rate and a faster rate than what I’ve seen during different points of the season. When I consider San Diego State, it looks like they’re playing with more confidence, it looks like they have a better football team and it looks like they have more belief in their systems after a year’s worth of work.
It looks more like a Rocky Long defense this year with a lot of guys flying around and getting to the ball and being in different places and alignments with a different air about them that I don’t think was in place a year ago as he was trying to get their culture changed.