Head coach Bronco Mendenhall speaks to the media on Monday morning at the weekly football press conference. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
The following is a partial transcript from head coach Bronco Mendenhall's weekly press conference, including comments from running back Bryan Kariya, safety Travis Uale and linebacker Jameson Frazier.
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I’m looking forward to being at home for our home opener. It’s interesting to see the Deseret Duel Banner already up. I am still getting used to the idea of Utah being the third week of the season. I expect a hard fought, physical battle and look forward to the next game in our BYU-Utah series.
Where would you rank the offensive production right now?
I don’t have a scale of any sort. I think we have good players and good ability. They’re still optimistic and working hard. I think it’s a work in progress.
Are the offensive results related to the talent of the opposition?
I’m not sure. I think we have a good program and good personnel and an exciting and challenging schedule. All the teams we play are talented and we’re one play away from being 2-0 or one point away with two hard games on the road. Part of it is who we played and where we played.
Are you on board with the offensive play calling?
I’m on board. I think I was asked about the third down and draw after the game. Sometimes the best time for a draw is when no one thinks there will be a draw. I think the biggest issue right now is we have to find a way to run the ball more effectively. I’m fairly happy with our play action and intermediate throws. Ideally we’ll get to that point as our targets emerge. You are sort of seeing Ross Apo emerge somewhat now, which I think is something Cody Hoffman did a year ago. We’ve got to get more consistently open down field for those shots to be taken. Eventually maybe 25 percent of those throws will be down field. In the Texas game a variety of pressure and a variety of looks made us a little more protection conscious, and downfield conscious
What are your feelings on the Utah Rivalry and how you want it to be more civil?
It’s hard to say. Right now I’m having a hard time getting my own mind around playing the University of Utah this week knowing that it’s so early. I would like it to be a first-class rivalry and the games already indicate that. They’ll be down to the last play and the games are very competitive. I don’t know how it will affect the surrounding fans.
What are the similarities between Utah and BYU in relation to how they are playing right now?
If you were to make an analogy right now both defenses are playing fairly solid and both offenses are working into their own identity. Not having analyzed them enough yet it appears there could be some similarities.
How will you adjust to playing Utah so early in the season?
Really we’re going to try and go back and study UCLA where Norm Chow was and get carry over plays and carry over concepts. Knowing this is the third game where there will be some things that are a little different. We’ll do our best to prepare and adjust. I’m not sure if there will be a play or two or a grouping of plays that we have to adjust on. You just do your best to predict it.
How do you feel about getting to come home after two hard road games?
I think the timing is great. I thought our responded very well to both our road challenges and competed very hard. The execution could certainly keep improving.
How do you think Jake Heaps progress has been?
I think he’s right on. Again the biggest thing that will be helpful to Jake and our offense is to come out swinging and run the ball more effectively. I think we have to develop that and maybe right now he’s carrying too much of the load.
What has Travis Uale brought to the defense?
Has the ability to put us in the right defense. With the exception of one play at Texas he’s doing that at a really high level similar to watch Scott Johnson, Kellen Fowler, and those types of player have done. It’s not that they have a dominant physical game but they put us in the right position. He’s doing that and he’s taking that role on. That’s the most critical role at this point.
What do you see from Utah’s running game?
No. 15, the running back, I was impressed with at the USC game. He runs hard and quick and can break tackles. He’s not big but he is fairly elusive and more physical than you’d expect from a player that size.
What has your involvement with changing student seating?
I certainly have influence in saying that I would love all the students to be together. I think that’s one of the neat things about college settings. I love the stadiums when the gates open early and the students have a section they are racing to get to. I like when they come early and stay late. I’m looking to promote that. I didn’t have a final decision but I was an endorser of that idea. I think it’d be one more thing to add to the experience for the students and make LaVell Edwards Stadium even more of a home field advantage for us.
Running back Bryan Kariya
What are you looking forward to this week?
It’s a great game to play. There is a lot of excitement and competitive drive in this week. As a team we’re excited to go out and play another time against another good team.
Are there different emotions for players going into this game?
I try to approach it like any other game so I don’t get swayed or messed up in my mental preparation. There is definitely a great drive to go out and win. It hurts a little more when you lost but it’s a little sweeter when you win.
Safety Travis Uale
Does the rivalry add any extra motivation to prepare?
Utah-BYU has been huge rivalry ever since I can remember with close games dictated by last-second plays. Of course it’s a big game but we prepare for it like any other game.
As a defensive player, what do you think when the offense is struggling?
We hope the best for our offense. We don’t think we’re better than the offense by any means we work together. We’ll stand by them and support them and whatever they go through. Saturday wasn’t a good day for them but we’ll stand by them through thick and thin. We are family.
Linebacker Jamison Frazier
Do you think the rivalry game is coming at the right time?
It’s another opportunity to get better and to continue on with our season. We have plenty of games left. I don’t think one loss is going to make us hang up our cleats. So I think we’re all really excited to see what we can do.