Head coach Bronco Mendenhall post-practice comments

(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

The following comments are from head coach Bronco Mendenhall's post-practice press briefing.

On if the team is down after the loss at San Jose State:
No. I think they’re more determined and resolved. The time to be down was the plane ride home and yesterday. Now it’s right back to work.

On Riley Nelson’s health:
He’s hurt. Hopefully he’ll be back by the game but he got pounded against San Jose State. He took a lot of shots. He didn’t practice today. Hopefully he’ll be back by Saturday.

Is Riley Nelson’s injury similar to last years?
I’m not sure. I don’t know enough about it. It’s where the rib and cartilage meet. Really painful. I don’t know enough about the injury other than he finished the game, which after watching it, is pretty impressive.

On Cody Hoffman’s health:
He’ll be fine from what I’ve been told.

On having Riley Nelson and Cody Hoffman playing through injuries at the end of the game:
The team respects them. They gave us a great chance to win the game. Cody came in after the long drive and recovered the onside kick. Riley just scrambled all over the place and threw it to David Foote and we got close. We just didn’t protect well enough to win it.

On Brandon Ogletree’s leadership:
There is only one speed to him, that is whatever 10 is, and a little past it. He’s full-go all the time. He’s kind of mad at you most of the time too which is good.

Does Riley Nelson get too much blame for losses?
No question. The guy does everything he possibly can to help our team. Offensive execution is protection, route-running, protection by the running backs, check-down routes, etc. He’s most visible, and he’s handling that really well. One or two plays in a bunch of games, but we’re also in every game right to the very end, and Riley has given us a chance to do that.

What percentage of a chance is there Riley Nelson will play Saturday?
I don’t know enough about it. I’ll probably know more and more as the week goes. For him to be out today is pretty significant, because the guy doesn’t miss many.

When you’re so close to winning a lot of these games, what kind of changes do you make?
Intuitively and as the leader as you keep watching, hopefully as objectively as possible, you know whether they’re minor tweaks or they have to be significant. That’s hard to notice during the year. Bye-week is easy to step back. Sometimes after a couple in a row you might be able to step back but it’s hard to say. The leader has to pick and chose what he sees during the season and do the best he can.

On ESPN report of BYU rejoining the Mountain West Conference:
I don’t know anything about it. I don’t know what to tell you. There’s nothing I’d be shocked by with realignment, etc. I’m just trying to get our team ready to play.

On new playoff system as an Independent:
It’s about the same access we had before, the way I see it. We still have to be undefeated, I think, to be considered.

On Cody Hoffman almost reaching 1,000 receiving yards:
He’s gaining momentum. The last couple of games he’s emerging maybe a little bit beyond where he finished last year. It took him awhile in the midseason but I’ve liked the way he has played the last couple of games.

On New Mexico State:
They’re talented but they turn the ball over a lot. They’ve been struggling to stop the run defensively. Offensively, they have a lot of good athletes but struggle with turnovers and consistency.

On how close the staff was to turning to James Lark at any point this season:
Not really close. Not because of lack of trust. I tried to explain why Taysom Hill was the backup in terms of continuity of the system with Riley. During the last game a couple times it was maybe a breath or two away from putting James in. He’ll play and he’ll start this week at New Mexico State if Riley can’t play for any reason.

On difference of being Independent and not playing for conference championships:
That part isn’t as different, in terms of playing for conference championships, as just preparing for a lot of new and different opponents. There’s not much history. With San Jose State we had film from a year ago as we do for New Mexico State, so that helps a little bit. Some of the teams we’re playing for the first time, that’s been good and kind of refreshing.