(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
The following comments are from BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall's post-practice press briefing.
On how the players might respond to coming off an early start to the season with a Thursday night game
How well they practice this week will determine how mature they are. To have a nice win and a couple of days off all at the same time at the beginning of the year, I hope they take it right in terms of using it for recovery and using it to refocus, etc. I don’t see any signs it would be the other way but it is kind of a unique challenge early on.
On the personal fouls and penalties against Washington State
I talked to them but didn’t see them. That doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. But I’ve looked and I would rather tone them back than go the other way. I don’t really see it all as being completely negative. I didn’t see them on film. It doesn’t mean they weren’t there but I looked. If they are over aggressive to begin with I’ll take that as a good sign and we will just kind of ease them back as we go.
On Cody Hoffman’s injury
Yeah he’ll be great by Saturday. Man, those deep quad contusions or bruises; it hurts mostly when he slows or kind of slows down right now but I think he’ll be fine by Saturday.
On Weber State
I really like their quarterback. He’s gritty and tough and he’s a good scrambler. They have quarterback runs in their system. He’s tough; I like him. They played Fresno State 24-10 in a pretty tight game through about half way through the fourth quarter. The final score wasn’t really indicative (37-10). But I think they are coached well and I like a lot of things they do.
Any temptation to look beyond an FCS opponent?
No. There are so many lessons having played Northern Iowa, Eastern Washington. My wife is fan of college football now so she was watching the games. Northern Iowa played Wisconsin close. Man, any given week and again our approach isn’t about who we are playing. We have so much we can improve on, etc. I sure hope there is no thought that way. There certainly isn’t on my part.
Things to improve on this week
Team wise we can clean up some special teams a little bit. We had a long kick return against us. We need to fit our lanes a little bit better. Our punt protection on one particular punt could have been shored up. PAT and field goal protection, even though none were blocked, I thought that could have been improved. Blue zone scoring offensively, in terms of scoring touchdowns rather than field goals could be improved. We missed a field goal and then a couple of times defensively our guys didn’t plaster or didn’t stay on their receivers well enough as the quarterback had extra time to scrambling around and gave up a couple of longer throws that way. Those are just some random things that came to mind.
How did Blair Tushaus at center grade out?
He did a really nice job in terms of directing the calls and protection and delivering the ball to the quarterback. Now the mastery and the physical play of then executing the job once he has directed all of the traffic because there is so much for the center to do. You have to direct and make all the calls, deliver the ball and then you have to actually do your job. Assignment sound, the mastery of doing the assignment, is the next step.
Mike Leach’s comments about Riley Nelson basically hurting WSU with his leadership?
That’s a really, really perceptive comment. At halftime I went to Riley and I just said I love your leadership. It just comes out of him, it’s like dripping out of him. Man, he is a special, special young man.
On Joe Sampson’s play
Joe did a really nice job. He was not only really productive but he was really assignment sound in directing our defense. He’s on at least two of our special teams as a starter. That’s a huge difference on our team; the starting players are begging to be on and run down on extra plays. That’s a really good sign.