(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
HEAD COACH BRONCO MENDENHALL
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I was gratified with a hard-fought victory against the University of New Mexico. I think it was a very physical game and probably the most physical game we’ve played this year. It was possibly one of our best special teams performances in terms of effort. Statistics might not bear at all, but I think we made significant strides that way.
Every MWC game that we are able to gain a victory is a positive. I think the University of New Mexico was very well prepared and now as finish saying that, it feels like that game was over a month ago with all the work we’ve already done for TCU. We’re anxious to get ready to play our next opponent.
Your defensive has only allowed 17 points in the last 16 quarters, who and what can be attributed to that?
I think it is collective. It starts with the job coach Hill and our defensive staff is doing. I think they are asking the appropriate demands of each player at their position. We are not the most athletic, nor are we the biggest or fastest, but I think the scheme is designed to give them the best chance that each player is capable of. That is the beginning, but then you consider why they are here and the type of young men they are, their execution is getting better and better collectively. That is the best explanation I can give in addition to without their ability to take the football away from the opponent I don’t think the statistics would show what they are. That has been a critical piece of their success.
Two years ago when you were at TCU you had a lot of fans. TCU head coach Gary Patterson is calling for a lot of his fans down there, are you calling out the fans?
I’m not going to call them out, but I believe that we’ll be well represented. When traveling we’re represented better than anyone that there is. What is really helping is the firesides we do before the game. As those continue to generate interest and momentum, the church membership in the area in general then makes it a weekend and stays for the game. It has been really helpful.
You talk about TCU and its strengths, how did TCU get to be one of the elite conference teams?
I think the history would go back to when they hired Dennis Franchione, a proven winning coach who has very high demands and asks a lot from coaches and players. I think he started the tradition and the Gary Patterson, who had been with Franchione, and who took over already knowing their personnel, already knowing the Dallas-Fort Worth area and having a defensive system and offensive system in place and you retain some of the coaches that already had those successes going, you maintain at least some control over it. Then they have emphasized a very strong recruiting effort in an area that has a lot of good football and players, so Texas itself is a strong recruiting base. So when you add proven schemes with excellent coaching and good talent that is how they got to where they are.
You are facing a very tough, fast defense in TCU, what are the keys for your offense?
It’s got to be our execution versus their athleticism. They have great recovery speed; they are toward the top of the country in every statistical category. When you play a team that out matches you physically, you’re identity and execution has to counteract their athleticism, so our execution is the answer.
Can you talk about Austin Collie?
He is such a dynamic player with such a strong personality. The concern now is that we don’t focus too much on getting the ball to him. It actually becomes easier to defend when any one given player is having statistical greatness. There is a unique interplay here between continuing his statistical influence and helping us win, but also not becoming predictable that in all the critical situations our points come from that spot. We have to do a little bit better job to make sure we are distributing the ball effectively, even though he his having such a fun stretch here.
SOPHOMORE QUARTERBACK MAX HALL
On Paper TCU leads the nation in defense, do you feel like you have to prove yourself against them?
I love it. It’s a challenge. They are a very good football team and a conference team and we’ve got to play. I’m not out to prove anything I just want to win the game. We’ve just got to be efficient, I can’t turn it over. We’ve just got to play our game. As you saw with a couple of drives with New Mexico if we drive and take what they will give us, we’re hard to stop.
Through six games what kind of grade would you give your offense?
I think we are right where we need to be. Are we playing the best we can right now? No. There are a lot of things we can do to improve our play. I think we came out against UCLA and had a big-time game, but we can’t do that every week. We’ve got to be more persistent. Our offense is fine, after going back and watching the film we played better than what I thought. A lot of time during our drive we were playing well and then we were hurt by a penalty. We found ourselves at third and long and that is not who we are.
How much of the offense have you guys shown, have we seen the whole playbook?
I think we have done a good job getting the plays we’ve needed to against the opponents. The good thing about us is that we’re not the same every week. A lot of our offense is the same but we find different ways to do it and different ways to mix it up. I think the coaches have done a nice job of getting creative with different motions and different looks. There is still a lot of stuff that we have that we can still use.
There is a lot of talk about this game, is there more pressure, does it feel like a big-time game?
It does. I think we know they are a tough team; it’s a conference game. They are a very good football team. There is excitement in the air and we are excited to go to Texas and play on Thursday night. That is why you play college football, to play teams like TCU. You go into their place, in a hostile environment, to battle scratch and claw, and hopefully come out with a win.