(Photo by BYU Photo)
The following comments are from head coach Bronco Mendenhall's Tuesday post-practice press briefing; including comments from sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill and senior linebacker Kyle Van Noy.
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall:
In regards to Notre Dame, I thought the team tried hard and fell short through execution, critical moments, through critical plays, a slow start defensively and the blocked kick there at the end. A disappointing loss where we didn’t make a couple of plays that we needed to make. Now looking forward to gaining momentum and seeing how well our team can play and how much improvement our team can make in a short amount of time. We have two games left and I am anxious to play really well this week and continue to make it a favorable experience for our seniors and do whatever we can to make that happen.
Is there a way to take advantage of all the attention Taysom is receiving on offense?
I think what you saw happen when we run the ball physically is over five yards per carry. The next step is translating all the rushing yards into blue zone scores, not just blue zone appearances but blue zone scores. So the teams that want to focus on Taysom or play max coverage and take away Cody as much as possible, it is at their own peril in terms of it going up and down the field. Then if there is three, four or five blue zone appearances; they need to be translated into points. So I wasn’t disappointed with how the ball moves, its just finishing the drives.
On Kyle going back home to Reno:
I’m not really focusing on Kyle going back. We’ve played Reno one time since I have been the coach. Chris Halt was the head coach and they came in with (Colin) Kaepernick and they came in and beat us. I don’t remember much of the game other than their quarterback. I remember that feeling and so I haven’t thought much about Kyle but I’m sure he can talk a lot about going back. Their offense is very, very similar to ours. The styles and the mobile quarterback, the running game, some big receivers out on the outside and so it will be a pretty unique matchup.
On the biggest change in Kyle since coming here:
I would say life experience and maturity. There is no way to describe other than maybe a BYU quarterback and I’m not even sure that would be the case in recent years. Kyle has probably had more attention and more praise and more spotlight than any other player, I can’t say in BYU history but he would have to be top five. He is featured on billboards, on magazines and in books etc. So if you think about that for a young person or any person and then to stay grounded, stable, consistent and continue to learn and grow and be teachable along the way; it’s quite a challenge. He’s had to do all that besides just being a BYU student.
Sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill:
Thoughts on the game Saturday at Notre Dame?
Our goal going into the game was to win and what it came down to was they made a few more plays than we did. It’s unfortunate but there are a lot of good things we can learn from it.
What were you most impressed with (from BYU) in the Notre Dame game?
The thing I was most impressed with was how we were able to run the ball. They were really big and they are some the biggest and best defensive linemen that we have gone against. So for us to run the ball the way that we did, I was impressed with that.
What is the team expecting going to Reno for the last regular-season game?
It’s the last game of the season. We know that they aren’t eligible for a bowl game so for their seniors, this will be the last game that they will be able to play and we expect them to come out and play hard. Defensively they are good; their defensive ends are fast and physical and they like to switch things up and give a lot of different looks. We expect them to come out and play really hard.
How do you feel your health is?
There are some bumps and bruises but there is nothing crazy. There is nothing that you wouldn’t expect after playing 11 games so far. I’m happy with the way that I feel and we’ll go into the Nevada game healthy and ready to go.
Are there any areas that the offense wants to focus on and improve?
Yeah, you know if our blue zone offense was better on Saturday, than we would have had a really good chance of winning that game. So right now, an emphasis for me and for the offense is our blue zone offense.
Senior linebacker Kyle Van Noy:
On going to play in his hometown of Reno:
I’m excited to be back at home, I don’t get to go there very often. It will be exciting to be home and having the opportunity to play football again, and to be able to do it in front of your family that can’t make it to many games for a variety of reasons, it’s going to be fun to have everyone there and to be with the family on Thanksgiving weekend. So I’m pretty excited about it.
What are you looking forward to most?
The thing that I am looking forward to most is seeing my family. I don’t get to see them very much and I’m looking forward to spending a little time with them.
What would it mean personally to have a big game in Reno?
It would mean a lot for me to have a big game back home in Reno because of all the hard work and time that I have put in since I have been there. To have a chance to have a big game in front of friends and family would be awesome.
What to expect out of the team this week:
I think you will see a different defense and offense this weekend against Nevada. We’re going to have more fun. I think guys on the team have been too uptight and I think we’re going to have more fun and play with more enthusiasm on defense and I am excited for it.
What does the defense expect to see out of Nevada?
They have a good offensive scheme, similar to the offense we run. They have a lot of confusion, a lot of motion, some tight end peels and they get their playmakers in space. Their quarterback is pretty athletic. They can put up points and they can put them up in a hurry so it’s going to be a good game and we have a good game plan for them.