Weekly press briefing--Notre Dame

(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

The following comments are from head coach Bronco Mendenhall, freshman defensive back Chris Badger and senior receiver Skyler Ridley:

Head coach Bronco Mendenhall

With the Idaho State game behind us, our focus now is on Notre Dame. We spent very little time looking at the past game, just looking forward toward South Bend and looking forward to playing Notre Dame.

What’s at stake Saturday vs. Notre Dame?
I think it's just exposure. It’s another chance for a quality win on a big stage. It’s not life or death, and it’s not a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but it’s a great opportunity. We’ll do the very best we can, and I look forward to it.

What similarities or differences do you see from the team you faced last year?
They’re similar. Same quarterback, physical offensive line, skilled running back, skilled receivers and a tough defense, so very similar to last year.

What young guys who played last week were you impressed with?
Our two running backs Adam Hine and Algernon Brown I like a lot. Then Kai Nacua at safety; those would be the ones I would mention.

Is your philosophy for redshirting changing lately?
It’s been moving this way for quite some time, especially with the way missions work here at the institution. I’m also finding from the NFL personnel that actually the older players are hurts their stock, not benefits their stock. The age with maturity on missions, we’re trying to play as many as we can. I think it benefits the players, and I think it benefits our program. So there will probably be less redshirts, except for maybe on the offensive line, which is a little bit different.

What things has your team already learned from having already played in South Bend in such an iconic stadium?
I’m not sure the stadium had anything to do with it, I think it’s just a good football team that’s coached really well that beat us by three. I felt similar after our Wisconsin game. We have a great opportunity, and I need to prepare our team and they need to prepare to capitalize on it.

Having played in so many great venues over the last few years, do you think that has helped your team not have an awe factor in these big stadiums?
I hope so. It’s not as much of an awe factor for me from the first time I went to South Bend. All I can try to do is to pass on that it’s a great experience, but we are going there to play well. They can maybe look around the stadium, etc, maybe afterwards and hopefully with a positive experience.

Do you think if you win this week, the Notre Dame game will become a rivalry?
Probably not from their point. There would probably have to be a number of wins, maybe consecutive wins. Notre Dame has a lot of teams that would love to play them, and we’re fortunate to get that opportunity. We have to do our share of winning.

Freshman defensive back Chris Badger

How do you feel about going back to Notre Dame?
I’m excited—I have a lot of friends out there from football, from school, from the ward, so I’m definitely excited for the fireside on Friday night. I’m excited for Saturday. Every time I get to be out on the field is a great time for me. This week will be especially great. I’m just excited to play football.

How’s the transition been for you?
I think what’s helped most for me has been being able to live at home. I played with a lot of the people at BYU when I was in high school. Growing up here in Provo, I know what the environment is like. My classes are going well and football is going well—overall it’s been a great experience.

What are some similarities you’ve noticed in the two football programs?
Defensively, there’s a big emphasis on running to the ball and being physical. I think both BYU and Notre Dame have great defenses. Football wise, just the work mentality, both schools are hard working. A lot of the coverages are similar too.

Senior receiver Skyler Ridley

What did you as a receiving corp learn from the Idaho State game?
I think we need to be more consistent. With a team like that, who doesn’t have the same type of players or prestige of program, that we need to be able to prove, week in and week out, that we can be consistent at throwing and catching. As we watched film today, yeah we understood that Idaho State is a smaller program and they had some good players, but we need to be more consistent, especially going into a big game this week against Notre Dame. We sharpened up some things in regards to throwing and catching.

Is this a must-win game?
I think we want to win every game. For us, we don’t really have a conference. Notre Dame has beaten the Independent teams they’ve played, so if you want to call this our conference championship, that might motivate us a little bit to step up and play. I wouldn’t say this is a must-win for our program. I think we’ve proven that we can play with teams. We just need to be confident in ourselves that we can win no matter who we play.