BYU's Mendenhall wants all his coaches to come back
We posted to this blog earlier today all that BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall had to say from the podium at the Armed Forces Bowl press conference this morning. And we posted video of the first three and a half minutes or so of Mendenhall's Q&A with reporters shortly after his podium session. Last year, two days after the bowl game, Mendenhall met with his offensive coaches and suggested that some of them start looking for other job opportunities. The coach told me today that he won't do that again this year. He wants every coach back, he said. "Only if others come and are looking to take coaches away from us [will there be changes]," he said. "I don't intend to change anyone on our staff in terms of releasing anybody or changing roles to any significant extent. We have had enough success, though, where it is always a risk of someone maybe growing, or having the opportunity to take on more responsibility. No one on the staff has come to me yet with those opportunities. When you win as many games as we are winning, consistently, it is usually just a matter of time." Here are a few more comments from the coach before the Cougars headed over to Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas for their walk-through: On the team's focus for the bowl game this year: "I have been pleased with it. I still believe almost all your preparation has to be done before you get to the site. No matter how much maturity you have as seniors, and as a coaching staff, there still are distractions. We practiced well, but what I learned after our first year is that if you save your preparation, or are counting on days at the site to add to your preparation, then that is a mistake. So after our first year we have chosen not to do that, and I think that's helped us." On what concerns him about Tulsa: "Man, diversity. They can score, they have a quarterback that is mobile, that can extend plays. They have won a lot of football games. They know how to win, and they are hungry. I think they would view us as one of the type of teams they have lost to, and we would probably view them similarly. They have good enough players, they have good enough coaches, they have a culture of winning, and they are consistent. Really, it is going to stress both teams, and ours especially to execute at a higher level for four quarters. We expect some back and forth along the way. We certainly don't want to give them any extra opportunities with the football. Holding on to the ball will be important." On the trophy: "It is significant. When you think about all the bowl games, there are many. You like to play in one that is unique, and so the purpose of this game is unique. Then to have a trophy that represents that? That would be a great story to tell as players come into the office, etc." On whether a bowl win is a good way to validate a successful season without a conference title to play for: "Man, it would be one of the ways. I am sure there would be different measures used by different folks, but there is something significant about 10 wins. If we aren't able to get 10 wins, I would still view it as a successful season, but falling just short of what I would have hoped for this season. So a lot rides on it. Again, it is a chance to continue to improve our program. That's why it has such value to me." On the opportunity to beat a team with a winning record: "I haven't really considered that as much. Once the schedule comes out, you just play as well as you can, never able to predict how good anyone is going to be on a given year. I think we could have beaten many teams with a winning record if we had them scheduled. So not as much focus on that as who we are playing. Not only a team with a winning record, but a really good team." On playing early: "We started a few weeks ago on that. Our practices were set to reflect this time frame. We did account for that. I still feel a little different practicing and playing that early. It is our third week now following that same schedule. I think we have addressed it as well as we can." On how significant the QB change was:Doman's "instinct was correct, in terms of how are team responded. And there were many on our team that were looking for a spark, or a continuity, or a style of play, or an approach to the game to link offense and defense together. Riley [Nelson] plays the game as a linebacker at quarterback. That sparked our team. They pulled for him. We were anxious to see, and hoped that he would get some results. And when he did, there was kinda no looking back from there." BYU has officially announced the signing of juco transfer Marques Johnson, the 6-foot-2, 305-pound defensive lineman from El Camino College in Torrance, Calif. Johnson played high school football in Los Angeles (Westchester High) and will have three years to play two at BYU. Johnson will enroll in January. He made the all-Northern Conference first-team in 2011 after totaling 41 tackles. He was also recruited by Washington State and Indiana.