BYU's Mendenhall examining offseason model after another lackluster September
BYU announced Wednesday that senior offensive tackle Matt Reynolds will play in the 87th East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 21 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. Kickoff is at 2 p.m. MST and the game will be televised live on the NFL Network. Reynolds joins an elite list of football greats who have played in the game, including 62 NFL Hall of Famers. Fifty-two players currently on active NFL rosters played in the game. The website Stadiumjourney.com recently posted a review of BYU's LaVell Edwards Stadium. Check that out here for an up close look at the home of the Cougars. The BYU basketball team doesn't play until Saturday, hosting Santa Clara at 6 p.m. at the Marriott Center. There's some media availability after practice this afternoon, however, so check back here tonight for an update on the hardwood Cougars. Looks like BYU coaches have been out recruiting and watching prep games the past few days. Here's a piece in the Tulsa World that notes how BYU coach Dave Rose recently attended a game in Oklahoma to watch Jakob Hartsock, the 6-foot-7 junior brother of current Cougar forward Noah Hartsock. Jakob Hartsock scored 31 points and was 4-for-5 from three-point range in the contest viewed by Rose.To BYU football fans who are troubled by the Cougars' penchant in the Bronco Mendenhall era for getting off to subpar starts seemingly every season, the coach feels your pain. I asked him what is being done to correct that in our sitdown on Wednesday. His reply: "I have thought a lot about that, because I think we have been 1-2 or 1-3 [record] almost every year," he said. "I have looked into a couple of things. It is interesting, because we play good teams in our openers, and we win. Sustaining that has been another matter. Though the first three games or four games, in most cases. Some of that has to do with who we are playing, and when. And the back-to-back nature of that. Certainly, it could be some elements in design. The last two years, it has been interesting. Two years ago, while we knew we had multiple quarterbacks that were going to play, that certainly had something to do with the start, and just when I thought that part was settled [it changed]. It certainly had something to do with this year. When you go back to Max's and John [Beck's] years, I can't say those are the only reasons, because there might have been similarities to those seasons as well. I am looking at the design through the spring, through the summer. I am talking about the time we can't have any involvement [with the players]. But I like our fall camp model. If I have missed, I might have missed on the side of staying healthy, which is a hard tradeoff to give up. But I will examine that as well and try to see if there has been any link in maybe having played the first four games. Again, the opener hasn't been an issue. It has been games 2-4, just off the top of my head."- Mendenhall's reflections from the 2011 season: "I just came back from the national coaches convention," he said. "It is a pretty unique setting. Most of the college coaches from around the country are there, and high school coaches, etc. And what was interesting was really everywhere I went, the number of people commenting on how we played was interesting. In previous years, they would comment on our bowl game, but just simply the number of games people had seen [was higher]. Specifically, they were commenting on watching four or five or six different games. And these were my peers. So when they were in the hotel rooms getting ready to play the next day, so it is either a Friday night game, or an earlier Saturday game and they were playing at night, it was really striking. I have talked about the exposure, and the benefit I thought that was, but I didn't go to the convention with that in mind. You really can't make it from one part of the lobby to the other without getting stopped many, many times. It takes like an hour to get across. Almost everyone that I would visit with would be talking about something of a specific game that they saw on ESPN, etc. That was validating, in a way. I knew more and more people were watching it, but to have the comments from my peers that they were not only watching, but were complimentary, especially talking about, the word they kept using was resiliency, and how the team kept playing in the fourth quarter, and how they played really after the Texas and Utah games. So this is coming from them. They were describing our team's progression and that had never happened before. They had seen us play at the end, but they hadn't followed us all the way along. That then opened the conversation about the changing of the quarterback, what that did for the team, consistency of the defense, the play of Cody Hoffman. So the specific nature of what were talking about was much different than what they talked about in the past. But there was a message of resiliency I guess is what I am saying in that after a pretty tough stretch kind of early in the season, and then a gaining of momentum, and then came from behind more than we have ever done in a season."