A lot of talk going on in Provo this week about how BYU is preparing for Weber State, and whether the Cougars should look past the Wildcats and into next week, when they will play Utah.
Of course, any coach in his right mind would never admit to doing such a thing, even if he was.
Coach Bronco Mendenhall repeated Tuesday night pretty much the same thing he said Monday night when I asked him whether the temptation was even there to do some advance work on the Utes. This time, someone asked him about whether he's worried that the players might look ahead to the Utes.
"I am really not [worried about it]," he said. " I think human nature could lead to that if you don't keep going about your business the exact same way we always do. I hope from our staff they see that and I hope they have enough maturity where they would understand how that works. Man, we have a lot to improve on. This is just our next chance, and it is a valuable chance. I hope they are looking at it that way."
Last weekend, in a mismatch between an upper-level Football Bowl Subdivision school, Oklahoma State, and a lower-level Football Championship Subdivision school, Savannah State, OSU took an 84-0 win.
I asked Mendenhall if there could ever be any justification for beating an opponent by 84 points.
"No," he said. "I don't see any reason it should happen, and I think it could be prevented."
"I think the plays that you call and the personnel you put in the game. I mean, at what point is winning enough? That's not winning -- I am not sure what that was."
From what a couple players have said, it does sound like the Cougars are going to run pretty basic stuff on offense against Weber State and not show too much of the playbook, if they can get away with it.
"As far as the offense, we feel collectively like we have a lot to prove," quarterback Riley Nelson said Tuesday when asked about the chance of overlooking the FCS opponent. "We feel like we left a lot of points out on the field on [Thursday] and want to pick up those points on Saturday. So we are happy with our performance, but definitely saw a lot after getting our grades back that we can improve at. So we are just anxious and excited for another opportunity to get better on Saturday. There is no looking past it."
Nelson said he likes how the schedule is setting up, with a pair of home games to start the season and then the big one at Utah on Sept. 15.
"There is nothing we can do about it, so the schedule is set for the season. I don't worry about all that stuff. I look at Saturday as an opportunity to go out and execute. It doesn't matter who the opponent is. If I can know the game plan, prepare for the opponent and execute that game plan, that is going to give us a chance to win the game," he said.
If there's one BYU player who can't wait to get back out there Saturday, it is receiver Cody Hoffman, who left after the first quarter of last Thursday's game with that quad contusion.
"It is never tough to get up for a game, especially for me since I went down early last game," he said. "I want to get out there and play again. We can't take games lightly, because that is now teams get beat. So we are really focusing and taking it one game at a time."
Here's an interesting story in the Philadelphia Daily News about the Reynolds brothers, Dallas and Matt, and how they have been reunited on the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad.
More comments from Mendenhall after practice Tuesday night, in case you didn't have time to watch the video:
On Weber's praise of BYU's defense:
"I am not so concerned about what other players. I want to play good football, I want to play good defense, and I just want it to be week in and week out for the entire season.
It was a nice start, but as we all know in this profession, that goes away pretty quickly, so we are looking to built on that, and play better, and eliminate the mistakes if we can."
On playing an instate team in Weber State:
"I think I mentioned yesterday, coach [Ron] McBride was interested in playing. We just couldn't hook up for the right setup on our schedule. My brother played at Weber and played under Mike Price. It fit nicely in terms of the schedule this year, and hosting, so I can't say it is going to happen every year, but it seemed like the right thing to do."
On what he learned about Weber State from watching the Fresno State film:
"I think that they have a solid team, and they are well-coached. I really like their quarterback, I like his leadership. I like his grit. He reminds me in style of play a little bit like Riley [Nelson]. He tries to run guys over, and scrambles around, and they have a good scheme. So I was impressed.
Again, I think 24-10 midway through the fourth quarter or so. So I thought they played [Fresno State] tough."
On what the goal is this week vs. Weber State:
"Just to improve. I have told them they are not close to where they could be. They listened, and they practiced really hard today, and I want them to improve each game. Again, whether it is Washington State or Weber or whomever we play, I want them to improve, and that's their challenge this week."
On addressing the interior line play of offensive line, which was ineffective at times:
"Oh, any areas we thought could be improved, the urgency is right away. Our coaches, there wasn't a giant celebration after we won that game. We were pleased that we won the game, etc., Now it is right to areas to fix, and there are things all over the place. I mentioned five or six yesterday...."
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