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Jay Drew
Jay covers BYU athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow him on Twitter @drewjay.

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Bronco's other comments at BYU photo day (non-jersey edition)

So, what else did BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall have to say today?

By now, you've probably read about the tempest that arose when BYU players showed up for photo day today wearing jerseys with the words "Spirit" and "Tradition" and "Honor" on the back.

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Here's my recap in The Salt Lake Tribune on a wild five hours.

Frankly, I am surprised that Bronco gave in to the wishes of his players in a team meeting. When he talked to reporters around 3 p.m. at the indoor practice facility, he seemed very adamant that he loved the idea of wearing the jerseys with the values, or pillars (as he calls them), of the program on the nameplates for the entire season.

The media was not allowed to watch any portions of practice this morning -- BYU's first of fall camp in full pads -- so our chat with Mendenhall during photo day was it, as far as access to the coach was concerned.

"It was good," Mendenhall said of the morning workout. "Our practice last night was really good. It was very physical, very competitive, and I would say each day it kinda shifts one way or the other as to if you had to name a winner or a loser, and it kinda shifted back defensively today with the same kind of physicality that was demonstrated yesterday."

So the defense responded, just as safety Daniel Sorensen said it would, after getting ripped pretty good Wednesday night with three long touchdown drives in the space of about 13 minutes of real time.

Here are a few more comments from Mendenhall this afternoon:

On the new offensive coaching staff and whether it can tap into Ross Apo's potential:

"Ross Apo, number one, his personal choice to be absolutely committed from spring practice through the summer, through fall camp, has helped his play probably more than the new staff, and the new system.

He has just grown up and he has matured, and he has played, to this point this spring, and fall, the way that I believe he was capable of. It has been really fun to see. He is making laying out catches, he is making tough catches. He is in great condition. I think coach Holliday has helped bring that out in him.

I think coach Anae has in terms of toughness. But the players can't survive unless they are fiercely conditioned, and he has done that as well. So he is thriving right now."

On whether Apo and Cody Hoffman can put pressure on defenses:

"I think they are just two of them. We got a lot of good wide receivers. Mitch Mathews is doing a really nice job. As you already mentioned, Cody Hoffman. Skyler Ridley is doing a nice job. Eric Thornton is doing a nice job.

JD Falslev is really having a nice camp. I feel pretty comfortable with that position right now."

On Kyle Van Noy getting another honor, first-team All-America by Sports Illustrated:

"It is great for the program, and it is great for Kyle, and it is well-deserved and well-earned. ... It is kind of becoming like, 'that is just the next one.' Maybe he is really understanding the significance of it now. I am more focused on what is our next meeting like at 4 o clock. Maybe I will be able to ponder it and think about the real significance of it maybe after the year. But he has earned through his play the accolades he is getting.

It is great for our program, and it is great for him, and I am lucky he is here....Kyle can play with anyone in the country, at any position, in any league."

On whether Van Noy has exceeded Bronco's expectations:

"No. I would say he has yet to meet my expectations. Kyle has still plenty of room to grow. That's our relationship. My job is to help him reach his potential. And I don't think he is there yet. Even though he is getting all these honors and recognition he is receiving, there is a lot more he can do, and I think he wants to. "

On having Eathyn Manumaleuna back:

"Well, he was starting in front of Ziggy [Ansah] a year ago, and now he is back and he is playing really, really well. He is helping Bronson Kaufusi come along, he is helping Remington Peck come along. He is helping all the defensive linemen. He is a really good player, and very experienced."

On whether this is the best group of wide receivers he's had at BYU:

"It is the most at any one time. When you go back to Tod Watkins and Austin Collie combination, that was pretty powerful, but not much depth behind them. We are deeper than we have ever been, with good players."

On how his defense handles the Robert Anae offense:

"It is a challenge. I was supposed to be in a staff meeting 15 minutes ago because there are new things each day that are forcing us to dig deeper and try to re-invent the wheel, so to speak. Not only the tempo, but defining some of the plays, and what they are. Man, if someone is trying to do that in one week's time, I think that will be pretty hard."

On whether it is the tempo that's hard to defend:

"Not only that, it is the number of plays. It is the nature of the play. But then it is, what are the plays? And diagnosing what they are at the speed at which they are being run. And then if you can't identify it, how do you stop it? And if you are forced in real time to make those adjustments, I think it is going to be really difficult, within a quarter, a series, a half or an entire spring and now five days into fall camp. I think there is still something each day that is relatively new in terms of assignment or stressing the defense in different ways. So I really like it."



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