Here are BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall's comments to the media in his after-game press conference after the Cougars walloped Idaho State 59-13 on Saturday in front of an announced crowd of 58,645 at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Senior Day:
"Nice way to send our seniors out. Really nice way to just have a moment in front of them and their families and the home crowd. Glad we had a chance to play so many players. It might be the most players I’ve ever had a chance to play in a game, which gave us a chance especially this late in the season to reward that many players.
The game was clearly out of hand the middle of the second quarter, and we tried to manage it the best way possible with as much class and respect for our opponent as we could, and also let our younger players play. I think we accomplished that, while maintaining some health of our starters and some of our key backups going into our next two games and before our bowl game."
On Kyle Van Noy’s play near goal line:
"Yeah, the set point for him to do something that will surprise me now is, I don;t know if he can do anything that will surprise me. He is one of the most productive football players that I’ve ever coached or watched play. He just makes plays."
On whether Jason Munns said to play the younger guys:
"He did. I didn’t know that. When I shook hands with Jase at the end, after the game, I looked back at coach Beck and he said, ‘you know what? I talked with Jason earlier in the week and he said, you know what, I think the younger guys ought to play. That’s just who he is. He’s a remarkable young man, and leader. And those kind of experiences teach me a lot, and I was proud of him. Again, I didn’t know that until I came back in the locker room and talked to jason Beck."
On why Taysom Hill struggled a bit:
"I am not sure. Probably just, and I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but we have built a lot of confidence, and he’s built a lot of confidence, and so maybe he was just thinking that we are slightly better in some situations than we are. It is a nice reminder for ball security, so I think we can use it as a positive. But I can’t say what the reasons were."
On going for it on 4th-and-2 early:
"I just felt like we could get it, in just knowing our opponent and knowing what our strength is and where they might struggle. The risk didn’t seem very high, and it ended up going for a long ways. That wasn’t called for that to happen. That just happened."
On the other running backs:
"I was really impressed with both Adam Hine and Alge Brown. If you were saying, what do we really take away from this? The ability to possibly have those two play a little bit more to spell Jamaal. Because they added another physical presence, and they showed they were capable and trustworthy, and so possibly we can share the wealth a little bit more than what we have been doing there."
On whether that was an emphasis:
"Not necessarily. They have worked so hard in practice, but we have just had confidence in Jamaal, that it is hard to take the ball out of his hands. But what this shows is sometimes, especially late in the year, when he is getting the volume he is, that there should be a few more carries for other guys."
On what he wants out of the Notre Dame game:
"I would like it to end up being a rivalry. That will happen once we do our part in winning enough games. I felt a year ago that we had a great opportunity to win. I look forward to a hard-fought game year in and year out. I would like to play them as much as possible. I think the rivalry makes sense — it is not a rivalry — the game makes a lot of sense and has a lot of intrigue for college football, and I would love to play it on a yearly basis, if possible."
On the defense and who stood out among young guys:
"Manoa Pikula, his status or his stock, or his place on our team keeps going up. So I really like what he is doing. We have a young safety, Kai Nacua, that is starting to emerge a little bit. And we might be able to have a little bit more depth at corner from him.
Those are the two, if I had to say from watching from the sideline, and I am wrong a lot, but those two guys I would say caught my eye."
On the injuries:
"Yeah, [Friel] is hurt. So Brett Thompson is hurt, Kaneakua is hurt. Devin Mahina is hurt. JD Falslev is hurt. So at that position today, Marcus Mathews got an opportunity as well as Terenn Houk. Hopefully, Kane is the closest to returning, and Brett possibly for next week. But Kane we should have back."
On the unique opportunity to go back to Notre Dame after close loss last year:
"That was one, I don’t remember many games, but I remember that one. And so I am looking forward to going back."
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