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Bronco not irked by interruption, understands fan's angst

Published August 29, 2012 10:36 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

For about a half-hour last Saturday, Washington State coach Mike Leach entertained reporters on a teleconference with tales of his days as a student at BYU, how he met his wife there, and more. Leach brings his new team and his Air Raid offense to Provo on Thursday to face his alma mater (8:15 p.m. MDT, ESPN). The game should be as entertaining as the news conference.. Leach and the origins of his offense are profiled in this article in The Tribune today. Also, here's a notebook, primarily focusing on how BYU will have its hands full with WSU receiver Marquess Wilson. Although he won't play this year at Kansas, former BYU quarterback Jake Heaps has apparently decided to grant some interviews. He talks to his hometown paper about getting a new start, away from the spotlight, in this piece. We've already posted a link to BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall's speech at Saturday night's Big Blue Bash, and how he was interrupted by an elderly gentleman (around the 2:20 mark). Here it is again. The coach was asked about the interruption after practice on Monday. "First of all, I wanted to know what he said," Mendenhall said. "He had a legitimate point. From what I understood he said was that we are not playing in the afternoons anymore. And he's right. I replied, basically, that exposure means a lot now. And of the 123 teams, only five were seen more by national audiences than us last year, which is very important to me, and not only the program, but the church, and our institution. So it is a tradeoff we are willing to make. I don't know if I came across like that, but that was the intent. But certainly, it is probably hard on some folks that were used to afternoon games." Regarding the experience fans have on game days, Mendenhall said he "takes it really seriously" and is happy to see the improvements at LaVell Edwards Stadium which will be on display Thursday night: the new video scoreboards, the "ribbon" video boards and more. "I want them to come fill our stadium because of the experience of not only watching the game, the game day experience, but also why we are playing the game. We continue to try to make LaVell Edwards Stadium a fantastic experience. Now there are brand new scoreboards, and different things. There is a tailgate area that is now open at the Marriott Center, which I don't think has ever happened before, so we are trying to do everything better to improve our program. ... It is progress."