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Mendenhall has big dreams at BYU, seeing only heavenly limits. He puts a lot of emphasis on trust, with his assistants and his players, and doesn’t easily let outsiders in. He remembers, and often references, being booed in his first game at LES in 2005, when he punted on fourth down in the opponent’s territory. He’s never forgotten that. So, like all coaches, he’s a bit paranoid. He’s never had a particularly warm relationship with fans, especially for a coach who has won as much as he has.
But he wants what they want — to win large, and because of the different way the Cougars do things, enjoy the positive publicity for the school and its owner that would come alongside it.
He treats his players in what could be described as a professional way. Once they are out of the program, he’s more chummy with them, but while they’re still playing for him, it’s mostly business. He does occasionally show a sense of humor.
Bottom line: Whittingham and Mendenhall have grown into strong, successful coaches who snugly fit their programs and their surroundings. Who is the better coach?
Whittingham’s highs have been higher. But, then, according to the voice in his head, that’s far from good enough.
GORDON MONSON hosts "The Big Show" weekdays from 3-7 p.m. on 1280 and 960 AM The Zone and 97.5 FM. Twitter: @GordonMonson.
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