Before this morning's Poinsettia Bowl news conference featuring BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall and SDSU coach Rocky Long, Mendenhall joked with a couple beat writers about a cell phone commercial that shows how data, etc., can be transferred from one phone to another by simply pressing the phones together.
He suggested that we should do that, and do away with news conferences.
If nothing else, the exchange showed us that Mendenhall doesn't really live in a cave, as some have suspected. Heck, the coach basically admitted he watches commercials.
But just when it seemed like Mendenhall was with it, he revealed from the podium when asked about USU coach Gary Andersen taking the Wisconsin job that the headline-grabber was news to him.
"I didn't know until you just told me right now. When did it happen?," Mendenhall said. "He is deserving. He is a really good coach. I am sad for the folks at Utah State. I think that is one the unique things about college football, and if we aren't careful, it will become more NFL-like.
I am happy for Gary as a friend and as a colleague. But as I look at the conferences realigning, of teams racing here or there, it seems like it is moving more away from the true amateur sport that college football once was, with true rivalries and traditions, and I think that has a lot to do with it.
Having said all that, he is an excellent coach, and very deserving."
I asked Mendenhall if there's any worry that he could lose a valued assistant coach at this time of year.
"I wouldn't say worry. But opportunities are created when there is change," he said. "And for instate coaches and instate programs, I have some good coaches on my staff, and they might be sought after, and if that is what they wanted to do, and they came to me, that would be great."
Andersen leaves behind one of the best players in college football this year, quarterback Chuckie Keeton.
"What happens most of the time is the players in those programs, and I don't think you can blame them, is if they are really loyal to that coach, and that is the reason they went, if that coach is gone, and you would like to say they went to the school for the school, but sometimes if the coach is gone, a lot of the players will start contacting other programs. Which then, as soon as they contact us, we've got to tell compliance. But that's the way it works most of the times, is the kids in the programs start shopping themselves rather than outside coaches start going in."
Here are more of Mendenhall's comments today from the news conference, both the podium session and with individual reporters:
On the benefits and drawbacks of independence:
"I really enjoy playing in different facilities, and in different states and seeing how excited BYU supporters are in that area, and have BYU come. That's been really interesting to see how passionate they've been, to come to the firesides, to come to the games, and to support the team. It has been really refreshing. I have really enjoyed the exposure. A year ago -- I don't know what the numbers are yet this year -- there were only five teams that were seen more by national audiences than us. So that's a fantastic thing for our program and for the message our institution has, and for BYU football. So I have really enjoyed that.Next Page >
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