Mendenhall Addresses Wide Range of Questions

As always, Coach Mendenhall gave precise and straightforward answers to the media this week concerning a wide range of topics. Those topics included this week's matchup against Air Force, the 2011 schedule, the many dropped balls against Washington and much more.

On what Mendenhall has changed about himself or his defense to better counter the Air Force offense: "What I've changed is my understanding of what they're trying to do. It's hard to stop anybody if you don't understand what they're trying to accomplish, so my first year I didn't at New Mexico. Progressively I've gained a better understanding as we've gone on from there."

On whether there's a specific number score-wise that he wants to keep the Falcons under: "It's been the same pillar every week and I don't really change that based on who we're playing," Mendenhall said.

Regarding whether there's one specific position on defense that's under the gun against the Air Force attack: "I don't think so. I think the collective is most important, because option football is kind of divide and conquer. It's very difficult for your whole collective to be involved because each has a specific assignment to handle more than any week. It's not a certain position that's under the gun, it's all 11 have to play well together."

On whether the staff had any drills this week to help the receivers since they struggled last Saturday: "No, it's just been kind of a steady progress with some things they can certainly correct. But I think it's just a matter of time, repetition and concentration, and so there hasn't been any kind of a reaction, just methodical work in relation to how they performed."

On whether the coaching staff finalized who would receive the bulk of the repetitions this week since Air Force is a difficult team to prepare for defensively: "I've kind of been allowing that to sort out. It's taking more shape and I'm not ready to announce that yet, but I think it's maybe taking more shape since the last time I talked to you."

Regarding finalizing the 2011 schedule: "I shouldn't say there isn't any movement. I think it's basically done. Tom [Holmoe] will probably announce when contracts are signed and when we can announce it. So that will all come from him. But as far as I'm concerned, I've agreed to the teams that we're going to play that he was trying to solidify. Traditionally we don't ever announce it until the contracts are actually done, but my guess is that's what we are waiting for."

On whether there's been an identification process for what types of teams BYU wants to play in the future.

"Yeah, there's basically three criteria that I've kind of weighed in on. I like the idea of playing a national schedule, meaning we'll cover the country to make sure that our fans and church members in different areas can see us play in person. I like the idea of having natural rivalries and intriguing matchups. I've already mentioned possibly Hawaii, Notre Dame, possibly Boston College, and things like that might be intriguing. And then the third component I like has to do with schools that have a very unique campus, or unique mission or would be a great place to go play a college football game. The military schools, I'd like to play one every year if we could – you know, Army, Navy or Air Force – because I think it's a great experience for the team to see another lifestyle the cadets go through, in addition to trying to keep the Beehive Boot intact by playing Utah and Utah State. All of a sudden you start to have a pretty nice framework for your schedule."

Regarding the progress of walk-on defensive end Ezekiel Ansah:

"He's gone on from not knowing how to put on the equipment to knowing how to put on the equipment. He's big and he's fast and he's just learning the game. But I see potential."

On whether Ansah will see time this year: "He ran down on a kickoff in fall camp and it looked like he could possibly do that, so he might show up as a special teams player at some point this year."

Regarding whether there are any plans to change the two-quarterback system: "Right now I plan on doing it all the way through the year. It could be different based on how the games go, but for right now after one game I liked the way it looked."


Total Blue Sports Top Stories