Mendenhall brought Robert Anae on board as his offensive coordinator to bring the Texas Tech offense to Provo. Today Mendenhall stated that he is starting to sense that the offense he hoped for offense is beginning to show up. "That offense that you saw today resembled and felt just like it felt to me when I was defending against Texas Tech," he said. "It was the same feeling and that was encouraging to me."
"In some critical situations toward the end that we created the defense finally realized that they were here to play today," Regarding the defense Mendenhall stated. "I saw a little more edge and emotion with them."
Safety K.C. Bills returned to practice today and agreed with Mendenhall's assessment: "We need to come out and stay intense throughout. Yeah, we did alright at the end, but we can't wait for that, you know, for the offense to wake us up and tell us it's time to play. We need to dictate the emotion and level of play and have them respond to us."
Among the defensive standouts today included two recently returned missionaries in Bryan Kehl and Corby Hodgkiss. Kehl is only seven weeks removed from his LDS mission.
"It's unreal," Mendenhall said about their performance so far in fall camp. "The standard has been that it takes at least a year and we can't count on them for at least a year. I've learned that I need to make my own determinations on when returned missionaries are ready to play because it's not the case with those guys. It's a tribute to these kids. Some just come back and have the character and physical makeup to contribute right away as opposed to some who have been back for a year and half and still can't go."
The return of a few defensive backs, including Bills and Quinn Gooch, for today's scrimmage was a positive for the team and for Mendenhall. But just because they are back does not mean that positions struggles are over.
"In two of the critical situations, a player just returning in the secondary was responsible for taking a bad angle or lack of concentration," Mendenhall said. "So besides getting them back having enough volume of repetitions needs to be addressed."
Bills agreed that he needed more experience in the secondary.
"I need reps," he said. "Being out for any amount of time, especially during the fall is the worst thing ever for a player for a lot of reasons. I need reps as much as anyone and not having a week of reps has put me behind a bit from where I need to be. I just need to work that much harder now."
Mendenhall mentioned that along with addressing the injury situation, formulating a game plan for Boston College was prominent among the two things that need his attention most. Looking at film and deciding, with the coaching staff, on which plays to use in specific situations will be addressed in detail this coming week.
-LaVell Edwards was in attendance and sat down with Mendenhall for about 15 minutes immediately following the practice. "Just having a chance to sit down with him and gain his perspective is very helpful and reassuring," said Mendenhall.