Now that the team is prepping for the Eagles of Boston College, Mendenhall is realizing how his responsibilities have changed.
"Just like fall camp was completely different, just like spring practice was different, just like recruiting has been different, just like the off-season – it's all different," said Mendenhall.
"I find myself not as much concerned with the power-play only, but what does Boston College do on defense; they have nice punt returner. All those things as well as managing the injuries, peaking our team, making sure they're ready chemistry-wise and motivation-wise and fresh to play. There are so many more considerations now other than just making sure the defense is ready."
He also noted that because of the high-tempo nature of both the offense and the defense, things are much different from last year. Things are organized differently and tailored to meet the team's current needs.
The practices are being used to fit the needs of both the team and the players. For instance, in the secondary there have been myriad injuries, but the team has developed the players who are there. Those who are injured have to catch up when they can.
"The team goes forward," Mendenhall said. "That doesn't mean we don't care or don't have any regard for the players that are hurt, but we have a game to play. I expect them to be diligent in their rehab and treatment and film study in the meantime, but we can't set practices around a particular player."
One particular player Boston College should be diligent in studying is senior wide receiver Todd Watkins. Mendenhall said that Watkins has great size, good range and can run fast. He further said that stretching the field is what Watkins does best because it comes so natural to him.
When asked if he would allow the receiver to kick a potential game winning field goal, Mendenhall responded: "I think Todd would like the ball in his hands in any critical situation, whether it's kicking it, holding it, running with it. Most good offensive players want the ball when the game is on the line."
Hopefully, the Boston College game will not be decided by how many field goals Watkins can kick, but by how many touchdowns he can grab.
- Mendenhall said that as of today the starting linebackers would be Cameron Jensen, Justin Leuttgerodt and Paul Walkenhorst. But added that Aaron Wagner, Dan Bates and Bryan Kehl could also see significant time as well.
- Mendenhall said that it would be up to position coaches or the coordinators to deal with player mistakes in games (fumbles, penalties, etc). "I trust my coaches," he said. "I've got a lot more things now that I've got to do. The coaches are in charge and are accountable for their players. I'd expect them to handle it."
- Several former players were in attendance: Chad Lewis, Robbie Bosco, Blaine Fowler, and Lee Johnson.