Much of BYU's defensive success came from pressure that was applied up front, and one only needs to re-watch BYU's young defensive line perform against Bellotti's Duck o-line in the Las Vegas Bowl to gain some understanding of how disruptive they really were.
To continue the kind of defensive line performance Coach Mendenhall is looking for, the Cougar staff went out and recruited athletes they felt would continue to build upon last year's successes.
One such defensive lineman evaluated and honored with a BYU scholarship was Colorado's David Angilau, who has been busy in the off-season with conditioning and being active in sports he feels will help his football performance when the time comes to join his fellow teammates at BYU.
"I've been running a lot and I just got done running," said Angilau. "I just finished with wresting season and I'm doing track right now. I'm throwing the discus and the javelin."
So how did he perform during the wrestling season?
"I did alright and just got involved with that to keep me in shape," said Angilau. "I didn't really know the moves. I just thought it was all about slamming people, but I found out really quickly that there's a lot of technique and stuff.
"Man, all these farm boys out here, I just tried to grab them and throw them around and stuff. Then they would do these arm twist things and I was like, ‘Whoooa.' I found out quickly what it was about and there was some technique involved, but man, put these guys on the football field and we'll see how they do."
After midway through the season, Angilau decided to give wrestling a shot. The late entry meant he missed much training that might have allowed him to further advance during state finals.
"I joined midseason because I was just thinking about it," Angilau said. "I decided to join midseason and kind of was behind a little. I came up a bit short after thinking I was going to go state. I lost in the state qualifying match, but I do think it did help me with football. It got me stronger and I can push and pull people forever now because that's all we did. During practice we would just push and pull people the whole time."
Now that wresting is over, Angilau has been involved with track and field for the second year in a row.
"I'm just in my second year and I'm throwing the discus and the shot-put," said Angilau. "I've been placing second and third in just about every tournament. Last year I didn't make state so I'm hoping I make state this year."
On top of the extracurricular sporting events Angilau has been involved with to keep him football ready, he's also been training hard in the weight room.
"Man, I've been excited to come to BYU," Angilau said. "I can't wait to get out there. I've been working out so I can come in there and help the team out. I think that's what all of us [new recruits] have been trying to do. I'm going to try and get some playing time on the field and have been working out right now.
"Right I'm 275 pounds. I'm getting a little heavier but I'm going to try and cut it down to about 260 and then try and build up again when I get to BYU. I just want to get up there having the quickest speed as possible. I'm not trying to move to the middle. I'm not trying to get moved to the inside, so that's why I'm trying to cut down my weight right now, so coach can do whatever he wants me to do.
"I feel like my speed is good right now but I'll need to prove myself, which is why I'm working harder. I've been lifting a lot and that's what I've been working hard on. My bench is 375 right now and my squat is 500 pounds right now. I've been working on that a lot right now. I've been working hard on the squats so I can get it up there."
"Oh yeah, I passed the ACT but I want to take it again so I can get a higher score," said Angilau. "I got a high enough score but I'm going to take it again just in case. I scored 1000 on it for the math and the reading. I scored 500 on both. Coach just told me that I need to get as high as possible. I did pass the Clearinghouse, but he said that BYU was higher, so I'm going to go for it again.
"Before I scored a 910 and they said I needed my accumulative core to be a 2.25 to balance it for the Clearinghouse, but then I scored a 1000 on my testing which means I would need a 2.1 core accumulative. My core GPA is higher than that so I passed the Clearinghouse, but I just need to pass the BYU standards. Coach Kaufusi said that if I keep getting my grades higher then the board will see my improvement. My estimated GPA is right on the line for BYU, so I'm right no the bubble now so I just need to keep working hard. I only have a month of school left so I just need to keep hitting the books."