Press Conference Notes

Head coach Bronco Mendenhall, Max Hall, Jan Jorgensen and Dennis Pitta addressed the media during Monday's morning press conference. TBS was there learning what the team did during the bye week, their reactions to being ranked in the top 10 and their preparation for Utah State, among other things.

First up was Bronco Mendenhall who touched on several topics:

-Mendenhall first spoke of how the bye week resulted in a higher level of health entering the final stretch of the season, and how it also gave the team a clearer direction with regards to where they are currently and where they need to go.

-Regarding breaking the top 10 in both national polls, Mendenhall feels it's more of a reflection of the poll system and how it works than on his team and where they are currently.

-All players on the team should be ready to go against Utah State save Spencer Hafoka and Michael Reed. Both Reed and Hafoka are expected to return for the game against New Mexico.

-Mendenhall noted that ball security has led to a lot of the team's success early on. Turnover margin is a huge aspect of most winning teams, and so far BYU has won the turnover margin battle during the last two games.

-Mendenhall spoke of how they probably underestimated the impact of Michael Reed now that he's out with injury, and said they will need to work harder this week to make the proper adjustments to overcome the loss of Reed.

-The defensive execution is improving, and especially so in the defensive backfield. Mendenhall spoke of how there have been fewer and fewer opportunities over the top of coverage the last two games, and he credits the development of the secondary.

-The coaching staff was able to go out and talk to a lot of recruits this past weekend. Mendenhall noted that just about every recruit is readily noting the increased national exposure BYU is getting and their top 10 ranking. Mendenhall mentioned that in a staff meeting earlier this morning, they discussed how they need to, when talking to recruits, concentrate on the core values within BYU and the football program and what happens internally at BYU instead of getting caught up in the increased national exposure.

-During the bye week the team was given some service opportunities and were also able to catch up on their academics. Mendenhall himself was able to do yard work and watch several college football games. Mendenhall spoke specifically about how impressed he was with the performance of such teams as Navy, Vanderbilt, Northwestern and Ball State, and how it showed that any team can beat anybody on any given Saturday. He also stated that his team is capable of playing with anyone on any given Saturday.

-Mendenhall spoke about how he's more surprised with Washington's lack of success than UCLA's. He noted that although Washington hasn't been winning games, they're close and they're still presenting a lot of challenges to opposing teams.

-Mendenhall explained to the media that there has been a greater emphasis on creating turnovers since January. With the defense having so many new and inexperienced players, the coaching staff noted that they would need to do a better job of creating turnovers. To do that, Coach Hill has emphasized more stripping of the football along with being more physical to create more turnover opportunities. So far Mendenhall feels his defense is doing well in creating turnovers this year.

-Mendenhall likes how the rules have shortened the games, although he doesn't like consistent rule changes with every year.

-Mendenhall noted the improvements Utah State has made this year within its program. He feels that the Aggies are gaining momentum, but are now looking for consistency. He feels that they're much more athletic this year, especially on offense, and that they'll present some unique challenges for the team this week.

-The team was able to start prepping for Utah State this past Thursday, and due to the bye week, the game being played on Friday won't play any impact whatsoever.

-Coach Mendenhall finished up talking about how the kick return duties will be handled, saying that they'll likely only determine who handles the work on kick and punt returns likely on Thursday of this week. During practice Mendenhall is looking for more consistency.

-Max Hall stated that this weekend was devoted to his wife and to golf. He promised his wife that he wouldn't watch any football and held to that. Other than his dog urinating all over his kitchen floor, it was a relatively relaxing weekend for Hall.

-Hall mentioned how he's not surprised that they're in the top 10, but surprised that they're ranked there so early in the year.

-Hall talked about how missing Michael Reed has hurt the offense, especially on third downs. Due to teams focusing on Harvey Unga, Dennis Pitta and Austin Collie, Reed was almost always left in single coverage, which created a lot of opportunities for the offense. Now that he's gone for at least another game, other players will have to step up.

-Hall talked about how Harvey Unga should be taking Fui Vakapuna out to lunch a lot because of the job he's done in lead blocking. He talked about how Vakapuna has been completely unselfish and is excited to just help the team.

Jan Jorgensen spoke about everything from what he did this weekend, preparation for Utah State and what that game means for him, and how the defensive line has performed thus far.

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