Press Conference Notes

Head coach Bronco Mendenhall, along with Max Hall, David Nixon and Travis Bright, addressed the media Monday morning. TBS was there to chomp on some bacon and eggs, as well as learn what happened against Utah State and how the Cougars match up against New Mexico this coming week, among other things.

-Mendenhall started off talking about how anxious the team is to return and to concentrate on conference play and the pursuit of a conference championship for the rest of the season. Despite all the national exposure, the primary goals for the football team are still to win at home and to win a conference championship.

-Mendenhall then addressed the team's ability to create turnovers, having forced 14 turnovers over the last three games. Mendenhall credited Coach Hill for meeting the charge of creating more turnovers this season.

-Mendenhall spoke of New Mexico's new starting quarterback Brad Gruner and the offensive adjustments the Lobo staff has made to supplement Gruner's game. Gruner is a running quarterback that can create challenges for the Cougar defense.

-Mendenhall talked about the physical nature of New Mexico's team overall and how the Lobos are similar defensively to what the Cougars will face the following week against TCU. Both New Mexico and TCU present aggressive defenses with good team speed. New Mexico plays more man, while TCU trends more toward matchup-up zones according to Mendenhall.

-Mendenhall then spoke about how the new nickel package relates to the 3-3-5 system he ran when he first arrived at BYU. The nickel package isn't similar to the 3-3-5, and there aren't many differences outside of the core 3-4 alignment, other than it presents another defensive back in place of a linebacker.

-Mendenhall is not happy about the increased number of penalties, and attributes it to loss of composure and maturity, which the team will work on. He also stated that he'd rather be pulling his players back in regards to aggressiveness, rather than the other way around.

-Both David Nixon and Scott Johnson are expected to play with their contusions, but their practice reps will likely be limited this week. Michael Reed is ready to go and could have played against Utah State in an emergency situation.

-Mendenhall stated that both Terrance Hooks and Grant Nelson will begin skeleton workouts this week before returning to a full practice regimen in preparation for the game against TCU.

-Mendenhall gave credit to Utah State defensively for the problems they created, but noted that his team needs to finish better and execute at a higher level.

-Mendenhall is very happy with the kickoffs, but would like to see improvement in the kickoff coverage. He's very happy with the kick return unit, but stated that the punt return needs a little work still.

-Mendenhall addressed his team's lack of focus and preparation against Utah State and how both areas need to improve the rest of the season. He didn't feel that his team built momentum through the bye week, which was disappointing to him.

-Mendenhall talked about the work ethic and toughness that Rocky Long stresses and coaches down at New Mexico. He stated that New Mexico thrives on toughness and heart and has been able to reach a lot of consistency and success due to those attributes.

-Mendenhall finished up by talking about the thought process he went through when he saw David Nixon go down with a late injury during the Utah State game. His first thought was whether he was okay, and then he immediately wondered how it would impact the team and what adjustments would have to be made if his injury was indeed serious.

Max Hall Audio

Travis Bright Audio

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