Bronco Mendenhall is the new Virginia football head coach. UVA made the announcement on Friday evening. Mendehall is coming from Bingham Young University, where he was responsible for turning around a program that saw only 14 wins in three years before his appointment as head coach.
In his 11 seasons as head coach of BYU, he had an overall record 99-42, and took the Cougars to 11 straight bowl games-ranking BYU 12th among all FBS teams in total wins. The only other program to advance to a bowl game every season for the past 11 years were: Boise State, Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Oregon, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin.
According to Scout's National Analysts out west, much of that success is due to Mendenhall's defenses and his team's physicality.
"Mendenhall is a very good defensive minded coach and his teams are always really physical and well-coached," said Director of Recruiting Brandon Huffman. "Offense has been a little ride for the Cougars since he’s been there- but they have a pretty balanced offense, run to pass. But make no mistake, his teams are built on toughness and being physical."
"Under Bronco, BYU football teams were always extremely tough, physical and played with an edge to them," added Scout National Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins. "Some might say they crossed the line at times in terms of physical play and chippiness but you can expect a team that will play very hard, fast and aggressive, especially on the defensive side of the ball."
Physical is right. BYU is ranked sixth in the country with 37 sacks recorded this year, and 13th with 90 tackles for a loss, with opponents only scoring an average of 21.8 points per game.
The main question is can a west coast guy recruit in the east? The Cougars 2016 clasS currently sits 52nd on Scout's 2016 rankings. Mendenhall was able to bring in two four-stars in the group of 15. Like Mike London at UVA previously, Mendenhall dealt with some restriction on the recruiting front, especially recruiting high academic guys. According, to Huffman, he does not forsee recruiting the east to be a major problem for Mendenhall.
"What will be interesting to see is how he approaches recruiting- at BYU, it’s a different animal, which much of the focus being on LDS kids and their character," said Huffman. "He’ll still recruit high-character kids, but I don’t think he’ll focus heavily on LDS kids.
"From a recruiting standpoint regionally, he did a lot of national recruiting for BYU, so recruiting back East won’t be a huge challenge, because he’s recruited that part of the country. But getting a staff put together with coaches from the region will be crucial."