By Kevin Graham:
BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall talked with reporters after practice Monday discussing the season opener with Washington State among other things. Here are some thoughts:
-Mendenhall says he doesn’t put any more extra relevance on this opener than any other. He just says it’s another good opponent of the many they have faced. Not shocking he’s downplaying it but I would argue it’s crucial considering the tougher schedule and the importance to begin the season on the right foot– particularly at home.
-On the rotating centers he said there is a concern with ball security but at the same time wouldn’t do it if he didn’t feel that it would work. I’ll trust my cohost Kyle Gunther, a former center, that it’s a crazy idea. Since I don’t know of any other team that does this I would definitely agree.
-As for his concerns about Mike Leach’s “Air Raid” offense Mendenhall said there are many including the amount of times the ball goes in the air, the number of snaps a team has to defend (saying some games have been over 100 plays), the number of athletes and how it spreads the defense. In the past BYU has struggled in games such as these however I’m not so sure Washington State has enough athletes to dominate the Cougar defense. Considering the ball will be out quick the biggest key for BYU is to be fundamentally sound when it comes to tackling. Considering that it’s something they didn’t do much of in fall camp it will be interesting to see what happens.
-He was asked about Michael Wadsworth joining the team as a walk-on. Wadsworth was the player that attended Hawaii and then went on a mission who then wanted to transfer to BYU. Hawaii, including new coach and former BYU offensive coordinator Norm Chow, wouldn’t grant the release feeling BYU recruited him on the mission. Mendenhall denied the accusation and said Monday was the first day he even talked to Wadsworth. I believe Mendenhall but I also believe their had been some contact from someone at BYU, perhaps through third parties. I have no proof but I think you have to be somewhat naive to think it doesn’t happen.