PROVO — BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said quarterback Max Hall "didn't use great judgment" when he unleashed a tirade against the University of Utah after the Cougars defeated the Utes, 26-23, on Nov. 28.
At the same time, Mendenhall doesn't believe Hall should receive any more punishment than he already has for his outburst, during which he expressed "hate" for the University of Utah and called the school and its fan base "classless."
Asked Monday about Hall's comments, which prompted a public reprimand from the Mountain West Conference last week, Mendenhall said, "I can't say (Hall's comments) surprised me because I know how hard the entire year was for Max. Not only the events of last year's game, but then really the comments and things that happened the entire year until then. Unfortunately, Max didn't use great judgment and expressed those sentiments and thoughts in front of a public format. That in and of itself was discouraging and disappointing. However, he's grown from it. I'm positive that he has."
The coach said Hall should not be suspended because of his comments.
"Not only do I not think he needs a suspension, I think he's learned and grown and probably become someone better than he currently was by going through this experience," Mendenhall said. "Unfortunately, it was very painful and will be for quite some time. But that was plenty of punishment from my perspective."
Hall was not made available to reporters Monday.
The senior quarterback, who threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Andrew George in overtime against Utah, issued a statement the day after his post-game harangue, clarifying his comments and apologizing to the Utah football program and other members of the university. Hall explained his comments were not "intended to be directed at the entire organization and all of their fans and I apologize that it came out that way."
Hall said he was upset about the abusive treatment his family received from Ute fans last year during a 48-24 loss at Rice-Eccles Stadium, explaining that his family members had to be escorted to their car by local police after the game.
Amid the uproar and fallout of Hall's inflammatory words, senior defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen supports his teammate.
"I think we're all tired of hearing about it from (the media)," he said. "I support Max. I'm not going to make a lot of comments on what he said. I support him no matter what. He's my quarterback and I'm going to stand behind him. He's issued his apology and I think that's all that needs to happen."
Meanwhile, Jorgensen said, BYU players have learned from the experience.
"As players, a lot of times you wear your emotions on your sleeve and you come out from a game and you talk to the media. It's hard not to censor yourself because your emotions are so high. You learn that no matter whatever you say, if you say something the least bit controversial, you (reporters) are going to turn it into something a lot more than it actually is. It's definitely a learning experience. A lot of our guys, and Max, have learned from that."
Mendenhall said he hasn't talked about the incident with his team. "It's been mentioned between Max and myself only. It didn't need to be mentioned (to the rest of the team). Everyone understood exactly what happened and why and our program will move forward because of it."