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Dick Harmon: Former BYU players insist that fans don't know the real Bronco Mendenhall

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  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 8:27 p.m.

    The disconnect is not because Mendenhall doesn't explain himself well enough, the disconnect is because Mendenhall has such obvious contempt for the fans. He has made comments about the fans and how little respect he has for them. Add to that his propensity to talk in absolutes, his unwillingness to admit when he personally makes a mistake, and his lack of charisma and it has resulted in a fanbase that has little tolerence for the mistakes he does make. If he simply gave fans credit for maybe knowing a thing or two about the sport, and behaved as if they were actually the important part of the program that they are then he may find that fans would cut him some slack. But that is a two way street and Mendenhall does not cut the fans any slack.

    I remember when they got lit up by Florida St a few years ago, Mendenhall went on and on about how the players didn't execute the defensive gameplan well enough when it was obvious that his game plan stunk. He was dropping guys back and giving up the underneath and FSU took it. Take responsibility Bronco.

  • Pragmatic Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 8:27 p.m.

    I am so tired of hearing about this guy..he is a bore.

  • Real Bass Idaho Falls, ID
    Dec. 10, 2012 8:34 p.m.

    Me thinks thee doth protest too much. Who cares how distant he is as long as he is making good choices and winning important games. His decisions regarding Riley are outrageously wrong and have left this season in shambles! That will never be undone. Just watch how this season affects fan support (financial) in coming years. Sooner than you think, things will change.

    Remember the Marriott center was regularly full before roger. I wonder how long it will take to refill les with the horrible schedule and offensive explosion we call BYU football.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Dec. 10, 2012 8:55 p.m.

    I understand where these former players are coming from and I value Bronco's presence at BYU. He is a good man; an excellent example to these young men. The respect he gets from the players is well deserved. I have my problem in that I have believed Bronco's assessment of the teams potential approaching the season and in the earliest parts of the season. Early into the season, I have been disappointed that the team is really not nearly as good as I was led to believe. Sure, they beat most WAC teams, but they rarely win the big games. A 10 win season is a reachable goal when you only play 2 great teams. Once in awhile I'd like to beat a good team, and I'm led to believe each year that they likely will. Now that I have lowered my expectations the same year that BYU secured more great teams to play, BYU continues to NOT beat the good teams and their record is exactly where I predicted it would be at season's end. An undefeated season was reachable this year, but with Nelson on the field, it was not. Too bad.

  • Cougarbaseball Rifle, CO
    Dec. 10, 2012 9:32 p.m.

    I loved this article because we finally heard from players who have a far better understanding of the coaching than fans. I don't blame Bronco for not listening to the "fans" because the only ones he doesn't really listen to are the ones who truly don't have a clue. He has been the best coach BYU has had in my opinion. He has won a higher percentage of games with tougher schedules than BYU has ever played in the past, and yet certain fans can only find problems with him when his teams lose close games to some really good programs. BYU played five teams that ranked in the top 25 at regular season's end. When was the last time that happened. They also lost to the number one team in the nation (at regular season's end) after taking a lead into the fourth quarter. BYU teams under other coaches would have been blown out of most of these games, but Bronco has teams that can compete.

  • nunya sacramento, ca
    Dec. 10, 2012 9:40 p.m.

    looks like the deseret news won't post what i put up earlier so let me just simplify it and say bronco needs to go...i agree with everything Duckhunter said and disagree with everything bronco is.

  • fan32 St. George, Utah
    Dec. 10, 2012 10:21 p.m.

    Why are fans complaining about Bronco. Isn't head coaching all about hating the press, disdain for the fans, unintelligent interviews, horrible on field decisions, and most importantly never reading newspapers, listening to sports talk or watching tv sports. And how about that great coach's show on tv. We get a two minute interview after each game with soft ball questions. What are all the loyal fans complaining about? I just don't understand it.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    Dec. 10, 2012 10:23 p.m.

    nunya

    And you've said it all. I agree totally with Bronco and I disagree (respectfully) with the people who are OVERLY ticked at Bronco.

    The one thing that matters: whether he was being too loyal to Brandon or Riley, or simply was too invested in his own perceptions, Riley should not have been playing hurt, and the decision to do so cost us winable games.

    But beyond that? I prefer a coach that says what he thinks, even if it requires a diagram to figure it out, to a coach that is a PR spin machine. I prefer a coach whose competitive drive is greater than any of these complaining fans, yet whose commitment to the values that represent BYU, and the University that sponsors it, is greater still. I prefer a coach who values his private space, and then gives that private space to the building of individuals who happen to be football players.

    So we'll see. If the big bucks donors believe Duckhunter on this one, then we will drive one of the finest men in football away from the program that needs him most. If the big donors, and the Brethren, agree with me…

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    Dec. 10, 2012 10:35 p.m.

    Ooops.

    "and the CHURCH that sponsors it,"

  • OmahaCoug Omaha, NE
    Dec. 10, 2012 10:52 p.m.

    Yes, it's been a frustrating season. Yes, we've wondered about some of Bronco's decisions. But Jadon Wagner summarized it succinctly: "He is asked to do the impossible: Win games and hold athletes accountable to a very strict BYU Honor Code." How soon we forget the mess that Gary Crowton created, bringing in players who blatantly violated the Honor Code while producing three consecutive losing seasons. I like Bronco Mendenhall despite his flaws (real or imagined), because he understands that BYU is unlike any other football program in America. It HAS to be different, and he gets that. He's still managed to lead the Cougars to eight consecutive bowl invitations and has a virtual tie with the legendary LaVell Edwards for best winning percentage of any BYU coach ever.

    Go, Cougars, against San Diego State.

  • fan32 St. George, Utah
    Dec. 10, 2012 11:14 p.m.

    And why was LaVell Edwards legendary? He enjoyed the press, loved and gave time to the fans who loved him. I hate to dissappoint you Bronco lovers but it isn't all about the boys and how they love him. Head coaching goes way beyond that . How soon have you forgotten the LaVell Edwards example. It can be both ways. We saw 20 years of it. If Bronco wasn't so arrogant, he should look up and see who's name is on the stadium that he and the boys play in. Hey, if I made over $1,000,000 a year paid for by donars and fans, I wouldn't give them the time of day either.

  • OmahaCoug Omaha, NE
    Dec. 10, 2012 11:16 p.m.

    Y Grad / Y Dad,

    You said what I was trying to say. Thank you.

  • 007 Layton, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 11:34 p.m.

    Yes, Bronco is a great person and defensive coordinator with extensive football knowledge. That's not the issue. The issue is going 7-5 and losing to WAC teams. Moral victories are lame. Who cares how many ranked teams you play or how CLOSE you came when you don't beat any of them?

  • ufafelloffasofa kearns, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 12:03 a.m.

    As a former player under the Edwards era, I remember Coach being great with interviews and impromptu social gatherings. He was awesome! Bronco doesn't have that gift and as a result, so many are unhappy with him. It's too bad some of our fans need apologies, emotional validation, and/or a coach that gives them warm fuzzys after a heart breaking loss. I've attended every home game and am impressed with the quality of men on the field. Bronco is a great man and I would have loved to play under him.

  • BYU DUDE Provo, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 1:25 a.m.

    Riley Nelson & Bronco RG3 has something to say to you ,

    "I knew I needed to get out at that point," Griffin said. "I couldn't move. At some point you have to do what's right for the team. And if I'm playing the rest of that game, I probably would have hurt myself even more."

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    Dec. 11, 2012 7:13 a.m.

    Wow. I mostly agree with Bronco re the fans on SLTrib and DesNews. Most are ... naive. Bronco is a complex man and an excellent motivator and coach. And he recruits. This is the most athletic team BYU has ever had. That's Bronco. We're moving into a different world - a highly visible, highly competitive world. Every bit as competitive as Utah's move to the PAC12. And pretty much the same results.

    That said, I've made many posts of the Nelson situation. I love the guy, but he can't throw. When he stopped being able to hit his receivers, he should have been benched. Doman was an option QB and wanted a mobile QB. That was his philosophy. Bronco backed him up.

    Perspective: Kiffin at USC stunk up the joint. Sarkesian at UW had an uneven season, beating Stanford and losing to WSU. Angel fans were calling for Scioscia's head. Laker fans going crazy about this losing team and they've already fired one coach.

    Let's see how Bronco moves on from this disappointing season. And Doman? He'd better win the Bowl Game.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 7:34 a.m.

    @ Y grad

    Uh....I haven't been calling for Bronco's head, to the contrary I have posted on here many times, especially over the last few weeks, that I think Bronco has earned a mulligan and he is still the guy for the job. The difference is that I can also see what the problems with him are and where they stem from. He has criticized the fans many, many times. He has insulted the fans and demeaned them. He has never admitted to a single mistake he has made even when they are obvious. If he was simply semi cordial towards fans, instead of acting as if they are all nitwits, parasites, and a nuisance, then he would not be getting all of the criticism he is getting.

    He is his problem. His behavior is his problem. He needs to realize that without fans there is no program. He needs to understand that fans may be unreasonable and unrealistic at times but fans are paying for the priviledge of being that way while he is being paid a million a year because of those fans.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    Dec. 11, 2012 7:38 a.m.

    As for the game in Boise if Byu would of made it would of been hailed as a hero. I seen some players go for three in bball and two and won when they should of put it in overtime. Can't argue there though not best thing to do. Elder Edwards took calls after game not sure if Elder Mendenhall does. Good coaches and men I think. This season has been a disappointment. That is part of life of a sports fan though. Hopefully they will do ok in San Diego. With half the teams going to bowl games now I think that accomplishment is not as serious as it once was.

  • Mortoon Idaho Falls, ID
    Dec. 11, 2012 7:46 a.m.

    Whatever else you think of bronco, his handling of quarterbacks in the Nelson era is indefensible! Only a fool would try!

  • Dr. Chim Richalds ROUND HILL, VA
    Dec. 11, 2012 7:47 a.m.

    This next year will give Bronco and Doman an opportunity to redeem themselves. I'm glad they think Taysom Hill is the answer but personally, I don't think he has what it takes to beat top tier programs. I think he's a glorified version of Riley and that's just not going to get it done. To me, Bronco is a great, tremendous, unbelievable PRACTICE and CONDITIONING coach. On gameday, he needs to be the leader and decision maker in all facets of the game. Of course your team is going to tell you on the sidelines that they think they can make the 2 point conversion or go for it on 4th and 5 but the coach is supposed to have the wisdom to override the emotion. He seems to be a great guy and good for the school. I think he's earned another season to show that he can overcome a bad season. Unfortunately, losing seasons as an independent have too many far reaching effects (TV deals, recruiting classes, bowl games, relevence, etc.) We need a good year in 2013!

  • IDC Boise, ID
    Dec. 11, 2012 8:32 a.m.

    I like Bronco and hope he stays for a long time at BYU. I think he is a great coach and does even better with the defense. I like Riley as well but the whole situation has been a head scratcher. Can't wait for the Bowl and I am glad Riley is moving on even though it has been a fun ride.

  • junkgeek Agua Dulce, TX
    Dec. 11, 2012 8:47 a.m.

    It's a problem with almost zero national visibility anymore, except to be out-of-conference fodder for some big schools. It's allegedly on TV everywhere, but it's only a small population that actually watches. So the only people Bronco really offends are a small group of hardcore fans. The average LDS member in the United States couldn't pick him out of a lineup.

  • junkgeek Agua Dulce, TX
    Dec. 11, 2012 8:48 a.m.

    How much credit do we give for a bowlgame that is contractually obligated to take BYU if they get to 6 wins?

  • EdGrady Idaho Falls, ID
    Dec. 11, 2012 8:54 a.m.

    This could have been a dream season were it not for Mendenhall's stubborness. No former, current or future player can deny that.

  • Scott Farcus Beaver, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 8:55 a.m.

    As per article; "According to these players, if you listen to some fans, they may think they know. But in reality, they don't have any idea what it is like to be BYU's head coach — especially this one."

    The fans have it right, the players are the ones that don't know, football players are like a crew on a ship, they will go down with the Captain when the ship is sinking.

    Next years T shirt slogan; "Band of Aid"

  • Peter Coyotl West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 9:01 a.m.

    Bronco is obviously a good man with solid values. But as a football coach he turned Quarterback U into Quarterback Who?

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 9:11 a.m.

    byu fans will realize how good he was within two years after he leaves.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 9:23 a.m.

    A few thoughts:

    1) With the position comes 65,000 "officials and coaches" who watch every home game. And almost every one of them has an opinion. They are responsible for a large amount of funds used to support the program. Don't alienate them.

    2) Get the blinders off regarding Doman. He is in the press box, on the field, in the press boc, etc. A fish out of water, he made bad decisions, like giving Hill a play that resulted in an injury. Get him up to speed or replace him for the program's sake.

    3) When BYU decided to go for two at Boise, BSU called time out and adjusted to the play. BYU should have then gone for one. If the other team adjusts, you better too. Otherwise, go for it and wish you had. That's an example of being "out-coached" and head-strong.

    4) How can you allow Riley to play with a rib injury when he's still being examined by the doctor? Riley made it clear he was more interested in playing than seeing the team win. Who's in charge in such situations, anyway.....the players?

    5) Losing winnable games hurts fans, too.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 9:25 a.m.

    The real anchor here is the fans, not the coach. The weirdness that permeates that fan base is legendary.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Dec. 11, 2012 9:27 a.m.

    I will keep my expectations low for the bowl game, and if they take the lead, I'll be as excited as every other great BYU fan. But I'll survive if they don't win, because that is what I expect. life will go on. I just cannot get pumped up anymore because of all the disappointments. But on the good side, I'm proud of the caliber of men who come together to play this great sport. I'm sure that the accomplishments of the future in their lives will be of far greater notice and worth than what they do in their years at BYU. For that, I congratulate Bronco, his staff, the fans, and all the great players we get to see each college season at BYU. I favor them over ANY other school because of their personal accomplishments off the field. Go Cougars!

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 9:36 a.m.

    Ernest

    If fans are "normal" at the U of U, as you imply, in contrast I'll take weird.

  • 54-10 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 9:40 a.m.

    Read the article - LOL.

    Read the posts from BYU "fans" - LOL.

    Good day.

  • carver Enterprise, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 9:46 a.m.

    It's my belief that national championships and BYU honor code can't exist on the same field. I'am not saying that I prefer winning over honor but the BYU staff needs to let the public know up front that this will not be a championship year. Year in and year out. They need to let the public know that it will be a year of building great men though. That way we won't be disappointed

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 10:19 a.m.

    @toosmart:
    You need some perspective. The last three byu coaches couldn't stand their own fans.

  • Tenn12 Orem, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 10:30 a.m.

    A silly article by Dick. Nothing more than spin. Fans don't care to know Bronco. They just want good, competent coaching. Bronco has made several obvious poor decisions the last few years. There has been poor offensive line play. Poor quarterback play. The offense appears to be a grab bag of plays. He is made several questionable hires in terms of coaching experience. The program has missed on several local players because they weren't "good enough" to play yet have starred at other division 1 schools. Bronco is a good defensive coach. As a head coach, he is clearly lacking. Just because I didn't play for bronco or know him well doesn't mean that I can't recognize when a team is well coached or not.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    Dec. 11, 2012 10:41 a.m.

    Duckhunter
    Highland, UT

    Fair reproach. Others are calling for his head. You are merely criticizing him for his PR abilities.

    So I will reprove, slightly. Your post speaks in absolutes: insulted the fans (all?), never admitted to a single mistake, acting as if they are all nitwits. Exaggeration and hyperbole do not contribute to an open debate where some are calling for a good coach and a great man to be shown the door.

    I personally have never felt insulted, criticized or demeaned. I happen to believe he DOES know more about the game than I do. I think he probably knows more about the game than anyone posting here. And if it comes down to choosing sides, I choose his.

  • IRS Agent PROVO, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 10:42 a.m.

    People are losing perspective. Coach Edwards wasn't a "media darling" when he first started at BYU, but he softened and evolved as his career progressed. You can already see it happening with Bronco. Also, back in the day, Lavell only had a camera and mic shoved in his face on occasion, and he could usually control when that would happen. Nowadays, everyone and their 10 year old kid has a camera and can capture anything they want. It is a matter of survival for anyone in the public eye to be somewhat guarded and distant.

    As for worrying about the fans more, do you think Lombardi cared what the fans thought? Do you think he planned his actions, activities or decisions on what would be popular with them? Do you think Urban Meyer pauses for one second to consider what the fans might think of his decisions, or how they might be perceived by those in the stands? A good coach has to make a decisionon the fly and go with it. Judging from his record, I can only assume that all things considered, Bronco will only do what he thinks will generate wins. Period.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 10:46 a.m.

    I hope that the Y keeps Bronco. As far as I'm concerned, he's the best thing that's ever happened to the U! And here's something for you cougs to ponder--no matter how good Hill may be at QB, Doman will call a dumb play and get him injured early. Bronco will continue to play him, and his injury will not get any better. Then, after a while, you'll have another QB controversy, because that's what bYu is known for these days. Oh, and beating really weak teams.

  • John Galt Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 10:50 a.m.

    IRS Agent
    "As for worrying about the fans more, do you think Lombardi cared what the fans thought? Do you think he planned his actions, activities or decisions on what would be popular with them? "

    Oh, yeah. Let's compare Mendenhall to Lombardi. BTW--the fans loved Lombardi. Lombardi could coach. And produce winners.

  • Silent Lurker Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 10:51 a.m.

    So now Dick Harmon's theme is "Mr. Misunderstood Mendenhall". OK, so maybe you have to follow the company line for BYU but can't you be a little more objective? Even Crowton and Reed had their supporters,I could find someone who supports anyone you name--but that does not make them the best person for the job, nor does it give them the ability to make good decisions. Bronko has the ability to turn a sweet cream into sour milk. Consider the handling of the Unga situation, basically it was leave school repent and come back to play next fall. Then the All everything QB who would lead BYU, only to be swapped out for Riley Nelson. Don't forget the Taysom run in a meaningless point for an injury.(still in game)If the fans think this year was a disaster wait until next year. What do you think the reaction will be with a three or possibly four wins next season? So will Bonko be "Mr. Misunderstood Mendenhall 2"?

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 11:04 a.m.

    @Y Grad/Y Dad

    No I am not calling for his head but he has some problems and they are mostly of his making. As far as my "absolutes" are concerned, well they are correct. he does not own up to mistakes even when they are obvious. he has insulted the fans on more than one occasional, questioning the level of our intelligence, our education, our desires to be involved with the program, our contributions to the program, and many other things. Those were all well documented in the local press.

    Bronco surely knows plenty about the x's and o's of football, definately more than the vast majority of fans, but that does not mean that he has no responsibility to be at least cordial to fans and frankly he is making a huge mistake by not being more freindly and complimentary towards the fans. Fans are the ones with the passion, and dollars, that make the entire program possible. Some coaches get that and some don't. Bronco doesn't appear to get it.

  • IRS Agent PROVO, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 11:25 a.m.

    @John Galt

    If you reread the post without the crimson colored spectacles, in no way did I compare Bronco to Lombardi, other than the fact that they are both football coaches. Last time I checked, I think they both did coach football. I simply used Lombardi as a reference to a football coach that most people would recognize. I could have inserted John Gruden or John Madden just as well. The point was simply that even those that people consider to be the best college football coaches (I am not saying that Bronco is), don't worry about the fans when making football decisions.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 11:31 a.m.

    Ernest

    My perspective goes back to the mid 60's with both BYU and Utah. How extensive is yours?

  • Ragnar Danneskjold Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 12:20 p.m.

    I can tell you from a similarly small sample size of former players that there are plenty of guys who don't support him as well. That is from his days as a DC, but there are players and fans that think Bronco has some real issues to work out.
    I think Bronco was the right guy at the right time, like McBride at Utah. But he can't get them over the hump. He has done a great job at building the program up from the shambles that were given to him and he needs to be celebrated for that. But he needs some more management skills.

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 12:37 p.m.

    "Bronco Mendenhall is not going to throw a guy under the bus — not his player or his staff,"

    I think Robert Anae would beg to differ. Compare BYU's record and QB's with and without Anae. Draw your own conclusions.

    He undermined Anae, or rather, failed to support him while Doman undermined him, and while Nelson undermined Heaps. The team, fans, and coaches complained about Heaps immaturity -- HE WAS 19 YEARS OLD. That is what Senior leadership is for, and what Senior leadership and a team full of returned missionaries should be excellent at -- squashing backbiting, clicks, and helping a younger man evolve into a better leader. Bronco AND the team disappointed me in this (as did the fans).

    That is one of the things most consistent and least admirable about Bronco -- he throws others under the bus, but will not acknowledge his own mistakes. I don't care so much that he won't acknowledge them publicly, it is the fact he doesn't LEARN from his mistakes and continues to repeat them.

    Bronco is a fine DC, but a disappointment as a head coach, and based on what these young men say, he is passing his weaknesses on.

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 12:40 p.m.

    BYU cannot win a National Championships with behavioral, academic and moral standards? Seems Notre Dame has those (higher academic standards), and they are in the NC game.

    BYU players and coaches have to be chastised for swearing too much?
    A) Help me understand the causal relationship between swearing and athletic success. Then explain it to Heisman Winners Roger Staubach and Tim Tebow.
    B) Getting a bunch of returned missionaries to keep their language clean makes it tough to coach at BYU?
    C) Is that why Manti Te'o went to Notre Dame? To avoid the swearing?
    D) Maybe that is why BYU had a disappointing season -- the players aren't "doing the right things on and off the field."
    E) So when Bronco talks about the 2000 stripling warriors he tells players they only have to believe SOME of the things "their mothers taught them," or does he only recruit players whose mothers taught them how to swear?
    F) This whole "It's hard to win because players have to live standards" argument is RIDICULOUS.

    BYU can't win because it can't pay its coaches enough? Do they pay them more than San Jose State pays theirs?

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Dec. 11, 2012 1:25 p.m.

    BYU got in on the ground floor of the West Coast Offense and managed to stay a step ahead of defenses for almost twenty years. That led to a lot of success, including beating top-twenty teams more often than losing to them. But, as Norm Chow has often said, defense caught up to BYU's offense and its a lot tougher winning against teams BYU used to be very competitive against.

    I don't think there is a Quarterback, Offensive Coordinator, or Head Coach that is going to instantly put BYU back on the map. Until then, those are going to be very tough positions to be in.

  • Tom in CA Vallejo, CA
    Dec. 11, 2012 1:50 p.m.

    "I don't think fans understand that BYU cannot pay coaches enough in this competitive market," said Jadon Wagner.

    Wrong. I understand this:

    Winning = revenue. Losing = no revenue.

    Don't believe me??

  • Dallas III US, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 2:12 p.m.

    That really is a false dilemma that "something has to give" between upholding the Honor Code and winning games. Why do they have to be mutually exclusive? Try telling LaVell that and see what he says. True, the BYU head coach has more obstacles to overcome if he wants to win. But Bronco's main obstacle is himself. It's his decisionmaking--going for 2 at Boise State, sticking invariably with Nelson, calling timeouts early in the 3rd quarter when he knows they'll probably be needed in the game's last 5 minutes. The only thing that has to give is Bronco's unfailing dedication to his coordinators' decisions. Being the head coach means making the tough calls. Just because the fans want to see Lark play instead of Riley doesn't mean it's the wrong choice. Bronco should know that by now.

  • rafinsure Elk Grove/U.S.A., 00
    Dec. 11, 2012 3:03 p.m.

    I'm going to stop criticizing Coach Mendenhall. He has an impossible position that very few coaches would want. He's expected to coach a football team, be successful, and act like a bishop or general authority of the Mormon Church at the same time. No wonder Whittingham didn't want the job. When was the last time anyone see a Mormon Church leader take criticism and respond to it. Mendenhall is expected to act beyond reproach and that's exactly what he's doing.

  • GilmerTexasCougar Gilmer, TX
    Dec. 11, 2012 3:23 p.m.

    Compared to Gary Crowton, Bronco Mendenhall is a breath of fresh air. But then again, Crowton was on a path of destruction of BYU football. Of course, I want players to follow the Honor Code and to be held responsible for their conduct. My biggest concern about Mendenhall is his refusal to admit he has made a mistake. Going for two against Boise State did not work, so it was a huge mistake. It is stupid to say he was right and would do the same thing again. He could have tied the game and sent it into overtime with what appeared to be an excellent opportunity to win in OT. It is clear that Nelson is a very poor vertical passer when we have WR's who can catch the ball down field. What about Mendenhall's responsibility to james Lark, Munn, and even Heaps? I don't buy for a second that Nelson gives the Cougars the greatest chance to win. If Nelson were playing some other position his grit and toughness might have really helped the team.

  • Confused Sandy, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 3:53 p.m.

    IRS Agent

    Are you serious? Lavell never had a mic stuck in his face?

    he has a post game call in show with the FANS! answered their questions with dignity and without calling them name (unlike Bronco).

    Bronco stopped the live call in show, the coaches show is now taped delayed...

  • teleste Austin, TX
    Dec. 11, 2012 4:02 p.m.

    @Rational

    *This whole "It's hard to win because players have to live standards" argument is RIDICULOUS.*

    Consistently recruiting the best Athletes is a large part of how football programs win national championships. The vast majority of the best athletes do not want to have to live BYU standards. (And surprise, they don't have to if they go elsewhere!) BYU will never be able to recruit from the same pool the SEC, The PAC12, the BIG10 or any of the other "Big Boys" recruit from...and as such BYU will have a harder time winning. Forever.

    Maybe it was Coach Edwards that said it, maybe not. But the phrase rings true: "We (BYU) can recruit big, we can recruit fast, but if they're big and fast...they're not coming here!!"

  • H8 Red Centerville, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 4:14 p.m.

    I never thought Bronco was "too impersonal, unapproachable and introverted" I just think he has a terrible offense.

    We need to get back to the offense of years gone by. Mixing in a good run game with passing the ball down the field as well as short and intermediate.

  • Wireless Lawyer Lehi, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 4:41 p.m.

    You really have to wonder when the major complaint about a coach is that he's not good with the fans or the press or managing timeouts. Nick Saban is terrible at all three and I suspect there are a few Mendenhall detractors who wouldn't mind having him coach the Y.

    For those who want to show the door to a coach who produced the nation's #3 defense and held teams to an average of more than 10 points below their scoring average, how do you plan to replicate that?

    You may not like him, but Mendenhall has overachieved--regularly coaching Top 50 recruiting classes to Top 25 poll rankings. Anyone expecting more than that really has to provide some objective reasoning as to how Top 50 recruiting classes can compete for a NC.

    Mendenhall has to say his goal is a NC (every coach has the goal to win every game), but that doesn't make it a realistic one and thoughtful fans understand that.

    Interesting that 80% of the fans on this site (according to the poll) want Broco to stay. I suspect the vocal minority that disagree suspect it's because they're smarter than the rest of us. :-)

  • So. Cal Reader San Diego, CA
    Dec. 11, 2012 5:04 p.m.

    Dick. Gotta dig deeper than this: "On Dec. 20, Mendenhall will lead BYU to another bowl game. It's a feat Mendenhall has accomplished eight times — every season since he took over a program that had languished in misery for three consecutive years before he was in charge." Yes. That's a fact. Indeed, Coach Bronco has. However, according to his own Athletic Director, who he reports to, this program is supposed to rise "to the next level." That, the football program, is not doing. It's stagnant. And why only quote former defensive players in the article? Of course they'll go to bat for their "defensive coordinator." We already know his defensive players will run through the wall for this guy. Where's equal strong support from former offensive players? Coach Bronco has done a GREAT job in restoring the program from the Crowton debacle. I'm amongst the group that don't think he's the one to "get us to the next level" as his boss has said is a priority.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    Dec. 11, 2012 5:16 p.m.

    Dallas III

    Remember, LaVel got Jimmy Mac through and out the door without (being caught for) an honor code violation.

    Actually not a bad pop quiz for current readers: If you had it to do over again, would you take a Jim McMahon, with all his qb mastery and his disdain for the honor code, or would you settle for something less and stand by your values?

  • teleste Austin, TX
    Dec. 11, 2012 5:39 p.m.

    @Wireless Lawyer

    Yahoo Sports and Rivals have had BYU's Recruiting Classes ranked in the top 50 only ONCE in the last six years. Since when has Bronco started recruiting classes in "the top 25"?

    Incidentally, the number one and number two recruiting classes from each of the last six years were listed as follows:

    2012 (1) Bama (2) Texas
    2011 (1) Bama (2) FSU
    2010 (1) USC (2) Florida
    2009 (1) Bama (2) LSU
    2008 (1) Bama (2) ND
    2007 (1) Florida (2) USC

    (You can check it out on Yahoo Sports or Rivals)

    Look at who has won National Championships in that same time period. It is almost a 1 to 1 correlation. Top 25 Recruiting Classes don't cut it...top 5 recruiting classes do.

    Plus, even if it were true that BYU was recruiting "top 25" classes...look at where BYU is now...not anywhere near the top 25!! (Forget about winning a National Championship...)

  • teleste Austin, TX
    Dec. 11, 2012 5:43 p.m.

    @Wireless Lawyer

    I re-read your comment. I think we mostly agree actually. :)

  • BigCougFan Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 5:43 p.m.

    I think the majority of fans that post here have no idea what they are talking about when they criticize the coach. Bronco is a great coach and an asset to the school and the church. I disagree with some of the decisions on Riley Nelson but he's the coach, not me. His record is amazing and speaks for itself.

    It'll be a sad day if/when he leaves.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 5:45 p.m.

    @toosmart:
    I wasn't talking time frame, I was talking about getting out of the bubble of being a fan. Get an objective perspective. byu fans are far from normal.
    Far from it. Bronco sees it, why don't you?

  • yourstruly PAUL, ID
    Dec. 11, 2012 6:28 p.m.

    My problem with coach mendenhall is he is so afraid to lose and the fear of losing keeps you from growing. Even the Detmers of the world at byu had 6 turnover games but Heaps was lucky to make six passes a quarter. Mendenhal gets his kudos from the defense and not scoring quick and keeping that defense on the field.
    He has a great passing quarterback in Hill, a better passer in High School than almost all of the legends in bygone eras-- who also happens to be the best athlete on the team so they run him foolishly. Face it the offensive line has been terrible at BYU for some time now and I believe some of the bad idea of the running QB's is a function of a poor offensive line. Heaps never had a chance partly because Mendenhal never addressed the weakness up front. Remember when BYU would actually pass on first down?

  • Born in Provo Logan, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 6:34 p.m.

    Not one losing season in eight years. Not even Whit has accomplished that. Some people see this season as a disaster. I must agree I was sorely disappointed by the SJSU loss, but upsets happen. BYU has rarely been upset. The competition was stiffer this season and the breaks did not go BYU's way. Why would anyone want Mendenhall to go? Who could do a better job with the defense? Crickets.. Seriously, Mendenhall's the guy; it is just taking time to recover from Jake Heaps' transferring and Brandon Doman maturing. Next year enters a new era; Bronco will learn from this year and I predict at least 9 wins next year, with 10 a good possibility. You have to admit it is an entertaining product on the field and he is getting good recruits.

  • Backtothebasics Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 6:40 p.m.

    I agree with you, Wireless Lawyer. No one, and I mean not one other person, really knows what it's like to be a head coach of any given team (I'm married to one and I don't even know). I suspect some fans think Mendenhall should be more demonstrative on the field, like getting in the player's faces, yelling, get on the officials, etc. That, to some, is the measure of a good coach. I, for one, respect him for his self-control, because it's second nature in emotional situations to lose control. And if he's not into the fan-love, could it be that he's a coach first, not a radio personality or someone looking for approval at all costs. Cut him some slack and realize that the media will always look for a story in this information-saturated society, and most of It is designed to be controversial so we keep reading. That's why you're reading this, right? DH and the DN bank on this.

  • UtahBronco Lehi, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 6:52 p.m.

    It is interesting to me that so many BYU fans continue to second guess Mendenhall's decision to go for the 2 point conversion @ Boise. Had it been successful, BYU fans likely would have hailed the decision as a gutsy move by a winning coach. FWIW when asked about it in his post game interview, BSU Coach Peterson said he would have made the same call if he had been in Bronco's shoes. C'mon BYU fans, cut your coach some slack.

  • runnerguy50 Virginia Beach, Va
    Dec. 11, 2012 7:05 p.m.

    I could care less if Bronco likes the fans. My beef is his sticking with a qb who isn't as good as Lark. Bronco cannot identify talent.

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    Dec. 11, 2012 7:28 p.m.

    I'm glad Bronco is loyal to players even if they can't play the position. I wondey why this seems to apply only to certain players. If you are remote how does that impace an 18 year old quarterback who needs a father figure to grow his talent? If he is loyal, why did he ignore a qualified quarterback with an excellent arm who spent 7 years waiting for a chance while not complaining. I think the fans see what could have been...an unbeaten season except for Bronco's blind loyality to a player with a loosing record at 2 schools.

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 10:59 p.m.

    The honor code is NOT an impediment to winning. It doesn't inhibit athletes. Those who live the Code don't get hangovers, DUI's, kill their friends while DUI. There are plenty of athletes who live the honor code. I'll name a few:

    Manti Te'o, Maxwell Award Winner
    Bryce Harper, MLB NL ROY
    Jabari Parker, High School POY
    Steve Young, NFL HOF
    Mike Weir, Masters Champion

    I'll name some non-Mormon's (from memory) who lived the Honor Code:
    Gary Sheide, Sammy Baugh Winner
    Marc Wilson, College HOF
    Clay Brown, All-American
    Tom Holmoe, Super Bowl winning player and coach
    Ty Detmer, College HOF, Heisman Trophy
    Steve Sarkisian, All-American
    Keith Clearwater, PGA ROY
    Kresimir Cosic, Naismith HOF, FIBA HOF

    And though not a BYU player, I'm sure Tim Tebow, National Champion QB and Heisman winner lives consistent with the Honor Code, as does Roger Staubach, David Robinson, etc.

    More than 40% of Americans go to church on Sunday. LDS people aren't the only people with standards, and not the only people who don't drink or smoke. BYU has had many, many great non-Mormon players.

  • WestGranger West Valley City, Utah
    Dec. 11, 2012 11:37 p.m.

    So after years of consistent winning, Bronco has an injured QB and loses some very close games to very good teams. Get real.We are lucky to have Bronco as coach. I like the fact that he admits his faults, is mellowing, wants to win but isn't willing to win at all cost. I hope he coaches at BYU for years to come! These young players need to make sacrifices to be excellent.Besides the defense was AMAZING and #3 in the nation!!! Get real.

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 11:44 p.m.

    WestGranger -- "I like the fact that he admits his faults"

    Name once.

  • panamadesnews Lindon, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 3:05 a.m.

    Toward the end of the game that Riley was clearly hurting, came out and lay down across the bench behind the sidelines, and BYU got the ball right back, there is no way Riley should have been allowed to run right back out on the field with the offense. They lost that game, but had Lark come in, good chance they would have won. There seems to be a disconnect between Bronco and his assistant coaches and the team members. No way a player, as apparantly Riley did, makes the decision Riley made. Appeared the coaches were not ready for BYU to go back on offense. That should have been a contingency. There is a communication problem. Bronco is a great coach. But he needs to have more of a handle on what his assistants do.

  • mocoregon sherwood, OR
    Dec. 12, 2012 8:53 a.m.

    The coach only needs to be respectful of fans. Other than that, no one wants the coach listening to the fans, for every fan there is a different opinion. Bronco's biggest problem is he talks about championships, but doesn't have the coaches or players to win a championship. (Does anyone really think the Offensive Coordinator, is the best of the best out there, one capable of guiding an offense to a national championship. The very thought makes you laugh.) You have to assume Riley is left in because he is the best the Y has at the position. Hence the problem. Oregon lost its QB last year to the NFL, where he isn't playing because he knew he would be beat out by current QB. The problem is lack of depth. Oregon churns out QBs for its system (sorta like BYU used to do.) USC churns out running backs. One goes down another is there. That isn't the case at BYU apparently. I just hopes he holds his coaches feet to the fire for what they produced this year!

  • GD Syracuse, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 9:47 a.m.

    Hind sight is a wonderful thing. Had BYU scored in going for two against Boise, Bronco would have been a genius. Since he didn't he is a poor coach. I felt he should have gone for one but that is his decision and I can agree with that. He knows the players and the system. Maybe a different play? There are so many variables. Bronco may not be the best public relations guy but I think he's a good coach. I personally don't like his defensive philosophy but again he's the coach. When you know the results it is easy to criticize and be all knowing. We might have missed the extra point knowing the struggle our kickers have had this year. Who knows. Its what it is.
    Gary

  • Alpine Coug Alpine, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 10:28 a.m.

    Glaringly obvious that the overwhelming majority of those commenting on this article don't have a clue about the almost impossible scope of work required of Bronco Mendenhall or any BYU coach. Not only do they need to have the demeanor and character of an LDS Mission President, but the coaching and charismatic genius of a Lombardi or a Rockne or maybe an Urban Meyer. The subset of all such possible combinations is probably somewhere around 2-5 men to perhaps include such LDS men as Steve Young and/or Ty Detmer?

    Although far from perfect, Bronco Mendenhall has done an outstanding job of resurrecting the BYU Football program from the ashes of the Crowton era. Give him a few more years of recruiting and building the program together with a seriously upgraded schedule and there will be (another) national championship and a return to national relevance in the near future.

    Predict that Bronco Mendenhall will one day obtain the same legendary status as Coach Edwards. 74-29 is not a bad start after 8 seasons. Count on the next 8 being even greater.

  • Whoa Nellie American Fork, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 12:30 p.m.

    "Bronco Mendenhall is not going to throw a guy under the bus — not his player or his staff," said Aaron Wagner. "His statements in support of Nelson are his way of backing his offensive coordinator's decisions. If (offensive coordinator) Brandon Doman chooses to play a guy, Bronco is going to support that. But he will hold him accountable for the results. Nelson is a senior captain and, I guess Doman believes — in an offense with a lot of problems — he is the guy best to play. Mendenhall is backing him."

    Well, times must be changing because on the True Blue program Monday night (you can watch it on the Dnews article today, Brandon Doman, when asked about Riley's health, said, ". . . the decision will be Coach Mendenhall's decision on who to play."

    Riley Nelson has an extremely competitive drive. I believe that factor clouded the decision-making process for the coaches that allowed him to play injured. Hopefully the coaches have learned how to temper that type of enthusiasm for the good of the team.

  • SlopJ30 St Louis, MO
    Dec. 12, 2012 12:43 p.m.

    @Rational:

    Are you seriously saying that the honor code doesn't impede recruiting? To be clear, BYU bending the HC for sports recruting purposes would be an unforgiveable decision and I will gladly accept losing some games and recruits because the HC's existence. But, to state that it's not an obstacle in trying to build a winning team is hilarious in its naievete.

    You've listed non-LDS (or "not-yet-LDS") players who thrived under the HC, but that misses the point entirely. There are hundreds of potential recruits every year who never even give BYU a sniff because the HC would completely ruin their idea of "college life." For every Manti Te'o you've got two dozen players out "sowing their oats" and getting their buzz on every weekend. Lots of those guys are great players, but would be horrible fits for the Y. So, yeah, it's possible to find great players who are down with the HC, but there's a degree of difficulty there no thinking person would deny.

  • Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovo St. George, UT
    Dec. 13, 2012 2:52 p.m.

    As the parent of a former BYU recruit, and with all do respect to BYU and what the institution stands for, Bronco was by far the least appealing coach we met with. Extremely cold, and not at all intriguing. This is not personal, probably a great guy? However, as the parent of an LDS young man, I could not direct my son in his direction as per football. I wish I could have, the school is acadenically top notch and facilities are amazing, However, Coach Mendenhall, is very "cold" and surprisingly not motivational. Again, I do not know him personally, which is part of the problem. But did not push my son towards his program.

  • sammyg Springville, UT
    Dec. 14, 2012 5:58 a.m.

    Possible cause of COPD

    So if you meet a guy and have an opinion that he's very "cold", not motivational, least appealing, extremely cold and not intriguing and then you say you don't know him personally... what's the point in making the comment in the first place?

    Did your son sit on the bench or did he get a quality education?

    I think the bottom line and a good point you failed or conveniently left out was your son's opinion... not your bias.