Catching up with Bronco Mendenhall | Ole Miss Sports

Some highlights from a phone interview with BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall this week.

(How did you come to be called Bronco?)

“My dad raised me. He was a trainer in the cutting horse business. So I grew up with a horse background. Rather than a nickname I guess he just had me destined to be a football player, a coach or a rodeo star.”

(What went wrong first half of last season?)

“Most of it was trying to establish who our quarterback was. After we won our opener against the University of Washington, I believed a two-quarterback system would work. I really did not prepare precisely enough. Once the reps were divided we kind of lost our edge offensively as to who we really were. Defensively we were not strong enough against very good teams to hold on while our offense improved.”

(What went into your decision to take over the defense mid-way last season?)

“I’m a defensive coordinator by training, and while we were struggling I did not feel I was doing enough. I wanted to be arm-in-arm, field level, eye level. I wanted to sweat with them, and they had to see me doing that. That’s what we did in the middle of the season.”

(When recruiting, do prospects have a lot of questions about the honor code?)

“They really do. From our initial presentation it’s the thing we express from the beginning. We’re a faith-based institution with unique standards. There’s no alcohol, no tobacco, no pre-marital sex. We view all those as strengths and are interested in young men who are faith-first, socially conservative and have strong moral backgrounds. If they’re not interested in that it’s completely OK and it doesn’t matter how good of football players they are, they won’t fit at BYU.”

(Is it difficult to tell which players will fit in?)

“It really isn’t. We are so blunt and so bold we can usually tell by a few responses and by asking a few simple questions whether it’s something they are passionate about. They have to convince me it’s what they want. I don’t try to convince them it’s what they should have.”