Yesterday ESPN hosted a live chat with BYU football head coach Bronco Mendenhall. Here is the chat in its entirety.
SportsNation Buzzmaster: Bronco is on his way. Hang in there folks!
SportsNation Buzzmaster: We've got Bronco!
SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: I'm excited to be online with you alla nd to have the chance to discuss college football and BYU specifically with all of you that are interested!
Glenn, Temple, TX: Do you think that a 12-0 BYU team this year deserves a chance to play in the national championship game even though they are not from a BCS conference?
SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: A 12-0 BYu team, in our first year of being undefeated in my regime, does not. However, if established for two or three years, then it should be considered.
Brock - Orem, UT: What are the keys to performing so consistently at a high level of exucution?
SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: Our team performs consistently at a high level with the nature of the young men we recruit. They are more driven and principle-based than others ion the country. Our organizational structure focuses only on what we need to do to win games, which helps us maintain a high level of success.
Kyle Jones - Salt Lake City, Utah: What is the secret to your success in defeating Utah these last few years?
SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: It's been a combination of three things--momentum carried into the game, the maturity and consistency of the young men on our team, and preparation for stressful situations and game-changing plays, in our offseason model and spring practice.
Kacey Robbins Payson, Utah: Season ticket holder since age three. Congrats coach on last season. I have noticed the Y recruiting taller wide recievers, is there a reason why?
SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: The simple reason is, most defensive backs are short. Knowing that BYU hasn't been able to recruit players with phenomenal speed, we use size to our advantage, knowing that body position and accurate passes will help us makre completions against speedier cornerbacks.
Aaron, Laramie, WY: As a Cowboy fan and Cougar hater, I begrudgingly admire how you have brought BYU back to prominence. Who is the team you are most worried about on your schedule and your "Quest for Perfection?"
SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: I worry about our teams in order, and the one I'm most concerned about in order is Northern Iowa, first on our schedule. Our theme has been that this is only about us, and we've been focusing exclusively on our program, our position mastery, our execution. We'll simply go in order of our schedule.
Coop: Springville, Utah: How difficult is it to balance both religion and football to the kids you coach?
SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: The balance is most difficult once you've made a choice in what is important inyour life. For me, it's never about football entirely--it's about my purpose here on earth and how I conduct myself. Football is a great way to teach life lessons towards that same point.
Nathan (Omaha NE): How are you addressing the percieved weakness in the secondary with the loss of 4 starters from last year?
SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: It's a unique question, considering four of our starters in the UCLA game were walk-ons. Our system is designed to make the most of every player in our program. We believe we have the system and coaching to bring out the talent in the current players we have.
Jared -- Terre Haute, IN: What was your surf spot of choice this offseason?
SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: I was part of a Nike Coach's trip to Mexico. I will leave the name of the place unknown because it was a nice spot and I don't want it to be overcrowded. But the only chances I have to surf now are on business.
Rogan (Cheeta Idyll, RI): Are you developing a pattern for dealing with the returned missionaries (i.e., redshirting vs. letting them play immediately?)
SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: There is a pattern that's fairly well-established. It depends on birthday and when each young man who wants to go on a mission turns 19. If a player turns 19 in the summer months, we'll try to play him immediately knowing that he'll need a lot of playing time. If a player's birthday is in the middle of the football year, we will redshirt that young man first and allow him to play, knowing that when they return, they will have enough time to play. As a followup, the strategy works successfully, as we have 73 returned missionaries with 37 out serving, and with an 11-2 record, we feel we're on the right track,
Derek (Boise, ID): BYU is a few plays from having gone undefeated each of the past two seasons. How hard is it to focus on the success and not the near-misses?
SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: The near-misses and mistakes are the most valuable components to building and performing at a higher level. I view our double-OT loss at BC and our loss at UCLA as two of the greatest contributors to our success. We've been able to finish with 10 straight wins because of those. My hope is that we've been able to learn and apply those lessons. Mistakes are the greatest opportunity to learn,
SportsNation Bronco Mendenhall: It's been a pleasure, and a fun and interesting vehicle to interact with the nation, regarding one of America's greatest sport in college football!