If you say the words “Cougar Club Luncheon” you will instantly have my attention. I love those little guys, and I will literally drop anything and everything to attend. Such was the case today.
Coach Bronco Mendenhall was the featured speaker at today’s luncheon, and that made this event a must-attend. I’ve been to a few luncheons in the past, and I just know Bronco hates them. He gives the impression that he would rather stick his face in pure sulfur than answer to the Cougar Club blue hairs. That tension creates a very entertaining presentation.
Today Coach Mendenhall blew me away. First, the guy just has a commanding presence. When he stands up, the room stares. When he walks across the room he looks like a giant. When he speaks, I want to stand up and do wind sprints.
The theme of Mendenhall’s address was why he continues to coach at BYU—what gets him up in the morning, if you will. I’ll be honest, I was planning on another “We build young men into bishops” speech, in which he touts the spiritual aspects of BYU.
I have no problem with that, for the record.
But the coach surprised me. He talked almost exclusively about on-field achievements. He talked about his expectations for the program, which are:
1. Be dominant at home
2. Win the state championship
3. Win the conference championship
4. Go to a bowl game and win that
“That is what you have told me you want,” Mendenhall stated. “And that is the definition of BYU football.”
He talked about the kind of program he wants to build at BYU. He spoke of the BCS, and how the MWC is currently ranked ahead of the Big East and the ACC as far as conference rankings are concerned. This is significant because if the MWC continues to out-perform other BCS conferences, the MWC will earn an automatic qualifying spot when the BCS conferences are re-evaluated in 2012.
Does that make sense? Anyway, he said that everyone who wants to see the MWC have an automatic BCS bid, therefore, should be cheering on teams like Utah and TCU.
That sent a shiver down my spine. I don’t like either school, but I suppose I can give the Horned Frogs my support. Personally, I don’t see any way an honest evaluation of the conferences would leave the MWC behind the ACC and the Big East. These are awful conferences. Just awful.
Mendenhall continued. “Once the MWC has an automatic BCS bid, guess what happens then?” Mendenhall asked. “We can potentially play for a national championship.”
Mendenhall said it sometimes makes people uncomfortable when he talks about a second national championship in Provo, to which he asked “Why? Isn’t that what we all want?”
He briefly mentioned the loss to Florida State, calling it a good opportunity to learn and grow as a team. He also made an interesting comment about the home field advantage at LES—that sometimes the dominance can turn into a disadvantage.
The players, he said, sometimes think merely playing at home will be enough to get the win. They quickly learned that if you don’t execute and if you aren’t prepared the home field won’t do a lick of good.
One other note: He described the incoming 2010 recruiting class as “Excellent.”
“I rarely talk about future players, but I can tell you this: The incoming class is excellent,” he said.
Great lunch, coach. Keep up the good work.