BYU football notebook: Bronco Mendenhall decides naming team captains early was wrong
Ravell Call, Deseret News
PROVO — At the conclusion of spring practice last year, BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall had his players vote on team captains going into summer workouts.
That won't be happening this time.
Mendenhall admitted Wednesday that naming team captains at that stage of the season was the wrong decision.
"Looking back it was a mistake, but I felt it was right at that time," he said. "Our leadership council is named, and with 29 seniors, I don't feel a need to anoint or designate leaders at this point as captains. That will happen after fall camp, like we had done the previous six years. I experimented a year ago, and thought I was doing the right thing at the right time, but I didn't like some of the byproducts that I didn't see coming."
Mendenhall explained that there were some key players who did not participate in spring drills a year ago that weren't voted as captains. Though he didn't mention him by name, one of those players was quarterback Riley Nelson, who took over the starting job mid-season and displayed strong leadership that had been lacking.
"You try to predict and think that maybe if you anoint or if the team votes for a couple of captains there through spring, well a lot of times there are hurt players who are very good players that have a lot of influence that the team kind of forgets about a little bit during spring," Mendenhall said.
"I don't think ultimately they were given enough consideration. … With the number of injuries that happened in spring, I underestimated that the players wouldn't take those guys into account, even though they were significant contributors. It's literally the out-of-sight, out-of-mind when it comes to practice. How much that weighed on the voting, I didn't see that coming."
BACKTOLINEBACKER:SeniorAustenJorgensen was switched from linebacker to fullback before the start of spring drills, but he has now moved back to linebacker.
"Austen wanted to come back," Mendenhall said. "He was hoping for a chance to break into more playing time, a more significant playing time at fullback. We have him at outside linebacker."
INJURYUPDATE: The injuries continue to pile up for the Cougars.
Offensive lineman BlairTushaus suffered a torn meniscus in his knee on Monday. Head trainer KevinMorris said Tushaus will undergo surgery in a couple of weeks and will be out for up to one month.
Senior wide receiver RhenBrown is dealing with a hip injury that is being examined by doctors.
"He'll probably have to have that hip scoped," Morris said. "It's a tough recovery. I'm really concerned about his senior season. Right now, we'll see what the surgery says and we'll go from there. That's a tough one to come back from, especially at his position because there's so much planting, cutting and pivoting. We'll defer as to what happens in fall until after the surgery."
And freshman running back AdamHine hasn't practiced since absorbing a hard hit during Saturday's scrimmage. Morris said Hine suffered a mild concussion. "He looks really good and if we had a game today, he'd be cleared to play," Morris said.
NOTES: BYU's final practice of spring will be held on Friday. The Cougars stopped doing any more "team" or 11-on-11 drills this week. … FormerBYU players AustinCollie and HarveyUnga watched parts of Wednesday's practice.
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