"Every year is a different year," he said. "I didn't notice that until we were 1-4 (in 2010). It stinks that we start like that."
While BYU has been plagued by slow starts, one of Mendenhall's hallmarks has been strong finishes. Twice, in 2006 and 2007, the Cougars opened 1-2, then won 10 consecutive games. In 2010, BYU overcame its 1-4 start to win six of its final eight contests. Last season, the Cougars won nine of their last 10.
Of course, scheduling has been a factor.
Meanwhile, Van Noy is counting on another big finish this season. But can BYU put together a strong start?
"This year the team is more mature, there's more leadership," he said. "That's a big thing when you have senior leadership that takes over and helps the younger guys. We should emphasize that more, that we should start out fast instead of slow."
In four of seven seasons under coach Bronco Mendenhall, BYU has started with a mediocre 2-2 record. The Cougars have also opened 1-3 and 1-4. Here's a look at how BYU started and finished each year under Mendenhall:
2005: lost to Boston Col., beat E. Illinois, lost to TCU, lost to San Diego St. (1-3, final record 6-6)
2006: lost to Arizona, beat Tulsa, lost at Boston Col., beat Utah State (2-2, final record 11-2)
2007: beat Arizona, lost at UCLA, lost at Tulsa, beat Air Force (2-2, final record 11-2)
2008: beat N. Iowa, beat Washington, beat UCLA, beat Wyoming (4-0, final record 10-3)
2009: beat Oklahoma, beat Tulane, lost to Florida St., beat Colorado St. (3-1, final record 11-2)
2010: beat Washington, lost at Air Force, lost at Florida St., lost to Nevada (1-3, final record 7-6)
2011: beat Ole Miss, lost at Texas, lost to Utah, beat C. Florida (2-2, final record 10-3)
2012: vs. Washington St. vs. Weber State at Utah at Boise State
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