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BYU notebook: Bronco Mendenhall not satisfied with BYU's defense

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 5 2012 9:53 p.m. MDT

BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall is also the team's defensive coordinator, but he has been keeping a sharp eye on the Cougars' offense as well.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

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PROVO — As good as BYU's defense was in the season-opener against Washington State, coach Bronco Mendenhall is far from satisfied.

Mendenhall wants to see improvement out of his players Saturday when the Cougars host Weber State.

"I've told them they're not close to where they can be," he said. "They listen and they practiced really hard. I want them to improve every game. Whether it's Washington State or Weber, or whomever we play, I want them to improve. That's their challenge this week."

BYU held Washington State to 224 yards of total offense and did not surrender a touchdown.

"It was a collective effort," said cornerback Jordan Johnson. "As a group, we played well."

Mendenhall is hoping to see consistency this season.

"I want to play good defense," Mendenhall said. "I want it to be week-in and week-out for the entire season. It was a nice start, but as we all know in this profession, that goes away pretty quick. So we're looking to build on that and continue to play better."

THEY SAID IT: BYU's win over Washington State impressed several members of the national media.

"I love their quarterback, Riley Nelson," said ESPN analyst Jesse Palmer. "He reminds me of Tim Tebow. He was very efficient … completing 70 percent of his throws. The defense made tackles in space, got after Jeff Tuel and forced some turnovers. … If they get off to a good start watch out for Bronco Mendenhall and BYU maybe being a BCS buster late this year."

Wrote SI.com's Stewart Mandel: "The outcome shouldn't be entirely surprising. BYU, perhaps unduly overlooked by preseason voters (the Cougars garnered just 10 points in the same Coaches' Poll that ranked them 25th to end last season), trotted out a senior quarterback, Riley Nelson, who went 6-1 upon taking over the starting job last season, along with seven returning starters from a top 15 defense. … There's a reason Vegas pegged BYU a near-two touchdown favorite."

BYU VS. BIG SKY: The Cougars have posted an all-time record of 32-13-1 against current Big Sky teams, including this week's opponent, Weber State. The last time BYU lost to a Big Sky team? It was 1959, when the Cougars fell to Montana, 12-0.

THE STREAK: BYU has won five consecutive games dating back to last season. It is tied for the third-longest winning streak in the nation, trailing only TCU (8) and Baylor (7).

The Cougars' last loss came at the hands of TCU, 38-28, on Oct. 28, 2011.

email: jcall@desnews.com

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