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BYU football notebook: Bronco Mendenhall 'passionate' about his defense trying to stop the option

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 24 2012 7:51 p.m. MDT

PROVO — Early in his career as a defensive coordinator, Bronco Mendenhall did not like to scheme against option teams.

The first time, when he was at New Mexico, Mendenhall remembers Air Force running all over his defense.

But Mendenhall's view has changed. Now, he loves defending the option.

"I'm passionate about it. I like it a lot," the coach said. "I've been on the good and bad days with defending the option — more good than bad. When you're playing well, it's very gratifying. When you're not, you feel helpless. There's an extra sense of urgency. I like the challenge. Hopefully the players will understand that, but it's really hard."

Mendenhall said Saturday's game at Georgia Tech will be his "15th or 16th time" facing the option.

The Cougars' last game against an option team resulted in a 35-14 loss at Air Force in 2010, however.

"That was hard to watch," Mendenhall recalled, noting that Jaime Hill was BYU's defensive coordinator at the time. Later that season, Mendenhall fired Hill and took over defensive coordinator responsibilities.

BROADCAST PLANS SET: ESPN announced Wednesday broadcast plans for two upcoming BYU football games.

The Cougars’ final home game on Nov. 10 against Idaho will be televised at 8:15 p.m. on ESPNU. And BYU’s game at San Jose State on Nov. 17 will kick off at 8:30 p.m., MT on ESPNU or ESPN2.

BIG RATINGS: NBC reported Wednesday that last Saturday's BYU-Notre Dame game attracted more viewers (3.73 million) than all the Fighting Irish games televised by NBC last year but one. In 2011, the Notre Dame-Michigan State game drew 3.83 viewers.

NO BYU-OHIO STATE: The Columbus Dispatch reported Wednesday that one school that was looking into the possibility of playing Ohio State in its season-opener next season — after Vanderbilt backed out — was BYU.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith confirmed that BYU was a target, but said "that fell through," according to the Columbus Dispatch.

When asked about it Wednesday, Mendenhall said, "I was asked if I would be interested, and that was about it."

Instead of BYU, it appears that San Diego State will play the Buckeyes next season, according to the Dispatch.

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