Friendly rivals: BYU's Bronco Mendenhall, Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen share special bond
"He did a really nice job with Utah State, and did a nice job at Utah as the coordinator,” Mendenhall said. "He deserved (the head coaching position at Wisconsin), and he's done a nice job with it already. It doesn't surprise me. He has coached them to be tough; he has coached them to be physical; and I see some things of what he likes to do, defensively, already. Offensively, they're very similar to what they were prior to (Andersen’s staff) arriving."
All time, Andersen’s teams have posted a 7-8 record against BYU, dating back to 1997.
“Those games against BYU, I’ve had many great victories. I’ve had many, many tough defeats,” Andersen recalled. “That’s the rivalry game. Our goal when we went to Utah State was to find a way to create a rivalry game again between BYU and Utah State, which had not been there forever and ever. There had been lopsided games. We were fortunate enough to win a game against them and created a rivalry again in that situation.”
His friendship with Mendenhall “has grown through that rivalry,” Andersen said.
Andersen also expressed admiration for the way Mendenhall’s teams play.
“They’re going to take their best players and put them in positions to make plays. That’s what Bronco’s done there for years,” he said. “He does a great job with it. The way they play, the physicality they bring to the game, their love of football — you’ll see it. A lot of things that I stand for and believe in in coaching, their kids play that way.”
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