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Brad Rock: BYU's Bronco now in the news business

Published: Tuesday, May 7 2013 4:32 p.m. MDT

BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall speaks with reporters at the NFL Draft, discussing Ezekiel Ansah being selected fifth overall in the draft by the Detroit Lions. Mendenhall has recently established his own Twitter account: @BYU_Football. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU) BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall speaks with reporters at the NFL Draft, discussing Ezekiel Ansah being selected fifth overall in the draft by the Detroit Lions. Mendenhall has recently established his own Twitter account: @BYU_Football. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU)

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! BRONCO MENDENHALL STARTS HIS OWN NEWSPAPER!

Well, not exactly. But the BYU football coach did confirm recently that, yes, that’s him on Twitter, under the handle @BYU_football, which means he now has, in spirit, a personal newspaper. He can skip the middleman and go straight to the public.

In other words, he can deliver the news via the Internet, how he wants, when he wants, without calling a press conference. Straight from the, um, bronco’s mouth.

Just don’t expect any candid admissions about such things as what really happened with Jake Heaps. In fact, don’t expect a lot of anything. The biggest stories he’ll break will probably be about enjoyable team meetings and good practices.

Still, if Mendenhall has something he really needs to say, he now has the option to do it the way Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber do — by going social. In that sense he can be publisher of his own newspaper, which is why Twitter and Facebook are so popular.

They make sure everyone has a newspaper.

The Bronco news will be written and edited by — who else? — Bronco. Apparently he’ll also be his own staff photographer/editor. That’s what happened when he posted a picture of himself wearing 3D glasses and standing next to Ziggy Ansah at the NFL Draft.

Meanwhile, Bronco has the ultimate inside source: himself. He can dish on everything from coaching spats to conference alignment to honor code violations. He can even break his own rules on tweeting at practice and/or conducting unauthorized interviews.

But of course he won’t.

More likely it will be similar to what he tweeted from the NFL Draft: “I am proud of my guys!” and “Always nice to see someone’s dream come true.”

In honesty, this will be a stretch for Mendenhall. He only has 140 characters per tweet. When’s the last time Mendenhall wrapped up anything in 140 characters?

He uses adjectives that are longer than that.

Mendenhall’s move isn’t revolutionary. According to Kelly Hines of the Tulsa World, there were 87 college football coaches with Twitter accounts last week. Mendenhall ranked 53rd with 4,560 followers (as of Tuesday afternoon he had 4,992). Les Miles of Louisiana State was No. 1 (“The Miles Family enjoyed the UHCubs baseball victory! Johns pitching, very strong!") with 105,760 followers. Washington’s Steve Sarkisian was No. 7 with over 46,000 followers (“Woof! Woof! Woof!”). Utah State’s Matt Wells was 70th with 1,987 (“Glass going up on side of new weight room! Gonna be big time!!”).

At the same time, using social media will be weird for Mendenhall. Privately he’s a pleasant and amusing guy. When he’s in a public forum he turns to Teflon.

Anyway, the Bronco brand is out there. This opens the door to fascinating possibilities. In the past, coaches didn’t often contest what was in the papers or electronic media, though they wanted to. Boy, did they want to. Now they can instantaneously argue every bit of minutia. If a media outlet says Mendenhall should have pulled his QB earlier, he can tweet back no he shouldn’t have.

Should too.

Should not.

It could get interesting.

I don’t see him getting in any Twitter fights, though. Most likely he’ll write about what great young men he has in the program (true) and how all positions are up for grabs in fall camp (not true). Maybe he’ll get the journalism bug. It would be awesome to see him in the post-game interview room posing questions to himself, along with the rest of the media.

I figure eventually he’ll decide it’s not worth the trouble to do a lot of tweeting, or he’ll have someone from the P.R. staff do it. Too bad, because I’d love to see a tweet by him that said: STOP THE PRESSES! RILEY NELSON WAS BEST BYU QUARTERBACK EVER!

That’s unlikely, but I’ll still follow him anyway. He’s now a colleague as well as a coach. I’ll even give him the best compliment a writer can receive: I read everything you write.

Email: rock@desnews.com; Twitter: therockmonster; Facebook: therockmonster

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