PROVO — As BYU's fall camp comes to the end of its second week, both head coach Bronco Mendenhall and star running back Jamaal Williams had something in common to talk about after practice:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Yes, we're talking about the pizza-loving, ninjutsu-practicing heroes in a half shell. The football team went to go see the new version of the Ninja Turtles on the big screen on Wednesday, and Williams claimed to see one of his teammates in the film.
"Adam Hine is in the movie," Williams said with a big smile. "He's the one with the nunchucks!"
For those not familiar with the green ninja heroes, Williams means Michelangelo, the wise-cracking turtle that wears an orange mask and says cowabunga a lot. However, Hine isn't the only running back he saw in the movie.
"Paul [Lasike] is the mean one. He's Raphael," Williams continued. "Alge [Algernon Brown] is we're going to make him Donatello. I'll be Leonardo."
So, that makes Lesike the turtle with the red mask who uses sai as his weapon and has serious anger management issues. Brown would be the nerd of the turtles who uses a purple mask and a bō staff. Naturally, Williams compared himself to the blue-masked leader of the Ninja Turtles who uses swords as his weapon.
Of course, we can't forget about Splinter, the wise old teacher of the Ninja Turtles who also happens to be a giant rat. That honor goes to running backs coach Mark Atuaia, at least according to Williams.
Williams didn't give Mendenhall a role in the movie. Notably, he also didn't mention Shredder, the villain of the movie who has a thing for wearing blades all over his body.
Draw your own conclusions.
Even coach Mendenhall had a fun time talking about the Turtles. In fact, he suggested that the team would run onto the field with the movie's theme "Shell Shock" playing on the loudspeakers. Well, at least it's not Vanilla Ice's "Go Ninja, Go Ninja GO!" from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze.
Finally, what role does coach Mendenhall see for himself within the TMNT world?
"I've been thinking a lot about it," Mendenhall said. "In fact, I had the headband with just the eye holes. Orange would be the one that I would choose. I would highly recommend my man with the humor because he and I are so much alike with the sense of humor."
So, if you see coach Mendenhall on the sideline with an orange mask, a set of nunchucks and yelling cowabunga to his team, you know why. However, we can only wonder if the players see Mendenhall as Michelangelo, or if they envision him as some other character in the TMNT world.
And who knows? Maybe the phrase "Teenage Mutant Ninja Cougars" will catch on this fall.
Lafe Peavler is a staff sports writer for the Deseret News. Follow him on Twitter @LafePeavler.
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