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My View: For BYU mission, Bronco still ideal fit

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  • fresnogirl Fresno, CA
    Feb. 2, 2013 11:21 a.m.

    I love what Bronco has brought to the program. Every BYU class I ever took tried to incorporate our faith into the curriculum. I learned that knowledge and faith are compatible. I loved that.

    What Bronco has done is to apply that same principle to the football program. It's seems so obvious in retrospect, but I never realized it had been missing before Bronco came. Now, I can't imagine the program without it.

    Thank you, Bronco.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    Jan. 15, 2013 7:29 a.m.

    When I think of Bronco's legacy, I will think of KVN. I think about how his career started at BYU, and about the excellent young man he is now, on and off the field, I think that exemplifies what Bronco is about.

    Yes, I trumpet the fact that Kyle did the work. But Bronco guided him through troubled times.

  • Hoopty6 OGDEN, UT
    Jan. 14, 2013 8:29 a.m.

    I agree that Bronco is a great fit at BYU. The problem I have is that a head football coach is a very demanding job. Bronco is so busy doing a bunch of extra curricular activities that he does not put the time/effort that he should just into coaching. Personally, I would like to see them get a real head coach (that will ONLY focus on being a head coach, which is PLENTY), and have Bronco be the D-coordinator and the program liaison (conducting firesides, befriending players, making sure they are getting grades and following honor code, that they become great men, etc.).

    There is enough work as the program liaison that they should hire someone to do this as a full-time position. That person can focus on Bronco's top 4 priorities, and then get a coach that can just focus on football. I think Bronco would be a great D-coordinator and program liaison, but I feel we can find a better head coach. Bronco cannot find enough time and balance to do both at the highest level (and I don't know if anyone else could either).

  • Cougar Passion Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 13, 2013 10:26 a.m.

    With regard to GPA, Coach Mendenhall has said that the indicator they have found with the best correlation for adhering to the Honor Code is GPA. Thus, the lower the GPA coming out of high school, the greater the perceived risk for running afoul of the Honor Code, and there clearly is no higher priority than adherence to that. It's true that Utah and BSU have lower GPA thresholds, but that is frankly irrelevant since they are significantly different types of institutions.

    Changing the subject back to whether Coach Mendenhall is a great fit, yes, he is with regard to upholding the school's values, for which he should be applauded. The problem I have with the "vote of confidence" for him is that it seems to say he should be excused for performance less than that of which the team is capable. We can have a top-5 defense but a mediocre offense? We play a badly-injured quarterback while a healthy one who has never been given a serious chance languishes on the bench? Fulfilling the religious mission of the school does not excuse one from glaring deficiencies that should be easily remedied.

  • longtime fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 12, 2013 10:37 p.m.

    @Meckofahess - Sorry if my comments sounded 'holier than thou'; I wasn't trying to say we are better than others. My intention was to point out that at BYU, athletic success always needs to be secondary to turning out great young men that are good citizens. BYU is only one of several institutions that place higher value on discipline and/or academics than on sports. I only wanted to emphasize that we as fans should not get caught up in the 'winning is all that matters' mentality that seems to be more and more prevalent in the sports world.

  • omahacougar Omaha, NE
    Jan. 12, 2013 7:20 p.m.

    Thank you Mr. Lundberg. Bronco has shown that he understands that BYU is a unique institution. He gets it. Hopefully we can get some offense back, as well.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 12, 2013 3:59 p.m.

    Meckofahess - Agree completely with your comments. BYU is not the only schools with "standards". More than a few players have been removed from Dukes teams, and even school for very BYU like infractions. Lets not get too chuffed with ourselves. My sons buddy who played for Spurier at South Carolina and now plays at Indy for the Colts..... was kicked off the Game Cocks for honor code violations in his senior year - for what was reported as lying to the coach, specifically about his rental agreement. It wasn't the trip to Southern Florida or any of that - but lying to coach.

    There are a real lot of good kids out there doing their best. Yes, some programs have lower standards for their Athletes. I lived on the same for as the Jim McMahon Cougars, and lets just say there was stuff going on there that these guys would not tell their moms about in letters. But they were kids, doing kid things, mostly harmless... most of the time.

    BYU is a great program, has a great name for itself, lets not loose that just so we can brag about a 1 years national ranking. It isn't worth it.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    Jan. 12, 2013 11:28 a.m.

    Which is more important? The "respect" of the BCS? Or the respect of the good people on this earth who love sports? The BCS is corrupt and not worth saving. The people are. I say let BYU athletics represent the latter. Live well and play well!

  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    Jan. 12, 2013 10:54 a.m.

    Looks like John got his friends to support his article.

    One could easily agree with his points that from an ethical, moral and standards side Bronco has done an outstanding job.

    But, it wasn't a fair evaluation, omitting the fact he has created a great deal of animosity among the overall local fan base when he publicly calls them pharisees, know-nothing people. His disdain of the media and the fans is a poor leadership style that costs BYU. And his Riley syndrome is well documented...not a very humble fellow. And playing a guy when he's hurt not only put Riley at risk but didn't follow his own philosophy -- put the best players on the field. a player at 60% capacity can't be replaced for Lark? Nonsense.

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 12, 2013 10:17 a.m.

    Woe - lets not hurt our arms patting ourselves on the back please. While I love BYU football (have been a fan for 50 + years), I don't love this undercurrent of "we are holier than thou" judgemental attitude we have as exhibited in Long Time Fan's comment: "I can't bring myself to cheer for pro teams or even many college teams that are made up of players who, outside of their sports talent, have few admirable qualities". BYU is not the only school that has good, moral and responsible young people. A reminder, there have been plenty of high profile BYU grads/LDS people who have made serious mistake in the national news lately - lest we forget. I think one of Broncho Mendenhall's good qualities is that he generlly is humble. Even though I disagree occassionally with a few of his decisions, I do admire that quality. He sets a good example in that regard that we all could emulate. Let us be humble and loyal and "see the good in the world".

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Jan. 12, 2013 9:08 a.m.

    Interesting article and comments. As a non-BYU fan (an understatement), I have to say it was a couragous thing when the schools administration said a few years ago that they were going to strictly adhere to the schools conduct standards in all of their athletic programs. It was obvious, at the time to all outside the circle, what the articles author pointed out that it's very hard to put together 80 talented athletes that won't drink, smoke, or fool around with their girlfriends while going to college. The current state of BYU football was easy to predict regardless of who the coach is.

    The author seems to have come to grips with this, good for him. The fans...not so much so. The administrations goal seems to be first and formost certain behaviors from their athletes and secondly athletic victories. Criticism of the coaches within that reality is what sports is all about, but that is reality. Live with it and take pride in the accomplishment of your goals..you're real goals.

  • Wookie Omaha, NE
    Jan. 12, 2013 8:32 a.m.

    Great article, well written and wonderful insight. I too was I shock to see from afar what was going on at BYU under the previous regime. I was skeptical that Bronco could turn it around but he has done a great job of steering it in the right direction. Kids will be kids but he has set a tone and atmosphere that allows kids refuge from the chaos that is ever present, for members of the LDS faith and those who are not. Bronco recognizes that the school represents its faith and has done a great job in elevating his program to try to emulate. Now if the players and especially the fans would follow suit we would have the best fans and players for sportsmanship in the USA.

  • richchipper Idaho Falls, ID
    Jan. 12, 2013 12:06 a.m.

    Agree w/So Cal reader - why can't we have both? I commend Bronco for a fabulous D this season, but this was a frustrating season - most wins against subpar teams (combined records of 37-62). Nearly zero offense most games from QB University (even low rate ESPN analysts made fun of the offense). Granted most losses were to top 25 teams - but BYU used to BE a top 25 team!!!!

    I certainly want to have good citizens and representatives of BYU and the LDS values. But by the amount of real estate on campus for the sports programs (especially football), winning games has to be part of the BYU mission - not just winning firesides.

    Other coaches have figured out how to win and still fit into the BYU mission - hope the football program can figure it out before I think about getting rid of my season tickets.

  • eagle Provo, UT
    Jan. 11, 2013 9:41 p.m.

    I judge a college coach and especially a BYU coach by these standards:

    1) Are there players good citizens? Not expecting perfection here but generally do they bring honor to the program in how they act off the field.

    2) Do they graduate?

    3) Do the players love and respect their coach and school? Do they play hard for their coach?

    4) Does the program win games?

    5) Does the program develop players for the next level where innate ability to do such exists?

    I think BYU and Bronco does well in these areas...

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    Jan. 11, 2013 7:48 p.m.

    So when coaches make mistakes they are not responsible? Sounds like the letter of two weeks ago that blamed the fans for the problems of this past season.

  • blue & white Boise, ID
    Jan. 11, 2013 7:27 p.m.

    i herd the minimum GPA to play football at BYU is 3.0 or a 3.3 with a lower ACT. is this true? what is wrong with a 2.7 GPA athlet and with moral character and lives the BYU standards? character who is a excellent football player with many offers? I think he should be able to play at BYU as well since it may help them to get to a BCS. Utah and I bet BSU has a lower gpa criteria for playing football.

  • Cougar Cindy Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 11, 2013 5:34 p.m.

    Hear hear! Agree with all this writer says. Go Bronco, Go Cougars!

  • GilmerTexasCougar Gilmer, TX
    Jan. 11, 2013 5:26 p.m.

    This is an excellent, thoughtful article. I was greatly saddened by the scandals around 2004. That was not BYU football. I'm grateful that Bronco Mendenhall has brought honorable football back to BYU. But, gosh, I wish he could do better than going for two against Boise State!

  • So. Cal Reader San Diego, CA
    Jan. 11, 2013 3:34 p.m.

    I, too, agree with Mr. Lungberg's view ... for where the team is now. I don't think Bronco's the right fit for where the team, according to the AD and other school officials, wants the program to get to. Tom Holmoe, as recently as his last press conference, talked about BCS bowls. As much as I like the Cougs, they will not get a sniff of BCS respectability w/ Bronco at the head, which is why I think the school has not extended his contract yet. If the school though Bronco was the long-term solution to punch through the ceiling into BCS respectibility, they would extended his contract. Bronco has also said he wants to fulfill the terms of his current contract. I've said this before, Bronco was THE perfect candidate to bring back the honor & dignity of Cougs football. I just think he's fulfilled his mission to the school & program.

  • GD Syracuse, UT
    Jan. 11, 2013 2:20 p.m.

    I have the same feeling as those in the article. It's easy to get caught up in decisions coaches make. Hind sight is wonderful. The decision made by Bronco in the Boise game seemed wrong to me at the time. As I think about it that was a gutty decision. Had it turned out like he hoped he'd been a genius. As it turned out he was not. Regardless I think sometimes it takes courage to make choices. I support Bronco in his coaching. I love BYU for what it stands for. I watch any sports on the BYU channel, volleyball (Men and Women), basketball (Men and Women), Football etc over watching any other sports program. I might add I started following BYU in 1952.
    Gary

  • longtime fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 11, 2013 12:37 p.m.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Lundberg's comments. In the sports world today, it is difficult to find examples of athletes who accept the responsibility of role model and use their media attention to be a positive influence. At BYU, there are dozens of great athletes who are also great human beings. Even though I love sports of all types, I can't bring myself to cheer for pro teams or even many college teams that are made up of players who, outside of their sports talent, have few admirable qualities. I admire great athletes who use their influence to be great role models in the community. BYU athletic programs' primary focus should always be to produce these types of athletes.
    It's unfortunate that many fans lose sight of the primary mission of BYU, and unintentionally undermine that mission by unsportsmanlike behavior at games or by being overly critical of the coaches and administration in public forums. As fans, it is our job to be as exemplary as we hope our players and coaches will be.

  • nehu Kaysville, UT
    Jan. 11, 2013 11:36 a.m.

    Great article Uncle John:) I agree with everything you said in terms of how he has handled reviving the program's image after Crowton. I also have no problems when Bronco makes reference to "spiritual" things, in fact I always get a chuckle at the BYU fans who get all fired up when he makes such references.

    However, when it comes to coaching the simple decision to maintain Riley as a starter seems almost unfathomable, this is just one instance. As an Aggie fan I've heard more than one Logan High chant from well intentioned Cougar fans and I suppose in a way they were being prophetic . . . never did I imagine that those Logan High chants would be a self-fulfilling prophecy of things to come for BYU football (Riley). If I was in the shoes of a BYU fan the question would be this, "Is there anyone in football coaching who can bring the "mission" of BYU football to pass AND make the right decisions on the field?" I personally think within the LDS ranks there are many who could accomplish this, better than Bronco.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 11, 2013 11:28 a.m.

    Both are really neat.

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 11, 2013 10:54 a.m.

    In the absence of other legitimate reasons stated in the letter, Chris B's comment is the reason that this U grad is a BYU fan.

  • AZguy Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 11, 2013 10:32 a.m.

    Great article with interesting perspective. Great to know that selection committees have voices like that in them.

    Chris B-Nice bishopric shot. The article did not mention bishoprics or church leaders, but leaders of the US that come from schools such as Stanford, ND, service academies, and BYU among others. Keep up the 'I hate BYU for every conceivable reason ' rhetoric.

  • CalJac LOS GATOS, CA
    Jan. 11, 2013 10:30 a.m.

    All you have to do is attend one of Bronco's pregame firesides to see he is a great fit. More good happens there than when beating a top team on the football field. (One of my friends committed to become a memeber of the LDS church after attending the SJSU fireside this season.) Not only are Bronco's values in the right place, his approach to coaching and integrating best practices and technical innovation are second to none in all of college football. Most are not aware of his innovations (they're a competitive secret) that give BYU a leg up in spite of not working a ton of hours. He is the best man for the job!

  • SoUtBoy25 Cedar City, UT
    Jan. 11, 2013 9:58 a.m.

    Well said and the main reason I get excited about BYU football every year. The chances of the Cougars overcoming all odds, with the deck stacked against them world of college athletics, is miniscule; but possibility of overcoming all odds and doing it the right way is hard to resist. The individual stories of spirit, tradition, and honor and development of future leaders makes me proud to be a Cougar.

  • lampa Mc Kinney, TX
    Jan. 11, 2013 9:37 a.m.

    I agree 100%. Bronco is a great fit for BYU!

  • brs27 Beaver, UT
    Jan. 11, 2013 8:31 a.m.

    Amen.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Jan. 11, 2013 8:21 a.m.

    @ UtahBlueDevil. Excellent and accurate comments. Well said!

  • Idaho Dad Pocatello, ID
    Jan. 11, 2013 7:16 a.m.

    Thank you, John. I simply couldn't agree more.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 11, 2013 6:44 a.m.

    I think this is an important part... what is the mission of the program. Being associated with Duke University, it has been challenging at time to support its football program, until you put it's mission in perspective of the overall school. Duke doesn't need its football program to help craft its identity like schools like Alabama and Florida do. Yes, Duke has a premier basketball program, but it is much easier to find dozen student athletes that meet the schools academic standards as well as being league leading players as well. With football, the math is much harder. To find 50 to 80 players who can play football and meet school standards is very tough. So with that, you like knowing being competitive in football is probably good enough.

    BYU has a special mission. Never should it allow football to ever tarnish that mission\image. If that means having a less competitive program - that cost should be worthwhile. If you can have a competitive program without sacrifice school standards... then that is even better.

  • sls Columbia, MO
    Jan. 11, 2013 6:22 a.m.

    Good, thoughtful article. Dittos to everything in it.