PROVO Now in his fourth year as BYU's head coach, Bronco Mendenhall continues to make changes in the program.
On Friday, he told reporters about a new policy he's implementing regarding the way he handles the redshirting process. He's decided to make players "earn" a redshirt, rather than receive one automatically.
"I'm not making redshirt decisions now until after the end of the first year, possibly later," Mendenhall said. "What I don't like is the view of entitlement of, 'If I'm not going to play, I'm going to redshirt.' I think a redshirt is to be earned. It's a different philosophy. But just because a player is on the team for one year and doesn't play doesn't mean that's a year he's going to have eligibility-wise.
"Since that tone has been set, I like it. I think it prepares them more for the real world, where you can't really take a year off and be in an organization or on a team and be expected to have it paid for. It could be determined at the end of the first year or it might be at the end of the second year. Those decisions won't be made like they have in the past."
The reason for the change stemmed from past players not giving their all after knowing they wouldn't play.
"There have been some players before that I've looked at and once they weren't playing, I don't think their commitment level was the same," Mendenhall said. "I don't like it. They'll have to earn everything in our program. That was one thing on my part that I felt in our organization needed to change. They'll have to earn the redshirt year as a privilege, which it is."
SCRIMMAGE TODAY: The Cougars are scheduled to hold their first scrimmage of fall camp today, and Mendenhall said a lot of young players will see plenty of action at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
"They'll get a ton of work," Mendenhall said. "We have to make some decisions pretty soon on where players will fit in on special teams and on traveling (to road games). We have a very good idea on a lot of our older players what they're capable of. So you'll see some live work with some experienced players and you'll see a lot of live work with youth."
AFUTITI ARRIVES: BYU welcomed highly touted defensive lineman Bernard Afutiti, a transfer from Mt. San Antonio College, to camp Friday. Before reporting, Afutiti had to have his academic transcripts cleared from junior colleges in California, which took several days. Now, he must wait five days before putting on full pads, as per NCAA rules.
"He's missed a lot. We'll see how he does," Mendenhall said, adding that Afutiti has a lot of catching up to do after missing the first five days of fall camp.
HALL'S BACKUPS: Coming out of spring practice, one of Mendenhall's biggest concerns was the backup quarterback position. Not anymore. Mendenhall is pleased with the way Brenden Gaskins and Kurt McEuen are performing."I'm not concerned at this point. I like the way both have come back," Mendenhall said. "Brenden has the edge currently but Kurt is gaining ground as well. Brenden Gaskins, from the first day of camp on, has done a really nice job. I think Kurt is pushing him."