LaVell is one of the best ever, one of the joys for this weekend. I know LaVell is in the Hall of Fame. … He meant that much to college football and it's one of the exciting things to be going out there and playing in LaVell Edwards Stadium because I just have so much respect for him and all he did. —Texas coach Mack Brown
PROVO — There’s plenty of mutual respect between BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall and Texas coach Mack Brown.
The two sit on the board of the America Football Coaches Association (Brown is the president of the board) and they have taken trips together, with their wives, as part of their involvement with their endorsements with Nike.
“I know him well,” Mendenhall said of Brown. “We discuss all sorts of serious issues and know each other really well. I think he’s a good man and he does a nice job coaching his team.”
Mendenhall added that “there’s a similar moral code and moral compass. I’ve learned a lot from him. He’s a strong leader.”
Brown called Mendenhall “a friend of mine. We've known each other for quite a while. He's a great head coach. He does a tremendous job."
With a victory Saturday, Brown would tie Woody Hayes for 10th on the NCAA all-time victories list for coaches. Brown has won 237 career games.
Speaking of all-time winningest coaches, Brown is looking forward to catching up with legendary former BYU coach LaVell Edwards this weekend.
“LaVell is one of the best ever, one of the joys for this weekend,” he said. “I know LaVell is in the Hall of Fame. He meant that much to college football and it's one of the exciting things to be going out there and playing in LaVell Edwards Stadium because I just have so much respect for him and all he did. He was one of the older guys that I looked up to from a very early age and he's taken care of me for years.”
BRACING UP: BYU quarterback Taysom Hill will continue to wear a brace that protects the knee he injured last year throughout this season.
“There was probably a little hindrance, maybe, but not enough to say, ‘Let’s take it off and not protect myself,’” Hill said. “It’s fine and it’s something I will continue to wear. It’s bulky and heavy and as you begin to play it moves around, too. It definitely doesn’t make me faster, but not enough to say, ‘Let’s not wear it and risk injury.’”
‘DEAD ISSUE’: Much was made last month about the case of Texas offensive lineman Desmond Harrison, who had taken a BYU Independent Study course to be eligible this year. BYU denied Harrison credit for the course because he is not a BYU student-athlete.
However, the NCAA ruled that Harrison could play, and he did in the Longhorns’ opener against New Mexico State.
Brown said the controversy was not between BYU and Texas.
“It was between Contra Costa College (Harrison’s previous school) and Brigham Young,” Brown said. “Never mentioned between the two athletic departments. Dead issue moving forward.”
HOME OPENER: BYU senior defensive lineman Eathyn Manumaleuna said he and his teammates can’t wait to play at Edwards Stadium.
“We have goals that we set before the season. One of them was to win all of our home games,” he said. “This game is very critical for us. It’s definitely a big game for us. We’re up for the challenge.”
The Cougars say they can’t wait to play against a ranked team in the home opener.
“It’s great. I look forward to the challenge and the opportunity,” said Hill. “Any time you can play a team that’s well-established in college football it’s fun to see how you compare. You go and beat a program like that, you start to get some national attention. We’re going to go out and do our best.”
NEW ARTWORK AT STADIUM UNVEILED: Southern California-based sports artist Mike Sullivan unveiled a 12-by-9-foot BYU mural at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Friday.
The artwork is part of a series of 25 permanent, large-scale murals being installed at many of the storied football stadiums across the country. The artwork will later be published in a full-color coffee table book. Each mural will be featured as a chapter of the book with additional information about the stadium and the history of the university.
Sullivan has installed murals at Notre Dame Stadium, Texas Memorial Stadium, Sun Devil Stadium (ASU) and the Los Angeles Coliseum (USC).