Gerry Broome, AP
Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall signals from the sideline during the first half an NCAA college football game against North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

No horsing around, Bronco Mendenhall has a unique way to try to corral recruits.

Truth be told, there literally is some horsing around.

For the second year in a row at Virginia, the football coach showed his relationship with horses goes deeper than simply having an equestrian-friendly first name.

Mendenhall took recruits on a horse ride during their recruiting trip to Charlottesville.

During his first go-around with the Cavaliers, Mendenhall shared with reporters why he has recruits saddle up. In a roundabout way, it has to do with his wife Holly’s plans for testing potential wives for their sons Cutter, Braker and Raeder.

DailyProgress.com columnist Jerry Ratcliffe wrote about this interesting strategy:

“If one of them gets engaged and wants to be married, she already knows how she’s going to give her approval,” Mendenhall said. “So, she’s from Montana, and there’s the wilderness area called the Bob Marshall Wilderness. It’s really rugged, and there’s grizzlies. So she won’t let one of my boys get married unless their future spouse comes on a 10-day pack trip in the wilderness with us.”

Visitors travel through this million-acre Montana wilderness, known to locals as “The Bob,” by foot or horseback, Ratcliffe explained.

It might not sound like this has anything to do with football recruiting, but Mendenhall would beg to differ.

“This simply means we’ll get to know (recruits) in every possible way,” he said. “Yeah, maybe riding a horse with me for an hour isn’t a 10-day pack trip in the back country, but I want to see who they are and who their families are, and probably they want to see who I am.”

Now a Virginia running back, Lamont Atkins tweeted a thanks to Mendenhall and staff after his visit last year. “Riding horses on Coach’s ranch was by far the best part. #Wahoowa”

Mendenhall pointed out that he truly likes to get players to know him and vice-versa during the recruiting process, so he does things a bit differently. He compared the process of getting verbal commitments to that of marriage proposals.

“In a sense, we’re getting married,” Mendenhall said. “I mean, a commitment is taking on a different form now. When Holly said she’d marry me, I didn’t have to ask if it was a soft commitment or a verbal commitment. A commitment is a commitment. I would like a similar context in this. If they say they’re coming, I want to know I can trust them.”

If so … giddy up!

OLD-SCHOOL FOOTAGE

When Utah and West Virginia square off in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Tuesday, it will certainly look a lot different than the last time they met in a bowl game.

The Utes and Mountaineers faced each other in the 1964 Liberty Bowl at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

The Utah athletics program shared some fascinating footage from that encounter, which the Utes won 32-6. The football team wasn’t the only winner, according to the announcer who ended this report — which partly focused on the game but also on how it was played indoors — with a humorous line:

“Utah wins 32-6, but the big winners are the fans who sat in comfort.”

GOALIE GOAL!

The first goal of Dawson Rodin’s hockey career was quite impressive.

Even ESPN thought so.

Earlier this week, Rodin, a 6-foot-5 netminder from Chilliwack, B.C., scored a goalie goal for the Utah Outliers, a junior hockey team that plays at Acord Arena in West Valley City.

The 200-foot shot was listed at No. 2 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays of the day.

Rodin’s goal secured the Outliers' 6-3 win.

WEEKEND PLANNER

Some local sports action happening this weekend if you want to procrastinate your last-minute Christmas shopping just a little bit more:

Friday

ECHL: Grizzlies at Colorado, 7 p.m.

Men’s basketball: Utah Valley at Sam Houston State, 11 a.m.; Weber State vs. Presentation College, 7 p.m.

Women’s basketball: BYU vs. Montana State, 2 p.m.

Saturday

NBA: Jazz vs. Oklahoma City, 6 p.m.

ECHL: Grizzlies vs. Colorado, 7 p.m.

Men’s basketball: BYU vs. Texas Southern, 7 p.m.

Women’s basketball: UVU vs. CS Fullerton, 1 p.m.

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