Bronco Mendenhall Calls BYU Most Physical Team Virginia Has Played

Oct 31, 2021, 9:40 AM
Kalani Sitake - Bronco Mendenhall - BYU-Virginia...
Virginia Cavaliers head coach Bronco Mendenhall and Brigham Young Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake talk at midfield prior to BYU and Virginia playing at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. (Scott. G. Winterton, Deseret News)
(Scott. G. Winterton, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall came away thoroughly impressed with BYU football after the Cougars 66-49 win.

During his postgame press conference after his first return back to Provo since 2015, Mendenhall was asked about his team’s missed tackles on defense. Instead of focusing on just his team’s miscues, he gave high praise to Kalani Sitake’s squad.


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“Their running back I think is exceptional. And their offensive front is really physical, and they had a really good plan. In my opinion, that’s the most physical team we played the entire year. And it showed in us not getting off blocks, not making tackles, and certainly not tackling backwards. So rarely did we win first down. …We made some plays but certainly not enough, and we really didn’t have enough pressure on the quarterback to affect him as well. So again, much like our offense was for the majority of the game, they were controlling the game and trading balls. I saw it on both sides.”

That’s high praise from Mendenhall for a BYU team that two weeks ago was called out by Sitake for lacking any physicality in the loss at Baylor. Virginia, being a member of a Power Five conference in the ACC, plays P5 opponents on a weekly basis. It highlights the quality of BYU’s team, and the brand of football they are currently playing.

Before the game, Mendenhall arrived at LaVell Edwards Stadium around two hours before the game started with his coaches and players. He was greeted at LES with a Polynesian lei and received warm welcomes from BYU fans at LES.

BYU had a slideshow on the board that read, “Welcome back Bronco.”

“I’m just grateful. I’m just grateful to have been the coach here,” said Mendenhall. “So BYU is a really unique place and who you can select as the head coach is a pretty small sliver of the world’s population. And so I was given a chance to learn, grow and develop, and lead an amazing program. To have been acknowledged, I was grateful and appreciative and that really allowed me to be considered for another school. That wouldn’t have happened without my start here [at BYU]. And I’m thankful for where I’m at now.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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Bronco Mendenhall Calls BYU Most Physical Team Virginia Has Played