Familiarity won't be factor when friends face, Bronco Mendenhall says
Posted by: Josh Kendall on December 7, 2012
There won't be many secrets in the Poinsetta Bowl when BYU's Bronco Mendenhall and San Diego State's Rocky Long face each other.
Mendenhall worked for Long for six years at two schools, and they know each other's defensive systems inside and out. Not that it will make any difference. Mendenhall learned that in his third game as BYU's defensive coordinator in 2003, which happened to be against Long and New Mexico, where Mendenhall worked under Long for five years.
"I was running the exact same system using the exact same signals that Rocky had taught me," Mendenhall said during a bowl press conference this week. "I'd look across the field, see the same signals. I knew exactly what the defense was going to do against our offense, and I think the score was 10-8 (it was 10-7). That was with knowing what (they were doing) so I'm not sure there is an edge to be gained."
Mendenhall learned the importance of setting expectations within a program from Long, he said.
"He set expectations of the players that he coached regardless of what was thought they could do or couldn't do," Mendenhall said. "He set really clear expectations for coaches as well, asked a lot, demanded a lot, and the results showed quite a bit."
The Lobos improved one win a season each of the coaches' seasons together there, Mendenhall said.
"Every one of those it took a Herculean effort to get one more win but it was worth it," he said. "I learned a lot about overcoming adversity and not accepting what the outside world says you can or can't do based on circumstance."
Josh Kendall is a staff writer for CoachingSearch.com and has covered the SEC for more than 15 years for papers such as the Athens Banner-Herald, Macon Telegraph, and The State. He’s the father of two boys who he’s hoping don’t inherit his wide receiver frame and offensive guard feet. Follow @EyeOnCoaches on twitter and send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org