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What Bronco Mendenhall said about BYU after losing to the Cougars

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Virginia Cavaliers head coach Bronco Mendenhall walks off the field as fans cheer for him and thank him as BYU defeats Virginia at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. BYU won 66-49.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Following his team’s loss to the BYU Cougars on Saturday night in what was a homecoming of sorts, Virginia Cavaliers head coach Bronco Mendenhall addressed the media.

A number of the questions he was asked centered on his team’s performance, but he was also asked about BYU some and even offered some unprompted thoughts about the Cougars at times, mostly about their physicality.

Here’s what Mendenhall had to say about BYU specifically.

On BYU winning the turnover battle 3-0

“We ended up turning the ball over three times. I don’t think BYU did. They executed really well. Our offense was executing really, really well. That ended up being the difference in a game like this where not many defensive stops were happening.”

“Hard to say what for sure would have happened, but that’s three chances for them to get the ball ... (BYU) earned it, right, so it’s not accidental, so I’ll give them credit for that, but ultimately, either make the other team punt or you take the ball away or you hold them to a field goal, and the three turnovers certainly mattered.”

On the reception he got at LaVell Edwards Stadium

“I’m grateful for and thankful for the personal reception in my return to BYU and for the fans and for that acknowledgement. I’m grateful and appreciative. BYU has a good football team. I’m excited about their future. I’m also excited about ours.”

On being back at BYU

“Flood of memories but really glad to be with my team. It’s a really unique experience to have spent 13 years someplace and then come back. Mixed feelings...I’m just grateful. I’m grateful to have been the coach here. BYU’s a really unique place, and who you can select as the head football 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’m grateful, I’m appreciative, and that really allowed me to be considered for another school, and that wouldn’t have happened without my start here, and I’m thankful for where I am now. Just grateful.”

On BYU’s physicality and offensive success

“They’re very physical, and so we seldom had anyone beating a block and making a tackle, and if we did have an unblocked player, the running back, No. 25, was either running over or through or around, and then the more players that were acknowledging or playing the run, their matchups on the outside, (the Cougars) were effective throwing the ball downfield and catching it even into coverage, and so really not many matchups, not many one-on-ones were won anywhere for our defense tonight. Tribute BYU’s plan and their offensive players, they did a nice job.”

“BYU was the more physical team, and they made more plays really any time they needed to, and ultimately, not being able to play the run effectively made it really difficult to add enough coverage to handle their wideouts, and they they made some plays ... unblocked players trying to tackle (Allgeier), he made a difference and ran really, really well.”

“Their running back I think is exceptional, and their offensive front I think is really physical, and they have a really good plan. In my opinion, that’s the most physical team we’ve played the entire year, and it showed in us not getting off blocks, not making tackles and certainly not tackling anyone backwards.”