BYU football coach looking to see leaders emerge

by | Jan. 08, 2010

Saints & Sports

Fresh off an 11-2 season and facing the prospect of having to replace a bevy of experienced players at a variety of key positions, BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall is looking forward to the new challenge.

The Cougars began their off-season conditioning this week.

"This is one of my favorite times of the year. I love practice, I love the off-season, because I think that's where you shape young men," Mendenhall said Thursday during an informal interview with local reporters.

"You have a chance to really see who they are, push them to unique limits without so much exposure and outside interest. Now when you're talking about seeing young men that are fighting, or wanting, to be the leader of a program to see what they're willing to do, it's an occasion to rise to."

Of course, the most high-profile void is at quarterback, where BYU must find a replacement for three-year starter Max Hall, the winningest QB in school history.

Sophomore Riley Nelson, true freshman Jake Heaps (the top-rated high school quarterback in 2009, according to, and recently returned missionary James Lark will battle when spring practices open on March 15. Later, after the completion of his mission, another highly touted QB, Jason Munns, will join the program.

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