FOOTBALL: Bronco Mendenhall Press Conference – September 3, 2016

FOOTBALL: Bronco Mendenhall Press Conference – September 3, 2016
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Congratulations to
Richmond, Coach Rocco. They clearly played
the better game today. I was impressed with
their execution. I was impressed
with their coaching, and I was impressed with
their level of preparation. And so I think they did a
really nice job in their opener, and their team
reflected that they know how to win and have
some experience coming back from a year ago. In regards to our team, I have
a clear reference point now where we’re starting
from, and I think teams play as they’re
prepared to play. And so my responsibility is to
have a team that performs more cleanly and at a higher
level than we did today, and that’s what I need to do. And so this is a really clear
indicator of the amount of work that lies ahead. The amount of work
that I need to put in to help these
particular players, who will do what I ask
them to– to help these particular players
be in the best positions possible to play the game,
execution sound, and physical, and fast, and confidently. And there’s a long ways to
go in regards to those areas. I thought that
Kurt Benkert looked sharp for the majority
of– or many stretches– during the game in terms of his
delivery and decision making. Ball security was an
issue for our team today, and, again, that
surprised me a little bit. But again, my job is to make
sure there as few as surprises as possible, so
that caught me off guard a little bit that we would
have some ball security issues. And our run game wasn’t as
effective as what I had hoped. Defensively, we didn’t
execute well the entire day. Did not play physical,
and didn’t play well, I think, not only on first
down, but on third down. And so I think
I’ve given clearly given this particular
group too much and need to look hard at
what they’re capable of, and to give them their best
chance to help our team win. And, again, that’s
my responsibility. So with that, I’ll take
questions if you have some. Yeah. You have talked about the
body language of the players at the first team meeting. What kind of feedback did you
get from them in the locker room after this first game? There were stretches
during the game where it was similar body language. So, I think they
want to be resilient, and I think they want to
believe and have new habits, but there’s some
history here, and so there was some
reversion to that today. Maybe by what they
know, but again my job is to help them
build great habits. And when things don’t go as well
as what you’d hoped, and don’t go according to
plan, yeah, that’s usually when some of that
reversion comes back. And I pointed that out to
them a number of times, but that’s again where
we currently are, and this is where
we’re launching from. And I have clearer feedback now. Bronco, you obviously were
very interested to see what that launch point was. How surprised are
you by where it was, because there’s been
lots of praise in the spring, and you seemed to be feeling
really good about the direction they were heading. Yeah, I think that
the clarity is the excitement, and
optimism, and hope is what I’ve been
mentioning, and eventually I said the execution
would catch up, and that part is
farther behind than what I thought– more on
the defensive side than on the offensive
side that I would say, even though there were
some ball security issues. And so surprised, and so
I learned a lot today, and I’ll continue learning as I
help this team hopefully reach its potential and help
this program to become a consistent winner,
but today was just a really clear reference
point as a lot of work ahead. You mentioned ball security. That not been an issue
through scrimmages, through practices–
things like that? Hadn’t seen it. And from where it
showed up today, and so, yeah, that’s why it was
somewhat of a surprise is that I had not seen it. In you opening that you
gave the team too much. What do you mean by that? Too much in their play? Going to simplify things? Probably too many
variables defensively to execute effectively,
and so we ended up having a team today that
I think was pretty well schooled and an
inexperienced quarterback and did some movement
and different things, but it appeared that
we were a little bit tentative in our
adjustments, and not really adjusted and
ready, and anticipating what was happening. Kind of being a step
behind in many cases and losing leverage
and et cetera. So most likely, usually when
that happens and the players aren’t playing as
fast as expected it usually is on the teacher
by giving too much material for them to really articulate
or to pull off in real time. And so that’s what I saw. Talk about the impact of the
early fumble– [? Smoke’s ?] fumbled at the five,
or whatever it was and then giving up
a 95-yard drive. Yeah, I think it all
had a lot of impact, and what it showed early is
just the lack of consistency of execution. And so when you
have long drives, that usually means its
execution oriented, and there’s assignment mistakes,
and/or communication mistakes. And so both of those things, I
think, contributed, but, man, there was a lot of
football left and played after that we certainly
could have dug ourself out. You didn’t run the ball
as well as you had hoped. What did you see there that
was causing some of the issues? Really, too early
to assess, and I’d have to watch the
film more to see. Usually when that happens,
it’s just one side being more physical and
more assignment sound than the other. But I didn’t see enough to
say if that’s for sure what happened, and we were
also playing from behind, and so the emphasis
on that wasn’t maybe what it could have been. Yeah. They are a very good FCS school,
but you’re still a Power Five conference, FBS, and you have a
fair amount of experience back. Does the way they play and sort
of dominated, particularly late in the game, surprise you? Really, there was a lot of
things that surprised me. On the last touchdown,
we took a chance, and had a mistake again on the
one that went the whole way, but, again, their execution
held longer and better than ours did today, and
it’s just two football teams. In reality, they were
a better team today and more prepared and executed
at a higher level than we did. And I learned a lot more, again,
where we are starting from. Go ahead. Zaccheaus was a big part
of the offense late, not so much early. Do you need to get him
more involved all the time? Zaccheaus was held out the
first half for violation of team rules, and so that’s why
he didn’t play the first half. Along the same line, a lot
of praise about Jordan Ellis this week– didn’t
see him today, and then Dowling, I guess, came
out with the arm in a sling the second half. Ellis suffered an injury in
game week that eliminated him, and Dowling was hurt
in the first half, as well as there were
some other players in the secondary and et
cetera at outside backer that had some injuries today,
too, from what I understand. Coach, your defense, I guess,
is designed to kind of protect against a lot of those short,
in between the seams kind of plays, and they had
a lot of success today. Just without obviously
looking at film, what was your kind of assessment
of just the pass defense there. Just not effective,
not only in the rush, and of the effectiveness
in executing the pressures, but matching the
coverage with it. And so critical moments– not
only critical moments, but just the execution in general
wasn’t close to what I’m accustomed to, used
to, or what I expect. And, again, that’s
reflective of the teacher, and so my job is to give
them things they can do, will do, and find
players on our team that have the best chance
to do it, And I don’t think we did any
of those things today, and that’s on the head coach.

9 thoughts on “FOOTBALL: Bronco Mendenhall Press Conference – September 3, 2016

  1. George Welsh lost his first 5 games at uva and look what he accomplished. I'm sure Bronco will excel at uva as well. it takes time to rebuild from the disaster London years.

  2. They where still in it starting the second half but the team just gave up fighting. Not to mention the turnovers. I still have hope for this team. Have to start some where.

  3. Terrible way to start the season, but it is one game. There a number of teams with bad starts that some how manage to correct their mistakes and go on to have good seasons. I foolishly expected a lot of a team that is learning new schemes and ways. I do believe though that regardless of the seasons outcome by the end we will see a team worth rooting for.

    I still believe Bronco is the man to get this program to a place where it is a consistent winner on and off the field. It just takes time. You only have to look at the resurgence of the Basketball, Baseball, and Tennis teams to see what's possible with the right coach who has a plan and goals for his program.

  4. poor decisions will cost you games. Hes famous for this. this game he just decided to do it all game long. BYU MADE HIM VIRGINIA! he's overated and will show as it did against a sub par team at best. People this is a BAD loss and there is more to come. nothing personal but your program could have a much better chance with a coach that can open it up. he never will. he's way to tight and is going to drive you crazy. and get used to giving up large chunks of yardage. so so sorry.

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