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Bronco Mendenhall has spent the off season with the bigs, here's why

The Deseret News published an interesting article last night on Bronco Mendenhall and his decision to spend most of the off season with the offensive line.

The big fellas up front at BYU are coached by offensive coordinator Robert Anae, who was a BYU center and guard back in the early 80's, and who has coached the offensive line at every coaching stop since his playing days ended, and Garett Tujague (another former BYU offensive lineman). Over the last several months, both well versed offensive line coaches had an extra set of eyes in their meeting rooms and on the practice field when Mendenhall made the decision to lend a helping hand to the position group.

According to Mendenhall, the main focus of collaborating was to find ways to create a more dominant culture in the trenches.

"When I’ve seen BYU play at its best, the teams I’ve watched in the past, they are physically dominant, they are very tough. They are on the edge of playing within the rules because they are so aggressive.” Mendenhall explained. “We’d like our offensive line to take more chances at finishing blocks and developing a mindset that is more dominant. There is a cultural element that needs to happen.”

The new up tempo, run heavy approach that Anae installed, starting last season, has presented a unique obstacle to the coaching staff; finding a balance between being very well conditioned up front, while still being able to physically dominate opponents. After all, the new run heavy scheme is quite the departure from the very successful pass happy offenses of BYU's past that Bronco previously referred to.

"Now, in our specific system, we have to be able to be conditioned at a level that is unlike any BYU offensive line ever. Last year we got by with a large number of players playing, basically being the equivalent of a single player. What we needed to do was increase the conditioning program for our players, especially the offensive linemen."

"The body fats and their conditioning had to be re-targeted. It wasn’t a transition, but we were transforming them. It was a physical transformation and a cultural transformation, not a performance transformation.”

That's an interesting way of looking at the intended transformation.

The other area that Mendenhall has found himself able to contribute with from being with the offense is helping players and the offensive staff understand the "why" behind how defenses are lining up and attacking them offensively.

“Since the end of last season, I’ve spent every meeting through spring practice sitting with our offense and the main perspective I could lend is not what (defenses) are doing but why they are doing it. So many offensive coaches can identify what front it is, what the twist is or what the blitz is (by the defense), but a lot of times that stops short of knowing the rationale behind it."

“If you can address the why strategically, you can actually stay ahead of that.”

Read the full piece here.

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