When Utah made the somewhat-surprising hire of Brian Johnson as their new offensive coordinator, one Utah columnist's reacted by writing "Whittingham deserves the faith that his 66-25 record inspires."
As I read that, it was funny for me to imagine reading a column from Utah's media that says, "Bronco deserves the faith that his 66-24 inspires." For whatever reason, Bronco doesn't seem to get a lot of the benefit of the doubt from his local media members. The latest manifestation of this is Bronco's exaggerated lack of success getting players into the NFL.
The current accusation is "BYU has had no Mendenhall-staffed recruit get picked. Fact." This blunt statement was preceded by a lengthy article detailing how Bronco Mendenhal told a bunch of youth coaches (in a round-about way) that maybe fanning the flames of their 8th grader's NFL dreams isn't the most effective way to coach.
I'm not saying Bronco's NFL record is the best. I'm only saying it's not fair to pull the crazy-girlfriend move of hearing "8th graders shouldn't focus on the NFL" and writing "Bronco hates me and thinks I'm fat!"
(By the way, you see what I did there? Preemptively shooting down the criticism that I think Bronco's record is unmatched and awesome. Listen to the interviews he gives. Bronco has to do this all the time. If he says, "I like McDonald's" he has to follow that up with "That's not to say that I don't like In-n-Out, nor do I hate Wendy's, but I do like McDonald's." It makes for awkward interviews, but after a few years of the press jumping on quotes and telling everyone what they must really mean, that's probably the way to minimize problems).
Back to the latest accusation levied against Bronco. It frankly takes a little mental gymnastics, but you can say that it's a fact. To me it's mostly a case of broadcasting failure while whispering success.
Bronco has had his players drafted into the NFL.
Bryan Kehl had 205 tackles as a Cougar. Bronco was his coach for 191 of them. What is a fair amount of credit for Bronco to get for Brian Kehl getting drafted?
Dennis Pitta caught 221 passes in his career: 204 for Bronco and 17 for Gary Crowton. So should Crowton get credit for developing him from an unheralded recruit to an NFL pick?
In only three years, Austin Collie caught more passes than anyone else ever had before at BYU, but Bronco only coached two of those three years, so we can't credit Bronco for that.
John Beck and Fui Vakapuna each played starting roles for Bronco for two years and saw sparse time before hand, but it must have been their freshmen year work that got them into NFL, right?
And of course, here's the most interesting case:
In only 3 years, Harvey Unga ran for more yards than anyone else ever at BYU. Harvey signed with Bronco and he was the only college head coach he played for.
His LOI came in on February 2, 2005, two months after Bronco became the head coach. He was drafted into the NFL in the seventh round of the supplemental draft in 2010.
So in order to accept the fact that no Mendenhall-staffed recruit has ever been picked, you either have to believe that Unga was recruited by Crowton, at least he was up until he resigned in December of 2004, so therefore Bronco doesn't get credit for keeping Unga's commitment though February of 2005. Or perhaps it's because somehow getting a team to give up a 2011 draft pick for the 2010 the supplemental draft somehow doesn't count as the NFL draft.
So, sure: Kyle Whittingham deserves the faith that his 66-25 record inspires. Bronco Mendenhall also deserves a little more respect than to be told his staff can't ever get anyone to the NFL.