What do you think of when you hear the word "turmoil?" Chaos? Entropy? Disorder? Pandemonium? Provo?
Block U - the SBN blog covering the Utes - recently titled a post "Turmoil in Provo" and, not living in that vicinity, I thought there had been some type of cataclysmic event along the Wasatch Fault. Turns out, Bronco Mendenhall said the following regarding fans' criticisms of his senior quarterback, Max Hall:
"The level of criticism usually matches the level of education."
Honestly, I can't say that is an inaccurate statement from the coach. There are two key words in that quote. One is "usually." Mendenhall acknowledges that there might be situations where such criticism is valid. However, he argues that this is not such an occasion, as Max's past contributions as well as the team's current 5-1 record would suggest (as well as the fact that faultfinding among amateur athletes, no matter how successful is somewhat absurd). Second is the term "education." Obviously, Mendenhall isn't referring to mathematical or linguistic education. He's talking about "football education." And again, I can't really argue with him.
BYU's lone loss this season didn't occur simply because of Hall's interceptions. It came because when the Seminoles choose to be this season, they are an excellent football team. (I mean, FSU has some crazy athletes...even if Where the Wild Things Are is on par with Moby Dick in Tallahassee.) It came because of an injured defensive leader in Scott Johnson and a depleted Cougar offensive line. It came because Chambers fumbled on the opening drive. It happened because Jorgensen also fumbled. It came because there were approximately 30 miscues on defense that Mendenhall acceded to after the game. So maybe some well educated individual might claim Max has been miserable, but that would be largely incorrect.
Following Bronco's statement, Block U commented:
"Are we watching the pending implosion of the Bronco era down there?"
"It seems to me he's not entirely happy down in Provo. He did something similar last season, hinting that the fans didn't know what they were talking about (I think they had booed the Cougars at one point). A coach only can take so much before he says it's not worth it. If that's the case, then BYU might be screwed either way. If Bronco falters and unravels, they're screwed. If he ups and leaves, I've got to think they're screwed, as well."
I'll address this after the jump...
Please allow me to address the primary question above. The "implosion of the Bronco era" is not happening right now, nor likely anytime soon. Mendenhall's program is currently ranked 18th in the nation, produced one of the early season's most surprising victories, is in the hunt for a third MWC championship in four years, just brought in a recruiting class ranked first in the MWC by Scout.com and is going to bring in likely the most heralded recruiting class in program history for 2010 (currently ranked #12 in the nation by Scout.com).
Is Bronco going to leave that kind of situation because the minority of fans and local writers are overly scrutinizing his quarterback for turning the ball over too much? Ridiculous. Mendenhall fully comprehends that nature of his job and that with it come unnecessary criticisms and uneducated fans. When asked during the 2007 season about possibly leaving to take a job with UCLA, Mendenhall stated: "Certainly I'm flattered, then it goes right to annoyance."
In the worst case scenario, the Cougars finish the season 9-4. Losses to FSU, TCU and two more losses from Utah, Air Force and/or a bowl opponent. Bronco's record in five seasons would be 47-17 (.734). Not exactly the body of work that brings you under condemnation from those in authority OR the fans.
It it not my objective to undermine the fine work over at Block U. I merely wanted to bring this to your attention, as it is VTF's opinion that there is no "turmoil" in Provo, nor will there be if BYU were to lose against the Horned Frogs on the 24th. No, not turmoil, on the contrary, following the Te'o episode, numerous key injuries and a very tough loss at home - I'd argue that all is orderly below Y-mountain.
PS - I Googled "turmoil" and found the above image...