Bronco Mendenhall is an elite defensive coordinator. From his time in Albuquerque under the tutelage of Rocky Long to his days learning the ropes in Provo while defensive coordinator to Gary Crowton to today, Mendenhall has always been respected for his tenacity and innovation. As he has matured as a football mind, he has continued to improve in all aspects of his craft. This leads me to ask:
Just what could Bronco accomplish if he were not restrained to the type of second-rate (on the whole) defensive talent that fits the BYU mold of player?I have no doubt that Mendenhall would be even more dynamic as a defensive coordinator if given the chance to coach the caliber of talent that say a John Chavis (LSU), Manny Diaz (Texas), or Kirby Smart (Alabama) get to work with. Mendenhall's use of the 3-4 scheme, one that is rare in the college game, makes him that much more of a top-tier talent. He simply has a knack for the game of football. One glance at BYU's defensive statistics over his time in Provo, even during the dark years of the Crowton regime, and you will find a coach who squeezes every last bit of talent juice out of his players. Sure, he gets the occasional Brian Urlacher, Aaron Francisco, Andrew Rich, or Kyle Van Noy, but for the most part, it is a bunch of athletes willing to buy into what Bronco is selling them because they have something to prove.
With that idea in mind, Jeff McIntyre (known as @Mac_Diego on the Twittershere) raised some salient points on this idea:
What do you think? Could Bronco Mendenhall get high caliber athletes to buy into his system? Is he even an elite defensive coordinator? We submit these questions to you as your Saturday deliberation.