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Bronco Mendenhall changing philosophy, hoping to elevate the program

Over the last five years, Bronco Mendenhall had led BYU to final records of 11-2, 11-2, 10-3, 11-2, and 7-6. Mendenhall, however, is looking to take the next step.

The off-season included a number of coaching staff changes. Along with those changes came a shift in recruiting philosophy, something new recruiting coordinator Joe DuPaix thinks will really help the program.

DuPaix, who coached the slot backs at Navy the last three years, told the Salt Lake Tribune, “We are looking for the best kids that will come to BYU, whether they live in a different state across the country, or whether they live right here in Provo, Utah. The point is to find the best BYU-fit football players to come to BYU. That might mean that they are LDS, that might mean that they are not LDS. Either way, that is irrelevant.”

DuPaix added, “Collectively, we just really feel as a staff that we can go out and find the right kids, whether they be [LDS], or anything else.”

Also, for the first time since 2004, Mendenhall is allowing the incoming freshmen to arrive during the summer months to get acclimated to school and join the team for voluntary workouts.

It might be part of the plan to play for a national championship, something quarterback Jake Heaps believes his team is on the verge of doing.

Heaps previously said in the middle of the off-season, "We’re not playing for a conference championship. We’re playing for a national championship. This team has all the talent in the world. That’s why I’m so excited. We’re just trying to grow and build. This team has the potential to do great things. It’s in our hands — it’s our destiny — to make it happen.”

BYU open the season in Oxford, Mississippi against Ole Miss. A week later, the Cougars travel to Austin, Texas to face the Longhorns. The first home game comes the next week when BYU will host Utah.