In 2006, the Bronco Mendenhall-led BYU Cougars crushed Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl, 38-8.
Oregon had been successful under coach Mike Belotti, including a Fiesta Bowl win and #2 ranking in 2001. But the success hadn’t lasted. After the Las Vegas beatdown, Belotti and his coaching staff realized things needed to change.
OU Defensive Backs coach John Neal had played with Mendenhall’s brother at BYU. And he had coached and later worked with Bronco at Oregon State. So he reached out to the guy who had just led the beatdown for advice.
When Bronco began his head coaching career at BYU, he had an intervention. He asked the players to write down their issues with the program. Then, he burned the papers.
Neal brought that idea to Belotti, who then called Bronco for more information. He then held a similar team-building exercise. Since that day, Oregon has seen unprecedented success and become one of the most respected programs in college football.
Here is the untold story, brought to you by Andrew Greif at the Oregonian.