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Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Internal affairs: News from around the non-BCS and Independents


Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson

Playing it safe: In the years Bronco Mendenhall has been around the Holy War rivalry between BYU and Utah, he's learned that even the smallest thing can be turned against him or his team. So this year, he's decided not to let that happen. Unlike a normal week, Mendenhall said he was limiting media opportunities and keeping freshmen, or other players that haven't been around the rivalry as much, off limits. Mendenhall said while he trusts his upperclassmen, he's not sure some of his younger players would know what to say about rival Utah and he doesn't want to add any more fuel to an already well-lit fire.

Meanwhile, in Salt Lake City: Kyle Whittingham is taking an opposite approach with his Utah team this week. While he is going to close practices because of the sheer swarm of people that like to attend during this week, he said he doesn't want to change anything that could possibly screw up the rhythm that's gotten his team to 11-0 this week.

"We have a mentality and a format that's worked for 11 weeks and we're not going to change now," Whittingham said. "If there was a better way to do things, a better way to prepare, we wouldn't save it for this game, we'd do it every week. Sometimes that's hard for fans or people to understand, but really that's the only way you can approach it. Go about your business, do the same things that got you here, and play some hard football on Saturday."

Focus up: Nevada players aren't going to lie, they've been focused on Boise State since the 69-67 four-overtime loss last season. With this year's Boise State game finally here, the Wolf Pack hasn't changed their routine or even really talked about it, but quarterback Colin Kaepernick said there's a different sense of focus on the field this week than there's been in the past.

"We're more focused to details," Kaepernick said. "We know this game is going to come down to details and every play is going to matter. So, we can't let one play slip past us like last year."

Tulsa moves forward: Tulsa coach Todd Graham said Houston didn't do anything during last Saturday's 70-30 Cougar win that the Golden Hurricane hadn't seen on film, but what they did do, they did with a passion for which Graham said he had not prepared his team. But he said despite the big loss, his team is not done for the season. His players have been fighters and he expects more of the same to end the year.

"We don't apologize for daring great," Graham said. "Just like I told our staff [Tuesday] morning, we're 8-2. Are we happy with that? No, not at all, because that's what our program is all about. Our kids are going to respond with great character."

Job openings? Kyle Whittingham has not received any inquiries about defensive coordinator Gary Andersen from Utah State or Wyoming (should it come open) -- the two jobs to which his name already has been linked -- but he thinks it's coming. Whittingham said he's gotten calls aboutdefensive coordinator Gary Andersen before and with an 11-0 record and one game remaining, he thinks the calls will start coming.

"Our defensive coordinator, Gary Andersen, has had a very good run here as the defensive coordinator the last four years certainly would be a viable candidate," Whittingham said.

Whittingham also mentioned offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig, but said he wasn't sure if Ludwig wanted to be a head coach at this time.