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Provo • The first word that BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall wrote on the whiteboard when the Cougars met Monday before the first practice of 2015 spring camp wasn't execution, effort or anything about a quest for perfection.
It was discipline.
"He hit that pretty hard," said receiver Mitch Mathews.
Call it the most visible fallout, so far, from the brawl that occurred after the 55-48 loss to Memphis in the Miami Beach Bowl on Dec. 22.
"It certainly had an effect," Mendenhall said of the bowl aftermath. "I am not sure what percentage. Maybe that was the capstone on other things that I had seen."
Mendenhall said "around 10-ish" players will be disciplined for their roles in the ugly melee and that discipline will be "most the same" for each player, but wouldn't name names or provide more specifics.
"Probably game week [before the opener at Nebraska] is when most of that will happen," Mendenhall said. "We will try to maintain a competitive advantage as long as we can and protect the kids as much as we can. I think everybody knows I thrive on accountability and don't back away from it especially at BYU. So I am comfortable with who we are disciplining and how."
As for the other negative publicity BYU received in the offseason, the arrest of recruit Charles West in Texas just two days after he had signed to play for BYU, Mendenhall said he believes due diligence was done and the coaching staff properly vetted the high school player's background before offering him a scholarship.
"I think it is an anomaly," Mendenhall said. "….Man, I don't think there's a program anywhere that vets them more. Sometimes, young people do things that are speculated, or whatever, that might not be in alignment [with BYU's core values], and I hope this isn't the case."
Mendenhall said BYU is taking a wait-and-see approach and will let the legal proceedings take their course.
"And possibly at the end of that, I will make a comment."
Players who spoke to reporters on Monday Mathews, defensive end Remington Peck, running back Jamaal Williams, receiver Nick Kurtz and McCoy Hill, the backup quarterback who will get the first-team reps while Taysom Hill continues to recover from a broken leg all confirmed that coaches plan to run an even tighter ship than they did last year.
"That's what it comes down to," Mathews said. "I mean, we had a lot of fights in practices in the past, and that's what led to that in the bowl game. But it is a new team, new leadership, and the best leaders I've been around since I have been here."
Peck said the first day "was a little rough" because "the coaches had the mentality of trying to get discipline, trying to introduce guys to the program a little bit, which is kind of how the first day usually is."
Taysom Hill actually participated in more of the practice than most people thought he would, and was especially accurate in throwing to Mathews, Kurtz and a really deep receiving corps.
Quarterbacks coach Jason Beck said Taysom Hill will do everything except participate in live scrimmages and contact drills and is expected to be fully cleared for contact around the first of May.
"He's probably a little further along than we thought," Beck said.
Williams, BYU's other big offensive weapon, whose season was cut short by a knee injury in the win at Middle Tennessee State, will also miss all of spring practice. The senior said he will be ready for the opener at Nebraska and will return "when they tell me I can."
BYU spring practice for openers
Developments from BYU Spring Camp Day 1
• BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said around 10 players will be disciplined for their roles in the brawl after the Miami Beach Bowl
• Senior quarterback Taysom Hill will do everything in camp except participate in scrimmages and contact drills as he recovers from a broken leg
• Senior running back Jamaal Williams is still recovering from knee surgery and will miss all of camp, but says he will be ready for opener on Sept. 5 at Nebraska.
More coveage online
For more news from the first practice of spring, including position changes, players who will miss camp and a complete rundown of Mendenhall's comments, go to sltrib.com/blogs/byusports.