Despite beating Oklahoma and being ranked in the Top 25 most of the season, Brigham Young coach Bronco Mendenhall believes his team has yet to reach its potential.
"I would love to have this team reach their potential as any team that I coach," Mendenhall said. "I'd like to see progress and growth happen in all areas."
No. 25 BYU (6-2, 3-1 Mountain West) faces an improved Wyoming (4-4, 2-2) on Saturday in Laramie. The Cougars are coming off a bye week and a disappointing 38-7 home loss to No. 6 TCU on Oct. 24.
Mendenhall talked to his team during the off week about recommitting themselves for the remaining four games of the season. It starts with the Cowboys, a team that's rebuilding under first-year head coach Dave Christensen.
"I just asked them to acknowledge the time frame remaining with the work to be done," Mendenhall said. "And they've responded very well in terms of practice and just how they're supporting each other and playing hard."
Defense is one area where Mendenhall believes his team can play better.
The Cougars were gashed by TCU for 412 yards total offense, including a 75-yard touchdown pass.
"And when you give up a one-play drive, whether it be in a pass play or a long run, etc., those things change momentum very quickly," Mendenhall said.
Mendenhall said he believed better execution and concentration was the answer.
Against Wyoming, BYU faces a team that has improved under Christensen and is playing with "grit and determination," Mendenhall said.
Wyoming's new no-huddle, spread offense has been inconsistent this season, scoring 30 versus UNLV and 37 against New Mexico but being shut out against Air Force and Colorado.
Christensen recognizes that his offense struggles against good defenses.
"We obviously got to do a better job of moving the football and scoring points offensively," he said.
Christensen is still trying to find the right players for his scheme although he has settled on a starting quarterback in Austyn Carta-Samuels. The true freshman has performed admirably despite dropped balls from receivers, a sputtering running attack and poor pass blocking.
"What we really need to do is we need to get the 10 guys in the surrounding cast to perform at a higher level," Christensen said.
However, thanks to a stingy veteran defense, Wyoming has proved more competitive this year. Last week against No. 16 Utah, the Cowboys led 10-9 midway through the fourth quarter at Salt Lake City before losing 22-10.
"I think as a football program we've competed well in every single game with the exception of maybe the second half of the Texas game," Christensen said. The Cowboys led Texas 10-6 with 1:32 remaining in the first half but ended up losing 41-10 earlier this season.