It was a pleasure doing this interview for you readers, not only because Jan is such a great guy, but because I consider him to be a great friend as well. Let’s take a look at what the Defensive Captain had to say to your inquiries.
DSOB: Why do the defensive linemen seem to outsiders to have more academic issues than the rest of the team combined?
JAN: It just happens to be the D Line.. there isn’t really any rhyme or reason to it. It’s that this year it happened to be the D Line. We weren’t doing anything different than anyone else.
DSOB: Who are the biggest vocal, outspoken team leaders who won’t be seniors this year, offense and defense?
JAN: Andrew Rich
DSOB: Who is the next Hans Olsen (radio talk show guy)? [Is it you?]
JAN: I don’t know if it’s me…I wouldn’t mind doing that job, but we’ll see. I don’t know anyone else who it would be though, so if it’s going to be anyone it’s going to be me.
DSOB: Who is the next Todd Christensen (game day play by play guy)?
JAN: I hope nobody is the next Todd Christensen.
DSOB: What is the most important lesson Bronco has taught you?
JAN: It think the most important thing that I have learned from coach Mendenhall is um…man it is hard to point out just one. I think with him, I think the most important thing and just realizing in general at BYU is that your personal life and how you are doing spiritually transfers over to everything. You know as you are doing things right spiritually it translates over to football and to school and so if you are doing those right things for the right reasons and if you are also doing those things to glorify God and that is your motivation then it always makes things a lot easier and a lot better in life.
DSOB: What do you think is a bigger contributor to sacking the opposing QB, your own speed and performance or the performance of the pass coverage? That being said, what do you plan to do (or hope to see) to reach your goals this year.
JAN: Both things contribute equally. There is no way around it. There were times last year where I had completely beat my guy and the QB got the ball off before I got there, and there were times where the coverage was great and I did not get there. I can only control what I can control and just do my best to do my job.
DSOB: Are there plans to make the Offense less predictable and the Defense more aggressive?
JAN: I hope so.
DSOB: Do you feel that the preparation for Air Force’s cut blocks (i.e. rolling big balls at your legs) is adequate, or would something else be better?
JAN: It’s not always just the big read balls at the legs. We do a lot of things to prepare for it, but I think what we do is sufficient. You can only do so much without going full go and I think going full go gets guys hurt. What we do is right.
DSOB: I went to my first BYU football game in the 50’s; I’ve followed them my whole life. Whenever these big games (like OU) come along, with very few exceptions it seems like BYU plays scared. Even in that great Nat’l Championship season the team gave up six turnovers against Michigan. Contrast this to the way Utah stuck it to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl or Pitt in the Fiesta Bowl. While I wouldn’t trade our tradition with Utah’s for anything, in recent years, at least, they seem to have a killer attitude in big games. What do our players think needs to be done to get to the point where they go into a big game, tune out the hype, and play like they expect to win?
JAN: First of all that Pitt team was terrible. The only huge win Utah has had recently is Alabama and you could compare that to BYU’s win over Miami in the 90’s, but across the history we are pretty similar. We killed Oregon in the Vegas Bowl and they were probably the same caliber as that Pitt team. To the last point of the question we walk into every game expecting to win so I don’t know what answer you are looking for. We always go out to win.
DSOB: I’ve always wondered what is said in a pile of players fighting for the football after a fumble. Sometimes it takes several seconds to get to the bottom of it and I imagine there are some pretty cool exchanges. I’m wondering what Jan would say his most interesting/favorite “pile” experience is.
JAN: The most interesting experience in the pile I have had is when I had the ball in my hands at the bottom and I was yelling “it’s mine, it’s mine, it’s mine,” over and over again.
DSOB: Will the Team play with more of the killer instinct every game this year?
JAN: I hope so.
DSOB: At the beginning of the off season I thought the defensive line was a real strength but after losing two to missions we are thin… does BYU have the talent to perform well at the NT position?
JAN: Good news for you, Russell is back and also with Romney Fuga coming back from his mission and looking better than before we are fine.
DSOB: Who did the players think deserved more playing time last year than they got?
DSOB: Personal opinions… Should the Mountain West add Boise State?
DSOB: Would you be excited to play the Broncos for a conference football championship each year?
JAN: Yes, I hate Boise State so as long as I am beating them I don’t care when or where it is.
DSOB: BYU fans are a diverse group, and so are the players. What school do you follow/root for, outside of the Y?
JAN: What’s funny is that I’ve always rooted for Florida State.
DSOB: Besides Utah, who do you consider BYU’s biggest rival to be?
DSOB: What is the #1 game circled on all of the players’ calendars this year (”the next one” does not count as A game)?
JAN: OU, which also happens to be the next game.
DSOB: Where is the most impressive stadium not in Provo you have played a game in?
JAN: that’s a good question. The Rose Bowl was kind of impressive but not at he same time. The coolest one we’ve played in beside LaVell Edwards Stadium was probably Boston College. It was not really big, but it was right on top of you.
DSOB: What was the most impressive fan base aside from your home team?
JAN: Boston College [editor's note: Their student section and Band were rocking the whole game].
DSOB: BYU finished ranked #25 last year. The Cougars won 10 games, but none of the wins were over ranked opponents. Overrated or underrated?
JAN: I think we were right on point in the rankings
DSOB: What is the difference between field corner and boundary corner and why is it not so simple to move a Brandon Bradley to one side when he backs up a Scott Johnson on the other. ( Using last year as an example to explain the difference)
JAN: The difference between them is that the boundary corner does not have as much ground to cover and is usually more of the run stopper. The boundary corner is typically a little bigger, a little better tackler, where the field corner is the guy who can cover deep threats and cover in space.
DSOB: What is the one song you wish the school band would learn to help pump up the team on Saturdays this year?
JAN: I wish they would unlearn Popcorn Popping.
DSOB: What is your pregame ritual? Do you have any rituals/superstitious acts that must be done in a certain way before playing? i.e. putting pads on in certain order? Lucky Socks? Etc
JAN: Yeah I have my little ritual. I go and try to be one of the first people taped and then I walk the field and feel the grass and just get a feel for it, whether we are home or away. Then I go back in and put on all my stuff on and go back out before we stretch go run a around a little. I can’t just sit in the locker room that whole time. Then right before we go out I bust open a smelling salt and hit one of those, and then its game time.
DSOB: What is your least favorite conditioning drill?
JAN: All of them.
DSOB: How is the team’s attitude going into Fall camp with Oklahoma looming in week one and how is the team’s attitude at this point different from the attitude at the beginning of last year?
JAN: There is not a lot of pressure on us this year so we are a lot looser. We are just out there having fun. Last year was a working attitude where we were going out there to work, like it was a job and this year we are having fun flying around and just playing football.
DSOB: Were you always a BYU fan? If so, who was your favorite BYU player growing up? If not, Who did you like growing up?
JAN: No I was not and I liked Utah growing up. My favorite BYU player growing up though was Shay Muirbrook, even though I was not a BYU fan growing up.