BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall entered his 10th fall camp at the helm of the Cougar football program feeling a little bit like the newcomers.

It's a whole new approach for Mendenhall in 2014 and that's got him excited.

"With the position I'm in now as head coach, it almost feels like I'm starting over," Mendenhall said after Friday's practice. "I'm refreshed with that kind of approach and what that might do for our program."

Mendenhall decided this year to take a step back from the defensive emphasis he's had and hand the playcalling duties on that side of the ball to defensive coordinator Nick Howell.

"My role is changing," Mendenhall said. "It's a little bit different. When I used to have time, that time used to be spent in the defensive staff room. It's amazing how much happens now with recruiting, fundraising, development and other things that can fill that time pretty quickly."

The BYU head coach explained that the decision to go a different direction is to allow him to see the whole picture.

"My focus was from a broader perspective, widening the lens," Mendenhall said. "What does this football team look like, not only from an athletic perspective but from a chemistry perspective. Then it was how best to examine where that is and how to design practice for tomorrow collectively."

It's something he's felt he's had with the defense but not as much with the team as a whole.

"I have been pretty strongly tilted one way, as you know," Mendenhall said. "I think my perspective now will be better for the whole team. I'm able to provide input offensively, not necessarily on what the defense is doing but why they are doing it. Hopefully that helps us stay a step ahead."

Although he hopes his expertise will give the Cougars an edge, he doesn't think he has some marvelous insight on the offense.

When asked about being an "offensive specialist," Mendenhall replied twice with "I think you are going a little too far" and then added that he would answer the question "when I become a specialist."

But while this is about the team, Mendenhall also sees it as a vote of confidence in Howell.

"We've spent a long time together," the BYU head coach said. "There's probably no one who thinks as similarly as I do and no one who knows as much of what I want as he does. I think it's time."

Mendenhall pointed out the changes will be challenging for him as well.

"It's not easy because it's fun," he said. "I love coaching defense and calling plays. I feel like I have a direct impact on gameday of helping kids I've recruited -- but I've been helping basically half of them. Ultimately, for the program to move even farther, what I'm banking on is helping even more players will help our program at a higher level."

Now the emphasis is on Howell to keep the Cougar defense playing at the same level it has been under Mendenhall.

The BYU defensive coordinator said the biggest emphasis is maintaining the correct defensive mindset.

"It's making sure that we maintain an identity of trying our butts off, of playing hard and having that nasty edge," Howell said. "We need to have the mindset that it doesn't matter who we play and we don't care who you are. We're creating that effort and tenacity. That's my biggest concern right now. We'll know what to do."

Daily Herald sports editor ​Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or jlloyd@heraldextra.com. Twitter: @JaredrLloyd. Instagram: @JaredrLloyd.

Jared is the Sports Editor and BYU football reporter for the Daily Herald.