After Coach Mendenhall posed the question, it only took Jordan Richardson a split second to decide to switch from defense to offense.
“I think it’s a big complement from Coach Mendenhall,” said Richardson. “I look at it in that I’m someone he can trust on the offensive line and be able to make the switch as a defensive player. He feels that I can have not only the ability, but also trusts me in that I can quickly learn the plays and be able to change my mindset and have the skills to be successful.”
Because of the lack of depth on the offensive line, a group that fields five players during every play in comparison to only three on the defensive line, Richardson sees the switch as something that could be beneficial to him.
“One plus about the move gives me is I’ll have more opportunity to play because we have less depth on the offensive line,” said Richardson. “I think getting some game experience will help me out a lot this year.”
“We’ll try to get him caught up as quickly as possible to add depth,” said Coach Mendenhall. “He’s a very good football player and he’s young. The role that he can have offensively will exceed what he had defensively now, and we need him.”
Even though it’s been tough so far, Richardson has liked the switch to the offensive side of the ball.
“It’s been great but I still have a long ways to go,” said Richardson with a chuckle. “So far it’s been good and I’m learning quickly. The guys on the offensive line have been great in helping me out, and trying to get me up to speed as quickly as possible. They’ve all taken me under their wing and have really been great to me. Coach Weber has been awesome!”
Coach Mendenhall stated to the media that he didn’t know what position Richardson would eventually play on the offensive line, but that Coach Weber would eventually determine that.
“Well, right now they have me at right tackle,” Richardson said. “I’m not quite sure how that decision came down that right tackle would be the position I would play. I guess that’s just where Coach Weber felt I would be most successful at based on my abilities. I’m not really sure, they just threw me in at right tackle.”
Aside from developing a different set of techniques, Richardson understands that he has to also change his mentality.
“Well, one thing that’s different from going from defensive nose guard to offensive tackle is you have to change your mindset,” he said. “It’s more of a mental game on offense where you have to be precise. On defense it’s more emotional where you just have a nose for the ball and you go out and fly around. I feel like now my mindset has to change a little bit. Also, my footwork has to change. On defense you have to have quicker feet where you just go, but on the offensive line you have to change that and have sturdy feet. Those are some of the changes that I’m trying to make and get used to.”
With that being said, Richardson’s transformation to the offensive line doesn’t stop there. Learning the necessary terminology, plays, and offensive line calls have also become part of the equation.
“There’s a lot to learn,” said Richardson with a laugh. “Probably on every play I turn to the guy next to me and say, ‘What do I do now?’ I’ll get it down though. It’s coming slowly but surely and I’ll have it down by this Saturday for sure. I study every night and the coaches and players are helping me out a lot as well. It’s only a matter of time.”
Aiding Richardson in his transition is his new position coach, Coach Weber.
“Coach Weber is awesome and he’s really taken me in,” Richardson said. “He’s such a nice guy and knows so much about the game. He really expects a lot out of me. The one thing that I love about Coach Weber is he is the right type of coach for me. For me as a player, he’s the perfect coach for me in my mind.”
Next up for the Cougars is Florida State at home. As BYU’s newest offensive lineman, Richardson has seen how those on the offensive side of the ball are just as excited as those he practiced with on the defense.
“Everyone is excited and they’ve seen what has happened the first two games,” said Richardson. “We all want that to continue and are working hard to make sure that it does. I’m excited and so is everyone else.”
Richardson served a church mission to Brazil after redshirting in 2006. As a right tackle he could now find himself playing alongside right guard Terence Brown. Brown also served a mission to Brazil, and the two have joked about using that to their advantage in the trenches.
“We’ve talked about that if we got to play together in a game we could just speak Portuguese to each other and the guys across from us wouldn’t know what we were saying,” said Richardson. “We could talk about what to do or what’s going on and they wouldn’t know what we were saying. If I had any questions I could just ask him, and he could tell me without anyone knowing what we were saying. It would be a big advantage for us.”