Tuesday, September 25, 2012.
Boise State coach Chris Petersen opened his Monday press conference the same way he opened his postgame gathering last Thursday, saluting the fan base for its epic noise and praising his defense for its toughness in the 7-6 win over BYU. But he knew the bulk of the questions would be about one side of the ball. “I don’t want that to overshadow how spectacular that other side was,” Petersen said. Then he fielded the offensive inquiries. Petersen was asked if Boise State purposefully went conservative down the stretch. He insisted that’s not what the Broncos were doing. “We’re trying to score points,” said Petersen. “When you’re in that tight of a game, you’re one point from being behind, so I’m not thinkin’ like that.” As for the infamous four-and-out on the goal line? “That was me on the (quarterback) sneak,” he said. “We shouldn’t have called that.”
So is there a lot of yelling and screaming in practice this week? If you’ve been around here awhile, you know the answer to that. “As coaches, we’ve gotta coach these guys better—love ‘em up and get them to believe that it will come around,” Petersen said. He had a little conservation with the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator (and former Boise State head coach) the past few days. “Dirk Koetter put it in perspective,” said Petersen. “Utah from the Pac-12 beats BYU and they storm the field. We beat ‘em by one point, and the sky is falling.”
One traditional facet of the Boise State offense that hasn’t shown up yet is throwing to the tight ends. Senior Chandler Koch says the Broncos need to go back to “our core run game and pass game.” Does that mean tight end routes? “Getting everyone involved—tight ends, receivers, getting everything clicking again,” said Koch, spoken like a true circle-the-wagons Bronco. “We’re not panicked at all. We know we’re fine; we still have a good offense.” Tight ends have only six catches for 71 yards over the first three games, and Koch doesn’t have a reception yet. Gabe Linehan has just one catch, a 23-yarder on a trick play at Michigan State.
The new Boise State depth chart indicates the Broncos will have to play a second consecutive game without left guard Joe Kellogg. Former Bishop Kelly star Spencer Gerke is slated to get the start again in Kellogg’s spot Saturday at New Mexico. Brenel Myers is listed as the starter at right tackle. Jake Broyles, who started there at Michigan State but missed the last two games with an injury, is listed as the backup. Jay Ajayi, who had one carry for two yards in his collegiate debut last Thursday, is now No. 2 behind D.J. Harper at running back. And Dallas Burroughs has finally worked his way back onto the depth chart at wide receiver—the former Rocky Mountain High standout was suspended for the Michigan State game and is still waiting for his first catch of the season, although he was targeted on a deep ball against BYU.
As agonizing as last Thursday’s game was for the Boise State offense, it was a heckuva good time for the Bronco defense. Linebacker Blake Renaud said it was the best experience he’s ever had as a defensive football player. “The crowd just made it so much better,” said Renaud. According to Renaud, defenders would come off the field saying, “Did you hear the crowd? Did you hear the crowd? It was so loud.” The Bronco defense couldn’t wait to get back out there. Said Petersen, “I know one time Mike Atkinson and a bunch of guys ran out on the field and I said, ‘Mike, come back—it’s just third down.’”
At long last, the kickoff time has been announced for the Boise State-Southern Miss game on October 6. And the rumors are true: it’ll be 11 a.m. Central Daylight Time, 10 a.m. Mountain. The adjustment should be easy for the Broncos, though, as they’ve been practicing in the morning this season anyway. It will be the earliest kickoff for a Boise State game since the famous “Breakfast With The Broncos” matchup at San Jose State in 2004, moved to 9 a.m. Pacific, 10 a.m. Mountain to accommodate ESPN. That’s the one that saw BSU escape by a whisker, 56-49 in double-overtime to preserve its first undefeated regular season.
Not a difficult choice for the Mountain West this week. Nevada running back Stefphon Jefferson is the conference’s Offensive Player of the Week after tying an NCAA record with seven touchdowns (six rushing, one receiving) in the Wolf Pack’s 69-24 win at Hawaii Saturday night. While rushing for 170 yards on 31 carries and catching three passes for 76 yards, Jefferson equaled the TD mark set by Arnold “Showboat” Boykin of Ole Miss in 1951 and tied by Marshall Faulk of San Diego State in 1991 and Rashaun Woods of Oklahoma State in 2003.
Idaho’s Trey Farquhar has been named the Placekicker Performer of the Week by College Football Performance Awards. The senior from Redlands, CA, booted three field goals and four PATs in Idaho’s 40-37 overtime loss to Wyoming Saturday. One of the field goals was a pressure-packed 49-yarder in OT. Another was from 53 yards out, the seventh-longest in the nation this year and Farquhar’s seventh career 50-yarder.
Kyle Wilson will heretofore be under the unforgiving spotlight of the Big Apple media the rest of the year. Because the former Boise State star now has to replace one of the best cornerbacks in the business. Jets star Darrelle Revis is out for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee. Wilson, the 2010 first round draft pick who’s been branded as inconsistent over his first three NFL seasons, intends to forge ahead. "Go out there, make plays and have fun,” said Wilson. “Just play my game. That’s all I can." He’s expected to be tested early and often this Sunday by the San Francisco 49ers. Wilson has nine tackles and an interception over the Jets’ first three games.
Remember Ben Ondrus, Idaho Steelheads fans? Almost 10 years later, he’s back in Boise, having been signed by new Steelheads coach Brad Ralph. Ondrus made his professional debut with the Steelies at the end of the 2002-03 season, skating in nine games for the team. The 30-year-old forward went on to play 50 games in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs and another 500-plus in the AHL. Ondrus played last season for a German team in one of the top pro leagues in Europe. Steelheads training camp is less than a week away.
This Day In Sports…September 25, 2010:
In terms of before sunrise to after sunset, the biggest day in Boise State football history. ESPN College GameDay originated from the blue turf for the first time, drawing 13,250 fans at dawn. Then a record crowd of 34,137 turned out for the main event, a clash between the third-ranked Broncos and 24th-ranked Oregon State. It was Boise State’s first regular season game ever broadcast on network television, and the Broncos gave the ABC audience a 37-24 win over the Beavers. Only special teams gaffes and penalties kept the margin of victory from being larger—BSU outgained OSU 469 yards to 237. The offense was led by 288 yards passing from Kellen Moore and 138 rushing from Doug Martin.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)