Boise State football coach Chris Petersen on QBs, RBs, fall camp, playoff system (with video)

Chris Petersen talks to the media Tuesday in Las Vegas.

By Chadd Cripe
© 2013 Idaho Statesman

LAS VEGAS — Here are some highlights from Boise State football coach Chris Petersen’s 90-minute session with print reporters Tuesday at Mountain West media days.

— Petersen plans to bring in all of the 2013 signees next month, except wide receiver Kendal Keys (parted ways with the program) and mission-bound defensive lineman Durrant Miles. Wide receiver A.J. Richardson, who committed but didn’t sign, said Tuesday he still plans to grayshirt and join the team in January because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

— On fall camp, which begins Aug. 5 (open scrimmage Aug. 17): “Questions across the board. I think we’re really excited because there are so many unknowns.”

— On QB Joe Southwick: “Joe did as nice a job of any player I’ve been around in a long time because of just how the season started for him and for us — and it wasn’t terrible. It really wasn’t. It’s less than a handful of passes that we need to happen.”

— On RB Jay Ajayi: “Everybody wants to anoint him as the next Walter Payton already and he’s had a few carries. But I’m excited. He’s got a lot of potential. He’s got a knee injury (torn ACL in 2011) that’s going to hopefully stay healthy. He’s going to get a bigger chance than he has in the past. We’ll see if he can consistently make plays.”

— On RB Jack Fields: “It’s just a matter of time before he really starts to shine. I think he’s going to do some good things.”

— On not having a true fullback on the roster: “The tight ends have been able to do it. Just in terms of personnel things, you bring a fullback in a game, the defense knows this is this personnel. Guys with some flexibility make it hard on the defense.”

— On handling the stress of his job: “That’s probably one thing I wish I was better at — let certain things roll off my back a little easier. And certain things that you don’t have as much control over. … As a coach, I’m always trying to manipulate things in our favor.”

— He said freshman Sean Wale is pushing incumbent punter Trevor Harman hard going into fall camp — “I’d say those guys are dead even,” he said — and he sees a tight race for the kicker job between Dan Goodale and Tyler Rausa. “We need to get better at punting first and foremost and we need to continue with the consistency we left the season with (on field goals).”

— On the backup quarterbacks: “Coming out of spring, Grant (Hedrick) would be ahead of Nick (Patti) but it will be good to see what progress Nick made over the summer. We kind of start at ground zero and coach everybody up.”

— The Broncos have ditched the term “nickel” and replaced it with strong-side linebacker. At times, some bigger body types may occupy that position but it’s currently played by the same guys as nickel — Jonathan Brown and Corey Bell.

— On the College Football Playoff: “I think it’s a good start. You’ve got to start somewhere. We started probably as small as you possibly can and still call it a playoff. I think it’s good. It will be interesting to see the interest and fallout from everything about it. … Obviously the next number is eight, but I think in an ideal world 16. But with that being said, if there’s 16, you have to cut your regular-season down. You’d have a lot of teams play 10 games and that’s that, but I still know if we had a 16-team playoff and played 10 games everybody would get more money than they do now if it’s done right.” He said he thinks the Broncos can crack the four-team playoff. “I do. I believe that. It’s just like the BCS — we’ve got to run the table.”

— The next facility improvement Petersen wants to see is an expanded stadium. “We can’t show up to any of our games, no matter who we play, and not have the place packed. They’re not going to expand the stadium when they see empty seats. The demand needs to be there.”

— Petersen said the 2013 Mountain West is, top to bottom, the best league the Broncos have been a part of. “This is a pretty strong conference,” he said. “On the outside, nobody really knows that yet. It will take a while to figure that out.”

— His oldest son, Jack, will be a freshman at Santa Clara this fall. His younger son, Sam, is a high school freshman. “We came here when (Jack) was halfway through kindergarten and he made it through the Boise school system,” Petersen said. “Not many coaches can say that. I always was thinking that would be such an awesome thing.”

— On recruiting switching from videos showing up in the mail to recruiting services: “We don’t get very many DVDs. We moved over to our new office. I have a machine in my office that plays DVDs and VHS and I had a couple VHS tapes. They looked at me and I said, ‘Bring them. You never know.’ ”

— The Broncos added one administrative assistant to the staff with the move to the new building. They now have nine assistant coaches, four graduate assistant coaches, two football operations people, two player personnel people and two administrative assistants. That’s a full staff for the new Bleymaier Football Center, Petersen said. The new administrative assistant will be Petersen’s personal assistant.


Read Brian Murphy’s post on the Broncos’ new helmets here.

Read Murph’s post on the Mountain West here.

Chadd Cripe has spent the past 12 years as the Boise State football beat writer. You can follow him on Twitter @IDS_BroncoBeat.

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