Boise State football expects to try ‘four to six’ cornerbacks in opener


Boise State defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake discusses his inexperienced cornerback crop

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com
© 2013 Idaho Statesman

EXPECT AT LEAST FIVE CORNERBACKS TO PLAY FOR BRONCOS

Boise State defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake said he plans to use four to six cornerbacks in the season opener. Five, in particular, seem safe bets to get a turn: junior Bryan Douglas and sophomore Donte Deayon, the starters and the only two with game experience; junior college transfers Cleshawn Page and Mercy Maston, the backups; and true freshman Jonathan Moxey. If there’s a sixth, it would be redshirt freshman Chaz Anderson.

The group is trying to replace NFL second-round pick Jamar Taylor and Jerrell Gavins, who helped the Broncos limit opponents to a national-low four touchdown passes last year.

“Knowing that we play a nickel coverage as well, we could play anywhere from four to six corners in this game,” Lake said. “I’m really excited about our two junior college transfers that we brought in. I’m excited about young Jonathan Moxey. And then also the two guys who have started here before in Bryan Douglas and Donte Deayon. It could be a mixture of all those guys. We have packages where three and four corners play and they’re all going to get their shot to make some plays out there.”

Lake doesn’t seem concerned about the inexperience of the group.

“Last year (safety) Darian Thompson had never played in a game, Donte Deayon had never played in a game,” he said. “That’s why we practice all these hours and that’s why we study all this tape, to get these guys ready to play fast and play physical. We’ll make the game plan simple so their God-given ability can take over.”

The corners will be a bit of a mystery to Washington. The Huskies counter with a true freshman starter at wide receiver, John Ross.

“They have new guys, we have new guys,” Lake said. “It’s really going to be a game of who’s going to play the toughest.”

— Coach Chris Petersen on the cornerbacks: “There’s no good defense out there without very good corners. A lot of those guys are kind of untested, but the good news is we have some athleticism there and they work hard and they will continue to get better.”

— Not in the video: Lake talks about “football levels” with his guys. For my story today on safety Darian Thompson, he said Thompson is at Football 301. Earlier he said Jamar Taylor was at Football 501 — graduate level — last year. I asked him how high his levels go. “We can keep going,” he said. “We’re in a constant state of improvement.”

LINEHAN RETURNS AS STARTER

Boise State senior tight end Gabe Linehan started nine games and caught five touchdown passes in 2011 but missed almost all of last year with a hamstring injury that required surgery.

He returns this year — and his expectations are higher than those he carried into his junior year.

“I’m playing better than I was before my junior year,” he said. “I’m a little faster, I’m definitely in better shape and my blocking is better. And I don’t really think much about my sophomore year or what could have been my junior year.”

THE HEAT IS ON WASHINGTON QB KEITH PRICE

Washington senior quarterback Keith Price was a breakout star in 2011, his first season as the starter. He ranked seventh in the nation in pass efficiency (161.09, a school record). He also set school records for touchdown passes (33) and completion percentage (66.9) and ranked second with 3,063 passing yards.

But after receiving some buzz as a darkhorse Heisman Trophy candidate in 2012, his numbers plummeted — 60.9 percent completions, 19 TDs, 2,726 yards and an efficiency rating of 122.4. He also threw 13 interceptions.

He says he doesn’t feel the outside pressure.

“I know where I’m expected to play,” he said. “I expect a lot out of myself. I don’t need other people telling me I need to play better. I expect a lot out of myself, so hopefully I can get back to that.”

Coach Steve Sarkisian, who like Price is under pressure to perform this year, said he doesn’t sense any stress in his quarterback.

“I think Keith’s going to go out and play really good football,” Sarkisian said. “Nothing I’ve seen through spring ball and through training camp appears to me to be a guy playing under pressure. … The one thing for Keith is to quiet things down around him, focus on his job and play the football he’s capable of playing. When he does, he’ll be great, and that’s what I expect him to be.”

In the video below, a reporter informs Price that she did the research and his turnovers led to 60 points for opponents last year.

“I have to protect the ball better,” he said. “It’s been a real point of emphasis through spring ball and through fall camp, checking the ball down and trusting the guys around me, not trying to force the ball to guys. We have enough playmakers to win enough games, so I just have to be smart and make good decisions.”


Price (via Tacoma News Tribune)

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NOTES & QUOTES

— Boise State has painted the purple-and-gray Mountain West logos on the field at Bronco Stadium to make them blue and orange. Take a look.

— Boise State senior wide receiver Kirby Moore on the road challenges the Broncos face this year: “It’s going to be a great environment at Washington. It will just trickle down each week. Getting that in the first game, we should be used to that type of environment. We should understand what we’re getting into each week.”

— Linehan on the key for the offense playing in a hostile environment: “Just being calm and communicating and being poised. We know our assignments. We know we have the right techniques that we’ve been just harping on for weeks and weeks and years. It’s just letting it take over. It’s being confident that our offense can go there and do what we’re supposed to and our defense can back us up.”

— Individual-game tickets went on sale at 10 a.m. today. They’re available at 426-4737 and here.


Boise State safety Jeremy Ioane

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THURSDAY LINKS

Here is an interesting graphic comparing the Top 25 teams. It shows what Boise State is up against in terms of resources and the size of its fan base.

— The Wall Street Journal has a graphic it calls college football’s Grid of Shame. Boise State fares OK.

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OUR COVERAGE

Monday story: Husky Stadium
Monday blog: New and notes from Petersen’s press conference
Tuesday story: Dan Goodale regains starting job
Tuesday blog: Mountain West Football Report
Tuesday blog: Huskies adjust to up-tempo
Wednesday story: Washington tailback Bishop Sankey dominated in bowl game (sidebar: Scouting Washington)
Wednesday blog: Offensive coordinator Robert Prince gets more comfortable calling plays
Thursday story: Feature on sophomore safety Darian Thompson
Name the Score contest and Brian Murphy’s audio prediction

Live chat: 10 a.m. Friday at IdahoStatesman.com.
Game day: Keep the Idaho Statesman on your computer or mobile device, while watching the game. We will be hosting live coverage at IdahoStatesman.com. We’ll be taking your questions and comments, posting photos from Twitter and Instagram as well as our photo staff and providing analysis on the action on the field. Coverage begins an hour before the game.

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HUSKIES COVERAGE

— The Seattle Times coverage is here. Follow beat writer Adam Jude at @A_Jude.

— The Tacoma News Tribune coverage is here. Follow beat writer Todd Dybas at @Todd_Dybas.

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GAME NOTES

Boise State game notes

Boise State depth chart

Boise State 2012 stats

Washington game notes

Washington depth chart

Mountain West weekly release

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GAME FACTS

Boise State at Washington

When: 8:05 p.m. MDT Saturday

Where: Husky Stadium (70,138, FieldTurf), Seattle

TV: Fox Sports 1 (219 on DirecTV, 150 on Dish Network and 26/493HD on Cable One); Gus Johnson, Charles Davis, Kristina Pink

Radio: KBOI (670AM), KKGL (96.9 FM); Bob Behler, Pete Cavender

Records: Season opener; Boise State was 11-2 last year, Washington was 7-6

Rankings: Boise State is No. 19 in the AP and USA Today Coaches’ polls; Washington is receiving votes in both

Series: Tied 1-1 (last meeting: Boise State 28-26, 2012 MAACO Bowl)

Fan colors: Boise States asks fans to wear orange

In Seattle, the Huskies radio broadcast will air on KJR (950 AM).

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Chris Petersen addresses the media


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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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