Boise State football QBs preview: Watch interviews with Patti, Hedrick


Nick Patti interview

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

I’m starting my position preview series — in my blog today and in the newspaper tomorrow. There’s a bunch more video at the bottom of this post and a few non-quarterback notes below that.

QUARTERBACKS

Roster
16 Joe Southwick, 6-1, 202, R-Sr.
9 Grant Hedrick, 6-0, 202, R-Jr.
8 Nick Patti, 5-10, 196, R-Fr.
15 Ryan Finley, 6-3, 186, Fr.
14 Richard Hoppe, Fr.

Projected depth chart
Quarterback: Southwick, Hedrick, Patti

Storyline: Southwick shook off a rough first two months as a starter to throw nine touchdown passes against no interceptions in the final four games. He also began to use his legs, rushing for season highs of 25 and 39 yards in the last two games. He added a strong spring, led the team through summer player-run practices and has been hot in fall camp. “He’s bigger, but he’s still moving pretty well — maybe even better than he was this time last year,” quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith said. “And then really Joe’s consistency has shown. Day in and day out, he’s been pretty crisp.”

Keys to success: Southwick’s improvement in the red zone and on the deep ball should translate into a higher-scoring offense. He struggled in both those areas last year — particularly red-zone passing. Wednesday morning in 7-on-7 drills in the red zone, he was throwing TD passes to all areas of the field like he knew exactly what was going to happen.

Reason for concern: Backup quarterbacks Hedrick and Patti have little experience running the offense in game situations. They’re improving, but there’s still a wide gap between them and Southwick. “Grant has really grown into more and more we’re feeling better about putting him in the game,” Smith said. “… Both those guys we feel are going to be good players here. Both of them we could put in the game and feel confident both those guys can operate some things. Joe, being the starter, can operate probably more.”

Star player: Southwick is the dark horse in the All-Mountain West quarterback race. Despite the bad start, he finished 38th in the nation in pass efficiency last year.

Breakout performer: The Broncos hope they won’t need one. Hedrick has played in special packages that feature his running ability and could do that again.

Newcomer to watch: Finley, the true freshman recruit, has been eased into fall camp because of a shoulder injury — so it’s difficult to know what the Broncos have with him. He’s taken more snaps this week. “We’re just taking our time with that,” Smith said. “We don’t want to rush anything.”

Quotes/notes:

— Patti on his second fall camp: “It slows down a little bit in my second time. It’s just easier to learn the offense and know what you’re doing.”

— Patti on taking nearly every snap in the newcomer practices the first four days: “I was really happy about it. You get really tired. It’s hot, late in the day, when you’re with the second group, but I think it benefited me tremendously. I was really happy I got all those reps. It helped me a lot just getting in a rhythm. You can get kind of like a game-like situation.”

— Patti on his camp goal: “I just want to be able to operate a little bit better. I want to be able to operate, slow it down, be a little more consistent is my thing — consistency was a big thing coming into camp. I wanted to show that I could do it on a consistent basis.”

— Patti on Southwick: “You just try to soak up as much as you can. Joe’s a smart guy. He knows the offense in and out as well as the defenses. He learned from a pretty good guy (Kellen Moore), so you know he soaked up some stuff.”

— Hedrick on being a backup: “It’s tough, sure, but we have a lot of good guys at our position. We know only one can play at a time and Joe has earned the job. It’s up to us to prepare like we are that guy because you never know what will happen. It’s a cliché, but it’s true.”

— Hedrick on competing with Patti: “We’re competitors, but we’re really good friends, too. Sometimes that can get a little hairy, but we draw that line. On the field, we’re competing, but that won’t interfere with our friendship. We’re both busting our tails. … We’re trying to follow in Joe’s footsteps. He’s been a great leader. We’re trying to learn as much as we can from him, the command he has of the offense.”

— Hedrick on what he’s working on: “Just eliminating the stupid, young-guy mistakes. I’m trying to be more of a commander of the offense, something Joe’s so good at, getting guys in the right spots, recognizing defenses, barking stuff out. Being vocal’s been a little tough for me. I’ve been more of a lead-by-example guy. I need to learn to get out of my comfort zone and talk a lot. I know I only have two years left, so I’ve just got to come out here and work hard, but have fun and savor it.”

— Hedrick on his passing: “It just keeps getting better and better. I feel good with where I am, comfortable. It’s been something I’ve been working on a lot. I realize when I get into the game, I’ve mostly been a runner, but I can throw it, believe it or not. I’ve worked hard on the fundamentals, and if I get in there in a passing situation, I’m feeling more confident than ever.”

— Smith on progress by Hedrick and Patti: “Really feel like Grant has command on what we’re trying to do offensively. I think he’s grown in that area. Nick has really improved in his vision — things are kind of slowing down for him.”

•••

Boise State did not practice today. It was a total day off for the team.

•••


Grant Hedrick interview


Joe Southwick interview


Joe Southwick drill (you can’t tell, but he hits the target on the first three and that’s his reaction to missing the fourth; 4-for-4 is very rare)


Grant Hedrick drill


Nick Patti drill


Ryan Finley drill

•••

Here is a replay of today’s live chat.

•••

Fox Sports 1 (Boise State-Washington game) will be channel 219 on DirecTV, 150 on Dish Network and 26 and 493 (HD) on Cable One. All three will carry it in HD.

For packages, you’ll need Choice or above on DirecTV, America’s Top 120 Plus on Dish or standard cable on Cable One.

•••

Gates open at 6 p.m. for Sunday’s open practice/scrimmage, which begins at 7 p.m.


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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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