Boise State football special teams preview: Goodale, Williams-Rhodes could break out

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

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Be sure to grab Sunday’s newspaper for our annual Boise State/college football preview section. The theme this year: speed. It includes a two-page graphic illustrating the mechanics of speed — as broken down by Boise State strength and conditioning coach Tim Socha. There’s also a three-page cover story on Boise State’s philosophy on speed. On the cover: Ebo Makinde.

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Here is my special teams preview, which is accompanied by a story in tomorrow’s paper:

SPECIAL TEAMS

Roster
Kicker
41 Dan Goodale, 5-10, 196, R-Jr.
28 Tyler Rausa, 5-8, 190, So.

Punter
14 Trevor Harman, 6-3, 211, R-Sr.
26 Sean Wale, 6-1, 185, R-Fr.

Long snapper
46 Kevin Keane, 6-0, 211, Jr.
42 Matt Cota, 6-1, 197, Fr.

Projected depth chart
FG/PAT kicker: Goodale, Rausa
KO specialist: Harman/Goodale/Rausa
Punter: Harman/Wale
Long snapper: Keane, Cota
Holder: WR Matt Miller, QB Joe Southwick
Punt returner: WR Shane Williams-Rhodes, CB Bryan Douglas
Kickoff returner: Williams-Rhodes

Storyline: The Broncos have chosen a kicker, special teams coach Scott Huff said Friday. He wouldn’t name the kicker — saying that’s for coach Chris Petersen, who will address the media Monday. Still, it would be a surprise if it’s not junior Dan Goodale. Goodale was the starter two years ago but lost the job after the miss against TCU. He was perfect in the fall scrimmage Sunday. “Coach Pete talks all the time about improving and competing and Dan Goodale might be as good an example as we have on our team of improving and competing,” Huff said. “So we’re really proud of the progress he’s made.”

Keys to success: The Broncos weren’t as good in the field-position game last season as they usually are. They had some breakdowns with the kickoff team and punter/kickoff specialist Harman had a difficult season. The kickoff and punter jobs remain open — and finding consistency at those two spots will be important.

Reason for concern: The Broncos will have new players handling field goals and punt returns, two of the most high-pressure tasks in a football game. Goodale, who has a powerful leg and has shown terrific accuracy in camp, and Williams-Rhodes, perhaps the Broncos’ most exciting player, likely will get those jobs. “Coach Pete actually calls that position the best decision-maker,” Williams-Rhodes said. “When you’re back there, you’ve got to be like the quarterback on the field — you’ve got to make the best decision for the team, not for yourself.”

Star player: Junior linebacker Blake Renaud won the Hammer four times last season and has six in his career. His work often gets overlooked during the game, but it’s hard to miss him carrying the Hammer out onto the field every third week.

Breakout performer: Goodale and Williams-Rhodes, who also returns kickoffs, have breakout potential. But Williams-Rhodes already is popular with fans and likely will produce more memorable plays than Goodale — giving him the edge.

Newcomer to watch: He’s not technically a newcomer, but redshirt sophomore safety Taylor Loffler hasn’t played in a game because of back-to-back torn ACLs. He is expected to become a big-hitting member of several special teams units.

Quotes/notes:

— The Broncos ranked 108th in net punting (34.1 yards per punt) last season. That’s the only major NCAA stat in which the team ranked outside of the top 70. Harman averaged 41.2 yards per punt but only placed eight inside the 20-yard line. “I feel like as a punting group we had a pretty good year other than pinning them deep, which a lot of that is on me,” Harman said. “Really all it is is touch. Most definitely, it’s a lot harder than it looks.”

— Harman began his career as a kickoff specialist and coaches had big hopes for him. He lost the job to Goodale late last season and is in a three-way battle for it this year. “I picked up some bad habits and I had to start over this offseason and go from the basics and work my way back from there and I think it’s been helping,” he said. “I like the way I’ve been kicking off, especially compared to last year. That was a nightmare.”

— Goodale, a junior walk-on from Timberline High, hopes to repeat the success of last year’s kicker, Michael Frisina. Frisina overcame struggles to succeed. “It was a perfect example,” Goodale said. “He had some adversity when he came in. He ended his career on a great note. I obviously had a little up and down at the beginning of my career. Hopefully I can follow through like he did and just follow his steps.”

— Goodale on making all nine attempts in the fall scrimmage: “I’ve been pretty confident all camp. I just wanted to go out and do my own deal. Obviously I kicked really well, so I felt really good about that. … It’s nice to see that my work has been paying off. Hopefully it will continue throughout the season.”

— Corey Bell on what he tells freshmen about special teams: “I tell them, that’s your best shot to get in. All the coaches want to see that you’re willing to give it up on special teams as well.”

OTHER PREVIEWS

Quarterbacks, tailbacks, wide receivers, linebackers, tight ends, offensive line, defensive backs, defensive line

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Our first in-season live chat will be at 10 a.m. MT next Friday. Still working on a standard day/time for the rest of the season.

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The Bleymaier Football Complex

The Bleymaier Football Complex

Here are the details on coach Chris Petersen’s TV and radio shows this season:

— “Inside Bronco Football with Coach Pete’’ airs at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays on KTVB, starting Sept. 4 and running for 14 weeks.

— The “Bronco Game Week with Coach Pete’’ radio show airs various weekdays on 670 AM and 96.9 FM, starting at 6 p.m. and lasting for one hour. The show debuts Aug. 28. Petersen will no longer appear live during his radio show. The other radio show air dates are Sept. 5, 12, 19, 26, Oct. 2, 10, 17, 24, 31 and Nov. 14, 21, 29.

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Former Boise State left tackle Ryan Clady has donated $25,000 worth of football equipment to his high school, Eisenhower High in Rialto, Calif. The donated equipment includes helmets, five-pad girdles, cleats and gloves.


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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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