Interim coach speaks as Boise State football team accepts bid to Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve

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

Highlights from Boise State interim football coach Bob Gregory’s press conference:

— He has applied for the head coaching job and interviewed with Athletic Director Mark Coyle. “This is a great situation,” he said. “It would be great to stay here in Boise with my family and Boise State.”

— On the bowl: “The great thing is coach (Chris) Petersen and our staff and our players, we do have a process that is in place. There is an unbelievable foundation and I couldn’t be luckier or more fortunate. I’m the guy who blows the whistle.”

— The Broncos will have eight coaches for the bowl game. Petersen and running backs coach Keith Bhonapha, who has joined him at Washington, will not be there.

— Most of the assistants were on the road recruiting when Petersen took the Washington job and did not attend the team meeting Friday morning. “The change has been a little dramatic at times. Our guys have been great. We’ve had two really good, positive practices. Our kids are resilient.”

— The Broncos have shut down recruiting. Eight players were scheduled to visit this weekend and those visits were postponed. The only communication now is coming from Athletic Director Mark Coyle and Association Athletic Director Curt Apsey. “It’s just not fair to coaches and the recruits. We really can’t give those kids answers.”

— On going to Hawaii: “It’s going to be fun over there. I can’t say enough about the kids that we have in this program. I know that they’re going to all do it the right way. Our kids are not going to go over there and be distracted. They’ll have time to go to the beach and have fun. When it’s time to practice, they’ll focus. … That’s what this program is all about. I don’t anticipate that being anything other than the way it’s been.”

— On QB Joe Southwick: “Joe’s probably going to play. He practiced today. Obviously every day he’s getting a little better. I certainly anticipate him playing.”

— “Anybody always looks forward to a new challenge. It will be fun to lead this group of guys.”

— “Transition is part of our profession. We’re kind of used to it a little bit.”

— “Really we’re just trying to set (the players’) anxiety level, get it a little bit lower. It’s such a great place here and the tradition and process we have in place — there’s no reason for anxiety.”

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Highlights from the players:

— Kharyee Marshall: “The last two practices have been really fun out there and a lot of energy. It felt kind of good to get out there and get our minds off what’s been going on.”

— Marshall: “We had our meeting (with Petersen). Sure enough, he was telling us it was time to move on and accept a new challenge. I’m very happy for Coach Pete and what he’s done for this program. I wish him the best of luck. I know he’s going to do great things out in Washington.”

— Kirby Moore: “Coach Pete did a great job addressing the situation. I wish him the best. I’m very thankful he was here our whole five-year careers.”

— Jonathan Brown: “Everybody was kind of in shock. In the same breath, it’s really about getting back to doing what we do. We still have a goal here. We still have a chance to achieve our goal of winning a bowl game.”

— Marshall: “It’s always important to end our career with a win and try to get that fifth ring. If we don’t get that win, we’ll feel like we let the past Broncos down and let the future Broncos who are coming in down. We’re going to prepare like we usually do. We’re not going to miss a beat.”

— Moore said the seniors tell the younger players to have faith in the administration to find the right coach. How does that go, I asked: “Obviously it varies from guy to guy.”

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The Boise State football team has accepted an invitation to the Hawaii Bowl, the school announced Sunday.

The opponent is Oregon State (6-6).

The Hawaii Bowl is at 6 p.m. (3 p.m. HT) on Christmas Eve in Honolulu. It airs on ESPN.

The bowl is affiliated with Conference USA. However, C-USA took the Mountain West’s spot in the Armed Forces Bowl as a trade to open a spot to create a matchup in Hawaii. The Mountain West also took a spot in the Heart of Dallas Bowl (UNLV) as part of the deal. All three games are run by ESPN.

“I would like to thank the officials at the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, ESPN and the Mountain West Conference for this opportunity to play in one of the top postseason settings in college football,” Athletic Director Mark Coyle said in a statement. “We are excited for this year’s Bronco team, and especially for our senior class.”

The men’s basketball team also will be in Hawaii during that time. The Broncos are playing Dec. 22, 23 and 25 in the Diamond Head Classic.

Boise State lost to East Carolina in the 2007 Hawaii Bowl. It played a regular-season game in Hawaii last year but isn’t scheduled to return until 2016.

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Boise State announced its team awards Sunday:

Academic Achievement – Kirby Moore
Ultimate OSG Award – Alec Dhaenens
Iron Bronco Award – Spencer Gerke
Denny Erickson Valor Award – Jonathan Brown
Offensive Scout Player of the Year – Terrell Johnson
Defensive Scout Player of the Year – Joe Martarano
Special Teams Scout Player of the Year – Tanner Shipley
Hammer Award – Taylor Loffler
Special Teams Player of the Year – Dillon Lukehart
Outstanding Defensive Lineman – Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe
Outstanding Offensive Lineman – Matt Paradis
Most Valuable Defensive Player – Demarcus Lawrence
Most Valuable Offensive Player – Matt Miller

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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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