Boise State football team searches for ways to get WR Matt Miller the ball

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

MILLER TO GET BALL MORE

The stock answer to questions about players getting a lot, or a few, passes thrown their way is that the ball goes where the defense dictates.

Boise State football coach Chris Petersen wants his offensive staff to take a different approach with junior wide receiver Matt Miller.

Miller, who tied for the team lead with 62 catches in 2011 and was first with 66 in 2012, is second with 53 catches this year.

He made six catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns in the Broncos’ last game, Nov. 2 at Colorado State. That followed an October in which he caught 12 passes for 116 yards and no touchdowns in three games.

“You can move guys around (the formation) to where the percentages probably go up where he has a better chance to get it,” Petersen said. “At the end of the day, that’ll help.”

Said quarterback Grant Hedrick: “We’re just putting him in different spots to go make plays. He needs to get more touches. … We need to get him the ball and figure out any way we can to do that.”

Miller did not say one word to the coaches about his lack of action, Petersen said. Still, the unassuming junior noticed his dwindling stats.

“I was kind of getting a little frustrated for a while,” he said. “The ball wasn’t bouncing my way. A lot of it is on my shoulders, just getting open and making sure Grant has enough time and sees me being open.”

Miller showed his value at Colorado State with two difficult catches in the end zone — catches that have been few and far between for the Broncos this season. He caught one pass by turning late to his back shoulder and another by picking the football off the defender’s helmet on a jump ball.

Those plays should get him more looks in the red zone from his roommate.

“A lot of it is giving Grant confidence to give us those balls to go make plays,” Miller said.

HEDRICK’S CONFIDENCE ON THE RISE

There’s a difference between the confidence you have in your ability and the confidence you gain in your ability — and that’s where Hedrick is after three full games (minus one play) as the Broncos’ starting quarterback.

Hedrick accounted for six touchdowns Nov. 2 against Colorado State — the most by a Bronco in 10 years.

“Gaining confidence was a big thing for me,” he said. “I knew I could play. Just actually going out and doing it really helped my confidence. And you mature with every rep you take on the field, which has helped me a lot.”

He prepared for this opportunity in part through weekly, 30-minute, 1-on-1 meetings with quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith. Third-stringer Nick Patti also had a weekly, 1-on-1 meeting. The meetings were a new addition this year.

The meetings focus on the backups’ knowledge of the offense.

“Being able to command the offense,” Hedrick said. “When you know what everybody is doing, all 11 guys, you can use your voice to command and tell people where to go.”

I’ve got a full story on Hedrick in tomorrow’s paper.

NOTES & QUOTES

¬— Boise State junior defensive end Demarcus Lawrence is on the midseason watch list for the Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award. Lawrence is among 18 players honored. He leads the Mountain West with 8.5 sacks and is second with 13.0 tackles for loss.

— The Broncos’ secondary has been under fire all season but Wyoming coach Dave Christensen is impressed with that group. “Their back end is as good as we’ve seen this year,” Christensen said.

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OUR COVERAGE

Monday blog: Notes from Monday’s press conference
Tuesday story: Big stakes for Broncos in last three games
Tuesday blog: Wyoming has been inconsistent
Tuesday blog: Mountain West Football Report
Wednesday story: Wyoming seeks complete game
Wednesday story: Rocky Mountain athlete commits to Boise State
Scouting Wyoming

Live chat: Join us at 11:30 a.m. Thursday. You can sign up for a reminder below.

•••

GAME NOTES

Boise State game notes
Boise State stats
Boise State depth chart
Mountain West notes

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WYOMING COVERAGE

The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle coverage can be found here.

Beat writer Robert Gagliardi is on Twitter, @rpgagliardi.

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GAME FACTS

Wyoming at Boise State

When: 8:21 p.m. Saturday

Where: Bronco Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf)

TV: ESPN2 (Mark Jones, Brock Huard, Jessica Mendoza)

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

Records: Boise State is 6-3 overall, 4-1 Mountain West; Wyoming is 4-5, 2-3

Series: Boise State leads 7-0 (last meeting: BSU 45-14, 2012, in Laramie, Wyo.)


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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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