Boise State football team’s newcomers could be key this year


1-on-1 tackling drill (more video below)

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

The Boise State football team practiced in full pads Wednesday morning, the first half of the last two-a-day of the year.

There was a good battle between the first-team offense and first-team defense during one game-like drive. Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence sacked quarterback Joe Southwick on the second play and nearly got him again on the third play, but Southwick scrambled away and fired to tight end Gabe Linehan for a first down. Defensive tackle Armand Nance made back-to-back plays, a tackle for loss on a run play and combining with tackle Justin Taimatuia to stuff a sneak, but the offense converted fourth-and-1. The drive crossed midfield and was ended when the 5-minute practice period expired. It had the makings of one of those 14-play, 8-minute drives in a game.

In 7-on-7, junior cornerback Bryan Douglas made a nice interception in the end zone.

I paid particular attention to the newcomers today, looking for signs of who might contribute. Many of the answers are obvious because of depth issues — junior college transfers Cleshawn Page and Mercy Maston likely will factor into the cornerback rotation and Jonathan Moxey has made a push out of the true freshman group. Taimatuia should be part of the defensive tackle rotation. Stud end Kamalei Correa, a true freshman, has gotten quality reps because of a lack of depth there and has had some hits and misses but the experience he’s getting will be valuable. Tailback Aaron Baltazar looks good, but if Jay Ajayi, Derrick Thomas and Jack Fields stay healthy he might be able to redshirt. Thomas also is a newcomer and he definitely will be part of the offense this year. Kind of under the radar is true freshman linebacker Darren Lee, who grayshirted after a church mission. He could be an active special-teamer. True freshman linebacker Tanner Vallejo caught coach Chris Petersen’s eye in the first scrimmage. And, again in part because of depth, true freshman tight end Jake Roh is intriguing. Two guys who were expected to contribute immediately may not. Kicker Tyler Rausa has a redshirt year available and right now Dan Goodale likely would win that job. And there’s still no word on the eligibility of defensive tackle Tutulupeatau Mataele, a projected starter dealing with an academic issue.

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In the afternoon practice, wide receiver Taylor Pope made the catch of fall camp — fighting off two defenders to catch a Hail Mary at the goal line. Southwick’s pass traveled about 50 yards.

Nance recorded a sack and redshirt freshman quarterback Nick Patti fired a strike to true freshman Thomas Sperbeck inside the 5-yard line on an impressive drive by the third team. Sperbeck has looked sharp throughout camp.

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The Los Angeles Times reports that Fox Sports 1 has reached agreements with DirecTV and Dish Network and will be on those satellite providers Saturday. Cable One already has announced a deal, so that would put the Boise State-Washington game on all three major TV providers in the Treasure Valley.

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Please join me at 1 p.m. Thursday for a live chat on Boise State football. There will be a link at IdahoStatesman.com.

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I posted a blog late last night. Read it here.

I had a ticket story in today’s paper that has generated a lot of discussion on Twitter about lagging sales. The story is here.

For context on tickets, here are stories I did in the spring comparing prices to other schools in the West and breaking down the price increases for this year.

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I’ve got backup quarterbacks Grant Hedrick and Nick Patti for interviews this evening. I’ll try to post a little video and some quotes, but most of it will be posted tomorrow when I begin breaking down the team by position. Quarterbacks are first.

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It’s time to vote for your favorite color scheme for the Southern Miss game. Participate here.

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Here is a story about what went wrong last year at Southern Miss and why they’re hopeful for a quick turnaround.


Cut blocking practice


Cut blocking drill (Right after I turned off the camera, defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake took over the bag and knocked three straight guys to the ground — then they adjusted.)


Tight ends blocking drill


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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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