Boise State QB Southwick pleased with spring thus far; defense focuses on efficient communication

Senior quarterback Joe Southwick had plenty of positive things to say about his and the offense’s work thus far in spring practices when he spoke to the media Thursday.

He said having a year as a starter under his belt has made this spring unique to any of the others he’s taken part in.

“Being the returning starter at your position, especially at the quarterback position, gives you more confidence, and the guys respond a little different,” Southwick said. “It’s just been really positive — I’m really pleased with where we’re at.”

Southwick said he had positive conversations over the offseason with coach Chris Petersen, offensive coordinator Robert Prince and quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith about their likes and dislikes in the offense, saying “we’re just trying to be efficient … I’m very happy with where we’re going.”

Southwick said he sometimes would “be a robot” last season and spend too much time trying to go through his reads and find a receiver, when he could have pulled down the ball instead of making a risky throw or taking a sack. He had 64 of his 121 net rushing yards last season in the final two games.

“I like to run,” Southwick said. “… being able to extend things with my legs will be a big part of (growing) my game.”

The Bronco defense has experimented with a few new plays and new calls this spring. Just as the offense has tried to simplify things, the defense has, too.

“We’ve been shortening our calls, trying to clean up our communication from the sideline to the field,” defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski said. “Trying to clean it up when teams go no-huddle, so there’s less verbiage to be communicated.”

Linebacker Blake Renaud said the new calls have leveled the playing field a bit, while defensive tackle Tyler Horn said Thursday that “it’s often the same play we’ve known, there’s just a different word for it, maybe the play’s been tweaked a little bit.”

Forbes.com featured a piece titled “Boise State Football And The Blueprint Organizational Greatness” on Thursday, focusing on coach Chris Petersen’s methods of focusing on the right fit for the Broncos’ culture, not necessarily looking at talent alone.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper posted a two-round mock draft Thursday, and in it, he has Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor going 43rd overall (second round) to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs drafted former Bronco Doug Martin in the first round last season. Many pundits agree the Buccaneers need cornerbacks, and should Tampa Bay end up with Taylor, he’d likely be given a big role early.

PRACTICE REPORT
PRACTICE NO. 9

Type: Helmets

Player spotlight: Junior defensive tackle Deuce Mataele has quickly turned some heads in his first practices with Boise State after transferring from Mount San Antonio College in January. The 6-foot-3, 285-pound Utah native has shown a knack for getting after the passer — he had an impressive leaping knockdown of a Grant Hedrick pass on a third down in the defense’s territory during a game-like situation Thursday.
“He’s going to play — he’s extremely quick, an explosive guy,” defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski said. “We’re going to be able to get a good pass rush out of him.”

Play of the day: Senior receiver Geraldo Boldewijn has continued to play well in the spring, hauling in a 20-yard diving catch near the sideline on a third down from Hedrick.

Notes: The offense spent a period working on option plays against the defense, with quarterback Nick Patti having a nice run, and receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes looking tough to stop in those packages. … For the second straight practice, Eliot Hoyte recovered a fumble in the backfield. On Thursday, he pounced on a stray ball after a bad exchange from Patti and a running back on a zone read play.

Next practice: Friday

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