By Chadd Cripe
© 2013 Idaho Statesman
POSITION REPORT: QUARTERBACKS
Returning starters (1 of 1): Senior Joe Southwick excelled in the last four games last season and is set up for a big final year. He completed 69.9 percent of his throws for 888 yards and nine touchdowns with no interceptions in those games and rushed for career highs in each of the last two games. That finish gave Southwick some extra confidence going into the offseason and solidified his position as the entrenched starter. He has continued that momentum through spring ball. “I feel like he has,” quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith said. “You can see his command out there. I think he is playing with even more confidence and so that’s been a really good thing. We’re going to lean on him heavy. He’s a senior and a returning starter at the most critical position. I think he’s grabbed onto that and run with it.”
Starters lost: None
Returning contributors: Junior Grant Hedrick made cameo appearances last year for special packages that highlighted his running ability. He carried 19 times for 32 yards and three touchdowns. He also was 12-of-17 for 116 yards passing, without a touchdown or interception.
Other players to watch: Sophomore Jimmy Laughrea and redshirt freshman Nick Patti get a chance in the Spring Game to show how much they have progressed this spring. Laughrea was a distant No. 3 last season while Patti redshirted.
Way-too-early projected starter: QB Southwick
16 Joe Southwick, 6-1, 202, R-Sr.
9 Grant Hedrick, 6-0, 200, R-Jr.
14 Jimmy Laughrea, 6-1, 204, R-So.
8 Nick Patti, 5-10, 200, R-Fr.
Incoming recruits: Ryan Finley, 6-4, 185, Fr. (video below)
— Southwick on his spring: “I’m very pleased with where I’m at right now. It’s a little different. First off, being a senior’s a little different. Being a returning starter at your position, especially the quarterback position, gives you more confidence. The guys respond a little different. It’s been really positive. I’m really pleased with where we’re at.”
— Southwick went through three offensive coordinators in the last three seasons. This year, coordinator Robert Prince and quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith are in their second seasons. “That’s under the radar for how important it is for this offense,” Southwick said. “For the last three years, I’ve seen coordinator go, coordinator go, then coach Prince stepped up. Having everyone back is awesome.” Added Smith: “The second year, you’d like to think you make that biggest jump of improvement. And we’re hoping that pans out in the fall.”
— Southwick on trying to run more. “I think the biggest thing is that it’s a mentality. It’s not ‘I’m blowing off my read and I’m just taking off,’ it’s not that at all. This is a very meticulous system of being on spot with your reads and the ball, and all that stuff, and sometimes you can get caught up in being a robot. The biggest thing is going back to my instincts, feeling stuff, trusting it and playing loose and having fun.”
— Coach Chris Petersen on the QBs: “I think we’re making some progress there, but you’d love to see a lot more consistency. We’ve changed a few things on those guys, and they’re still learning there. I think at every position, you’re always looking for that consistency, and it shows up so dramatically at quarterback. If that guy doesn’t get it right, nobody gets it right. We’ve got four guys here now, so one football — I’d like to see those younger guys get a few more reps here as we go throughout spring.”
—Smith on the group: “I feel like each of them have made some strides in areas that we wanted them to improve on. We kind of headed into spring saying these are particulars for each guy, this is what you need to improve on. I think they’ve made strides that way. We’re not there yet. We haven’t arrived at any spot … but the work ethic has been there. I think they’re processing the system even better this spring compared to last spring.”
— Smith on points of emphasis for QBs this spring: “We wanted to continue to be a threat with our legs and then accuracy in general — we’re always trying to improve in that area because there’s nothing worse than having a guy open and we can’t hit him. So those two areas have been a huge emphasis and I kind of like where we’re headed there.”
— Smith on the three backups: “Their comfort level and their command out there has gotten closer to what we’re looking for. Just more turns, you can see they process things faster. All of them have talent. … We feel comfortable that Grant is continuing to come (along) and Nick and Jimmy are moving. I think we feel good about the four guys we’ve got. But no one has been like this guy’s the quarterback of spring ball or anything like that.”
PRACTICE NO. 11
Type: Helmet and shoulder pads
Player spotlight: With so much focus on cornerback, it’s easy to overlook safety for the Broncos. The returning starters are sophomore Darian Thompson and junior Jeremy Ioane, but the Broncos frequently need a third safety during the season. One of the top contenders is sophomore Dillon Lukehart of Eagle High. Lukehart was one of the Broncos’ top special-teamers last season and he began getting a little time in the secondary late in the year.
Play of the day: Junior defensive tackle Tyler Horn ended a promising drive by the Hedrick-led first-team offense. Hedrick’s pass hit one defender and the ball flipped into the air. Horn, chasing the play, made a diving catch just before the ball hit the turf.
Notes: The Spring Game is at 5 p.m. Saturday at Bronco Stadium. … Senior wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn made a couple of spectacular catches, continuing his strong spring. … Junior linebacker Blake Renaud made a big hit on tailback Jack Fields. I was screened and couldn’t see the play — but the sound caught my attention.
Next practice: Wednesday
I’ll be doing a spring football live chat at noon Thursday. There will be a link posted at IdahoStatesman.com.
Here is a story on former Boise State recruit Malcolm Holland. Holland signed with the Broncos to play cornerback in 2011 but opted to play pro baseball instead. He’s still got Boise State on his mind, though.