By Chadd Cripe
© 2013 Idaho Statesman
Boise State senior quarterback Joe Southwick spent about 15 minutes with the media after Wednesday’s practice. Here are some highlights (audio link below):
— On spring ball: “The first two days I think have been good, both sides of the ball. Early on, it’s just moving around fast and attention to what we’re trying to get done in practice. We’re going through periods fast and playing fast and I think that’s what we’re looking for early on.”
— On the offensive changes: “It’s hard to compare. What the offense right now is worried about is what’s in front of us. A lot of it’s the same. There’s not a lot of differences.”
— On being a returning starter: “Being a senior, I think, even is more important. Something kind of changes when you become a senior. All of us seniors have been talking about it. This is our last go-round for us. We’re just all trying to get better. Coming in as a starter helps, too, just from a whole offensive perspective — there’s a little more structure, I’d say, more organization.”
— On coach Chris Petersen’s comment that Southwick was hungrier than ever: “That’s part of the senior thing, too, but yeah, we tasted success last year. We were 11-2, won a championship, won a bowl game. So now how do we get better? As a competitor, as an athlete, you’re always asking yourself that question. I’m excited to work with this team and see what we can get done.”
— On where the offense needs to get better: “Being more explosive as an offense jumps out first. There’s a lot that goes into that. There’s not just one thing that’s going to fix being an explosive offense.”
— On his success running the ball at the end of last season: “It’s just keeping that mentality. It’s definitely just a mentality of sticking with your reads but if things break down, take off. … I couldn’t tell you (why it improved). Honestly, playing this position, it’s just instincts.”
— On whether the playbook was too full: “Yeah, maybe a little bit, and then I think it’s tough to just, from me being here this whole time, going from coordinator to coordinator to coordinator. It’s tough to be on the same page with how much stuff we’ve had in the past and how much stuff we still have. (Offensive coordinator Robert Prince) has done a great job this offseason. I’m loving what we’ve got going right now. I think we’ve looked really crisp these first two days.”
— On his weight increase from 185 pounds last season to 202 now: “I did want to pack on a little more weight. During the season, you do lose some weight. That’s the way it goes. I’m up over 200 pounds. Hopefully I can sustain that through spring ball and fall camp is the big one. Fall camp is when you lose a lot of weight. I don’t feel any slower, which is the most important thing.”
— On center Matt Paradis: “That’s a really unsung hero, really, in my eyes. He’s awesome. Now we’re pretty much all shotgun around here. We didn’t have one bad snap last year. We didn’t have a snap that went over my head or behind me or anything like that — and that could not have been said around here the last couple years. So I let him know how much I appreciated that. He’s so dialed — he knows his stuff inside and out — and he’s just a good leader, too.”
— On how he plans to lead: “Try to be the example. Try to talk less and just be the example.”
— He said he had to learn to block out the outside “noise” as last season progressed. “It’s one thing to say it and another thing to actually feel it and go through it,” he said. “I’m in a great place right now. We’re having fun out there and we’re really excited about this season.”
— An interesting note: Southwick is lefthanded, but plays every sport except tennis (his dad’s a tennis pro) righthanded. “My dad actually takes the blame for that,” he said. “At a young age, he was always trying to put footballs and stuff in my right hand.” I asked if that meant we’d see a lefthanded pass. “No,” he said, “you’re not.”
PRACTICE NO. 2
Type: Helmets only
Player spotlight: Junior Tyler Horn has spent most of the first two days of spring ball at defensive tackle but he’s still practicing at end, too. The preference seems to be to keep him at tackle. “He’s very athletic, he’s big, he’s strong,” defensive line coach Andy Avalos said. “We feel like he can handle himself in there as a three-technique (tackle) and then obviously he can do some things on the edge when we get in a three-man front.” That would give the Broncos an experienced starting front four with returning starters Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe (nose tackle), Demarcus Lawrence (end) and Sam Ukwuachu (stud end). Horn made a nice play for a sack Wednesday against the first-team offense.
Play of the day: Early in the practice, Lawrence ripped the ball away from sophomore tailback Jack Fields at the line of scrimmage — it wasn’t so much a fumble as a steal. Lawrence forced four fumbles last season.
Notes: I was asked the other day about tailback Devan Demas’ quickness given his 25-pound gain. Demas, now 195 pounds and still the team’s smallest tailback, made a quick cut in the open field Wednesday that seemed to answer any quickness question. … One intriguing guy to watch this offseason will be redshirt sophomore safety Taylor Loffler. The Broncos were high on the Canadian out of high school but he came to campus with a torn ACL and never was healthy last year, either. He’s 6-foot-3, 212 pounds and ready to roll this spring. … I missed much of the 11-on-11 drills Wednesday to call into a teleconference with U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier, so I don’t have much to report in terms of players who looked good.
Next practice: Thursday
I originally planned to post the defensive line report today. I got behind and since it’s late in the day, I’ll post it tomorrow morning instead. Defensive backs will be posted Friday morning.