By Chadd Cripe
© 2013 Idaho Statesman
HEDRICK’S PREPARATION PAYS OFF
Boise State junior backup quarterback Grant Hedrick replaced ailing starter Joe Southwick for three plays last week at Fresno State. It was a pre-planned package of plays that included two handoffs and a play-action touchdown pass to Troy Ware — the first TD pass of Hedrick’s career.
“That was kind of the first time when I had to go in and throw the ball at a time that mattered,” Hedrick said. “It was great for me. I think it was just a good confidence-builder.”
Hedrick is 9-of-13 for 69 yards and a TD this season. He also has rushed once for a 50-yard TD.
The Broncos have used him throughout his career in specialty roles as a running quarterback because of his speed, but Hedrick’s most important role is to get ready to replace Southwick if needed.
The Broncos have not lost a starting quarterback to injury since Ryan Dinwiddie broke an ankle in 2002.
“You go into every game like you’re going to play 90 snaps, 100 snaps, and you might not get a single one,” Hedrick said, “so it’s tough, but you’ve got to do it. That’s kind of my role and I’ve accepted that this year that that’s what I need to do.”
More from Hedrick:
— On Southwick’s performance: “It showed his toughness. He’s a tough guy. Especially your throwing shoulder, as a quarterback, that’s the last thing you want to hurt, so he really displayed a lot of toughness. It was great for our team to see that.”
— On Southwick’s reaction to the three-play break: “He was mad. He wants to stay in there if he can.”
— On his own preparation: “You’ve got to go in and study as much film as Joe does. I like to go in and watch film with him because he knows what he’s doing. He’s really experienced.”
— On the 2014 starting job: “That’s always in the back of your mind and it kind of starts right now.”
— On whether he considered transferring for playing time: “That hasn’t even crossed my mind a single time. I’ve been committed here from day one and I could never do that to these coaches and my teammates. I’m going to stick it out whether I ever start a game here or not. I’m part of this team and I’ll do everything I can to help them win.”
Highlights courtesy of BroncoSports.com
GOODALE DELIVERS WITH VARIETY
Boise State junior kicker Dan Goodale has played a key role for the Broncos this season, but not in the way you’d expect.
Goodale, who has made his last four field-goal attempts and all 17 PATs, has made more of an impact as the kickoff specialist.
He has 10 touchbacks and two tackles while limiting opponents to 20.2 yards per return. He also has booted a surprise onside kick that led to a touchdown against UT Martin and a pooch kick that the Broncos recovered to set up a touchdown against Fresno State.
“It’s good being able to do a lot of different things,” Goodale said. “It kind of keeps you out of the monotony. … It’s easier to stay loose and you don’t have to sit there on the sideline thinking, ‘When am I going to kick next?’ ”
Goodale, of Timberline High, earned the starting job and a scholarship in fall camp. He won and lost the starting field-goal job as a redshirt freshman in 2011 and took over as the kickoff specialist late last season.
His first field-goal attempt this season was blocked — he might have been too excited, he said — but he has made kicks of 37, 20, 31 and 32 yards since. All of those kicks came on the road in, at the time, close games.
“I’m starting to get really comfortable on the field,” he said, “so that’s helped me.”
Goodale’s performance is part of a strong special teams effort by the Broncos so far this season. They rank fourth in the nation in punt returns (23.7-yard average), got two long kickoff returns from Dallas Burroughs last week and are tied for 16th in net punting after an abysmal punting season in 2012.
“We’ve improved our special teams, but we still have work to do,” Goodale said. “Hopefully it will continue to be good and we can keep improving.”
NOTES & QUOTES
— Goodale on his tackling: “Hopefully we can have a minimal amount of those because I’m not really a sure tackler. If I have to make some, hopefully I can bring them down.”
— Senior left tackle Charles Leno Jr. on his message to teammates: “Just keep fighting, keep getting better every week. We’re almost there. Just two points, we’d be smiling about that win (against Fresno State), but we’ve still got a lot to do. We’re just trying to get better every week.”
— Coach Chris Petersen on the tailback rotation: “We’ve got more than Aaron (Baltazar) and Jay (Ajayi) back there. We do. We’re trying to find ways to get those guys all on the field.”
Monday blog: Southwick is “fine”
Tuesday story: Broncos lead nation in plays per game
Tuesday blog: 100 plays no surprise for Broncos
Tuesday blog: Mountain West Football Report
Wednesday story: Southern Miss QB is a Cal transfer with one year to play
Wednesday story: Scouting the Golden Eagles
Live chat: 11:30 a.m. Thursday
SOUTHERN MISS COVERAGE
You can follow writer Jason Munz (@munzly) on Twitter.
Southern Miss at Boise State
When: 8:15 p.m. Saturday
Where: Bronco Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf)
TV: ESPNU (Joe Davis, David Diaz-Infante); channel 301 on Cable One, 208 on DirecTV and 141 on Dish Network
Radio: KBOI (670AM), KKGL (96.9 FM); Bob Behler, Pete Cavender
Records: Boise State is 2-2 overall, 1-1 Mountain West; Southern Miss is 0-3, 0-0 Conference USA
Series: Boise State leads 3-0 (BSU 40-14, 2012 in Hattiesburg)