Boise State football team’s fast-paced offense could top Friday’s 100 plays

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

100 PLAYS MIGHT NOT BE A SEASON HIGH

Boise State ran the second-most plays this season in the Football Bowl Subdivision on Friday at Fresno State: 100. The Broncos, who have run the most offensive plays in the country through four games, also ran two two-point conversions with the full offense on the field.

Boise State doesn’t keep a school record for plays, but the Broncos ran 106 in 2003 at Louisiana Tech (732 yards, 43-37 win). They gained 561 yards in the 41-40 loss at Fresno State.

“I can remember La. Tech — we were blown away by that,” offensive line coach Chris Strausser said. “It was hot down there and it was a passing fest. I’m not as surprised by it now as what I was back then. We’d love to run 105 plays in a game.”

The offensive linemen were on the field for the most plays. Rees Odhiambo, Marcus Henry, Matt Paradis and Spencer Gerke took all 100 snaps on offense and the two conversions. Some of them are on the field for PATs and field goals, too.

Senior left tackle Charles Leno Jr. missed two plays because his helmet came off, so he was out there for 98 snaps.

“(Strength coach Tim Socha) has done a tremendous job getting these guys in shape this summer for really a different style of play than what we’ve done in the past,” Strausser said. “They said they felt great.”

Said Leno: “I wasn’t tired.”

The pace appeared to wear on the Fresno State defense. The Broncos rushed 29 times for 77 yards in the first half and 24 times for 123 yards in the second half.

“One hundred plays on the defense is a lot harder than 100 plays on offense,” Strausser said. “They’ve got to go chase the ball every play.”

The Broncos also need a little time to get the run game diagnosed, Strausser said.

“You play a good team, you’re not going to go out there 5 yards a pop right off the bat,” he said. “We had to figure out what our best stuff was against those guys. … We’d all love to go out there right away and be gashing defenses, but that’s not really the nature of the run game.”

WIDE-OPEN RECEIVERS HURTING DEFENSE

One of the biggest issues facing the Boise State football team four weeks into the season is its pass coverage.

Last week, Fresno State’s receivers often ran through wide-open spaces for easy catches and long runs with the ball.

The Broncos rank 100th in passing yards allowed (273.3 per game) and 85th in pass-efficiency defense (139.64). They allowed four passing touchdowns to Fresno State — the same number they allowed all of last season with star cornerbacks Jamar Taylor and Jerrell Gavins.

“That’s the one thing you don’t like to see is guys running wide open down the field, but it’s hard on defenses these days,” coach Chris Petersen said. “Football has changed. Linemen can go downfield when you’re throwing the ball. Everybody’s got to figure out a way to stop those kinds of plays.

“If a kid’s right there competing for the ball and another guys makes a play, that’s football. That’s going to happen. They’ve got good players, too. If we’re not executing our assignments well, then that’s on all of us, starting with coaches, to go back and simplify it and give our guys a chance to be right there fighting for the ball.”

The Broncos have played 11 newcomers in the defensive rotation this season — three cornerbacks, four linebackers and four linemen. They only have two seniors in the rotation.

“It’s not any one thing — it’s just a lot of little things — and it kind of starts with personnel and experience,” Petersen said. “They’re good guys who fight hard. We’ll improve. But there’s no substitute for experience.”

NOTES & QUOTES

— Redshirt freshman linebacker Ben Weaver is listed as the starter at weak-side linebacker this week. He was the backup the first three games and the co-starter last week — playing about half the game each week. He started the Fresno State game. Weaver leads the team with 30 tackles. Defensive tackle Tyler Horn is next with 21.

— Boise State will host another Make-A-Wish child at this week’s game. Shane, a 12-year-old from Bloomington, Minn., has Spina Bifida. This is the third time in four years that an out-of-state child has had a wish granted involving Boise State football.

— As you can see in the video above, the Broncos were wearing black helmets today. That usually means they’ll be wearing those helmets in the game. They could mix them with other colors — one player suggested earlier this year that they go with gray jerseys and black helmets. They wore blue jerseys and black helmets in the bowl game last year.

•••

OUR COVERAGE

Monday blog: Southwick is “fine”
Tuesday story: Broncos lead nation in plays per game

Live chat: 11:30 a.m. Thursday

•••

GAME NOTES

Boise State game notes
Boise State depth chart
Boise State stats

•••

SOUTHERN MISS COVERAGE

Hattiesburg American

You can follow writer Jason Munz (@munzly) on Twitter.

•••

GAME FACTS

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)


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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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