Boise State coach Chris Petersen
By Chadd Cripe
© 2013 Idaho Statesman
KWIATKOWSKI WILL STAY IN PRESS BOX
Boise State defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski plans to call games from the press box for the rest of the season, he said Tuesday.
Kwiatkowski moved upstairs for last week’s game against UT Martin after spending seven seasons and one game on the Broncos’ sideline. He’s in his fourth season as the coordinator.
In the season opener against Washington, the Broncos did not have a full-time defensive assistant in the box. Linebackers coach Bob Gregory, a former coordinator who used to work upstairs, moved to the sideline this season — leaving just the graduate assistants upstairs.
The Broncos struggled with misalignments at Washington, allowing 592 yards.
“It was good — good to see it all,” Kwiatkowski said. “You’re removed, so it’s not nearly as emotional. … It made a huge difference as far as seeing what we needed to adjust and what they were trying to do.”
Kwiatkowski said he was a bit concerned about the lack of a full-time assistant in the box going into the season but he also was worried about losing something if he moved upstairs.
“You can’t look at the players in the eyes and see how they are when it’s going good or it’s going bad,” he said.
Gregory wanted to move to the field to have that interaction with the linebackers, particularly with the pace of offenses these days.
“There wasn’t as much communication going on,” he said. “I felt like I could be closer with the linebackers and substitute those guys.”
Before, defensive line coach Andy Avalos was running the linemen and linebackers on the sideline.
Kwiatkowski helps coach the defensive line but no longer has a full-time position assignment, which made it easier for him to leave the field.
The Broncos play Air Force in the Mountain West opener at 6 p.m. Friday at Bronco Stadium.
LINEBACKERS ADJUST TO THINNING RANKS
Tanner Vallejo will be the last true freshman linebacker to play this season, Gregory said. Vallejo and true freshman Darren Lee enter this week’s game against Air Force as the co-backups at middle linebacker.
“This is the crew,” Gregory said.
The Broncos have lost two of their top six linebackers — senior co-starter at strong-side linebacker, Jonathan Brown, for about six weeks and junior backup middle linebacker Travis Saxton for the season.
That leaves junior Corey Bell playing most of the snaps on the strong side with redshirt freshman Chris Santini rotating in, junior Blake Renaud playing most of the snaps in the middle with Lee and Vallejo rotating in and sophomore Tyler Gray and redshirt freshman Ben Weaver splitting time on the weak side.
The other backups are senior Dustin Kamper and redshirt freshman Andrew Pint. True freshmen Joe Martarano and Mat Boesen are redshirting.
Lee and Vallejo likely will get noticed more on special teams at first but Gregory expects to count on them on defense, too.
“You’ve got to,” he said. “It’s a steep learning curve and you’ve got to grow up fast and you’ve got to go. They’re going to be OK.”
Vallejo was on standby for the first two weeks of the season. He attended all of the linebacker meetings, which isn’t the case for all true freshmen. Coaches told him on the sideline after Saxton’s injury that he was going to play.
“He was bright-eyed, a big smile,” Gregory said. “He said, ‘Let’s go.’ We felt good about that and he felt good about it.”
Vallejo recorded 290 tackles combined in his last two high school seasons.
“Just kind of a natural player,” Gregory said. “Those good inside linebackers, I’d like to say it’s coaching, but it’s not. It’s just guys who have a very natural feel for all that stuff inside.”
NOTES & QUOTES
— Air Force defensive back Christian Spears on Boise State: “They’ll be another tough test like Utah State. What stands out is the option routes they run with receivers — it’s tough to cover that. We have to really get that film study down. We’ll be on top of it.”
— Petersen on preparing for the Falcons: “There’s not a lot of banked reps going against this style of offense.”
Air Force at Boise State
When: 6 p.m. Friday
Where: Bronco Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf)
TV: ESPN (Carter Blackburn, Danny Kanell, Allison Williams)
Radio: KBOI (670AM), KKGL (96.9 FM); Bob Behler, Pete Cavender
Records: Boise State is 1-1 overall, 0-0 Mountain West; Air Force is 1-1, 0-1
Series: Boise State leads 1-0 (BSU 37-26, 2011 in Boise)