Darian Thompson told the media after the BYU game that the defense has been working on tackling all season and they “haven’t quite got it figured out yet.” The Washington game had tackling issues as well and BSU corners getting blocked on quick outs and bubble screens. BSU linebackers had trouble getting off blocks versus the Huskies and making balanced tackles.
That problem continues.
Boise State played 4 linebackers, not counting the position formerly known as nickel, 2 freshmen, a red shirt freshman and sophomore. Often times versus BYU those four were in position to make plays but most commonly over ran the ball carrier and missed. I counted at least 10 missed tackles amongst them, seven of which were over pursued tackles or defenders not being in balance. Most all of these misses resulted in big plays for BYU on the way to 229 yards rushing. Young players don’t always have the experience to settle down when making a 1 on 1 tackle and wrap up the ball carrier from waist to knee. Sometimes, they are surprised they are in the position to begin with and dive at the defenders feet.
In particular, Tanner Vallejo, a true freshman starter, had a rough night not reading his keys, getting blocked and not getting separation to make some tackles. He needs seasoning, strength and explosiveness to be a more complete linebacker. Ben Weaver simply over pursued on his misses and is an aggressive player who must balance himself before lunging. He too at times was blocked but shows what one extra year can do for development. Darren Lee had a bad read and several over pursuits, which comes with a true freshman who didn’t play football for 2 years while serving a church mission. Tyler Grey struggled getting off blocks and exploding to the ball carrier. Nance, Lawrence, Tjong-A-Tjoe and Horn all missed sacks and tackles for loss by diving and not taking extra steps and wrapping up. Tired legs will do that to a defensive line that had to tackle a QB who runs like a fullback in Hill. Hill also was elusive and tough to corral, so he added to the misery of Boise State defenders.
CB’s Donte Deayon and Bryan Douglas had some good and bad moments but Boise State doesn’t have many options. Deayon had a TD ripped away from him by Hoffman who is 7 inches taller and 60 pounds heavier. I also really felt for Deayon when he dove at the Mack truck that was 6’6 250 BYU TE Mahina and missed a tackle. Those are physical limitations for him at this point and will continue to be exploited by opponents. Douglas tried to make an interception but misjudged the ball and allowed a TD. It happens.
I didn’t think Grant Hedrick was all that bad either. Coach Pete mentioned making some future adjustments for him that include more deep balls and plays designed to get him on the move. But, against a physically superior BYU defensive front, BSU wasn’t going to risk a lot of zone read plays to the outside where Hedrick had no blocking. The lack of consistent edge blocking cost BSU all night. Hedrick threw some nice balls to Miller, Burkes and a TD to Ware but in the end he isn’t ready to be the Comeback Kid throwing the ball when the team is behind 3 scores.
Utah State may not have won the game with Boise State last Saturday but the football program is making big strides. The game marked the 3rd sellout of the season for Utah State. The 25,513 seating capacity was maxed out and yes the BSU fans helped that number out. Visiting fans though can help themselves to a $5 tailgate in a huge dirt lot about 2 blocks from the stadium. And, as long as you put your booze in a solo cup, nobody will bother you. They will even give you free ice across the street at the C store if you ask them for it. The roads into and out of the stadium are easy to navigate and were mostly stress free. The lines to get in and at the concession stand and bathroom were short, the people happy to see you and most fans braved chilly temps to wear white. The student section seemed to fill the entire side of the stadium and NEVER SAT DOWN.
Utah State still has a very small athletic department budget more than half of Boise States. But, they have a new football facility, decent video board/sound system and a nice statue of Merlin Olson. They even gave the media hounds a free box lunch. UW threw them hot dogs in Seattle. The Huskies budget is 4x Utah States.
Ya, they could use some luxury suites, a new press box and maybe an escalator, but they are going in the right direction. Football season tickets increased 66% over last year and totals over 10,000. Donations to the program have tripled since 2008.
Consider where they have come from. Since 2001, the football program has gone from Independent to the Sun Belt, the WAC and now finally the MWC. Four football coaches later, two of which were forced out and one, Gary Anderson, signed a new deal and bolted, the program has suffered through a 51-97 record since ’01. Pretty resilient for a school which has to compete for fans with a church state competitor in BYU and Pac 12 Utah both only 1 ½ to 2 hours away. Utah State seems primed for the future.
I grew up a fan of USC football. I went to John McKay football camps, had season tickets for years and my father was friends with coaches and players. I idolized the Trojans of the 70’s. I left Los Angeles to play at Boise State. USC had zero interest in me. So, it is fair to say I am a huge USC fan. So, this blog could be a little biased but if Coach Pete wants to take another job in college football, its fine with me he do it at USC.
Chris Petersen is from Yuba City, CA outside Sacramento. He could have been as big a Trojan fan as I was for all I know. I do know that Coach Pete is close with Paul Hackett, a former USC Head Coach from 1998-2000. Hackett hired Pete to go to Pitt with him and taught him many things about how to teach football. Hackett was the coach prior to Pete Carroll and had a bad 3 years and was fired. He felt he wasn’t given enough time, so he could be bitter. Hackett hired Ed Orgeron at USC and he is now the Trojans interim coach. Surely, Pete can reach out to Hackett to better understand the ins and outs of the job. And, it isn’t the first time Pete has had conversations with USC if he chooses to do so. Both the LA TIMES and ESPN reported in 2010 that after Pete Carroll left for the NFL, then AD Mike Garrett asked for permission to speak with Pete. It’s unlikely it was granted because Pete had just agreed to a new 5 year deal at Boise St. and was looking for a National Championship in 2011.
Will he go? Well, Las Vegas has put him in at 4-1 odds to be the new coach. He HAS done all he can do at Boise State. He can make generational wealth at USC and make some assistants wealthier as well. USC could pay Pete double his 5 year 12 million dollar deal. Pete Carroll was making $4.4 million a year. So, if Pete went to USC he could make a $20-25 million dollar deal. He told CBSsports.com in July he doesn't see himself coaching in 10 years. The money he makes would make it easier to do whatever he chooses for the rest of his life with no regard for money. And don’t tell me money isn’t important to Pete, if his salaries would not have increased at BSU, he would have left. That same CBS reporter, Bruce Feldman, now is saying he has spoken to a source close to Coach Pete who claims he is ready for a change. I can’t see USC waiting until Coach Pete is comfortable leaving Boise State which to me is after a bowl game. That could be anywhere from December 22-31st. We all know the downsides of living in LA and the pressure at USC. Does Coach Pete want to stomach that? Could he? Does he seek change and a new challenge? Only Pete can tell. And, I don’t think he is saying.
May we have your attention please?
Will the real Boise State please stand up?
We repeat, will the real Boise State please stand up?
Or we are gonna have a problem here in Fresno..
After the lows of an opening day loss to Washington and heights of a FCS home opener win came the 4th quarter destruction of and win over Air Force. I think it is safe to say now that Boise State is not up to the challenge of beating a #17 ranked BCS team on the road but is quite capable of handling a FCS team or middle of the pack MWC team at home. What they can do on the road vs a upper level MWC team is the real question.
So, at this stage of the season, I have BSU with 6 wins easy, 8 with some skill and 9-11 with a Championship team effort. Southern Miss, Nevada, Wyoming and New Mexico should all be home wins. Although, Nevada has proven they can rise to the occasion through the years on the road vs BSU and Wyoming has the QB to keep up the scoring pace, BSU should prevail. Throw in road wins vs Colorado State and an injury prone San Diego State and call it 8. Now, the problems begin.
Fresno State, Utah State and BYU still remain mysteries. I don’t have the blind faith in this team that they will deliver a typical road blowout win. Even though they have beaten Fresno St 7 straight times, the Bulldogs are still a 3-4.5 point home favorite over BSU. Last year, Boise State won the game 20-10 but both teams made several mistakes. BSU ran the ball well but passed for only 113 yards by Joe Southwick and had several drives stalled. The defense was pitching a shutout until late in the 3rd quarter and a Fresno field goal made it 20-3. Fresno St. QB Derek Carr ran the no huddle offense with little run game and got off a 29-43 performance for 266 yards through the air. Fresno had 9 penalties and a few turn overs. I can’t say the BSU defense will defend as well as they did last season, but I do know Southwick and the offense will put up points. This game will be high scoring and most likely go over 65 points. I still like Boise State but I am not ready to predict the win without more consideration and will do so on Bronco GameDay on 670 KBOI Friday at about 350pm.
Utah State put away Air Force early in the 3rd quarter and cruised to a 52-20 road win. The stats look very close between Boise State and Utah State using Air Force as a measuring stick. Doing it on the road looks good. Advantage Utah State.
BYU destroyed Texas at home but lost to Virginia in their opener and still has Utah at home and Utah State in Logan before Boise State. I will hold my tongue.
I do think though the real Boise State, whoever that is, will stand up in Fresno and behave the same way in Logan and it could be the Air Force game showed us what the BSU defense could do when it buckled down in the second half and held them to under 100 yards offense. So, for now, I am holding at 8 wins …
The Boise State win over UT Martin was a good dose of medicine for the entire program. The players learned how to capitalize on others mistakes, the coaches gained confidence in the players ability to accept coaching and the administration HOPEFULLY learned a tough lesson about what it takes to put fans in the stands. It’s only THIS about THAT.
PLAYERS: I thought Joe Southwick came through nicely. He ran the ball on option plays, overcame adversity by getting stripped and sacked early, and delivered 5 td passes with no picks. He hit a 54 yard pass to Burks, and averaged almost 14 yards per completion. The offensive line continued to run block well, especially Paradis, Leno, Jr and Henry on td runs. And, outside of one sack Odhiambo allowed, they pass blocked well. Kirby Moore was physical at the goal line and pushed off his defender for a td catch. Shane Williams Rhodes displayed the breakaway speed this team lacks. Grant Hedrick showed what a running QB can do if cut loose in this offense with a zone read keeper td. On the other hand, Jeremy Ioane missed 2 or 3 open field tackles and cost the defense. On Bryan Douglas pick six he was playing loose coverage again but at least made the play when given the opportunity. Darian Thompson had a great interception but also was blocked, as was Douglas, on the early UT Martin touchdown. Nice effort all the way around and definitely an improvement on last week despite the weaker opponent.
COACHES: The offensive creativity was on display. Fly sweeps, fullbacks and the pick route that freed Shane Williams-Rhodes for a td pass was nice adjustments. They haven’t wavered from their new direction and keep adding new wrinkles, like an onside kick, to a very young team.
ADMINISTRATION: The smallest home opener crowd since Idaho State (32,318) looked better then it appeared. The number of tickets “distributed” and used for the game was 33,293. From my seat in the Stueckle Center, the emptiest part of the stadium was the upper north east section. The rest of the stadium looked full. I couldn’t tell that 3,000 fans were missing from the 36,387 capacity. BUT, if the 5,000 tickets that were “distributed” the last three days prior to the game were mostly given away, that is a red flag. The fact Chris Petersen is noticing it as a game changer should concern the administration. If they did indeed give away tickets to fill the stadium, I think that is a good idea. Image can be everything at times. The image of the empty parking lots though was depressing. 1pm kick-offs for lackluster opponents have never generated much tailgate enthusiasm in Boise. Now, with the increased cost of parking spaces, it was really dead. There was about 1/3 empty spaces up to kick off. The entire west side was virtually empty 2 hours before kick-off. Not too festive. The video board looked great and was a tremendous addition. The new sound system seems to have been installed on the new video board exclusively on the north side of the stadium with few speakers placed anywhere else. At least that’s how it sounded to me but at least we had no problems hearing. The music relies too much on AC/DC and other arena music staples for my taste (which would be Top 40) but it is still unreal the overall progress that has been made in 5 years.