Boise State coach Chris Petersen says he doesnt read what his critics are saying.
But he hears things.
And he showed up for Mondays press conference with a clear message for anyone who thinks the answer for the Broncos sputtering offense is to change quarterbacks or playcallers.
I know everybody wants us to fire guys and get new players and coaches and all that stuff, Petersen said. Thats not what this is about. Its about getting better, gaining confidence and supporting each other and sticking to the process. As were doing that, learning and tweaking and trying to do the best we can with where were at.
But Im very convinced that everybody wants to panic and everybody wants us to yell and scream at one side of the ball, and thats the last thing thats going to happen around here.
The No. 24 Broncos (2-1) open Mountain West play Saturday at New Mexico coming off a strange, historic performance against BYU.
The Broncos beat the Cougars 7-6 without scoring a point on offense. It was the first time that the Broncos failed to score an offensive touchdown at home since the blue turf was installed in 1986 and might be a first in stadium history (records are incomplete before the 1980s).
The Broncos, the highest-scoring team in the country since 2000, rank 107th in the nation with 19.7 points per game and 94th in total offense with 355.3 yards per game. They also failed to score an offensive TD in the opener against Michigan State.
Human nature is to be down on them, and I get it, Petersen said. Everybody else can be down on them. But as coaches, weve got to coach them better. Weve got to put that on our shoulders and love these guys up and get them to believe that it will come around, it will start clicking sooner or later as long as we keep being smart coaches in terms of, Maybe thats not the best thing for him. Weve got good guys, weve got good players. It may just take some time.
Petersen said the offense has changed little under new coordinator Robert Prince. Petersens role is the same, too he contributes to the offensive game plan and makes occasional suggestions during the game.
Senior tight end Chandler Koch said it seems like the Broncos havent used their bread-and-butter plays enough. Instead, he said, theyre trying to fool the defense.
I just feel like weve been trying to get a little too cute, he said.
Petersen said coaches will try to simplify they want plays to look different to defenses but seem the same to his players but he disagreed with Kochs assessment.
We were running bread-and-butter plays, Petersen said. We just need to get better at them. Its just details. Its red-zone football. Its goal-line football. Obviously those two things jump out.
Prince isnt to blame, Petersen said. Neither, he said, is junior quarterback Joe Southwick, a new starter.
I really believe Joe can do it, Petersen said. We wouldnt put him in there if he we didnt think that. Wed go with someone else. But we think he can do it. Weve seen him do it. Weve seen it in practice. Its all about consistency.
The problem for the offense, Petersen said, is a mistake here or there and he pointed the finger at himself for one of the key failures against BYU.
The Broncos didnt score with a first-and-goal at the Cougars 1. On fourth-and-goal inside the 1, Petersen called for a quarterback sneak.
BYU stuffed it.
We didnt have that in the game plan, Petersen said. We shouldnt have called that.
Its not any one thing. It isnt any one person. If it was just me, we could fix me. If it was this guy here or this guy there, we could fix it. But offensive football is very delicate and sometimes it doesnt look like that, we just make it happen. The one thing weve got to do is weve just got to tighten things up make more accurate throws and not get penalties and make a tougher catch, and then all of a sudden things will start to change a little bit.
ON SECOND THOUGHT
Petersen said he should have ordered a field-goal try on one of the teams fourth-down attempts in Thursdays game. The Broncos failed on fourth-and-7 at the BYU 20-yard line late in the first half.
That would have been a 37-yard attempt, which is within the range of senior kicker Michael Frisina.
Frisina had missed from 33 yards earlier in the game.
We can still make field goals, Petersen said. I probably got a little bit stubborn. I dont want to kick field goals, regardless I dont care if we have the greatest field-goal kicker in the world, I dont want to do that. I told (Frisina) that That had nothing to do with you, that had to do with me probably being too hard-headed.
DEPTH CHART CHANGES
Starting left guard Joe Kellogg is not listed on this weeks depth chart, an indication that hes unlikely to play after missing last weeks game with an injury. Brenel Myers is listed as the starting right tackle, where he has played the past two games in place of injured starter Jake Broyles. Broyles is listed as the backup, though.
Sophomore wide receiver Dallas Burroughs (backup outside receiver) and redshirt freshman tailback Jay Ajayi (backup to D.J. Harper) made their first appearances of the season on the depth chart.
EARLY KICK IN HATTIESBURG
The Boise State-Southern Miss game will begin at 10 a.m. MDT Oct. 6 (11 a.m. in Hattiesburg), Fox announced Monday.
The game will air on Fox Sports Net. Those games air on Root Sports in the Boise market. Root is channel 27 on Cable One, 426 on Dish Network and 687 on DirecTV.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat