Boise State football coach Chris Petersens decision to move practices to the morning this year might pay an unexpected dividend.
The Broncos will play in a game that kicks off before noon 10:05 a.m. MDT Saturday at Southern Miss for the first time since 2004.
The game time, set by TV partner Fox Sports Net (Root Sports Northwest in Boise), was announced last week. It will be 11:05 a.m. in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Those early-morning games, weve done one of them, Petersen said. Theyre very awkward. Hopefully, (the early practices) help us somehow, some way.
The Broncos practice at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday-Thursday. On game days, they usually eat 4 hours before kickoff which would be 6 a.m. on their body clocks this week.
Petersen said he will make some changes to the pregame routine.
It will be slightly different, but we will still do everything, he said. It will be maybe organized a little different.
The last time Boise State played a morning game, the Broncos nearly were upset at San Jose State. They pulled out a 56-49 win in double-overtime on their way to an undefeated regular season.
Petersen said he might have taken the team to Mississippi on Thursday night if he had known in advance about the game time. The announcement occurred too late to change the travel arrangements.
Weve just got to adjust to it and deal with it and make the best out of it, junior quarterback Joe Southwick said. I think our guys will be up for it.
Junior tight end Gabe Linehan is sidelined with a hamstring injury, Petersen said.
Linehan had been limited in the first four games. He didnt play in the second half against New Mexico.
I dont know if it will be a month or longer, Petersen said. Its more technical than just hamstring issues.
Freshmen Holden Huff and Hayden Plinke and sophomore transfer Connor Peters will pick up extra snaps. Sophomore Kyle Sosnowski has been out since fall camp and still is rehabbing, Petersen said.
Theyre capable of doing it, tight ends coach Scott Huff said of the youngsters. Theyve been doing it. All their roles will expand a little bit. Obviously we want Gabe back, but I have all the confidence in the world one of those guys will step up.
Petersen didnt provide any information on the offensive line injuries right guard Michael Ames and right guard/tackle Jake Broyles were injured on back-to-back plays last week.
Tailback Drew Wright is day to day, Petersen said. He missed last weeks game.
Junior wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn returns this week after serving a four-game NCAA suspension for receiving impermissible benefits from his host family.
Boldewijn will travel with the team but his role hasnt been determined, Petersen said.
Boldewijn made 19 catches for 266 yards and two touchdowns last season. He has been on the scout team during his suspension.
Hes been great on the scout team, Petersen said.
FRISINA THE CLEAR-CUT GUY
Senior Michael Frisina has separated himself from sophomore Dan Goodale and redshirt freshman Jake Van Ginkel in the kicker race, Petersen said.
Frisina is 4-for-7 on field goals and 9-for-9 on PATs.
Hes been consistent, Petersen said. Hes just been better. We chart everything. Hes been really the clear-cut guy.
KICKOFF TEAM EXCELS
Boise States kickoff team played with a fury that impressed coaches against New Mexico. Lobos kickoff returner Chase Clayton led the nation going into the game but was sidelined by a big hit from linebacker Blake Renaud. The Lobos finished with three returns for 48 yards (16 yards per return).
Our kickoff team played as well as weve seen them play around here in a lot of years, Petersen said. A couple guys were really flying down there and making plays, led by Blake Renaud. He was a force in there.
Southern Miss kickoff returner Tracy Lampley ranks ninth in the nation at 32.9 yards per return.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat