The calls will start soon, if they havent already. The offers will come soon, because they do every offseason. Boise States coaching staff, the one that keeps cranking out 10-win seasons, is where head coaches turn when they need a new staff member.
Last year, the Broncos lost three assistant coaches, including offensive coordinator Brent Pease. The year before, offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin left. A year before that, defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox took off.
A head coach looking for a defensive coordinator in the next month or two is sure to turn his gaze this way, to defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski.
I dont want his name out there, Boise State coach Chris Petersen joked when asked about the job Kwiatkowski has done this season.
All Kwiatkowski has done is take a defense that lost its top five defensive linemen, its top two linebackers and its top two safeties after last season and mold another top-10 unit, even as season-ending injuries cost him a starting defensive tackle and a part-time starting cornerback and a lengthy suspension robbed the unit of its best safety.
Boise State ranks among the nations best in nearly every defensive category No. 2 in turnovers forced (32), No. 3 in pass defense (159.8 yards per game), No. 4 in pass efficiency defense (98.0), No. 6 in scoring defense (14.4 points per game), No. 8 in total defense (293.3 yards per game) and No. 13 in sacks (2.82 per game).
Kwiatkowski, a first-team Football Championship Subdivision All-American defensive lineman at Boise State in 1987, joined Petersens original staff in 2006 as a defensive line coach after six years as Montana States defensive coordinator. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2010 and he still coaches the Broncos defensive tackles.
Hes awesome. Ive said this from the start. He develops defensive line guys like Ive never seen, Petersen said. Hes really, really good at that.
The five senior linemen on last years team all made it into NFL camps. Three of them were drafted, including Shea McClellin in the first round. Their departures left a huge void along the Broncos defensive front.
No worries. Redshirt freshman Sam Ukwuachu and junior-college transfer Demarcus Lawrence have become new bookends, combining for 19.5 tackles for loss and 14 sacks. Hes built a formidable front out of dependable tackles (Mike Atkinson and Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe), seniors playing larger roles (Darren Koontz and Greg Grimes) and emerging young players (Tyler Horn and Armand Nance).
We had no clue how they were going to play going into it. From a coaches standpoint, youre always trying to prepare them to the best of their ability to be mentally tough, physical, do their job by playing fast and then you coach them up that way and put them in the best plan you think will work, Kwiatkowski said.
It comes back to fundamentals. Teaching guys how to play blocks and leverage blocks, getting them to believe in themselves that they can do some of the things that I ask them to do. Its a process. Theyre not going to get it their freshman year. Its just rep after rep after rep of some of the same stuff weve been doing since 06. They start to master their position by continually chipping away.
And you see why Kwiatkowski should be on the top of any list of defensive coordinators.
He gets results. He develops players. He just keeps at it.
Those calls have come in the past.
Its always flattering, but when you get down to whats really important, they werent really that tough of decisions, he said.
It will take an ideal situation to move Kwiatkowski from his alma mater, from the city his wife grew up in and his children (ages 17, 10 and 7) have grown up in, from a staff he loves and a head coach like Petersen.
You cant put a price on peace of mind and working for a great head coach that understands the big picture, Kwiatkowski said.
The calls will increase. The offers will get better. The money bigger. His success with this years defense demands it.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444