Mountain West notebook: New emphasis could lead to many ejections

ccripe@idahostatesman.com bmurphy@idahostatesman.comJuly 23, 2013 

— The NCAA’s new emphasis on eliminating dangerous hits to the head could leave coaches scratching theirs. Players will now be ejected if they are flagged for “targeting.” A second-half ejection means players will miss the first half of the next game.

“I’m worried. There’s going to be a lot of guys that are going to be out of the game,” Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. “Hopefully we do a good job with teaching our kids that the game has changed in terms of the shots you can take. The penalty is going to be the minor thing. You’re going to be out of the game.”

Coaches got a glimpse of the new rule Monday at the Mountain West’s annual media days.

Officials have a clear mandate.

“There’s so much emphasis on getting these illegal hits out of the game. When in question, err on the side of calling it,” said Walt Anderson, coordinator of officials for the Big 12. “We’re determined to enforce this rule aggressively.”

Anderson outlined four high-risk actions that are likely to lead to the targeting call — launching your body, thrusting upward at the point of contact, striking above the shoulders and leading with the crown of the helmet.

Among the hits that Anderson said would have led to an ejection last season was a tackle by Boise State safety Darian Thompson against BYU.

“We better travel every defensive back we’ve got, because they might all be out of the game,” Petersen said. “The game has definitely changed in terms of some tackling things, and in the secondary that’s going to have to be coached differently.”

Boise State coaches met with members of the Snake River rugby team this offseason to discuss tackling, specifically wrapping up.

BSU football facility opens

Boise State coaches are working out of the new Bleymaier Football Center. Players will move in when they report for fall camp Aug. 4.

Camp begins Aug. 5.

“It’s going to be spectacular,” Petersen said. “We might be six months, eight months, from really getting it totally decorated. A huge part of the graphics package is coming in the next month or two. When they get the graphics all over it, it’s going to be really something special.”

BSU personnel notes

• The Broncos have “parted ways” with wide receiver signee Kendal Keys, Petersen said. He has been released from his scholarship commitment, which means he’s eligible to play immediately somewhere else.

• Junior tight end Kyle Sosnowski (ruptured patellar tendon) will miss the entire season. That leaves the Broncos shorthanded at the position with senior Gabe Linehan, sophomore Holden Huff and junior Connor Peters providing the only significant experience.

• JC transfer Tutulupeatau Mataele was so impressive in spring ball that he is listed as a starting defensive tackle on the preseason depth chart provided to the Mountain West.

Southwick chats with fans

Senior quarterback Joe Southwick and senior left tackle Charles Leno Jr. spent about 15 minutes each Monday answering questions from IdahoStatesman.com readers. One fan asked Southwick how he spends his time immediately before a game.

“I review our notes from the week,” he said. “But once we’re at the stadium, home or away, I really hate sitting in the locker room. So I try to stay on the field as long as I can until (strength coach Tim Socha) comes to get me. And I make him come get me every time because then I know it’s time to start stretching. Those two hours we have are miserable, so I try to go out on the field and throw the ball.”

Read the replay of the chat with Southwick and Leno at IdahoStatesman.com.

Broncos and Bulldogs

Nobody is happier that the Boise State-Fresno State rivalry was saved than Bulldogs quarterback Derek Carr, who is 0-2 against the Broncos and once had a Broncos flag hanging on a wall at home — a challenge from his older brother, David Carr, to beat the Bulldogs’ nemesis.

“I’m so happy it’s not the end,” Carr said. “I really do want to root for Boise when my career is done because I love coach Petersen so much. If we didn’t beat them, I don’t know if I could do that. ... They’re so competitive and it’s so fun to play them.”

Carr, in fact, wants to see the Broncos twice. The teams are favorites in the Mountain and West divisions. They meet Sept. 20 in Fresno, Calif., and could have a rematch in the conference championship game.

“Those guys up there, if we could play them in the championship game, that would mean everything to me,” Carr said. “But there are a lot of teams thinking the same thing.”

Carr took down the Boise State flag after losing to the Broncos last season. He didn’t expect to get another shot with Boise State slated to move to the Big East.

The Broncos stayed in the Mountain West, but the flag isn’t coming back.

“I felt like it was kind of like a distraction to my teammates,” Carr said.

He isn’t the only Bulldog with Boise on his mind. Second-year coach Tim DeRuyter also enjoys the rivalry, which has played out on ESPN most years and will again this season.

“I know from day one I was in Fresno everyone asked me about one game,” he said. ‘It’s a heck of a tribute to what Boise has done. They’ve been the standard-bearer in the WAC and the Mountain West. If you want to be the champs, you have to knock them off. I like the fact that we’ve got them at Bulldog Stadium early — and hopefully we’ll show up that day and have a heck of a game.”

Commissioner confident new system will reward MW

College football’s new postseason structure has reserved one spot for a conference champion from the Mountain West, Conference USA, American, Mid-American or Sun Belt in one of the six biggest bowl games.

Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson is confident his league is going to occupy that spot more often than not beginning in 2014. The highest-ranked champion from those leagues will secure the spot and an estimated $6 million to $8 million payday for the league.

“We think that over a 12-year period, it’s going to be our champion frequently,” Thompson said. “Under the more restrictive access to the postseason, we had four teams play in BCS bowls.”

In its 14-year history, the Mountain West has 12 times been the highest-ranked of the non-BCS conferences, which also included the WAC. The MW was second in another year. Last year, however, the league ranked fifth.

“We won’t ever be again,” Thompson said.

For more from Thompson, visit the Murph’s Turf blog at Idaho Statesman.com.

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service