Boise State defensive tackle in academic limbo

ccripe@idahostatesman.comAugust 7, 2013 

The Boise State football team’s inexperienced defensive line might take another hit.

Defensive tackle Tutulupeatau Mataele, a junior college transfer who was projected as a starter going into fall camp, is out indefinitely because of an academic issue, coach Chris Petersen said Tuesday.

Mataele hasn’t participated in the first two days of practice.

“He’s got an academic issue he’s working through and I don’t know a timetable on it,” Petersen said.

Senior returning starter Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe is the only tackle on the team with significant experience. Junior Tyler Horn, who played tackle late last season, also could play there but might return to his original position, end.

“No matter how this thing turns out, we’ll have some guys ready to go,” Petersen said.

NEWS AND NOTES

-- Sophomore Robert Ash has returned to defensive tackle. He moved to the offensive line in the spring.

-- The nine players added to the roster Monday are all walk-ons.

-- True freshman Thomas Sperbeck’s move from safety to wide receiver was not a reaction to losing recruit Kendal Keys, Petersen said.

“All along I kind of thought in my heart that maybe his best position was wide receiver,” Petersen said. “He was one of those guys we wanted here and we were going to figure out where he fit best and what our numbers were and so when we looked at both sides, we were like, ‘Hey, numbers-wise he could fit in either way, let’s see what he can do at wide receiver.’ ”

-- The Broncos added walk-on quarterback Richard Hoppe to take strain off the arms of the other four quarterbacks.

“A couple of our guys’ arms aren’t exactly where they need to be and there’s going to be a lot of balls being thrown,” Petersen said. “We know how this fall camp goes and we wanted another arm. Richard is a guy who was coming to Boise State, a great kid, a great student, so we’ll get him going and see what happens. ... It’s a balance. Sometimes you say four’s the ideal number and other times when you’re in camp five’s the ideal number.”

CAMP IMPRESSIONS

-- The defensive line performed well in team situations in the veterans practice, including sacks by Tjong-A-Tjoe (he had two Monday) and Demarcus Lawrence. Linebacker Corey Bell ducked underneath wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes for a nice interception. And wide receiver Aaron Burks, whose summer has drawn praise from teammates, looked sharp. It was the second straight day in helmets. The team can add shoulder pads Wednesday and go to full pads Friday.

-- In the newcomers practice, redshirt freshman safety Chanceller James (diving) and true freshman cornerback Cameron Hartsfield (leaping) grabbed interceptions.

-- Teammates continue to rave about senior quarterback Joe Southwick.

“You see (the defense) running the gassers after practice, last year it was them,” junior linebacker Blake Renaud said. “ ... He has grown so much. The whole team sees it, we’re just so happy that he’s out there just killing it right now.”

-- Bell was named Petersen’s camper of the day at BroncoSports.com. “Corey knows only two speeds — fast and full,” Petersen said. “He is very dialed into what we’re doing out here and brings a lot of positive energy to this team.”

Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat

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