Boise State camp report: Martarano really ‘a football guy’

The former three-sport star from Fruitland is free to play baseball during the summer.

ccripe@idahostatesman.comAugust 8, 2013 

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Blake Renaud during Boise State fall football camp on Wednesday morning, Aug. 7, 2013.

JOE JASZEWSKI — jjaszewski@idahostatesman.com Buy Photo

  • Player Spotlight: LB Blake Renaud

    It has become a tradition on the Boise State defense.

    Linebackers emerge as freshmen or sophomores. They bide their time as part-time defenders and full-time special-teamers.

    And eventually, they get their chance to shine.

    The latest such story: Renaud, a big hitter who likely will start at middle linebacker this season. Renaud played mostly special teams as a true freshman in 2011, then contributed 46 tackles last season while splitting time with Tommy Smith.

    “The nice thing about Blake, he’s one of those guys who has played a lot of ball for us,” Petersen said. “He’s one of those guys who’s not a headline name, but he’s been very good on our special teams. He has played in there with those backers and made a lot of plays for us. He understands things and is physical. So now it is his time to take that next step and a lot of people should be knowing his name.”

    Renaud relishes the new role, which thrusts him into a leadership position.

    “I enjoy being the guy in the front,” he said. “I’m just trying to be the best linebacker I can. ... I’m not much of a talker. I like to try to show it on the field. I’m happy about being one of the top guys.”

    — Chadd Cripe

— Boise State football coach Chris Petersen is well aware of the lofty expectations surrounding true freshman linebacker Joe Martarano, the Fruitland High three-sport star who joined the team this summer.

Martarano committed to the Broncos two years ago, before his junior year of high school. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies this summer in the 13th round but didn’t sign.

“I just like being around him. He’s a great kid,” Petersen said. “He’s a football guy, he really is. That being said, he just got out of high school, so we need to be patient, let this thing happen like it’s supposed to. He doesn’t need to be our leading tackler this year.”

Petersen left the door open for Martarano to play baseball in the summers if that’s what he wants to do.

“We said all along we wanted to do what’s best for him,” Petersen said. “If baseball could fit in there and he could somehow make that work, hey, we’ll look at that down the road. ... Joey’s family was so great about the whole thing. It was such a good relationship. What’s best for him and what he wants to do, that’s how he’s going to have success. He’s all football right now, and we’ll get him dialed in and see what the future holds.”

Martarano, like all first-year freshmen on the team, is not available for interviews.

News, notes & quotes

• Sophomore wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes is the likely starter at punt returner, a position coached by Petersen. He emphasizes ball security over playmaking. “Coach Pete actually calls that position the best decision-maker,” Williams-Rhodes said. “When you’re back there, you’ve got to be like the quarterback on the field — you’ve got to make the best decision for the team, not for yourself.” Said Petersen: “Shane hasn’t returned one for us, and so we’re trying to get him dialed into exactly the responsibility he has to be back there, but I think if we can get it in his hands he’ll make some things happen.”

• Petersen’s camper of the day was senior linebacker Jonathan Brown. “He’s showing great senior leadership for us out here, and he brings a lot of energy to our defense,” Petersen told BroncoSports.com.

• Sophomore tailback Jay Ajayi, on the young tailbacks group: “We’re deep. We’re all very talented. We all bring a different style of play to the running back position. I’m excited for all of us to get out there and show what we can do.”

• Junior defensive end Demarcus Lawrence on the defense that must replace seven starters: “We lost some great guys last year, but this year we’re coming back with more focus. There’s a lot of guys who want to stand up and play this year and cause havoc any chance we get.”

CAMP IMPRESSIONS

• The defensive line impressed Wednesday for the second straight day. It was the first day in shoulder pads. Lawrence and senior tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe have led the charge all week. They harassed starting quarterback Joe Southwick and backup Grant Hedrick throughout Wednesday’s practice, which featured three game-like series. The defense forced two three-and-outs before walk-on tailback Charles Bertoli busted a 65-yard touchdown run, going untouched down the right sideline.

• In the newcomers’ practice, true freshman tight end Jake Roh ran a couple nice routes, and redshirt freshman cornerback Chaz Anderson grabbed an interception.

Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat

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