Boise State notebook: Petersen says loss 'just a matter of time'

Coach not happy with wide receivers, said Broncos’ defense was ‘handcuffed.’

ccripe@idahostatesman.comSeptember 3, 2013 


Boise State bench including head coach Chris Petersen (foreground)watches a first-half field goal attempt sail wide against Washington at Husky Stadium on Saturday August 31, 2013.



    When: 1:04 p.m. Saturday

    Where: Bronco Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf), Boise

    TV: None

    Video: ESPN3, a Web service that requires Internet access through a participating provider (Cable One), college campus or military base.

    Radio: KBOI (670AM), KKGL (96.9 FM)

    Records: Boise State is 0-1; Tennessee-Martin is 1-0

    Rankings: Boise State is No. 19 in the polls but likely will fall out Tuesday; Tennessee-Martin is receiving FCS votes

    Vegas line: No line for FCS opponents

— Boise State football coach Chris Petersen wasn’t as stunned as his fans Saturday night when the Broncos absorbed their worst loss in eight years.

Washington beat Boise State 38-6 in Seattle.

It was the Broncos’ fifth straight season opener against a Bowl Championship Series-conference opponent. They’re 3-2 in those games — and they have another one next year against Mississippi in Atlanta.

“You open up every year like we open up, you’re going to get your nose bloodied,” Petersen said Monday. “It’s just a matter of time. I know that. Nobody else seems to, but I know that. … Did I think the game was going to be closer and we were going to be right there battling? Absolutely.

“Am I shocked it went like it did? Well, I knew it could if we didn’t make some plays on offense to score some points, because we’ve got a lot of guys on the other side of the ball who hadn’t been in that arena before.”

Petersen broke down both units after watching video.

On offense, he was pleased with the run game (4.1 yards per play), but disappointed with the pass game (3.8 yards per play). The wide receivers were unable to produce a play longer than 16 yards as they struggled to gain separation from defenders. The top four receivers include three seniors and a junior.

“I’ve been saying all along that group needs to step up,” Petersen said. “Everybody wants to anoint them that that’s the guys because they’re all seniors. It’s not that they played bad at that position, but this is a veteran group that needs to take the next step against some pretty good secondary guys and make some plays on 50/50 balls or when we’re trying to take the ball down the field, and that just didn’t happen.”

Quarterback Joe Southwick mostly made the right decisions with his passing but sometimes scrambled too soon, Petersen said. His biggest mistake might have been missing an open Aaron Burks on a deep ball.

“It’s similar to opening against Michigan State (last year), where they’re not going to give you much,” Petersen said. “When you’ve got a chance, you’ve got to strike.”

The defense allowed 592 yards, the most since 2007. Of the 19 players who registered a tackle, only six are in their fourth or fifth year in the program — and the lack of experience showed.

Mental errors, misalignments and missed tackles doomed the defense, junior linebacker Blake Renaud said.

“Watching the film, you get a little pissed off,” he said. “It leaves a bad taste in your mouth. The lucky thing is we’ve got more games to play this year and we’re looking forward to it.”

The defense was “handcuffed,” Petersen said, by Washington’s new fast-paced offense. Coaches weren’t able to prepare for the specific scheme, and the inexperienced players unable to make necessary adjustments at game speed.

The Broncos will face similar stress in upcoming road games against Fresno State and Utah State, who also run spread offenses and likely will have rocking stadiums.

The Broncos also will see an up-tempo offense Saturday in the home opener against Tennessee-Martin.

“The kids, we’re proud of them. They fought hard (vs. Washington),” Petersen said. “We practiced (Monday) morning — good focus. They went back to work.”

LB Jonathan Brown out

The senior co-starter at strong-side linebacker will miss about six weeks with a knee injury suffered during the Washington game.

Junior Corey Bell, who led the team with eight tackles Saturday, becomes the solo starter. Redshirt freshman Chris Santini is his backup and a safety also can play there, Petersen said.

RB Baltazar moves up

True freshman Aaron Baltazar is listed as the No. 2 tailback this week. He was the co-No. 2 last week, but it became clear during the game that he separated himself from sophomore Jack Fields. Baltazar carried 10 times for 49 yards; Fields had four carries for 7 yards.

Video board will debut

The old video board at Bronco Stadium was removed Monday, making way for the new HD board to debut Saturday.

School officials previously said the board would be installed in time for the Sept. 28 game against Southern Miss at the latest. They also said the old board would remain in place until the new board was ready.

The new board is 37 feet, 2 inches tall and 58-9 wide. The project includes a new sound system.

Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat

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