Grant Hedrick and Jonathan Smith have a weekly dominos appointment.
No, not pizza.
And its not game night, either.
Hedrick Boise States backup quarterback until the second offensive play of Saturdays game against Nevada went to Smiths office for a one-on-one meeting with the Broncos quarterbacks coach each week this season.
Smith calls out plays. Hedrick arranges the dominos to match each offensive players assignment. Coach and backup quarterback run through reads and scenarios for the offense and defense, preparation that they hope is never truly needed.
On Saturday, it was needed.
Hedrick replaced starter Joe Southwick, who broke his ankle on the Broncos first offensive play of the game, and led Boise State past Nevada 34-17.
Ive been preparing for this for four years, said Hedrick, a redshirt junior from Independence, Ore. I go into every game like Im going to play 90 snaps.
Now he will.
This is Hedricks offense for the foreseeable future, which means some adjustments to the offense that Southwick more than capably operated through the first six games.
The tweaks were obvious against Nevada, notably more running from the quarterback position. Hedrick rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries, becoming the first Boise State quarterback to rush for 100 yards in nearly a decade.
Southwick, as well versed in the Broncos offense as any quarterback the program has had in the Chris Petersen era, made a lot of decisions at the line of scrimmage, including deciding on run vs. pass. Southwicks experience also allowed him to see things quicker and make decisions faster in the pass game than the Broncos can reasonably expect from Hedrick.
Hedrick did go 18-for-21 for 150 yards passing.
Joe was a fifth-year senior that was behind one of the best quarterbacks to ever play college football. He definitely had more experience. Itd be kind of naïve to say, Hey, were going to do the exact same thing with Grant. Well be smart with Grant, offensive coordinator Robert Prince said. Grant is going to be fine. We have all the confidence in Grant.
That was certainly the impression left by the Broncos dominant second half. Boise State outscored Nevada 27-0 after halftime. The Broncos scored touchdowns on four of their five second-half drives, including Hedrick touchdown scampers of 20 yards and 14 yards.
Nevada and former quarterback Colin Kaepernick showed how effective the read option can be from the pistol formation. Hedricks skill set allows the Broncos to use the read option more.
He does have an option to keep it if they play a certain defense and he did a great job with that, Prince said. Grant has a little bit more of a run threat and it can cause some different things for a defense.
Hedrick has been Southwicks primary backup for the past two seasons and played well in spot duty. But even though teammates said they knew Hedrick could handle it, theres always some doubt.
Its hard to know because theyre never in there when it matters. He did a great job of answering, Petersen said. Weve said all along that Grant is a very good player. Hell get better when he gets more reps.
The Broncos have a short week of preparation before traveling to BYU on Friday night. Hedricks first career start will be on the road, on ESPN, with the entire nation watching.
Its a far cry from moving dominos around in Smiths office.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444; Twitter: @MurphsTurph