When coaches get the chance to see their upcoming opponent in a televised game, it gets extra attention, but two Boise State assistants were especially rapt last weekend.
Co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Zak Hill and receivers coach Junior Adams are the only two coaches to leave Eastern Washington’s staff the last five years, Hill doing so in December and Adams in 2013. They were excited to see the Eagles upset Washington State 45-42 last Saturday.
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“It was fun being able to come back from a win in our game, come home on a charter and catch the second half of that game live, so that was a blast to see those guys do so well,” Hill said.
Boise State hosts Washington State at 8:15 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2).
Seeing the Eagles pass for 496 yards, and knowing that offense like they do, it couldn’t help but give the two assistants some ideas.
“No doubt. You can always take stuff from the first game, a lot of good concepts they ran,” Hill said. “Verifying some of the things we saw last year from their defense, seeing some new wrinkles and seeing what they’re planning for us.”
Hill said the Eagles used an up-tempo approach to keep the Cougars off balance. Boise State’s five touchdown-scoring drives in the first half at Louisiana last week took a total of 6 minutes, 56 seconds off the clock, and Hill said “we’ll try to continue to do that.”
“Being so familiar with Eastern Washington, having the ties to that program, yeah of course, I see the film and I like what they’re doing. It’s some of the stuff we’ve done before,” Adams said. “Not just Boise State’s going to be able to watch the film and get some good ideas.”
The Eagles ran for 110 yards against the Cougars, 30 on their final offensive play. Boise State will try to get its run game more involved, and the inside knowledge of a team that just beat this week’s opponent can only help.
“You knew what they were trying to do, but we’re different. Certainly you watch it, you learn from it and you try to implement some of the things that worked in that game,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said.
ARTIST RELISHES CREATING STATUE
Ben Victor got to know Boise eight years ago when he was commissioned to create a World War II statue at the airport. Then residing in Aberdeen, S.D., “everyone there was like, ‘Oh yeah, Boise, the blue turf.’ ”
Victor quickly learned the importance of the football program here, and when he was hired away from Northern State two years ago to become an Artist in Residence and Professor of the Practice at Boise State, it was only bolstered.
On Thursday, his latest work was unveiled: a 9-foot statue of former Boise Junior College football coach Lyle Smith that stands outside the southwest corner of Albertsons Stadium.
“It really was a dream of mine, as an artist ... to use your talent to become a part of the athletic program,” said Victor, who worked on the piece for nearly a year.
Smith’s family told Victor about the custom-made shoes Smith wore in the image the statue is based on, with spikes placed on the bottom of his dress shoes for an unusual cleat hybrid. The fedora he’s sporting was brought by the family into Victor’s on-campus studio for an up-close look.
In addition to the Smith statue, Victor completed one of the late Micron executive and Boise State tennis player Steve Appleton in front of the school’s business building. He has two in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol of Native American activist Sarah Winnemucca and Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug.
Smith, who was the head coach from 1947 to 1967 and turned 100 in March, was on hand for the campus ceremony Thursday morning. Five of the players on his 1958 national championship team had the honor of removing the black sheet covering the statue.
“A pretty special moment, for sure,” Victor said. “I came here to be part of a great community, and a great school, so to get to do something like this is very special.”
At a cost of approximately $130,000, the statue was funded by private donations, including $5,000 each from the Broncos’ last four head coaches: Harsin, Chris Petersen, Dan Hawkins and Dirk Koetter.
BOISE NATIVES SUIT UP FOR COUGARS
Three players who went to Boise high schools are on the Washington State roster: redshirt freshman running back Madigan Taulelei (Boise), sophomore punter Zach Charme (Timberline) and freshman linebacker Jon Baumgardner (Bishop Kelly).
Only Charme played in the opener, punting once for 54 yards. He punted 47 times last season and averaged 39.6 yards as a true freshman.
ALL-BLUE TEAM TO BE HONORED
Saturday’s game is three days shy of the 30-year anniversary of the first game on the blue turf, a 74-0 win over Humboldt State. The Broncos’ All-Blue Team, honoring the top 30 players in the last 30 years, will be celebrated Saturday. Twenty-seven have been announced, with three written-in candidates to be named Friday.
Twelve of the 27 are playing in the NFL or CFL, six are coaching collegiately or professionally, and one is still playing for the Broncos (receiver Thomas Sperbeck). Of the remaining nine, Boise State has confirmed six will be in attendance: D. Ross, Marty Tadman, Korey Hall, Erik Helgeson, Kyle Brotzman and Jeb Putzier.
Junior tight end Alec Dhaenens, who had five catches at Louisiana, had four catches in his first two seasons combined, scoring three touchdowns. He was excited to double his reception total, “But I lost my touchdown percentage,” he joked. ... Boise State’s first game against Washington State was Sept. 27, 1997, in Pullman, a 58-0 win for the Cougars. The Broncos have not been shut out since, a streak of 226 games, tied for the 10th-longest current streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision. ... Boise State has won 14 straight home openers, with the last loss to, you guessed it, Washington State, in 2001.
Washington State at Boise State
- When: 8:15 p.m. Saturday
- Where: Albertsons Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf), Boise
- TV: ESPN2 (Mark Jones, Rod Gilmore, Quint Kessenich)
- Radio: KBOI 670 AM/KTIK 93.1 FM (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender)
- Records: Boise State 1-0 (0-0 Mountain West); Washington State 0-1 (0-0 Pac-12)
- Tickets: Boise State said about 1,400 tickets remain, between season tickets, mini-plans and single-game tickets. Info: broncosports.com/tickets or 426-4737.
- Kickoff weather: Mid-70s and sunny, overnight lows in the mid-50s with slight winds and no chance of precipitation
- Vegas line: Boise State favored by 10 points
- Series: Washington State leads 4-0 (last meeting: won 41-20 in 2001 in Boise)