Boise State left tackle Rees Odhiambo and backup cornerback Bryan Douglas could return this week but that will depend on how they practice, coach Bryan Harsin said Monday.
Odhiambo (leg) and Douglas (concussion symptoms) did not make the trip to Connecticut last week.
Odhiambo is day to day, Harsin said. “I don’t know if he’ll play yet,” he said.
Douglas likely won’t practice full speed until Thursday, Harsin said. If he practices well, he could play.
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Meanwhile, starting cornerback Cleshawn Page will miss his second straight game. Harsin hopes to get him back in the mix at practice next week.
Others notes from Harsin at Monday’s press conference (coordinators and players below):
— Cornerback Kevin Person, a late addition to the 2014 recruiting class, has left the program because he was academically ineligible. Person practiced during fall camp but an issue with his test scores made him ineligible under Mountain West rules. Harsin did not rule out Person rejoining the team in the future.
— Harsin said the Broncos have another set of shoes with seven screw-in cleats but didn’t take them on the Connecticut trip. The cleats aren’t any longer than the molded Nike cleats and he isn’t sure they would have helped, but in hindsight he wishes they had taken them. The players weren’t slipping on their own grass field. “I don’t think we play on grass for a while,” Harsin said, “but we’ll remember that, I promise you.” Harsin pointed out that Connecticut wide receiver Geremy Davis was wearing screw-in cleats and had footing issues, too. “Their guys spun out, too. I think the surface was just a little bit slick.” The NCAA limits cleats to a half-inch in length. Some of the Broncos’ coaches said they used different cleats for their players at previous jobs if they slipped in practice. “We were just fine on our grass,” Harsin said. “I guess in hindsight you would bring those with you with an unknown surface.” He said chunks of grass were flying out like someone was taking a golf swing. “It was squishy out there,” he said. “ We cut and we were all over the place.”
— Harsin on beating Connecticut: “Good win on the road. Sometimes when you travel that far and you have a game like that, it can be a little bit of a trap at times. I thought our guys handled it well. I thought UConn played extremely well in that game. I thought our guys played well, too. We talked about winning on the road, which we accomplished, and we talked about winning the fourth quarter. Those were the two main things we hit on with our players. Everything else in between that stuff, we’ve got to go back and work on. As far as I’m concerned, we made the improvements we needed to make. Now we have several more challenges going into this one.”
— Boise State’s internal players of the week were wide receiver Matt Miller (offense), linebacker Blake Renaud and cornerback Donte Deayon (defense), kicker Dan Goodale (special teams), right tackle Steven Baggett (offensive line) and defensive end Beau Martin (defensive line).
— On Louisiana’s defensive line: “Their D-line is very good. The Ole Miss D-line was very good. This D-line ranks right up there with them. They have size, speed like we saw in the first game.”
— “We have to find a way to run the ball better than last game. We became one-dimensional. We want to be balanced. We’ve got to get that back.”
— On playing Louisiana out of the Sun Belt: “This is a big game. I know how Boise State is perceived in that league. We need to make sure we have a better week of practice than last week, be more consistent on offense.”
— “We’re looking for that knockout punch on special teams at some point. Sean Wale had his best day punting, but we still need to have that change happen on special teams.”
— On the inability to run the ball against UConn: “One guy here and there. One guy maybe getting too much push. Their D-line played well. They were able to penetrate in certain areas. It was just enough. Footing was a little bit of an issue. We didn’t quite get the creases that we had gotten before. That was their mission — to stop the run. They played a little differently than they had shown.”
— On teams loading up to stop the run: “If you want to do that, then Matt (Miller) is going to have two touchdowns and throw for one. We prefer to be balanced. If somebody wants to stop us and make us one-dimensional, we have enough answers on the outside to win a game.”
— Harsin said sophomore end Kamalei Correa was a “different animal” in fall camp than in spring ball. “He’s been a guy who has made a bunch of plays for us these last three games,” he said.
— Harsin was asked about Joe Martarano’s baseball career. “I struck him out once in a Wiffle Ball game. So you can put that out to the Cubs.”
— Boise State has one scholarship available.
Marcel Yates, defensive coordinator
— On the defense: “The sacks were great. Still I think the main thing for our football team in the big picture is to be disciplined. Still some guys are not doing what they’re supposed to do — in the right gap, the right coverage, that’s being called. As a staff, we’re putting guys in the right positions and they’re not doing it at all times. If you want to be dominant or you want to be a good defense or a good offense — a good team — you need to do what you’re being taught.”
— On Correa (No. 8): “I told him you’ve got to be a special player to wear a single digit and play up front.”
— On Donte Deayon’s interception: “That was probably a 50-pound differential. I’m glad he made the play. He did a good job of understanding I was bringing some heat. It was cover zero (no safety help). I had my eyes closed because I’m going, ‘I hope this works.’ It worked out in my favor that time.”
Mike Sanford, offensive coordinator
— On the run game against UConn: “That was probably the biggest takeaway from that game. It will be a big emphasis this week. We have to establish a rhythm in the run game. It’s not just the offensive line, it’s not just the tight ends, it’s also the running backs. We did struggle at times both at the offensive line and at running back with the surface. UConn’s front is really good. They’re good-sized. Even when you watched the BYU game, a lot of the rushing yards in that game were improv pass plays. I knew going into that game it was going to be a challenge and I was not going to abandon the run game. But we’ve got to be better. At running back, ‘we’ve got to make sure we keep our footing and hit the holes when they’re there. If you watch the film, we were close on a lot of things.”
— He said UConn used press man coverage on third downs and challenged the receivers to beat them. “They’re asking you to make a perfect throw and make a catch in traffic,” he said. “We had opportunities to do that in the game and we didn’t on third down. They’re going to be 40-, 50-yard plays. We’ve got to make those plays. It’s the first time we’ve seen a ton of press man. I anticipate seeing it the rest of the year.”
— Sanford said the Broncos’ run-pass breakdown this season has been 118 of each type of play. Statistically, they have 114 rushes (not counting sacks) and 112 pass plays (including sacks). “You want to be close to that,” Sanford said. “Even in that game we were not running the ball but we were still balanced. Eventually our back who is about as good as anybody in the country is going to put his foot in the ground and get north.”
— On the playing surface at UConn: “It was hard to get your foot in the ground and get north. It was a very milky surface. There were guys on both sides of the ball slipping. The BYU game (at UConn), BYU is a very fast, good football team it just looked slow. It was because nobody was really making those sudden, get-north type cuts. It played into Connecticut’s hands because they’re a big, physical team. It played into a defensive football game, which you see a lot on the East Coast.”
— Sanford said quarterback Grant Hedrick played better against UConn (236 total yards, three total TDs) than against Colorado State (432 total yards, three total TDs): “Because we didn't have the run game to get us into a rhythm, in terms of our offensive performance, it took Grant Hedrick to have a really good game for us to win that game, in certain situations. He started slow, missed a couple throws early on, but he started to get in a rhythm and he made some critical throws — the third-down, red-zone touchdown with the empty backfield, I thought, was the play of the game, at least for us as an offensive unit. That was just a big-time throw, a big-time read, and a great catch by Matt (Miller). I think Grant didn't quite have everything clicking and the rhythm going around him, and he was able to kind of keep his poise on the road in a strange, hostile environment, go out and execute and make enough plays for us to win the game.”
— On tight end production: “It looks like it’s on the rise for the tight ends.”
— On the effectiveness of shallow crossing routes last week: “Just the coverage they were playing, it looked to be a good look for us. We kept coming back to it and it worked well.”
Blake Renaud, linebacker
— On playing Louisiana, which beat Harsin and Arkansas State last year: “This is going to be a big game for the coaching staff. They want us to come out there and be dominant.”
— On stopping the run: “We feel great about the run. We’re confident. I’d say we’re a pretty physical team. We take pride in that.”
— On allowing big plays: “We’ve just got to play smarter.”
The Boise State football team released its depth chart for this week’s game against Louisiana on Monday. There were no changes.
Coach Bryan Harsin meets with the media at 1 p.m. today. We’ll have full coverage in this blog post immediately afterward.
The game is at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at Albertsons Stadium. Carter Blackburn, Aaron Taylor and Jamie Erdhal will call the action for CBS Sports Network.
Mountain West players of the Week:
— Offense: Nevada QB Cody Fajardo (29-39, 321, three TDs, no interceptions).
— Defense: Utah State LB Zach Vigil (interception return for a TD, four QB hurries, 2.5 tackles for loss).
— Special teams: Hawaii’s Scott Harding (38.7 yards per punt with seven inside the 20-yard line, 10.9 yards per punt return, recovered onside kick).
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