Boise State expects to have the Albertsons Stadium field and stands clear of snow in time for Saturday’s Boise State-San Diego State football game, Associate Athletic Director Max Corbet said Friday.
Athletic department employees and an outside crew have been working in Albertsons Stadium since 4 a.m. Friday — including shoveling cameos by Athletic Director Mark Coyle and football coach Bryan Harsin.
The crew put down de-icing agent Thursday in the stands to help with snow removal.
“They’re just going to work all day and through the night, as long as it takes, to get it ready,” Corbet said. “The big worry is just how cold is it going to get and how is that going to affect the playing surface and safety of everyone in the stands.”
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The snow is being plowed off of the blue turf frequently to prevent it from getting too heavy to move. The crew has to use light equipment, such as Gators, to avoid damaging the field.
“You’ve got to keep going on it all the time,” Corbet said.
The field is surrounded by piles of snow that likely will still be there for the game, but the playing surface should be clear for kickoff because the forecast calls for sun and no precipitation Saturday.
Some athletic department employees not assigned to the stadium have contributed to the shoveling effort when they’ve had time, including Coyle and Harsin.
“It’s still a long way to game time. Our plan is we’re going to clear (the stadium),” Corbet said. “We’re going to get everything done. It depends on the weather, but our plan is to clear everything.”
According to the National Weather Service, Boise received 6.5 inches of snow from this storm by noon Friday. That’s the third-largest snowstorm in November since 1892. The other big November storms were in 1935 (7.4 inches) and 1985 (6.8 inches).
Kickoff is at 8:15 p.m. Saturday, when the temperature is expected to be 14 degrees.
Boise State has distributed more than 32,000 tickets for the game so far.
San Diego State’s flight landed in Boise a little before 5 p.m. Friday.
When The Blue is white AD Coyle gets a shovel... pic.twitter.com/eGuXtdV63W— Bart Hendricks (@BartHendricks) November 14, 2014
We caught up with several of the Broncos’ breakout players of 2014 this week. Some highlights (thanks to Dave Southorn, who helps with interviews every week and did several of these):
WR Chaz Anderson
Anderson has caught a deep ball in four of the past five games, including his first career touchdown last week at New Mexico. Most of his chances downfield are leaping contests against defenders.
“It’s just about your want and need to make a play for your team,” Anderson said. “... I get the jitters a bit and I have to calm down, breathe.”
He missed a chance on an underthrown deep ball in the first half of the New Mexico game. He jumped but tried to catch the ball against his body instead of with his hands.
Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford brought that up at halftime.
“I kind of challenged him a little bit,” Sanford said. “ It was a contested deep ball, slightly underthrown. I said, ‘You’ve got to make those plays.’ And he did, in the biggest moment, and I think that should be on ‘SportsCenter.’ ”
Anderson responded with the go-ahead, 36-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. It was a similar play to the one in the first half — he went up for the ball along the goal line and made the catch with a defender right there.
“It was phenomenal,” Anderson said. “It was just a great feeling and I was at a loss for words.”
Anderson still is new at this. He moved to wide receiver from cornerback when fall camp began.
“I feel like I’ve made quite the strides because I know in the fall grasping the concepts was a bit of a struggle,” he said, “but now I feel like I have a greater knowledge of the position.”
LB Joe Martarano
Once buried on a veteran-laden depth chart, the redshirt freshman played most of the second half against New Mexico and finished second on the team with eight tackles.
“It’s been fun to get in and do my job,” Martarano said.
He began the season as the third-string middle linebacker. Starter Tanner Vallejo moved to strong-side linebacker and backup Blake Renaud has dealt with some injuries, creating opportunity for Martarano.
“Joe definitely has taken a step,” Avalos said. “The experience he’s been able to get so far this season, he’s where we would have anticipated him being and wanted him to be coming into the season. We’re excited about his progress. We can’t wait to just keep improving and developing him even more.”
Martarano carries a heavy mental load, which is one reason he didn’t play more earlier in the season. The middle linebacker makes the calls that tell the defensive linemen how to line up based on the defensive play and offensive formation.
“He’s got to be able to handle that,” Avalos said.
Said Martarano: “Preparation is everything. ... You can't let it get to you (maybe not playing) — you just have to study hard every week. There's a lot of talent. We each have things we do well or don't do well, so whatever helps the team win each week.”
S Chanceller James
James played the second half against New Mexico in place of senior starter Corey Bell — and James delivered the game-deciding fourth-down stop in the fourth quarter.
The Air Force game, when James started because of injuries, was the only other time he has played for an extended time this season. But he downplayed what the New Mexico game meant to him.
“There are no personal gains in 49 points,” he said, referring to the Broncos’ 60-49 win. “I just go out and do my job. I’m a team guy, not an individual. When I make a play, it’s for the team, not myself. So 49 points wasn’t good.”
On the fourth-and-2 play, James was assigned the quarterback on the option. Lamar Jordan kept the ball and James made the tackle just short of the first-down marker.
“It was more of the coaches putting me in a great situation to make a play,” James said. “I got an opportunity to make a play, and that's what I did. It was my job to do that. People want to say, ‘Oh, you made a great play,' but it was really the coaches, the scheme, that got me in that position.”
This is James’ first season of college football. He redshirted in 2012 and missed all of 2013 with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
He has tried to learn from Bell, senior Jeremy Ioane and junior Darian Thompson.
“I sit by Corey every day, ask questions and really listen to what they’re saying,” James said.
His injury last year tested his passion for football, he said.
“You really have to be like, 'Do you really love this game?' When you find out you really do, like I did, then you go from there,” he said. “Just being out there is fun. This is a game - I'm like a kid out there. Every day you have to give it your all and make the play when you get that chance.”
James is from San Diego. This is his first chance to play San Diego State, but he knows the program.
“What makes them tough is their coach, it comes from Rocky Long,” he said. “He's a defensive guy. They took that mentality he has and brought it to the other side of the ball — they just want to ground and pound. I have no problem with that — I like to play against the run.”
DT Sam McCaskill
McCaskill became a starter when Tyler Horn was lost for the season in the opener. McCaskill, a former end, has 14 tackles this season.
“It’s been nice to get this opportunity, really lock into one position,” he said. “It's been nice because I've been able to learn every position on the D-line, which just helps your understanding of everything. Like a linebacker knowing the whole defense, it's really helped me understand the game a lot more, what we're doing. It's let me see it in a new light.
“When we go to a three-man front, and I get to play four-technique, which is the inside eye of the tackle, that's my favorite, I think. It's the best of both worlds for me, because my speed holds me back a little bit on the edge and my size holds me back a little bit far inside. Right inside the tackle, that's where I do my best.”
A few other notes/quotes:
— Sophomore special teams standout Darren Lee has emerged as the backup to Vallejo. That position is strong-side linebacker, not nickel, in the Broncos’ defense. It’s nickel when a defensive back goes into that spot. Lee played some snaps last week to give Vallejo, the team’s leading tackler, a break. “Tanner is one of our most productive players that we have,” Avalos said. “The guy doesn’t want to come off the field. At the same time, we have to make sure his play count doesn’t get too high.”
— Sanford has told the offense that kicker Dan Goodale gives them a “guaranteed three points” in the red zone, so be careful. “We want to be greedy, but at the same time we want to take care of the football,” Sanford said. “Even if we settle for a couple of field goals — shoot, we’ve seen it, we can score a lot of points.”
— Special teams coach Kent Riddle re-iterated to the players this week that there’s no risk in trying to scoop and score on a blocked kick behind the line of scrimmage. Defensive end Kamalei Correa blocked a punt last week and fell on the ball. “We just say, ‘Hey, you like touchdowns, right?’ ” Riddle said. “The biggest problem was if he didn’t get it, Beau (Martin) would have gotten the touchdown.” The Broncos settled for a field goal instead.
— True freshman running back/wide receiver Jeremy McNichols played after his personal foul penalty. His ankle was getting twisted under a pile and he kicked to get his leg free, Riddle said. “That’s a learning deal for a freshman,” he said.
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