There’s no shortage of Boise State football coaches qualified to deliver an impassioned pregame speech for Saturday’s game against Louisiana.
Five of the 10 full-time coaches — plus two strength coaches — were part of the Arkansas State football program that was embarrassed by Louisiana last year.
The Ragin’ Cajuns stormed into Jonesboro, Ark., and left with a 23-7 victory. They outgained the Red Wolves 470-168.
“They scarred us emotionally a little bit — I’m serious,” Boise State tight ends coach Eliah Drinkwitz said.
Boise State coach Bryan Harsin, running backs/special teams coach Kent Riddle, defensive backs coach Julius Brown, defensive line coach Steve Caldwell and strength and conditioning coaches Jeff Pitman and Lee Marks also were on that staff.
The coaches’ respect for the Ragin’ Cajuns has filtered down to the players. Less spoken, but still there, is the quest to avenge that ugly loss with a new set of players.
“It didn’t really come from the coaches,” junior defensive tackle Armand Nance said. “I’ve heard it from different players like, ‘We have to get it for the coaches.’ ”
Brown also lost to the Cajuns in 2012 when he was at Troy. Drinkwitz was part of Gus Malzahn’s Arkansas State staff that beat them 50-27 in 2012.
“We whipped their butt,” Drinkwitz said. “We went down there and scored 50 on those suckers. And they were made about it the next year, now. This is a good football team — won a conference championship and three straight bowl games. I don’t know what everybody else is expecting. I’m expecting a freakin’ battle. Nine wins. Not anybody around here can say we had nine wins and a bowl win last year, so we better have our hats on.”
Louisiana is coming off three straight 9-4 seasons and New Orleans Bowl titles. It shared the Sun Belt championship with Harsin’s Arkansas State team last year.
The Cajuns are favored to win the Sun Belt again this year but are off to a disappointing start. They’re 1-2, with blowout losses to Louisiana Tech and Ole Miss.
“I’m still trying to find the right recipe to get this team completely ready,” coach Mark Hudspeth said.
Said linebacker Trae Johnson: “We’ve got to get out and show we’re better than the garbage numbers we’ve put up the last few weeks.”
Last week, Hudspeth said his team would practice “like we are going to the electric chair this week” to prepare for Ole Miss.
“I can only imagine what it is this week,” Harsin said. “They’ll be ready to play. Those guys will be zeroed in.”
Boise State has distributed 31,500 tickets for Saturday’s game (8:34 p.m., CBS Sports Network). That’s 500 tickets behind the pace for the home opener. A large walk-up crowd turned out that day.
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