Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin opened his weekly press conference Monday by recapping the 60-49 win Saturday at New Mexico.
“The New Mexico game was a great win,” he said.
Then he laughed.
“Didn’t go exactly like we planned, but good teams find a way to win those types of games,” he said.
Other highlights from Harsin, whose team faces San Diego State at 8:15 p.m. Saturday at Albertsons Stadium (ESPNU):
— Boise State had four penalties for 24 yards. New Mexico had five for 50. It was the first time since the season opener against Ole Miss that Boise State was the least-penalized team in a game. “What we’ve been doing for penalties in practice hopefully will pay off,” Harsin said.
— The Broncos’ players of the game were quarterback Grant Hedrick (offense), safety Darian Thompson (defense), defensive end Kamalei Correa (special teams), center Marcus Henry (offensive line) and end Beau Martin (defensive line).
— On Boise State losing to San Diego State the past two years: “The first one, I’m sure people were like, ‘That’s probably a fluke.’ And the second time, it’s not. San Diego State is a good football team. They’re physical. They have a mentality to them. They run the ball effectively. They make plays on special teams and they have against Boise State the last two years. As far as I’m concerned, they’ve been the better team in those two games. The energy and trying to get the attitude and mentality on both sides isn’t going to be real hard.”
— On Boise State allowing nine runs of 40 or more yards in past five games: “They’ve gotten to the third level in a hurry. From a D-line standpoint, a linebacker standpoint, we haven’t done really an effective job on those plays where they’ve hit. You get to your safeties, they line up 10 yards deep. You’re talking about a lot of space. This last game, we weren’t even in the right positions on a couple of them. But ultimately, it all stars up front. The D-line has to slow it down. It can’t be downhill, hit it full speed, there’s a gap.”
— On wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes making plays downfield: “We’re trying to be a little more vertical. The emphasis since we got here was, we have enough dinks and dunks, we have enough things we can sideways. It takes as much time to work on a shot play as a hitch.”
— On his former boss, Dan Hawkins, calling this week’s game for ESPNU: “As far as I’m concerned, he’s the guy that believed I could help on this staff and really take over a position he coached, so that wasn’t easy. He taught me a lot. I still talk to him. It’s good to get his take on where we are. He’s a good coach. It will be fun to have him.”
— On clinching the Broncos’ 17th straight winning season: “This whole conference and everything that’s going on with the fives (Power Five, Group of Five) and things like that — we really consider ourselves a power program. The first thing in being a power program is winning and showing that you can win. That says a lot. If you’re a Boise State Bronco, you have a pretty high percentage chance of winning a bunch of games. I’m proud of that, proud to be a part of it.”
— Tests on the leg of true freshman safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner came back negative. It’s unknown whether he will be able to play this week, Harsin said.
— On New Mexico: “You have to give New Mexico credit. They executed their offense better than they had in previous games. Their O-line did a great job. They came off the ball. There were holes and the backs hit it. It’s not like they were trying to find it. They hit it right where they needed to.”
— On safety and defensive captain Corey Bell, who was benched in the second half: “We love Corey. Corey is going to play. He doesn’t lose his job. It was at that particular moment maybe he wasn’t playing his best.”
Defensive coordinator Marcel Yates said the first half against New Mexico “was about as horrible as you can play, obviously.”
“It happened so fast I didn’t have time to panic,” he said.
Yates did, however, try a scheme change in the first half as the Lobos were rolling up 42 points and more than 400 rushing yards.
“You get hit like that, you start changing things up a little bit to try to do something different,” he said, “and the kids weren’t used to what we changed up. So now they’re not in the right positions. So what we did at halftime was we went back to what we worked on the past two weeks, and it worked.
“ I thought the first half they were more physical than us. I thought the second half we were a lot more physical up front. I don’t know if we came in there sleepwalking. The first play of the game goes for a long touchdown. To me, it’s kind of like a fighter. You get that one punch you’ve never had — how do you respond? And we didn’t respond well.”
The Broncos also made a couple of personnel changes. Sophomore Chanceller James replaced Bell at safety and redshirt freshman Joe Martarano replaced senior Blake Renaud at middle linebacker.
“(Bell) didn’t play well. He knows he didn’t play well,” Yates said. “He’s a type of kid that he’ll bounce back.”
San Diego State ranks third in the Mountain West in rushing at 209.4 yards per game, behind only option teams New Mexico and Air Force. The Aztecs average 5.5 yards per carry, which is second to New Mexico. Tailback Donnel Pumphrey leads the conference with 135.1 rushing yards per game — about 8 more than Boise State’s Jay Ajayi.
“With us having a bad game against the run, I’m sure they’re pretty excited to see us this week,” Yates said. “We’ll have a tough challenge.”
Here is a post from earlier today on the Mountain West players of the week and Wyoming game time.
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