Another Minter at BSU; Gallarda could have breakout year

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com

Cedric Minter — one of the Boise State football program’s all-time greats — gave his son, Preston, a simple piece of advice when he joined the Broncos this month.

“Study.”

That’s no surprise considering the elder Minter is a school administrator. Cedric, the Boise State career rushing leader with 4,475 yards from 1977 to 1980, is the vice principal at North Junior High.

Preston, though, also is talking football with his dad.

“He has helped me with a lot of the plays,” Preston said. “He’s real into it. Sometimes I come home and he’s more jacked up than I am about what’s going to happen tomorrow.”

Preston (5-foot-8, 181 pounds), a walk-on, was a running back at Timberline. The Broncos moved him to wide receiver.

“That’s where we think he fits the best,” coach Chris Petersen said. “We like him. He’s got great spunk to him. I think he’s tough and he’s making progress.”

Preston didn’t get much attention from college football recruiters. He talked to Weber State about a possible scholarship and received a letter from Idaho.

It didn’t matter. His heart was set on playing for the Broncos.

“Watching the guys on the blue … made me want to be out here more and more,” he said.

He wasn’t bothered by the Broncos’ decision not to offer him a scholarship, he said.

“That never crossed my mind,” Preston said. “I was more focused on getting here and making sure I had the grades to get here. Being a walk-on is kind of nice — it’s like that stick and carrot. You’ve got that scholarship to try to work toward. That’s what fuels the fire a little bit.”

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Junior tight end Tommy Gallarda broke free for a 40-yard touchdown catch in practice Thursday morning. That could be a sign of things to come for the big-bodied tight end who came to Boise State with a receiving background but spent his early years learning to block.

Tight ends coach Chris Strausser compared Gallarda to Bear Pascoe, the much-hyped Fresno State tight end and NFL Draft pick.

“If Tommy can just be in the mode of competing for the ball when it’s in the air and being a big, physical guy, there’s no reason he can’t catch a lot of footballs,” Strausser said.

I’ll have more on the tight ends next week.

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Petersen loves to put players in competitive non-football situations — sometimes during practice (tug of war, relay races, etc.) and sometimes out of practice (free-throw shooting contest, home-run derby).

On Thursday, select players participated in a dance contest at the end of practice.

“The young guys think it’s just all about fun and laughing and joking," Petersen said, "but really the bottom line is it doesn’t matter what we’re playing — ping-pong, cards, 1-on-1 drills, football … no matter how corny the event, how serious the event, we want the guy who wants no part of losing.”

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Don’t expect to see all the stars in Friday’s scrimmage. Some players will get little or no work, Petersen said, either because they’re banged up or coaches already know what they can do. The Broncos are expected to take the field at about 7 p.m. and begin scrimmaging at about 7:30 p.m. at Bronco Stadium.

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Sophomore center Thomas Byrd was named to the watch list for the Rimington Trophy, which goes to the top center in the nation. Byrd is one of just five sophomores on the 43-man list.