By Chadd Cripe
© 2010 Idaho Statesman
The Boise State football coaches long have bemoaned the fact that quarterback is the only position where the backup doesn’t get to play.
That’s changing this year.
Senior Mike Coughlin and freshman Joe Southwick, the co-backups, each have gotten into a game this season to run an option play. Offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin hopes to give each guy at least a play a week that could be called in the game.
“They’ve been practicing well — just throw them a bone,” Harsin said. “… They deserve to be in there.”
Coughlin and Southwick are splitting the second-team snaps in practice and competing for the backup job each week.
Coughlin entered for a couple running plays with the first team at Wyoming. He carried four times for 26 yards in the game.
Southwick came into the Oregon State game to run the option near the goal line. He was stuffed.
Both backups are strong runners — a component missing from starter Kellen Moore’s game.
“It was cool to get in there,” Southwick said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t work out the way it was drawn up, but it was exciting to get in.”
Boise State has been the most-penalized team in the WAC so far this year with an average of 77.7 yards per game. The Broncos’ opponents are the third-least penalized at 42.7 yards per game.
The Broncos were the fourth-most-penalized team in the WAC last year at 55.9 yards.
Coach Chris Petersen has said he wants high physicality and low penalty totals, but he also points out that penalty yardage is not an indicator of success.
“Play aggressive, smart, clean football — that’s the goal right there,” he said. “But some things are going to happen when you play that hard.”
Before D.J. Harper’s injury was diagnosed, I asked Petersen if he worried about Doug Martin’s health given the tailback’s hit-everything-on-the-field running style.
“You’ve got less of a chance of getting hurt if you play with that style and that attitude than if you’re going to lay back,” he said.