By Chadd Cripe
© 2011 Idaho Statesman
The Boise State football team will face Georgia on Saturday without three key players — all from Amsterdam.
Senior starting safety Cedric Febis, sophomore wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn and sophomore defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe are being held out of the game “due to a review of their NCAA eligibility,” according to a release from Boise State. They did not travel with the team.
The decision is not related to academics or violations of team rules, the release said.
Coach Chris Petersen addressed the issue at a press conference in Atlanta. Brian Murphy has that story here.
All three players competed for Boise high schools before joining Boise State.
Febis was expected to replace four-year starter Jeron Johnson at strong safety. Redshirt freshman Jeremy Ioane will start in his place. Ioane chose Boise State over Notre Dame and improved in fall camp but wasn't yet fighting Febis for the starting job. Defensive backs coach Marcel Yates has said several times that his physical style of play will show up more in games than in practice, which is a trait he shares with former starter Jeron Johnson.
Boldewijn was listed as a co-starter at receiver and is the Broncos’ fastest wide receiver. His absence likely means a larger role for redshirt freshman Matt Miller. The Broncos also were likely to play speedy true freshman Dallas Burroughs — and that now looks like a certainty.
Tjong-A-Tjoe was on the Broncos’ second-team defensive line, which rotates into games and plays a third or more of the snaps. His likely replacement is junior Greg Grimes.
If the eligibility problems affect past seasons, here's which games each player has competed in:
— Febis played in every game except the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas in 2010 (Boise State 11-1 in those games), every game in 2009 (14-0) and at least six games in 2008, including the Poinsettia Bowl (5-1), according to the NCAA stats site and Boise State's media guide. He was the Broncos' Special Teams Player of the Year in 2010.
— Tjong-A-Tjoe played in every game last year except the opener against Virginia Tech (11-1).
— Boldewijn played in every game last year (12-1).
Records for reserves getting into games aren't great, so it's possible those numbers aren't exactly right.
Here's some info on Ioane that's running in tomorrow's paper:
Ioane, who is from Hawaii, is an intriguing prospect. He chose Boise State over Notre Dame and Washington and immediately was considered a future star. He improved through fall camp but wasn’t pushing Febis for the starting job yet.
Ioane is only 5-foot-10, 192 pounds but his strength is his physical style of play — a style that translates better to games than the controlled environment of practice.
“His biggest part of the game is hitting people and being physical,” defensive backs coach Marcel Yates said in the spring. “… That might be where he can separate himself from the other guys.”
Yates said last week that he hoped Ioane, senior Travis Stanaway and junior Hazen Moss would push Febis.
“I hope those guys behind (Febis) continue to get better to push him to be better,” Yates said. “Either he keeps the spot and they get better or he doesn’t keep the spot and they pass him up. The competition thing, as a coach, is what you want.”