By Chadd Cripe
© 2011 Idaho Statesman
Boise State football coach Chris Petersen said Monday he wouldn’t change much about the way the Broncos handled Saturday’s game against TCU, including the decision to set up a field-goal attempt rather than trying for a touchdown on the final drive.
The Broncos lost 36-35 as Dan Goodale’s 39-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide right.
“We probably watched the tape four different times,” Petersen said. “You look at everything. The good thing is I don’t think there’s a whole lot we’d do differently.”
The one play on the last drive that Petersen said the staff has talked about doing differently was on second-and-10 at the TCU 25-yard line, after the Broncos spiked the ball. They threw a quick screen to Matt Miller that gained 5 yards, called timeout, moved the ball to the center of the field, let the clock run down to 1 second and called timeout.
Petersen wanted the ball in the middle of the field and didn’t want to run an offensive play without a timeout available, so the one time he figures the Broncos could have fired at the end zone was on second down.
The Broncos could have kept running their offense on third-and-5 at the 20 with 21 seconds left, but if they didn’t get the first down the ball would have been on the right hash. From watching Goodale in practice, Petersen felt more comfortable trying the kick from the middle.
“We really felt like if it was about the 20-yard line in the middle we’d have a really good chance to make it,” Petersen said. “… All we need to do is get an easy field goal and we win. Make the field goal and we’re not even having these conversations.”
Earlier in the drive, a miscommunication between quarterback Kellen Moore and his receiver led to one incompletion.
“If that wouldn’t have happened, we would have gotten a big play,” Petersen said.
Special teams coach Jeff Choate said “my gut told me (Goodale) was going to make it.”
“But then a part of me, we know there’s a good chance we’re not going to make it if it comes down to that situation,” he said. “I don’t think it was a shock to anybody. It didn’t blow me away. I wasn’t devastated that he missed the field goal. I was proud of the fact that he hit it (well). He’s had some misses this year where he just didn’t go after it. That particular kick, he hit it with confidence. The margin for error out there is not very big.
“I feel bad for him. I feel bad for our players, but it was a hell of a game. It was fun to coach in. I wish we could play those guys every year. That’s why we do this.”
Choate said the laces were facing Goodale when he kicked the ball. Usually, kickers want the laces facing out.
“There was nothing wrong mechanically with the way he hit the ball,” Choate said. “… He felt good about it, too.”
Choate expects the redshirt freshman to bounce back well from the miss. They traded text messages Saturday evening.
“I don’t have any doubts about him handling it properly,” Choate said. “The hardest thing he had to do was go to class today, and he did that.”
Choate is a finalist for the head-coaching job at Eastern Illinois. Story here.
The Boise State players who met the media Monday gave a similar message.
“This won’t define our season, it won’t define any of us on this team,” senior safety George Iloka said.
Iloka said undisciplined technique against double moves led to two of the three long touchdown passes by TCU in the first half. The third was a slow-developing play and the Horned Frogs receiver was able to get loose because quarterback Casey Pachall had time.
“When it comes down to it, we didn’t make plays,” he said. “We weren’t disciplined. They did a good job capitalizing on our mistakes. … Back (in the secondary), if you’re beat there’s no one there but blue turf or green grass.”
The Broncos played most of the game without their top three cornerbacks, all of whom are injured.
“It took a big toll,” Iloka said. “… That being said, we were still in position to win the game and we just didn’t make the plays we were supposed to. That will come with experience, that will come with timing. You learn a lot from losing. I’m really proud of the way we battled out there as a team, as a defense, all the young guys that were thrown into the fire.”
Junior cornerback Jamar Taylor (leg) and sophomore cornerback Ebo Makinde (hamstring), the starters against TCU, aren’t likely to play this week at San Diego State, Petersen said. That leaves true freshman Lee Hightower and sophomore Quaylon Ewing-Burton as the only experienced options.
Tailbacks Doug Martin and D.J. Harper likely will play, Petersen said, but he said that without much information yet on their injuries.
Sophomore Jonathan Brown is listed as the solo starter at nickel this week. He had been sharing the job with Hunter White.
Petersen said the way walk-on tailback Drew Wright practiced, it was clear he was the one who should have been in the game when Harper got injured instead of Martin, who only came in the game to serve as a pass blocker on the final drive.
Wright fumbled when the Broncos had a chance to run out the clock with a 35-28 lead.
Petersen said the TCU defender was able to get his helmet on the ball and knock it loose.
“It’s one of those totally unfortunate things for us and totally fortunate things for them,” Petersen said.
Boise State did not name internal players of the week because of the loss.
Boise State will practice at the soccer complex this week to prepare for the grass field at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.