Former Boise State special teams coach Jeff Choate took Wazzu job to change his career path; Crawford gets combine invite

By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman

Former Boise State special teams coach Jeff Choate’s move to Washington State was motivated by his desire to change his career path.

Choate wants to become a defensive coordinator and head coach, titles he didn’t think he could achieve as someone known as a special teams guru.

He’ll be the linebackers coach at Washington State, which hired a full-time special teams coordinator. Choate’s hiring was announced last week.

“I really wasn’t interested in leaving Boise State to do the same thing I was doing there,” Choate said Monday. “We had such an awesome thing going there. (Coach Chris Petersen) is a hell of a guy to work for and it’s just a great place.

“But I was interested in getting into more of the defensive game-planning, moving myself in a direction where I could be a defensive coordinator, because I just didn’t feel like that opportunity was there.”

Choate was the Broncos’ running backs coach from 2006 to 2008, the linebackers coach in 2009 and the nickels coach in 2010-11.

The former Idaho high school coach also coached special teams at Utah State (2003-04) and Eastern Illinois (2005) — his two previous college stops. He was a graduate assistant at Utah State in 2002.

Choate received phone calls from schools interested in hiring him to coach special teams in recent years but they were surprised to learn he’d rather coach defense, he said. He also felt like his lack of experience as an offensive or defensive coordinator hurt him during his interview last month for the head job at Eastern Illinois.

“The one negative about being a special teams coach is people don’t look at you as anything other than a special teams coach,” he said. “… I just felt like I had a lot left in the tank, that I could be a heck of a defensive coordinator if given the opportunity, that I could be a head coach. I don’t think those things were going to happen if I stayed in Boise. … Nobody thinks of me as anything but a special teams coach. I think that’s totally wrong. I’m a ball coach.”

Here are some other highlights from Choate:

— He was approached about the Washington State job by special teams coordinator Eric Russell. Russell and Choate both went to St. Maries High and have kept a relationship over the years. Russell, then at Tennessee, attended a Boise State practice last spring. Choate said his interest depended on the defensive coordinator and he was intrigued when the Cougars hired Mike Breske from Montana, a guy he knew and who runs a 3-4 system that Choate likes.

— On leaving Boise: “It was way, way harder than I thought it would be, not really because I didn’t think it was the best thing for me and my career but just because of how attached I’d grown to the players and people there at Boise State. I was an emotional wreck that day. … It was an opportunity for me to do the things I’ve been saying I wanted to do. If I’m going to tell my players to chase their dreams … I don’t want to be that hypocrite who doesn’t live the life he’s trying to get others to live.”

— On coaching special teams: “I’m not coaching special teams for anybody but Chris Petersen.”

— On how his move from linebackers to nickels, when Bob Gregory joined the staff in 2010, affected him: “When a guy like Bob calls you, you can’t say no to that. First of all, he’s such a first-class person. So that was awesome, but that wasn’t going to afford me to take the career path that I wanted to take. That was maybe a little bit of a catalyst in some regard. But I wouldn’t change my two years working with Bob Gregory for anything. The way the staff came together, it minimized my role a little bit on the defensive side and allowed me to focus on special teams. This move really flips that for me.”

— On whether he’ll be involved in special teams at Washington State: “Yeah, I’m sure. You wouldn’t believe the people that have called me wanting my stuff, thinking I’m out of it. Eric and I have a long-standing relationship. He’s already picking my brain. … Let me say this, I wasn’t the only guy coaching special teams at Boise State and he won’t be the only one coaching special teams at Washington State. It’s always a team effort.”

— He said the move was “parallel” financially. “I’ve coached football for nothing and I’d do it again,” he said.

— He said he will not recruit Boise State commits to Washington State. He recruited the Houston area, where four players are committed to the Broncos, as well as nickel Chris Santini and punter/kicker Sean Wale. He also was in charge of in-state recruiting. He has been making contact with the recruits. “What I tell them is, ‘The reason you chose Boise State wasn’t because of Jeff Choate. For the most part, your position coach is still there, the coordinator is still there, and most importantly the head coach is there. Boise State is a great place for you. I believed that when you committed to us and I believe that now.’ ”

— On the staff departures — offensive coordinator Brent Pease (Florida), defensive backs coach Marcel Yates (Texas A&M) and Choate: “For Marcel and I, it was time. Marcel had been there longer than any of us had with the exception of coach Petersen. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Sometimes in this business you’ve got to move. People have got to know that you’re still out there, that you’re alive. … The moves he and I are making are moves we feel like we need to make to take the next step.”

— On how Boise State will be different: “Different can be really good. It shouldn’t be scary. People should embrace it. There’s a lot of change there right now. That place ain’t going to fall apart overnight. It’s going to be just fine. The guy that’s guiding the ship is the best that’s ever been in my opinion. He knows what he’s doing.”

— He said he talked to Petersen about potential replacements before interviewing with Eastern Illinois. “Great head coaches, they don’t think about if a guy leaves. They think about when. He has a plan in place. It’s going to be seamless, in my opinion.”


The Broncos’ four Houston-area recruits were featured in the Houston Chronicle over the weekend.

Tight end Armand Nance, who was recruited by Choate, said he has “no concerns at all” about his commitment.

He and the other Houston recruits — wide receiver/running back Shane Rhodes, running back Devan Demas and linebacker Ben Weaver — have started to form a bond.

“My relationship started with Shane, but I’m building a relationship with Devan and Ben,” Nance said. “We’ll have a lot in common by the time we get up there to Idaho.”


Boise State defensive end Tyrone Crawford has received an invitation to the NFL Scouting Combine. That makes a record seven Bronco invitees — quarterback Kellen Moore, tailback Doug Martin, safety George Iloka, defensive tackle Billy Winn, defensive end Shea McClellin, offensive tackle Nate Potter and Crawford.

Crawford is working out in Michigan with teammate Chase Baker. Crawford has been told to work on some linebacker skills so he can play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense if necessary.

Crawford and wide receiver Tyler Shoemaker are at the East-West Shrine Game this week. The game is Saturday.

Linebacker Aaron Tevis plays in the Casino Del Sol College All-Star Game at 6 p.m. today in Tucson, Ariz. That game airs on Fox Sports Arizona.

1326758962 Former Boise State special teams coach Jeff Choate took Wazzu job to change his career path; Crawford gets combine invite Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

A lot of comforting remarks by Choate

about the changes at BSU. Hopefully they'll come to fruition....Sunny...


Let's all keep our fingers crossed! Hopefully we'll have a quality kicker for a change!

Sorry Coach,

But given how bad our Special Teams have performed under your tutelage, and given that Gregory is 10x's the Defensive Coach you are at this point, I'm not really that sad to see you go. You did us a favor by moving on, having a lame duck ST coach and a 'Nickels' coach was a drain. I've read some speculate this wasn't all his choice, I think that's probably pretty accurate, but nobody will say it because there's just too much mutual respect.

Sad to see Yates go, indifferent to Pease leaving, and happy to see Choate go: to me the coaching changes this off season are a wash. Gives us a chance to get some fresh blood, some fire back into the program. Great timing too with a real good recruiting class coming in.

You do realize that

Boise State special teams has been ranked near the top of FBS for years now, right?

A kicker missing a kick is NOT special teams........

And you realize that

Individual talent does not mean good coaching, right?

The rugby punting fiasco this year was a joke. Choate took one of the Top-5 drop back punters in the nation and made him punt rugby style to match what Choate wanted, and ruined his career. He recruited kickers who had no mental fortitude.
Kick returns were pathetic last season and for the first half of this season.

I dare you to look up the past 5 years of FBS Special Teams and enlighten us as to where exactly Boise State ranks in kickoff returns, punt returns, and defense on both as well. It's nowhere where it was before Choate took over.

He was a very good recruiter, but that was the main value he added to the team. Think about it, there's a reason why he's not coaching ST's anymore, and it's got nothing to do with wanting to be a DC.


Net punting
2011 - 35th
2010 - 60th
2009 - 14th
2008 - 4th
2007 - 20th

Punt Returns
2011 - 18th
2010 - 16th
2009 - 39th
2008 - 20th
2007 - 22nd

KO Returns
2011 - 30th
2010 - 23rd
2009 - 4th
2008 - 47th
2007 - 10th

That's an average rank of 24th over 5 years.......


Obvious failure

And on punt coverage and kick coverage?
Kicking percentage?

And you may be satisfied with 24th over 5 years, but nobody else is. We were Top10 when Hawk was coaching ST's, then Choate comes in, switches schemes all up, and we drop.

Face it, must as you may love sniffing his jock, the guy was a bad coach but a good recruiter. We're better off without the dead weight.


During Hawkins 5 years as head coach the average rank was 34th
(Boise State finished in the top ten once - 2004 #3 in punt returns)

Here's Hawkins rank while ST coach

Net Punting
2000 - 48th
1999 - 51st

Punt returns
2000 - 59th
1999 - 37th

KO Returns
2000 - 11th
1999 - 40th



ignorant about the position, football in general and especially ST. But hey, your post.


Your post contains much.

Can't argue with ignorance.

Wow you are an idiot.

He made his mark

at Boise State, and will do the same on a fine staff being assembled by Mike Leach. I see the Cougars being relevant again in the PAC 12, I just hope that their improvement doesn't negatively conflict our recruiting efforts. It's more competition in our back yard; Choate definitely understands Coach Pete's "our-kinda-guy" players.

I read this morning

that only 8 college football coaching staffs have a chance to keep their staff completely intact for two straight years.

Bowling Green
Georgia Tech
LA Tech
NC State

And blah blah

And blah blah blah...
Schedule us with no name teams..we'll be #1 in the nation Coach...blah blah blah
The Broncs are a sinking ship

Whatever you say

now move along....


post.Lame brain.

thanks for your time here

Some of these ding-bats making comments don't have a clue what it means to have a little "class". Choate... your comments in the interview showed a LOT of class. Good luck on your career... thanks for your contribution here.

Thanks coach

Best of luck in your desire to better yourself Jeff. Only the lazy and fools dont chase a "few" their dreams. Thanks alot for your time at BSU and being part of the crew who has moved BSU up the latter in college football.

Good Luck


Choate: A man with Integrity

I believe Coach Choate has made the right decision for himself and hate to see him go. I am sorry to see some posters are attacking him as he heads up to Washington State. I think the man exemplifies why Boise is so successful........principles and integrity. When Hawkins left, on his way out the door, he tried to take all the recruits and committs that were looking at BSU. Choate on the other hand told the kids he recruited to stay with Boise State. I appreciate all that Choate did for the Broncos as a coach and how he is leaving the Broncos......taking the high road.......Thanks Coach are a class act.

of course he made the right decision for himself

He became disgruntled in his role here and he felt it was time for him to move on.

Ya, I got that from

reading the article as well........


Not like he's going to Stanford.. is the vandals of the Pac 12..

head coach material???

We can all dream big dreams, and sometimes those dreams are a bit delusional. The guy has no sound fundamentals in offense, wants to focus of defense, and the last time I checked, if you can't put points on the board, its a bit tough winning the game... Thats a bit like pizza man Cain, ' I will just delegate those things I don't understand", "I'm a leader not a reader!!"....


Your not too bright are you.......

I forgot.....

you have the only opinion that matters????? .... personal attacks are the sign of a weak mind....

It was not a personal attack at all

You stated

"head coach material???"

"The guy has no sound fundamentals in offense, wants to focus of defense and the last time I checked, if you can't put points on the board, its a bit tough winning the game..."

The following are just some of today's head coaches that have _never_ coached offense (any part of it)

Nick Saban (He was just on TV not too long ago, you might have seen him)
Bob Stoops
Gary Patterson
Bronco Mendenhall
Gene Chizik
Brady Hoke
Al Golden
and Rob Ackey

So, my saying you are not too bright was not a personal attack but a statement of fact based on your statement above.

Hope that clears that up.


Choates ain't no Nick Saban..... Typically the pedigree of head coaches come from offense....These guys are the exception, and not the rule... Its a bit tougher going the Defense route to a head coaching job....

Yea, i have watched the sports boards for a while.. The minute somebody doesn't share your opinion, you turn into a jerk and attack people....

I really doubt that is what these boards are meant for, so maybe you need to grow up and respect fellow posters who have the same rights as you to post without listening to attacks coming out of your pie hole.


You gotto remember that Sports blogs and Political blogs always get alittle heated with diverse opinions....

As a Creationist I use to post on an Athiest blog, and they were the same way....

The B guy, others, and HSC are all fine....they just have their opinions....

I agree, must be acceptable to all or have we become the new Dems where the internet gets monitored by the Govt....Be careful, you may have filter on now....

ugly - how long

will it be, you think, until the "B" Guy starts telling the new guy that he wears spandex underwear and his Grandam is a Vandull?

Its coming - just like clockwork.


VNDL....You and I both know that when

something is perceived as negative, or even anti-Bronco....

The words Vandull and Vanditz always show up....


First, I am one of the first ones to point out factual errors, such as yours. If your "opinion" is Choate is not head coaching material, that's fine. But when you state that it's because he's a defensive coach, I will show you have no basis for that reason.

Second, Saban was a defensive asst. in college for nearly 13 years. Nick Saban was no Nick Saban in 1981.

Third, Please show me where I "attacked" you. You are the one that posted a rather uneducated "attacked" on a former Boise State coach, I merely stated the obvious.


Well said funky


As another

member of the Personal Attack You If Your Opinion Is Not Exactly In Lockstep With Mine club, chimes in.


"and sometimes those dreams are a bit delusional"

What was it you were saying about a weak mind?

B43S42U - he is very bright

I guess 'idahofedagent' got your number right out of the gate.

I believe he was saying you have a weak mind, and resort to personal attacks whenever other posters do not share your opinions.

He is very astute. This is something we have noticed about you for many years now. And he just gets here and figures it out in nanoseconds.

Go Figure.


Off topic, but too good/bad not to post

-Just listen to Craig say “America is good.” I’ve heard this “gooood” before, and it typically came on Sunday nights when James would say that “Boise State is NOT gooood” while justifying his horrific AP ballot. He would then begin lighting Bronco merchandise on fire on live television, while Rece Davis would try to stab his own jugular with a pen. At least that’s how I recall it.

§ OT reply. Rather see him

riding a bull than a horse. At least he's gone from ESPN.

ya seen this?

James said he feels called by God to give himself to public service

I like the first comment to the story:
"He should fit right in.. Unqualified and he takes payoffs under the table... He is a admitted fraud, and a practitioner of habitual lying. What will be interesting is the parasites who crawl out to support this human disgrace. Where ever Craig James geauxs BAD KARMA is sure to follow.
It is no wonder the average voter is so disgusted with the choices"

§ Sure you will

Good find TBK. Loved this quote from James: "I will not go up there and be soft," he said. "When I go to Washington, D.C., you can rest assured that I'm going up there to kick the skunks out of the bushes."

Oh ... okay!

Looks like Marcel is already paying

dividends for A & M.