By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
Boise State football coach Chris Petersen said his four quarterbacks were “awesome” in the first practice of spring ball.
“You look at the stats the kids had, they were all awesome,” he said. “Now it’s day one in shorts. … Joe (Southwick) did a great job and Nick Patti for his first practice, I think he completed almost all of his passes and the one he didn’t was dropped. These guys are good players, so we have to give them all a fair chance.”
Decision-making and accuracy will be the two most important factors in determining the starter among four candidates — Southwick, a junior; sophomore Grant Hedrick; redshirt freshman Jimmy Laughrea; and Patti, a true freshman.
They’re trying to replace Kellen Moore.
“Kellen, he’s the best — and nobody in college really wanted him and the NFL is saying the same thing, but the guy can play the game, so you can’t get hung up on who’s 6-5,” Petersen said. “The bottom line is I think the one thing we have learned is don’t get hung up on (size, arm strength, etc.). If Kellen went back out there he’d be at the lower portion of the strongest arm of the guys we have right now.”
All four quarterbacks are hungry for an opportunity and Petersen expects a long, tight battle.
“These guys are ready to compete,” he said. “For us to do what we want to do on offense, we have to have a big-time player there.”
The new starter will have to deal with lofty expectations established by Moore, who went 50-3 and finished in the top 10 of Heisman Trophy voting each of the past three years.
“He set the standard,” Petersen said. “He and his teammates have done great things. We’ve got to learn from that and try to build on that and celebrate that and not make that be a negative. The quarterbacks, they know what the standards and expectations are but they need to go play their game.”
Here is audio of Petersen’s press conference.
Petersen on the first practice Monday: “If we can practice 14 other days like we practiced that first day, that’s all we can ask is complete and total concentration and great effort. It’s easy to do the first day or the first few days. It gets harder to do the closer you get to spring break and it gets harder to do once you come back from spring break.”
Petersen on building chemistry among the rebuilt coaching staff: “We’re having a barbecue at my house this weekend. It’s little things like that. We spend so much time with these coaches that that happens naturally. We’re in the ‘offseason’ and I don’t think we’ve had anything shorter than a 12-hour day since we started back.”
Petersen on RB D.J. Harper: “We’re expecting big things out of D.J. We know he’s a tremendous running back. We couldn’t be prouder of him — one, what he’s been through and how mentally tough he has been and, two, the fact that Doug (Martin) kind of comes along and emerges, does the thing he does, and D.J. just becomes an awesome team player.”
Petersen on having contact in three fewer spring practices than normal: “We can’t let it affect us. The one thing that this program has done a really good job of is being very good at practice. It doesn’t matter if it’s kids practicing on their own in the summer, or practicing in helmets, or practicing in pads. You can get better in whatever. That’s what needs to happen.”
Three of the four returning starters on the offensive line will be out or limited during spring ball, Petersen said — center Cory Yriarte, guard Joe Kellogg and guard Jake Broyles. Broyles is doing some drills this spring.
Petersen said about nine players will be out or limited this spring, but he didn’t have a complete list at hand. Others include cornerback Jerrell Gavins and tailback Jay Ajayi.