By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
Boise State offensive coordinator Robert Prince said Monday that new starting quarterback Joe Southwick has improved his ability to play within the offense this year.
Southwick, a junior, was named the starter Sunday.
“He’s relying on his teammates a little more and not on his feet,” Prince said.
Southwick does bring more mobility to the position than his predecessor, Kellen Moore. But the preference is for him to only use his running ability as a last resort.
“Joe’s a little bit more mobile than the guy we had last year, and we’ll try to take advantage of that,” Prince said. “We’ve just got to be smart with him. We don’t want him taking a lot of hits. … He’s got to trust his coaching. As long as he goes through his progressions, if a play breaks down, then let’s try to make something happen.”
Like coach Chris Petersen, Prince stressed Southwick’s knowledge of the offense as an asset.
“He’s very smart,” Prince said. “He’s a very attention-to-detail guy. With our offense, we have a lot of different shifts and motions and a lot of different reads, and Joe’s been doing a great job with it.
“There are plays we’ve gone back to the archive and looked at and Joe’s been familiar with them. With him knowing those plays, when we put in new stuff it’s not such a burden for him.”
Prince said he’s confident Southwick will be able to handle the intensity of Friday’s season opener at Michigan State. It will be Southwick’s first significant playing time with the game still in doubt.
“I don’t think the stage is going to be too big,” Prince said. “He’s ready for it. He’s got his teammates’ backs and they’re going to play for him.”
Junior center Matt Paradis said Southwick’s consistency impressed him.
“We never have to question him, because he always gets it right,” he said. “… He’s calm. Calm and confident.”
Other notes from Prince:
— On Michigan State’s defense: “I imagine they’ll be one of the best we face all year, and we’ve got to step up to the challenge. … They’re well coached. You can tell because their schemes are very complicated and they do a nice job, they’re fundamentally sound. And then they’ve got the players to back it up.”
— On true freshman wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes: “He’ll have a little role. He’ll be a backup. We’ll probably get him out there a little bit. We don’t want to put too much on him just because he’s a freshman and we want to see if he can handle the bright lights. … The thing with Shane is he’s very dynamic with the ball in his hands. We’ve got to get the ball in his hands and let him go to work.”
Paradis on Michigan State: “They’re very big and physical and smart.”
How does he know they’re smart?
“They don’t mess up,” Paradis said.
Sophomore free safety Lee Hightower on Michigan State’s rebuilt passing attack: “We’re studying their system. People change, but their system stays in place. We know they’re a great team. They’re going to reload like we’re going to reload, so we’re excited for the matchups we’re going to get.”
KTVB announced Monday that it will show the Boise State-New Mexico game on Sept. 29 in high definition. That was the only game not chosen for national TV. Mark Johnson, Tom Scott and Jay Tust will call the game.
Join Brian Murphy and me at 11 a.m. Thursday for our first live chat of the season. Sign up for a reminder here.