By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
The Boise State football team’s rare season-opening loss will test the team’s maturity, senior wide receiver Mitch Burroughs said Wednesday.
The Broncos’ 17-13 defeat Friday at Michigan State was their first before November since 2007. Even Burroughs, who grayshirted and redshirted, wasn’t on the team back then.
The last time the Broncos lost an opener, in 2005, they started 0-2 on their way to a disappointing 9-4 record.
“It’s only one game and we can’t let that define our season,” Burroughs said. “We’ve got to bounce back and really be mature about it and be hungry and learn from our mistakes and come out and put together an awesome season.
“… It would be a long year if we let that put a damper on our season. Everyone knows that and everyone is taking that approach. There’s a lot of good things from that game — obviously, a lot of bad things, too — but if we put that together it can be something special.”
The Broncos failed to score an offensive touchdown for the first time in 15 years against the Spartans. They were inside the 10-yard line three times, settling for two field goals and committing a turnover, and missed a few other scoring chances.
“We had some opportunities that we really could have capitalized on,” Burroughs said. “It’s just the execution part of things. We’ve got to clean up the details on certain things, but I think we’re close. … We missed opportunities on a lot of things that shouldn’t have been that hard.”
He said junior quarterback Joe Southwick, who was making his first start, played “pretty well for his first game.”
“He did good,” Burroughs said. “We can’t put that on Joe. Collectively as a unit we’ve got to do better. Everyone that played had an opportunity and said, ‘I probably could have done better on this play or that play.’ I’m sure he feels the same way.”
Redshirt freshman safety Darian Thompson, who unexpectedly played half the opener at strong safety, echoed Burroughs’ comments.
“It was a rough loss. It was,” he said. “But we’re bouncing back. We’re not focused on that game anymore. We’re focused on our future. We have Miami of Ohio coming up and that’s where everybody’s head is. … We all want to get back on the field and get a ‘W,’ but you have to use the bye week to get better — and that’s what we’re doing.”
The Broncos practiced Tuesday and Wednesday. They’ll return to the field Saturday, after coaches scatter for some recruiting work.
Defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake said Thompson played 46 snaps. He was going to play a little bit but was pressed into heavier action because of an illness to starter Jeremy Ioane.
Thompson moved from cornerback to safety in spring ball when Lake arrived. He can play any position in the secondary.
“He played tough, which I expect him to do,” Lake said. “I always like to coach a tough player, I’ll always play a tough player.”
I’ll have more on Thompson in Friday’s newspaper.
Lake said the defense needs to tackle better but he was happy with the pass coverage. The Broncos corrected a few breakdowns at halftime, he said.
Senior Jerrell Gavins and sophomore Bryan Douglas, who shared time at one cornerback spot, both played well, he said. Gavins missed time during fall camp as he continues to recover from last year’s knee injury.
“He’s gaining confidence every single day,” Lake said of Gavins. “I see the same Jerrell that I saw last year in terms of how he breaks on the football.”
Sophomore defensive end Demarcus Lawrence said he chose Boise State in part because that’s where his mom wanted him to go. He’s from South Carolina.
“She said she fell in love with Coach Pete,” Lawrence said.
I’ll have more on Lawrence next week.