By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
Boise State offensive line coach Chris Strausser plans to use the same five starters for Saturday’s game against Miami (Ohio). Backup Brenel Myers, who played in the opener against Michigan State, also likely will play.
The Broncos hope to re-establish the ground game after rushing for just 37 yards against Michigan State.
“I don’t think it’s so much about the personnel,” Strausser said Thursday. “… As always, it comes back to details for us. There are a lot of details we left hanging out there, but give credit to Michigan State for being a very good front seven. … Obviously across the board it wasn’t good enough and we know that and our guys are excited to get out there and fix that and get it right.”
Said left guard Joe Kellogg: “First off, I want to give Michigan State credit. They are a very talented front seven, and it showed. But regardless, we still need to run the ball better. It comes down to the offensive line first — communicating better, being on the same page, just keeping our eyes up to see the blitzers and just being more physical at the point of attack.”
The Broncos didn’t allow a sack in the opener, but Strausser said his linemen might have been thinking more about protecting quarterback Joe Southwick than about opening holes for tailback D.J. Harper.
“It’s certainly two different beasts,” he said. “For whatever reason, I think our mindset was we needed to go into that game planning to protect the quarterback — and that’s not what our mindset ever needs to be. That’s part of the deal, and obviously we take great pride in taking care of our quarterbacks … but you’ve heard me say for years that it always starts with us trying to run the ball.
“… The nice thing is we get our chance to prove ourselves right now. … We’re not a physical team until we go out there and back it up.”
And it won’t be easy this week. Miami’s defense was stout last year and the defensive line is full of experienced playmakers.
“That’s the strength of their defense,” Strausser said. “Those guys are exceptional players.”
The Broncos’ offensive linemen say the run game has been their focus the past week and a half as they prepared for the home opener.
“That’s our whole mission,” right tackle Jake Broyles said. “That’s what we do. That’s what we pride ourselves on around here, just run the rock.”
Added Kellogg: “For our offense to go, we need to have balance. … We’re a pretty resilient group. We understand that we didn’t play well enough. That’s not up to Boise State standards. We’re all very motivated to just fix it.”
Strausser said center Matt Paradis played the best of the offensive linemen in the opener.
“That correlates with he’s the guy who probably had the best fall camp for us, too,” he said.
I wrote about Demarcus Lawrence for today’s paper. I interviewed his junior college coach, Butler’s Troy Morrell. Butler just played Fort Scott, home of recent Boise State commit Justin Taimatuia. Morrell’s description of Taimatuia sounds a lot like Mike Atkinson.
“He’s quick and explosive, an interior defensive lineman,” Morrell said. “He’s about as wide as he is tall, a quick-twitch, explosive, powerful kind of guy.”