Boise State coach Chris Petersen says BYU plays 'next level' defense

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com
© 2012 Idaho Statesman

The Boise State football team’s offensive line will be back in the spotlight Thursday night against BYU.

The Cougars rank sixth in the nation in rushing defense (53 yards per game), ninth in total defense (241 ypg) and 20th in scoring defense (14.3 points per game).

Boise State rushed for 295 yards Saturday against Miami (Ohio) after generating just 37 against Michigan State.

“It’s going to be a big challenge, not only for the O-line, it’s going to be for everybody,” coach Chris Petersen said Monday. “They’re the next level on defense, for sure. … (Coach Bronco Mendenhall) has got them playing as hard as they’ve ever played. That’s one thing that always jumps out whenever you watch BYU. That’s his baby. He’s a defensive guy.”

Here is audio of Petersen’s press conference.

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Thursday’s game is the first in a 12-year series scheduled between Boise State and BYU.

Petersen doesn’t like the idea.

“That’s a lot of years strung together,” he said. “That’s like they’re in your league, and they’re not in our league.”

He doesn’t see a new rivalry developing, either. Boise State has ended its rivalry with Idaho and likely will lose rivals in Nevada and Fresno State as it moves to the Big East next year.

“Our rivals are on the East Coast and in Texas and in San Diego,” Petersen said. “I don’t worry about rivalries. I know it can be healthy and good, but that’s just not where we are right now. Down the line, we’ll have some new ones in a hurry.”

Petersen and Mendenhall are friends. Petersen said he’ll miss being able to talk football with Mendenhall as much now that they play each other.

•••

Petersen’s take on the BYU-Utah ending: “I know how important the crowd is, and I’m being 100 percent serious. Crowd noise, like I’ve said forever, is very difficult to deal with. If we can have our people as loud as they’ve ever been, I promise you it will help us.”

BYU quarterback Riley Nelson told The Salt Lake Tribune after Saturday’s game that the atmosphere at Bronco Stadium will be an issue, like it was at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Nelson started for Utah State in a 2006 game in Boise.

“We think this was noisy tonight, and we think this crowd was crazy,” Nelson said. “I played up there in Boise when I was a freshman, and that crowd brings it.”

•••

Petersen on quarterback Joe Southwick: “Instincts play a huge role in being a really elite, elite quarterback, but I also think guys can get better at it. Joe does some really, really good things, and he’s getting better. The more live reps he gets — that’s what he needs. Hopefully he can get those reps without learning too many hard lessons along the way. That’s the trick.”

Petersen got a good laugh out of Southwick’s two-knee slide in Saturday’s game. Southwick heard Petersen yell and asked later if the coach was criticizing him for missing the tight end on the play; Petersen said no, he was criticizing that slide.

“We were both just laughing,” Petersen said.

The irony is that Southwick was a good baseball player growing up. He got a turf burn from the slide.

“He used to be a heck of an athlete when he got here,” Petersen said. “And it’s starting to go away. … That’s the good and the bad of Kellen (Moore) — he’s rubbed off on him too much.”

•••

Boise State senior tailback D.J. Harper was named the Mountain West co-offensive player of the week Monday.

Harper rushed for a career-high 162 yards, scored four touchdowns and produced 26 points, the third-highest total in school history, against Miami (Ohio).

He shared the honor with Fresno State tailback Robbie Rouse, who rushed for 144 yards on nine carries, caught four passes for 42 yards and scored four touchdowns in less than a half against Colorado. All of his touchdowns came in the first quarter, including a school-record 94-yard run.

Fresno State safety Phillip Thomas won the defensive honor with three interceptions, including two that he returned for touchdowns. Fresno State punter Andrew Shapiro won the special teams honor with a 50-yard average on three punts.

•••

Former NFL player and Georgia star David Pollack is one of two analysts on the four-announcer team ESPN will send to Boise for Thursday’s Boise State-BYU game. Pollack is in his first year on the Thursday games and his second year on “College GameDay.”

He said Monday he’s excited about his first visit to Bronco Stadium.

“I think it will be fun,” Pollack said. “Every game, coming in, you have a thought process. Right now you think about Boise State and some of the athletes they have, playing in space. BYU wants to come in a little bit and play knuckle to knuckle. It’s a fun matchup — strength vs. trying to get people in space. It’s two quality programs, two BCS buster-types who have already had their bubbles burst early in the season but both are looking to still have great seasons.”

Pollack joins Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer and Samantha Steele on the Thursday night broadcast team. It’s one of the marquee time slots of the college football week.

“Boise knows this, they’ve been doing this for years,” Pollack said. “It seemed like they played every Friday night for 12 straight years. It’s an awesome opportunity to showcase your program.”

I’ll have more from Pollack later in the week. His NFL career ended because of a broken neck, but he says broadcasting has become the perfect outlet for his love of football.

Read our coverage on your iPhone or Android phone.

Congrats DJ

And props to the O-Line.

Great job guys.

Colorado apparently has ZERO

Colorado apparently has ZERO defense....sheesh.

Φ Nice job by DJ.

It was fun to watch the running game getting big chunks of yards.

Colorado is shockingly bad. They've even managed to lose at home to FCS Sacramento State. I thought it might be significant that CSU beat the Buffs in the opener, but now CSU has lost at home to FCS ND State before getting wiped out at SJSU (while giving up 568 yards). Doesn't look like CSU is very strong, either.

And Wyoming?

I thought they would be much better...

Φ Cowboys

Yeah, there's another surprise. 0-3 with a loss at home to FCS Cal Poly.

Starting QB

was out for that game, probably made a difference. Too bad, I like Wyoming but their coach is going to be on the hot seat.

Next level?

Here comes the annual song of making the cupcakes sound like a meal. Pretty soon we will hear about Wyoming being next level. Let's see, BYU is an indy, so if that is the "next level" then it looks like the Vandals will be playing next level defense before BSU.

so dumb

It's time you learned something about the reality of college football before you make your typical cupcake spout. The only reason Idaho was able to schedule LSU was that the Tigers were looking for an easy game. When schools have had as much success as BSU has had, top notch teams are hesitant on scheduling you. Also look at any coach in America and you will see him upselling his opponent before a game. It's called reality, look into it.

Every year BSU plays one game

and then the rest of the season is spent talking about how tough the opponents are. It is silly. We have to hear about how BYU has a tough defense and New Mexico has a great QB. How Wyoming's QB is the best in the world. We heard that about Miami (OH). Better than Big Ben they were saying. It is laughable. The fact is that Idaho racked up more points against LSU than BSU did against Michigan STATE. I thought BSU was really good?

Nice try

BSU lost by 4. U of I lost by 49. And I am supposed to take your comparison seriously?

Is this a rhetorical question?

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You fry wants with that?

Say what?

"top notch teams are hesitant on scheduling you" - gotta love Cupcake State fans - Yeah, yeah, all together now - Boo Hoo nobody will play us because they are scared - LOL!

BYU is Indy

They are a indy so is Notre Dame, Idaho will have aterrible time as an indy BYU however will play GT this yead Notre Dame, Texas, next year Wis and 11 more yrs with BSU the broncos. BSU should have stayed in the Mountain West BYU ve BSU will be a good game but BYU is the NEXT LEVEL

Mario World 2-1?

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You fry wants with that?

Interesting, Pollack

calls the game between two quality programs, and he was a huge critic of Boise State just a couple of years ago. Until we went down to Georgia II, his old school.

Next Level

BYU has a better known program than BSU, Natioal Champ Heisman trophy winner and a fan following that is broader than BSU there Defense is a great defense BSU will have there hands full it is not a walk in the park like Mamai of Ohio was

With BSUs QB no next level

With the current QB we are dead even with an easy schedule.

Next level of what?

“It’s going to be a big challenge, not only for the O-line, it’s going to be for everybody,” coach Chris Petersen said Monday. “They’re the next level on defense, for sure.

Is that the next level above Miami of Ohio or Michigan State? Uh, Michigan State supposedly had the best defense in the country according to donkey honks after they beat Cupcake State - now not so much after losing at home to Notre Lame. I guess coach "cupcake" pete means the next level above the usual brand of cupcakes that show up on the smurf turf every year. Boo hoo nobody will play us because they are scared.

bsu has a cup cake schedule....

end of sentence, period. MSU lost to Notre Dame and will lose 3 more times this year because THEY do not play a cup cake schedule.

awe, domer and pony isn't that sweet

Look at you two holding hands together on this blog. So cute! Too bad jocdoc doesn't join in, then you could have a bonafide threesome.

Earn it!

Coach Pete is an intelligent man. Not because he's giving the standard respect to another program but because he understands the game of college football (being an insider and all). The fact is any fan worth their weight doesn't run their mouth about another program just like their coach who understand the things he sees on film, the matchups he's dealing with, and the point in which he finds himself in a season with a lot of relatively inexperienced players doesn't. BYU's defense is nasty and they will smack us in the mouth, that I guarantee. That's just the defense, talk about the offense and it gets worse. Go ahead, Boise, get careless and start acting like the BYU program (which by the way for those that remember has actually won a national championship and was good at beating the big boys while we were still playing gutter ball with the snot nosed brats down the street) doesn't deserve respect on principle. I hope we kick their tails back to Provo but I can assure you doing so is not assumed nor earned without an honest persepctive on the opponent, a respectful attitude, and a well-executed gameplan.

Right on

BYU's D is nasty. Those LDS return missionaries who had to be all cutesy and nice for two years now have some pent up agression to get rid of. Can you say "Release the chastidy belt ahhhh I mean KRAKEN!!!!" Well hint hint: BSU has Medusa's head for this one.

AN301

I think a lot of Bronco faithful have great respect for the current BYU team and also for its proud traditions. Any fan who watches college football understands Bronco Mendenhall is one of the good guys and his teams always play hard. I don't see where there's a lot of disrespect between the two programs. Both teams and most of their fans have been nice with their comments.

BYU fans are pretty upset at the offense right now with many saying its too predictable and Riley Nelson isn't a pure QB. Fans are allowed opinions and its what makes the game fun and interesting.

BSU would be better off with Riley Nelson

BSU would be better off with Riely Neilson he has guts Southwick is a fraid to get hurt.

BSU needs a New QB

We need a new QB ours has no guts. Give me either of the BYU QB and we we always win

They had no offense either. Down staircase.

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You fry wants with that?