By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
Boise State junior tight end Gabe Linehan will be out for a while with a hamstring injury, coach Chris Petersen said Monday (audio here).
Linehan had been limited in the first four games. He didn’t play in the second half against New Mexico.
“I don’t know if it will be a month or longer,” Petersen said. “It’s more technical than just hamstring issues.”
Freshmen Holden Huff and Hayden Plinke and sophomore transfer Connor Peters will pick up extra snaps. Sophomore Kyle Sosnowski has been out since fall camp and still is rehabbing, Petersen said.
“They’re capable of doing it,” tight ends coach Scott Huff said of the youngsters. “They’ve been doing it. All their roles will expand a little bit. Obviously we want Gabe back, but I have all the confidence in the world one of those guys will step up.”
Petersen didn’t provide any information on the offensive line injuries — right guard Michael Ames and right guard/tackle Jake Broyles were injured on back-to-back plays last week.
Tailback Drew Wright is day to day, Petersen said. He missed last week’s game.
Junior wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn returns this week after serving a four-game NCAA suspension for receiving impermissible benefits from his host family.
Boldewijn will travel with the team but his role hasn’t been determined, Petersen said.
Boldewijn made 19 catches for 266 yards and two touchdowns last season. He has been on the scout team during his suspension.
“He’s been great on the scout team,” Petersen said.
Petersen said senior Michael Frisina has separated himself from sophomore Dan Goodale and redshirt freshman Jake Van Ginkel in the kicker race.
“Mike’s been pretty consistent all along,” Petersen said. “He’s been consistent. He’s just been better. We chart everything. … He’s been really the clear-cut guy and so he’s kind of our guy.”
Southern Miss has appeared in 10 straight bowl games but is off to an 0-4 start under new coach Ellis Johnson.
“I don’t even kind of think of them (as winless),” Petersen said. “You watch a team and you see if they’re getting better, what their skill level is, and they may be a team that has as many athletes as any team we’ve seen so far.”
Petersen on the two fumbles against New Mexico, which gave the Lobos the ball at the Boise State 26-yard line and 1-yard line: “That’s cutting the defense’s throat right there.”
Quarterback Joe Southwick had a 176.54 efficiency rating against New Mexico despite what Petersen called “four blatant drops.”
“If you put those in there, he has a pretty efficient game,” Petersen said.
Petersen on tailback Jay Ajayi:
“He did some really good things. A guy who does those types of things, he’ll earn more reps and more carries. … There’s usually a certain package and plays that we rep during the week. That doesn’t mean if a guy goes down that he can’t take over for somebody, but then in the second half … you want your guys in there. D.J. (Harper), nobody is more important to us than him, so he’s going to be in there.”
Boise State’s kickoff team played with a fury against New Mexico that impressed coaches. Lobos kickoff returner Chase Clayton led the nation going into the game but was sidelined by a big hit from linebacker Blake Renaud. The Lobos finished with three returns for 48 yards (16 yards per return).
“Our kickoff team played as well as we’ve seen them play around here in a lot of years,” Petersen said. “A couple guys were really flying down there and making plays, led by Blake Renaud. He was a force in there.”
Southwick on Shane Williams-Rhodes’ touchdown: “That was sweet. That was a run-pass option for us. They loaded the box so we’ve got to give it to little Shane out there, so that was sweet. I tried to get it out of my hands as fast as I could so he would have time to do something, and he did something.”
Boise State’s players of the week: Southwick (offense), linebacker J.C. Percy (defense) and Renaud (special teams).
Southern Miss will face a ranked team for the third time this season. The Golden Eagles have lost to Nebraska and Louisville, in addition to losses to Western Kentucky and East Carolina.
“They will be as difficult to handle as anybody we’ve played,” Johnson said. “I think they are very underrated. Polls are polls and as you lose early or late, it affects where you are in polls. Don’t be fooled. This is a top-20 football team. When you watch them on film, there is some really impressive execution.”