Short-yardage situations have haunted Boise State football team's offense

By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman

Short-yardage failures have been one of the key issues for the Boise State offense this season.

On Saturday, the Broncos kicked two field goals inside the Fresno State 2-yard line. They ran the ball 11 times on second- or third-and-4 or shorter and only picked up the first down three times.

For the season, the Broncos are tied for 109th in the nation in red-zone offense. They have 11 touchdowns and eight field goals in 28 drives.

They also are 0-for-7 on fourth down.

“I’d say penetration,” coach Chris Petersen said Monday of why the Broncos have struggled in short-yardage situations. “Any time you get some penetration you make that back hesitate and kind of redirect, which is not what you want to happen. That’s probably the No. 1 thing. So we’ve got to work on that.”


Brian Murphy has some reaction to the black uniforms and audio of Petersen’s press conference here.


Junior wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn made three catches for 37 yards and a touchdown last week. It was the eighth three-catch game of his career, but he has never had more than three.

Boldewijn has missed the first four games each of the past two seasons because of NCAA suspensions.

“He’s going to have to really keep having good days in practice,” Petersen said. “He still is a young player experience-wise. … He’s done a great job on scout team running around, but there’s not a lot of detail when you’re doing the scout team and there’s tremendous detail that can show up on Saturday. He’ll continue to make progress.”

That showed up last week. Boldewijn made a nice play on his touchdown catch, when he wasn’t the primary option.

Later in the game, he failed to adjust a deep route. Quarterback Joe Southwick threw to a spot. It could have been a big play, but instead the ball fell incomplete far from Boldewijn.

“Like we always say, there’s a lot more sophistication going on,” Petersen said. “A lot of times they make it look easy. You see something like that and it looks so awkward. There’s a lot of adjusting going on at all times.”


Petersen is impressed with the improvement of UNLV, which is 1-6 going into Saturday’s game at Bronco Stadium but has lost four games by a combined total of 19 points.

“Every week they’re getting better and they fight and they’re well coached and they play hard and they like football and that jumps out at me loud and clear,” Petersen said. “If anybody is paying attention to their record, you’re paying attention to the wrong thing.”

UNLV has been a different team on the road, though. They have been outscored by 49 points in two road games and by 16 points in five home games. The Rebels squandered a 28-7 lead last week in losing 42-37 to Nevada.


Petersen, on his team’s close games: “We’ve had opportunities, in a couple games, to really get some breathing room or change the course of a game and for whatever reason we haven’t been able to do it. I still credit those guys for how hard they play and they fight. Everybody wants this pretty football. The bottom line is, can we get it done as a group? And they have been.”


Petersen, on the pass game against Fresno State, which ranks 19th in pass-efficiency defense: “Overall, I feel better about our offense after this game. That’s a very good defense we played against. They’re very good on pass-efficiency defense. That’s a hard team to throw the ball on and a hard team to move the ball on and score points.”


Boise State’s players of the week were tailback Jay Ajayi (offense), defensive tackle Mike Atkinson (defense), defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe (lineman) and cornerback Josh Borgman (special teams).

Read our coverage on your iPhone or Android phone.


Someone needs to remind Mr. Prince that the FULLBACK (265 lbs Dan Paul) IS ALLOWED TO CARRY THE BALL - I have not seen them give the ball to Dan Paul in short yardage situations even ONE time this season.

NOTE TO MR. PRINCE - You might also want to consider dusting off the old "give the ball to Mike Atkinson" play and let him and his 308 lbs hit that line. Possibly with 265 lbs Dan Paul as his lead blocker (or vice versa).

It also might help to have an offensive line that WANTS to MOVE the defenders out on running plays. I don't see anything like that from this year's O-line. They just seem to be going through the motions.

It might also help to do something OTHER than give the ball to the tailback and try running up the middle (Mr. Prince's favorite play apparently).

It also might help to do a play action rollout on short yardage plays.....hmmmmm - aren't the COACHES being PAID to THINK of these sorts of things?

Hey coach...

Maybe you should coach the team.

I think you may be right....

Would loved to have seen Canadian Bacon slam inside from the 1 yard line behind that big FB.

What happened

to that guy that won the National Coach of the Year awards? The offensive creativity and excitement that Boise State is known for is missing and there doesn't seem to be any inclination to mix things up. Once again, the opponent makes half time adjustments and Boise almost goes scoreless in the second half. Just like with the Nevada and TCU games that were lost. The D is amazing though.

One other thing

They need to show Southwick how to run the ball into the end zone HIMSELF when he has no defenders around him for half the width of the field. He doesn't just have to stand there looking for someone to throw the ball to, he has legs.

I saw that

right when my girl was telling me southwick just isnt as fun to watch as Moore was. I couldnt defend him after that.

Red zone scoring issues

I recall Kellen having these same issues several years ago. Harper is much too light to power through the stacked defenses he faces. We need to rake advantage by passing the ball to out tight ends or tall wide outs. Boldewijn and Burks would be fine choices for a quick pass using several of these options. The defenses don't appear to fear our normally creative play calling at this time with Southwick t the helm! This would definitely open it up and make the defense back off from stacking the goal line.

Taylor Tharp or

Joe Southwick, is there much difference? Looks and plays like a one year caretaker. What happened to Hedrick in the wildcat? If Southwick gets hurt is it going to be Potter? He has more snaps than the #2.

I agree class of 68

But hopefully he ends up more like Z than Tharp. We have the potential to go BCS this year. Tharp didn't. But It could be in a new conference with a new QB that the coaches coach up Patti and release a top secret weapon. Call him KM2.
Or maybe southwick is our best and we have to deal with that.

Run up the middle

How many times did they run the ball up the middle on first down. A bunch. You could predict this every time. Lets get creative.


and still crying.....geez

Φ Crying over football

Isn't it great?

Where is Jake Van Ginkel on long field goal attempts?

It is like watching a horror show on attempts beyond 30 yards. Bring in the kid with the howitzer leg! He has drilled them from 60 yards in high school! What gives?


of you are idiots...just saying