Boise State football searches for consistency in run game; Carr's Boise State flag comes down

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

The Boise State football team’s run game has yo-yoed this season — from 37 yards to 295 to 116 to 203 to 109 to 215 in the first six games.

That lack of consistency has shown up within games, too. The Broncos rushed for 215 yards last week against Fresno State but twice settled for field goals inside the 2-yard line.

“We’d like to be more consistent than what we are,” offensive line coach Chris Strausser said. “We did some decent things in the run game in crunch time last week against Fresno State, which we knew was going to be a battle. We need to be able to do that at all times. Probably the biggest area of concern in terms of being more consistent is in the red zone and the goal-line stuff.”

Boise State has scored just two touchdowns from inside the 5-yard line this season — a pair of 1-yard runs. The Broncos have kicked three field goals inside the 5 in the past two games and were stopped on fourth down in each of the previous two games.

“Those are always tough yards trying to run the ball — there’s a lot of bodies in there,” Strausser said. “For us, we just want to have the attitude that it doesn’t matter. Like most things in life and in football, it’s a thing here, a thing there. It hasn’t been one thing that has been causing us a problem. Some of the defenses, give them credit, they’ve done a nice job scheming us up in terms of our tendencies. We just need to do a better job executing.

“… We know we’ve got to be better down there and produce down there and put points on the board when we have opportunities.”

Strausser, as has become the norm in recent years, has had to juggle his lineup based on injuries this season. He has reversed the old “can’t lose your job because of an injury” idea.

“I told the group, ‘If you stay healthy and you’re in there, you’re probably going to stay in there unless you really play poorly’ ” Strausser said.

The right side of the line has changed since the season began. Junior Spencer Gerke has replaced senior Michael Ames at right guard and senior Brenel Myers has replaced junior Jake Broyles at right tackle.

Ames has returned from injury but hasn’t gotten back into the lineup. Broyles has missed the past two games after coming off the bench for one play at New Mexico, then hobbling off.

“Mike Ames was in there starting and playing pretty good football and he got hurt,” Strausser said. “The next guy came in and the next guy’s still playing.”

Gerke and junior center Matt Paradis have been the most impressive linemen this season, Strausser said.

“Matt Paradis, I’ve been saying it all along — he really is having a good football season for us,” Strausser said. “The other guy is Spencer. He’s played left guard, center and right guard. He’s too squatty to be a tackle, but he probably would have played that if he wasn’t. I’m really, really pleased with how Spencer has played this season.”

Other notes from Strausser:

— On pass protection: “We’ve done some good things there. We’ve protected the quarterback fairly well. Joe (Southwick) has done a really nice job of getting rid of the ball on time, which obviously all these years Kellen (Moore) has done such a nice job of that. And I think our backs have done a really good job in pass protection. Everyone loves D.J. (Harper) and Doug (Martin) and those guys when they’re running the ball, but those guys are somewhat unsung heroes in terms of the fact that they really need to know a lot.”

— On Myers: “He is playing good football. We’ve known all along he had the talent to play great football. To his credit, I think he was legitimately injured the last two years. He had a good surgery (on a hip) to get that repaired and he’s playing football like we expect him to play football.”

— On UNLV: “They play a lot harder than you’d expect, they really do. For us, it doesn’t look like a team on film that’s only won one game, and you can see it in the scores. They’re right there with every team they’ve played. They’ve got a linebacker (John Lotulelei) I think is the best linebacker we’ve seen all year long. This guy flies around and makes plays. … He didn’t start last year until our game and he showed up big time in our game and he caught our guys by surprise.” Lotulelei made 13 tackles last year against Boise State. He made 19 last week against Nevada.

— On tailbacks D.J. Harper and Jay Ajayi: “It really is a nice 1-2 punch. And it’s probably the first time for a while we can truly say 1-2 punch in the sense I think they’re different backs. D.J.’s got good patience and when he finds a crease, he can hit it and make someone miss. Jay, it doesn’t always have to be blocked perfect. He’s going to break some tackles and he had a couple nice runs that really were not blocked perfect. He just did a nice job staying on his feet. It really is a nice combination with those two guys.”

•••

Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr no longer has the Boise State flag in his residence. He was supposed to keep it up until he beat Boise State, but last week was his last chance.

Here's what Carr told CBS47:

"I think actually, I think my dog pulled it down somehow. I don't know. He jumps pretty high, so I think it fell down on accident. ... It's over with. They're a great team. And honestly, one game won't define who I am, and neither does football. So it doesn't bug me one bit."

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Upset Alert!

UNLV 27 - BSU 21.

Hey, it worked last time.

Guess its a whole new start to football season...

1st coaches poll in august BSU was ranked 22d with 271 points. This week we're ranked 22d with 271 points in coaches poll. Guess the voters memory is about like some of us BSU fans. Did BSU lose a game???

Play calling...

I don't remember BSU running up the middle so much at the goal line when Kellen was there....maybe Southwick needs to learn to check down a little more in those crucial situations....

How about a little TE action down close

"Broncos have it at the one. Look for the give to Harper up the middle for no gain... WAIT! They fake it to Harper and Southwick finds Huff all alone in the end zone! Who'da thunk it?"

Tight ends

They've tried this, several times, and it hasn't worked. A couple times because of bad throws. But in several cases, the defense had it figured. As Strausser said above, defenses have identified some tendencies. ... At some point, it's up to the O-line and running back to just plow their way in.

Robert Prince's game plan

Someone needs to remind Prince that the FULLBACK is allowed to carry the ball. Particularly in SHORT YARDAGE situations.
How many carries has Dan Paul had this year? Hmmmmmm???

How about getting "Bacon" in the game on offense and either having him block for Dan Paul or vice versa (have Paul blocking for Atkinson.

How about a play action QB bootleg on short yardage situations.

How about a Statue of Liberty play in short yardage situations.

All of these HAVE been tried - successfully - here in the past. But none of them have been tried THIS year.

Bacon!!

And Bacon was a RB in high school suprising enough so you know he can carry the ball, or least come in as a lead blocker. THAT WOULD BE AWESOMe!!

Gotta Agree With You

Prince is too perdicable and not showing much imagination in those situations. BSU has too much talent to be shut down they way they have been on those inside the 5 yard line downs. Prince seems to call more pro style up the middle plays with no success. I hope he can become more creative and solve the problems we face on 4th and goal from the 1

...

You people crack me up.

You people?

What do you mean "YOU PEOPLE"?

Thank you.

----------

Celebrating five years and one screen ID >|<

You are welcome

.

Good Attitude Carr

Best of luck in your football future.

interesting

http://collegefootball.scout.com/2/1230696.html

Φ Let's see how Pete F does

with his predictions. Not at all sold on USC beating Oregon on 11/3.

I'd take a very quiet 11-1 over a loud 10-2.

Good article.

agreed razor

the question is where do we take it? cbs sports has us in the orange vs florida st. of course they also have usc vs alabama in the title game. las vegas bowl vs no. 5 from the pac 2 is not very exciting.

Φ Take what whatever we get.

Not like there is a whole lot anyone can do about it. I'm hopeful that tfunk's scenario plays out: BSU finishing in the top 16 ahead of a BCS conf champ.

Whatever happens, it would be nice to have a different venue. With all the movement, new contracts, and such, I'm not sure what the conference/bowl tie-ins are now. We'll be hearing more on that in another month.

The nightmare of the #5 PAC2 team........

Is it turns out to be Washington.........

Φ Well tfunk,

you are no help.

Season opener next year is fine. Don't want to see it this year.

The up side......

No PAC2 bowl ties starting next year...... ACC, Big 12, and SEC are though....

Φ That's what I was thinking.

New territory. Little school from out on the prairie tangling with the longstanding. Will be fun once we're there.

Football talk......

Think ASU has a shot tonight?

Φ Better at home

than on the road for the Sun Devils. I'd like to see the upset. Can't lose the ball must avoid the track meet. Will be switching between Seahawks-Niners and ASU-Ducks now.

[Edit: Toast barely into the 2nd quarter. Toast.]

[Edit 2: Blowout ... uggghhhhh!]