By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
The Boise State football team has lost cornerback Bryan Douglas for the season and safety Lee Hightower indefinitely, coach Chris Petersen said Monday (audio here).
Douglas tore an anterior cruciate ligament in Saturday’s game at Wyoming. He was the No. 3 cornerback but played enough that Petersen considered him a starter. His rehab could linger into fall camp next year. “If you do the math, he’s probably well into fall camp,” Petersen said.
Hightower and true freshman tight end Hayden Plinke are not practicing with the team and are suspended indefinitely, Petersen said. They were suspended for the Wyoming game.
Hightower is a starting safety. He is tied for sixth on the team with 31 tackles.
Those developments have Petersen considering using a true freshman defensive back who has not played yet this season. Petersen would not name candidates. Safety Chanceller James got a long look before the season, but a cornerback might be a better fit.
A true freshman would have to play quite a bit to make it worthwhile, Petersen said.
“We’re not going to waste anybody’s year,” he said. “If we’re going, we’re going, and that guy’s going to get good quality reps and it’s going to springboard him into next year.”
The other three defensive players injured — nickel Dextrell Simmons, tackle Greg Grimes and end Kharyee Marshall — are day to day or week to week, Petersen said.
On the depth chart, sophomore transfer Deon’tae Florence is listed as a backup cornerback and redshirt freshman Dillon Lukehart is listed as a backup safety.
Redshirt freshman Darian Thompson replaces Hightower in the starting lineup, as he did last week.
“Darian’s done great all season,” Petersen said. “We’ve kind of thought of him as a starter as well. He didn’t disappoint.”
San Diego State (6-3 overall, 4-1 MW) has won four straight games and comes to Bronco Stadium on Saturday with a shot at the Mountain West title. The Aztecs already have won at Nevada and lost to Fresno State.
“I’m excited for this game,” Petersen said. “The kids, they know that San Diego State is a very good team and we’re going to have to play our best. … I like to be around our guys when they get that vibe.”
Boise State (7-1, 4-0) can move a step closer to the title with a win. The Broncos can clinch at least a share by beating San Diego State, one-win Hawaii and two-win Colorado State.
“That’s something we talked about all offseason,” quarterback Joe Southwick said. “We didn’t get the job done last year and we have an opportunity this year to get it done, so we’re all in, we’re going to work as hard as we can and be as prepared as we can.”
Boise State has clinched its 15th straight winning season — a streak that started in 1998.
Third-string quarterback Jimmy Laughrea, who has not been in uniform for three of the past four weeks, has been practicing, Petersen said. He said the team has not been preparing true freshman Nick Patti for emergency duty.
Boise State’s players of the week were tailback D.J. Harper (offense), linebacker J.C. Percy (defense), nickel Corey Bell (special teams) and center Matt Paradis (lineman).