By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
San Diego State football coach Rocky Long was the Mountain West’s most outspoken critic of Boise State’s blue turf.
He said Tuesday he has changed his mind.
The Aztecs practiced on a blue high school field during fall camp.
“After being on it more often, I don’t think it makes a darn bit of difference either way,” Long said. “… We went out there just to make sure that there wasn’t anything involved in that. After we practiced on it, we had a 2-hour practice on it, we scrimmaged on it.”
Boise State agreed not to wear all-blue uniforms at home as part of its contract to join the Mountain West last year.
At the time, Long thought the deal should have gone further.
“I think they ought to get rid of that blue turf,” he said in April 2011. “I think it’s unfair.”
Boise State defensive end Demarcus Lawrence blocked a field goal Saturday at Wyoming. It was the Broncos’ first blocked kick of the season.
“That’s really how they’ve practiced,” coach Chris Petersen said. “I knew it was just a matter of time till we got one of those because they’d been doing it in practice.”
Long’s 3-3-5 defense has confused many quarterbacks and coordinators over the years. There are some similarities to the defense BYU runs, but Long’s version is unique, Petersen said.
“Just how they move people and how you identify people, it’s different than anybody else does,” Petersen said.
The Aztecs have struggled against the pass this season. They rank 98th in pass-efficiency defense (143.16) and 90th in pass defense (257.9 yards per game). They are 31st in rushing defense at 125.4 yards per game.
Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick made a good point this week — those quarterback-center exchanges that were so problematic in recent years have not been an issue this year.
“I really appreciate (center Matt Paradis) and what he’s been doing,” Southwick said. “He’s been doing a great job. It just starts with the quarterback-center exchange. We haven’t really had any problems with that this year, which in years past we have. He’s done a great job recognizing pressure and getting us in the right calls. Just having his consistency of being a good player definitely helps.”