By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
Boise State football coach Chris Petersen said Monday that the matchup against Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox won’t be on his mind as the Broncos play the Huskies in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.
Wilcox was Petersen’s defensive coordinator from 2006 to 2009. That was Wilcox’s first job as a coordinator.
“I’ve played a lot of people I’ve been close to,” Petersen said. “You just play the game. … Really, you don’t think about it much, even up to the game.”
Boise State junior Joe Southwick was the scout team quarterback as a true freshman in 2009, Wilcox’s last season with the Broncos.
“I’m not real sure what that means, or how that plays out,” he said. “My preparation won’t change at all. … I’m sure the coaches will have some advice on what to prepare for. It will be great to see him and catch up with him and see how he’s doing.”
Boise State offensive coordinator Robert Prince and quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith were not on the staff with Wilcox. Neither were defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake or defensive line coach Andy Avalos. That might be enough change to limit any inside knowledge Wilcox might have of the Broncos.
Washington coach Steve Sarkisian met with reporters in Seattle on Monday. He said it’s too early to tell the impact Wilcox might make in game planning.
“I don’t think Boise in the last five, six, seven years has changed dramatically in any area,” Sarkisian said. “I’ve seen them a few times on film. They’re going to do what they do. Obviously Boise will have a few trick plays up their sleeve. … I’ll be able to answer that better when we get a chance to spend some quality time looking at the film.”
Petersen said it’s “a little awkward” to play Washington in the bowl and the 2013 season opener, but he isn’t sure how it will affect next year’s game.
“I have no idea,” he said. “Maybe that’s kind of the beauty of it.”
Washington went through a similar experience with Nebraska. The Huskies and Huskers met three times in a calendar year, including the 2010 Holiday Bowl.
“It becomes a healthy competition,” Sarkisian said. “That’s what makes this unique. Somebody is going to win Dec. 22 and somebody for nine months is going to be wanting that rematch to show they’re worthy of beating the other team and the other team’s got nine months to show that wasn’t a fluke and they can do it again. For both schools, it serves as great motivation.”
Sarkisian said the MAACO Bowl was the game the Huskies wanted. They beat out Arizona for the spot.
“You never know when you lose your last (game) the kind of taste it can leave in the bowl games’ mouth,” he said. “We were hopeful all along we could get in that game and were fortunate that we did.”
Petersen, on what he knows about the Huskies:
“I’ve seen them a couple times — not a whole game or anything like that. I know they’ve got a young team and they’re getting better all the time. I have heard that next year is their year, or now is their time. Just because we’re playing them next year, I’ve heard those things.”
Petersen said he was presented with any other bowl options:
“There was no asking or pushing to go do something different. They said this is where we’re playing and who we’re playing.”
Freshman Nick Patti became the fourth straight quarterback to win the Offensive Scout Player of the Year award Sunday, following Southwick, sophomore Grant Hedrick and redshirt freshman Jimmy Laughrea.
Patti took a different route than those guys, though, because he came in for spring ball and competed for the starting job.
Petersen said he was impressed with how Patti handled the year.
“He is an awesome, awesome person,” Petersen said. “All the coaches, his teammates — everybody likes being around him. … We also obviously like him as a player, but that’s the thing that has jumped out to me so far about Nick is that he’s just got that ‘it’ factor as a person. Now hopefully he’s got that ‘it’ factor as a quarterback and then we’ve really got something going. Obviously he does have good talent. We’ve seen that for a long time. We haven’t been disappointed since he’s been here. It will be good to see him go for real (in the spring) now that he has had all this experience under his belt."
Redshirt freshman defensive end Sam Ukwuachu said Patti was the offensive scout-teamer who caught his attention.
“Just how he commanded the offense,” Ukwuachu said. “If they were having an off-day, how he picked them up and said, ‘We’ve got to get the defense better.’ ”
Here is the complete list of team award winners.
Teammates voted linebacker J.C. Percy as the defensive MVP over the more heralded Demarcus Lawrence (defensive end) and Jamar Taylor (cornerback).
“It says a lot about J.C. — what he’s meant to this program and the year he’s had, because Demarcus and Jamar kind of play a little more high-profile positions,” Petersen said. “Those defensive ends are getting sacks and picking up fumbles and certainly the corners, there’s no hiding there. So for the guys to select J.C., those are the guys that really know what’s going on. It’s just a tribute to the career, to the season, that he’s had.”
Finals week at Boise State is the same week as the MAACO Bowl. The Broncos leave town on Tuesday, Dec. 18. The last two years, the game was the week after finals.
“We’ll get them all done for the most part before we leave,” Petersen said. “There may be a professor or two who doesn’t want that to happen and they’ll maybe take them there.”
Southwick on the matchup:
“From a player’s standpoint, you want to play the best team you can. I think we got that in Washington. It will be our third time going to Vegas. The good thing is there will be some familiarity to it. … It’s a great bowl. Personally, I’ve had a lot of fun the first two years I’ve gone.”