Young players filling void at tight end, fullback; Petersen named to Bryant list

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com

The Boise State football coaches have had to get creative this year to fill the tight end and fullback positions — positions that were expected to be filled by veterans.

Starting tight end Chris O’Neill is out with a broken foot. He had 10 catches and two touchdowns in four games.

Starting fullback/tight end Richie Brockel has been limited by an injury. He hasn’t missed a game, but coaches have seriously reduced his playing time to help him heal and have moved him out of the backfield.

Broncos batter QBs

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com

The Boise State football team’s defense has taken much more than a statistical toll on opposing quarterbacks this year. The Broncos, who rank second in the nation in pass-efficiency defense, have battered their opponents — knocking some out of the game and helping push others out of the starting lineup.

Here’s a rundown:

Idaho State: Russel Hill passed for 74 yards and landed on YouTube thanks to a brutal hit by safety Jeron Johnson.

Ian Johnson looks fine; Hout expected to make impact

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com

Boise State tailback Ian Johnson looked fine during pregame warm-ups for tonight’s game at New Mexico State. Johnson appeared to injure his arm on his goal-line fumble against San Jose State and was seen on campus wearing a cast. He is not wearing a cast for the game and is expected to play his normal role.

Other notes:

-- Tailback D.J. Harper also looks fine. He was limited last week because of an injury.

Winterswyk coming on strong

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com

Sophomore defensive end Ryan Winterswyk has regained his speed and agility in recent weeks — and it has shown in his productivity.

Winterswyk has seven tackles, two sacks, two pass breakups and a forced fumble in the past three games. He had half a sack and one pass breakup in his first three games.

He had arthroscopic knee surgery the day before the opener against Idaho State. He played 15 days later against Bowling Green.

Jeron Johnson says he must change his ways; thoughts on scheduling

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com

Boise State sophomore safety Jeron Johnson said there’s nothing the coaches can do to help him avoid the personal fouls that have cost him and the Broncos dearly this season.

“It’s on me,” he said. “… I don’t know how to do it — to think while it’s going so fast — but I’m going to have to figure out something because it’s killing us. It will hurt us in the long run.”

Aggies lead nation in pass defense; Ian Johnson chases LT, Faulk

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com

New Mexico State leads the nation in pass defense — a tribute to new coordinator Joe Lee Dunn’s wacky scheme and an indictment of the Aggies’ run defense, which ranks 115th.

The Aggies’ past two opponents — San Jose State and Idaho — combined for 15-of-36 passing for 109 yards with one touchdown and five interceptions. However, five of their seven opponents have rushed for at least 270 yards.

Young suspended indefinitely; Yriarte out; New Mexico State exudes confidence

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com

Boise State sophomore wide receiver Titus Young’s suspension has been changed to indefinite, football coach Chris Petersen said Monday.

Young originally was suspended for “at least” three games, through Friday night’s game at San Jose State. He was suspended for violating team rules.

Young is not practicing with the team. He hasn’t violated any rules since his original suspension, Petersen said.

“It’s just that we need time apart,” Petersen said.

Petersen gave no indication of when he would reconsider Young’s status.

Spread takes spotlight off linebackers

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com

Linebacker used to be the glamour job in the Boise State defense — producing stars like Andy Avalos, Korey Hall and Colt Brooks.

This year, it’s the forgotten position as the Broncos have switched to a three-safety package to deal with spread offenses.

Still, senior weak-side linebacker Kyle Gingg (33 tackles) and sophomore middle linebacker Derrell Acrey (32 tackles) rank 3-4 on the team in tackles and have helped the Broncos prevent the big run play with sure tackling.

The linebackers’ role this year?

San Jose QB rises from third string

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com

San Jose State quarterback Kyle Reed was the Spartans’ third-stringer going into the season opener against UC Davis. He came off the bench in the third quarter, led a comeback victory and won the starting job.

He struggled last week at New Mexico State — 50 passing yards and three interceptions — but he has completed 69.4 percent of his passes and scored a team-high four rushing touchdowns.

Petersen expects 'hard-nosed, tight football game'

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com

The Broncos will play for first place in the WAC on Friday night at San Jose State. Here are some highlights from Boise State football coach Chris Petersen’s media sessions Monday (audio available here):

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