From small chair, Petersen has high hopes for BSU

His 84-8 record over eight years probably entitles Boise State

University head football coach Chris Petersen to a throne fit for

the king of Idaho football, not the diminutive stool offered Monday

for him to sit in at a press conference ahead of Saturday’s season

opener against the University of Washington.

Petersen, who at 5-feet, 11-inches joked about needing a pillow,

can only hope the chair incident is the one low point of the week

leading to Saturday’s big rematch: In December, his Broncos beat

the Huskies in the Las Vegas Bowl, 28-26.

Playing this time at Husky Stadium following its $250 million

redecorating job, Petersen expects to encounter a raucous,

signal-extinguishing crowd of around 70,000 on Seattle’s waterfront

– and a foe with 20 returning starters trying to make sure what

happened in Vegas stays there.

No question, Peterson said: The Huskies will employ the same

no-huddle offense his own Broncos, ranked No. 19 in The Associated

Press pre-season poll, used to great effect to win four consecutive

bowl games.

”It’s not if,” Petersen said, of UW coach Steve Sarkisian’s

hurry-up style. ”They will.”

Saturday’s game will be a clash of two quarterbacks who at

2012’s end were on different trajectories.

BSU’s Joe Southwick shined, particularly in the Broncos’ final

four games when he threw nine touchdowns and no interceptions.

Meanwhile, Husky QB Keith Price was picked off at critical moments,

including the misfire that sealed the Huskies’ Dec. 22 bowl-game

fate against the Broncos.

Petersen has praised Southwick’s progress and leadership,

especially during spring and fall workouts.

Still, he said Price can’t be written off just because of his

2012 slump.

”Joe started to figure out some things in the latter half of

the year and did a nice job,” he said. ”And we know that Keith

Price is a very dangerous quarterback.”

Southwick told reporters Monday that it’s impossible to compare

his current mentality with the one he had during 2012’s opening

17-13 loss to Michigan State University, a game where he didn’t

throw a touchdown and was intercepted once. His field command has

come naturally, he said, not from an ”in-your-face”

confrontational style, rather one borne of respect that accompanies

results.

”There’s some more credibility when you play a little bit, kind

of get some production,” Southwick said. ”I just feel really

comfortable.”

His biggest worry among Washington’s defenders is Shaq Thompson,

the outside linebacker who started every game as a true freshman

last year.

Thompson ”is the best player on their team, probably,”

Southwick said. ”He stands out on film.”

BSU plans to rotate numerous players in its backfield, including

running back Jay Ajayi, a sophomore who averaged nearly 7 yards a

carry in 2012, and tailback Aaron Baltazar, who Southwick said

sports a field presence that belies his true-freshman status.

On defense, BSU faces uncertainty just who its players will line

up against.

Sarkisian hasn’t confirmed Saturday’s status of tight end Austin

Seferian-Jenkins and wide receiver Kasen Williams.

Both Huskies were involved in scrapes with the law. Williams was

cited in May for being under 21 and operating a motor vehicle after

consuming alcohol or marijuana, while Seferian-Jenkins pleaded

guilty in July to DUI. Additionally, Seferian-Jenkins needed

surgery on his pinky finger this month.

BSU defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe said he doesn’t care who

trots out opposite the Broncos.

”We’ve still got to prepare like we need to prepare,” he

said.

From Petersen’s little chair Monday – one he vowed to substitute

with something more commanding at BSU’s next media session – he

said his biggest fear was aggravating penalties and careless

mistakes that might help Washington knock BSU and its lofty Bowl

Championship Series-busting aspirations off their pedestal.

”So much of it, early in the football season, is about

self-inflicted wounds,” he said. ”If you can eliminate some of

those, you’ll feel better about your chances.”