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
”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
”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
”There’s some more credibility when you play a little bit, kind
of get some production,” Southwick said. ”I just feel really
His biggest worry among Washington’s defenders is Shaq Thompson,
the outside linebacker who started every game as a true freshman
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
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
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.”