Boise State head coach Chris Petersen sat down with the media yesterday to discuss Titus Young, spring practice, old people, and much more. After the jump, read Coach Pete's thoughts on how spring practice is going so far and get some info on the latest player news.
Transcription in 5, 4, 3, 2 ...
Paul J. Schneider: Give me two plays from last year that you'll always remember.
Titus Young, when he recovered the fumble in the end zone against Fresno State. And probably because, just everyone's been talking about it so much, would be Brotzman's pass. But if I really had time to digest that a little bit more, I think there would be a handful of other ones that maybe not a lot of people would be talking about.
Question: I know in the past we've talked about safety ... (inaudible something about Kevin Sapien) ... What prompted that? Was it a series of injuries?
First of all, it's obviously plan B (Sapien ending his career due to injuries). We would love to have him playing with us. But you know, certain guys' bodies just wear out sooner than others. He's had multiple injuries. But the big thing is, even the year before, he was getting stinger, and they would just continually get worse as the season would progress. And he was just struggling so bad at the end of the year. Our doctors looked at him and checked him out. It's just scary when you're talking about your neck and those nerves and that type of thing. It's just kind of something that everybody, starting with him, felt he should do. We're happy to keep him involved, and he'll help us as a young coach and there's a lot of little things he can do for us.
Follow-up inaudible question: (something about toughing it out)
He was miserable. He was miserable in the Fiesta Bowl. It was hard for him. And I think when you're miserable in the Fista Bowl, you know something's not right.
Paul J: Anything stand out to you in the first couple days of practice?
Really pleased with the guys. I really feel like we hit the ground running in terms of effort and intensity. All that has been very, very good. We've told them that if we can keep this up for 13 more practices now, not having any bad days, just really this type of effort and focus, we'll be making progress that we need to make. It won't be as pretty as we like it, as clean as we like it, just because we do get a lot of guys reps, and that's part of the deal in spring ball is making mistakes and cleaning those up, and so that will go on throughout the entire spring practice. In terms of how hard they're going, we're really pleased.
Inaudible question about practice schedule:
We're in shells Friday, and then I can't remember. Sometime next week we're in pads. I think it may be Wednesday. Or it could be Monday. Not sure
Inaudible question about winter conditioning:
I think it was good. The winter conditioning is just really, really hard, and they've always done a pretty good job with that. Sometimes it's hard to tell if they're on the mark, turning the dial up there so to speak. But I think that our weight room efforts were very good, all the numbers that we tested in there, a lot of guys made tremendous improvements. I think (strength) coach (Tim) Socha did a nice job with those guys. But the bottom line is that we're here to play football. And so we're always anxious to get on the field and see how hard they're going.
It's only helmets. It's not real football. But for two days, it's what we wanted.
So many guys already know our practice tempo, but that doesn't always get you exactly what you want. Sometimes the guys think they know - hey, been here, done that - always trying to push that envelope. But for two days, I think it's been very, very good.
I think the number one way that guys can really learn how to do things is through modeling. When you've got guys out there who are doing things the right way, it will accelerate the process for the younger guys, and it makes it a lot easier on coaches when you put guys out there who know how it's supposed to look and the other guys can kind of follow through with it.
Tom Scott: Was Tim Socha able to give you any idea of guys who emerged during winter conditioning as guys who are emerging as leaders?
We have a crew of leaders that we like, and it's a work in progress. I think leadership and guys doing a good job playing football and in the weight room can be mutually exclusive commoddities. Because a guy's good player doesn't make him a good leader. Because a guy's good in the weight room doesn't make him a good leader. Now if he's a good leader and has those characteristics going with it, then we've got something special.
We really look for guys who can influence our guys to do things the way we want them to do them. So we have some guys that we rely on that aren't necessarily starters or marquee names that everyone knows but are very, very important to our team. We have more than 20, but we have probably a core group of 20 guys who we try to rely on
Pual J: The fact that 12, 15 are missing from spring practice, is that kind of a reverse blessing in disguise?
I think that's the way we have to look at it. The bottom line is it's never good when they're out . They're missing, and they're not improving. But the flip side is that there are going to be some other guys who get an opportunity. Our main goal is to hopefully have these guys ready to rock and roll by summer and have a tremendous summer, then we'll feel okay about things.
Question: There's not a lot of room in that lineup, but I assume some of those guys are going to make a push. What's your thought on that?
I really hope so. I said this before, I think I made a statement where I hope young guys beat out old guys. I love our old guys. Don't get me wrong. I don't want to come across like that. Those guys have been tremendous. But obviously as coaches, we're always trying to bring in - if we can upgrade somehow, some way. I really think of that as competitiveness. If our older guys know .. I think everyone needs to be pushed.
What's interesting going back to the leadership thing is that so many of our older guys take care of those young guys and really teach them how to do it. I see that going on all over this field, and that's one of the special things about this team. Those older guys will help those young guys. And know that there could be a chance that that could hut them a little bit, but I think when your'e truly a team and go about it for the right reasons, those are the things that they'll do
We think so. And it certainly is too early to tell. It's really hard with the young guys just because they're improving and making mistakes so often through the rest of this year. But there's no question that there's more than a handful of guys who we're thinking, "These guys can get into the mix somehow, some way."
I think our wide receiver corps is a fun group to pay attention to right now with Austin and Titus kind of the two veteran guys who have made a lot of plays. Austin's still a bit limited out there, and Titus is doing some very good things in terms of practicing hard and really trying to take the next step in his game. And then you've got some guys who have played for us before with Tyler Shoemaker and Chris Potter. And Kirby's not out there right now and a couple other guys as well .. Mitch Burroughs. And then a handful of young guys.
So I think that's that model thing, they're watching those guys, but they do have an upside where it's going to be pretty soon down the road where those guys are going to be pushing a couple guys. And that's a healthy situation for us to have. And then you get a guy like Brent Pease who just does such a great job developing guys. That's an exiting group to watch
Other notes from Coach Pete's press conference
Complete video of the presser did not make it to the BroncoSports website, probably to save bandwidth for swimming and diving highlight videos. No matter. Chadd Cripe and Dave Southorn took good notes.
- There was lots of good material on Titus Young that was left on the cutting room floor of the above video.
"If Titus keeps working like he’s been working, he’s going to have a pretty special year," Petersen said.
"You'd like him not to put his face in cameras and give the 'hang loose' sign and all those type of things," Petersen said. "That can be frustrating. That's part of what we're taking about with the next step. He needs not to do that. Overall, in the direction he's heading and things he's done, I think we're making good progress."
"I think he's excited about this year, because I think he feels like we feel, that if he can take the next step in his game ... that he can do some really, really special things," coach Chris Petersen said.
"I just said this when it came up to No. 1 with him - it's like 'Titus, I have way more important things to worry about with you than what number you wear, so if that's important that you wear No. 1, have at it,'" Petersen said.
- On Nate Potter:
"We’re seeing he might be a better guard. … Nate’s a big, physical guy."
- On Raphiel Lambert's move from DB to RB:
"That may be his most natural position," Petersen said. "That was the whole idea behind it. … We are anxious to see him do something there. Even watching him go through drills, he has a natural feel for how he moves and hides behind things."
- Cory Yriarte re-injured his knee - the same one that he tore up last fall. The extent of the injury is not known, and neither is the cause of the injury considering that Yriarte was not participating in spring drills this year as he recovered.
- Defensive Scout Team POY Matt Paradis will be playing offensive line this spring and maybe longer.
Reading between the lines of Coach Pete's presser
- For a unit that refuses media interviews and generally avoids attention like the plague, Boise State's offensive line sure is making waves this offseason. First there was Nate Potter's move to guard along with a near complete reshuffling of the offensive line positions. Now there is news that Cory Yriarte is back on the mend and that potential DT star Matt Paradis is on the OL. Someone get the college football equivalent of Hard Knocks on the phone. Boise State's offensive line is more exciting than an episode of Cougar Town.
- When listing wide receiver backups to Austin Pettis and Titus Young, Coach Pete readily named off Tyler Shoemaker and Chris Potter, paused a little before bringing up Kirby Moore, and almost completely forgot about Mitch Burroughs. If his pace of speech is any indication, I think Coach Pete may have given us an inside look at the WR depth chart.
- It would appear that Lambert's move to RB is not just to provide warm bodies for a spring that lacks D.J. Harper and Matt Kaiserman. I am excited to see Lambert show his stuff at the scrimmages.
- On a completely unrelated note, do Paul J. Schneider and Tom Scott bring their own personal lapel mics to these press conferences? Every other media member sounded like they were asking questions in a vacuum. Paul J and The Slant sounded like they had their own P.A. system.
Anything stand out to you from Coach Pete's press conference? What do you think about the latest offensive line moves? Got a favorite quote from the presser? Share your thoughts in the comments.