Boise State Coach Chris Petersen: "Everybody in the country is worried about Virginia Tech this year."
Boise State Coach Chris Petersen has been in the company of his counterpart at Virginia Tech just twice, and both meetings have come in the past year and a half. But even though the two aren't close, Petersen called Coach Frank Beamer "easy to talk to" and someone "everybody’s always rooting for."
Any discussion on becoming fast friends, though, probably stops as soon as the subject of the Hokies' dynamic rushing attack, led by quarterback Tyrod Taylor and tailbacks Ryan Williams and Darren Evans, is brought up. At least until next Monday's showdown at FedEx Field between the programs is finished.
“I don’t think we’ve probably played anything ... like their running game, certainly not last year," Petersen said during a teleconference with Virginia Tech reporters, later addressing Taylor specifically. "There’s nothing more concerning than a guy who can run like that. Everything you spend all day long designing is coverages for this route, for that route, for this run, for that run, and then all of a sudden you get in a scramble and the guy's taking off and doing some things, and all those plans are out the window. So it’s concerning, and that’s why I think not just us, but everybody in the country is worried about Virginia Tech this year."
Though the Broncos have had their fair share of success against elite BCS programs -- most notably that 2007 Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma -- Monday will be
the first time just the third time since Boise State became a Division I program in 1996 that it has traveled to the East Coast for a nonconference matchup.
The team will arrive in the D.C. area on Saturday afternoon, but Petersen said he isn't concerned about jet lag. Every other year the Broncos make a similar trip to face Western Athletic Conference opponent Hawaii, and since he arrived on campus as an assistant back in 2001, Petersen said Boise State has gone from taking several commercial flights a season to strictly non-stop charter flights.
But whenever talk turned back to the game, it was clear what concerns Petersen the most about Virginia Tech: the running game. Though Boise State has a new defensive coordinator this season, according to Petersen, the Broncos "aren't doing anything different" than last year when they finished with the nation's 28th-best rushing defense.
"What we need to be able to do is tackle, which is concerning, because that first game, there’s always missed tackles and that’s one of the things that’s hard to simulate in practice," he said. "And when you get [backs] who [are] as good as those guys, that’s a tough combination right out of the gate. We kind of know what needs to happen, but whether we can get it done or not, I don’t know.”
Some more news and notes:
*-As has been noted in lots of places, the Broncos lost just two starters from their 14-0 team a year ago, but there are some uncertainties heading into Monday's game. Boise State's offensive line has three definite starters -- juniors Nate Potter and Thomas Berg, and sophomore Brenel Myers -- but Petersen is unsure where on the line those three will play. The other two spots appear to still be up for grabs depending on health and performance this week in practice.
“It just seems like that’s how it goes around here," said Petersen about his offensive line. "We had uncertainty going into Game 13 last year."
*-Petersen on the rise of Boise State football: “It’s not any one thing, it’s a lot of everything. We’ve been fortunate. We got some good players here, we got some really good coaches who’ve been able to be here, the administration has stepped up and pays a lot different than they used to so we’ve been able to keep good coaches here. And we just had a lot of continuity and slowly, but surely things have kind of worked out for us.”
*-It was a pretty tame teleconference in most respects, but Petersen did chuckle when the subject of FedEx Field came up. When told by a reporter that the Redskins' stadium would likely be neutral only in name next Monday night, Petersen responded, "I’m glad you guys are seeing that as well as we are.”
August 31, 2010; 6:35 PM ET
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