UW-Boise State football Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Chadd Cripe, who covers Boise State football for the Idaho Statesman, about Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming. Kickoff is at 8:15 p.m. at Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie.

Follow on Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat

Look for Q&As with beat writers that cover UW football opponents every week throughout the season.

Has this Boise State team lived up to expectations this season with a new coach in Bryan Harsin, and what are the biggest changes in the program and around the team compared with former coach Chris Petersen?

Chadd Cripe

Chadd Cripe

I’d say they’re about where people expected. The loss to Ole Miss was no surprise. The loss to Air Force was, but you have to expect a bump somewhere with a new staff. Otherwise, they’ve maybe been more inconsistent than expected but they’ve still put themselves in position to win the league. The changes are mostly cosmetic — Harsin and his staff are more promotion-oriented, using tools like Twitter and behind-the-scenes videos. In terms of the actual on-the-field product, it’s very similar, except this offense looks more like the old Boise State offense than the one Petersen installed last year.

 

Senior Grant Hedrick struggled and was benched in a loss at Air Force earlier this season, but since then has been the most accurate quarterback in the Mountain West. What changed with him, if anything, that has enabled him to be so effective?

Hedrick told me last week that he became more assertive, which helped fuel his hot streak. That said, offensive coordinator Mike Sanford has said the last two weeks weren’t his best in terms of the reads he’s been making. So there’s still some inconsistency there. Hedrick has a lot of talent — his issues have been turnovers and inconsistency in his career.

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UW-Boise State Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Chadd Cripe, who covers Boise State football for the Idaho Statesman about Saturday night’s game with the University of Wyoming in Boise, Idaho.

Follow on Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat

Look for Q&As with beat writers that cover UW football opponents every week throughout the season.

How has the offense changed — good or bad — with backup Grant Hedrick at quarterback after he replaced injured starter Joe Southwick a few weeks ago, and is there a chance Southwick comes back this season?

The offense is pretty much the same with Hedrick. He is a more dynamic runner, but they don’t design a lot of runs for him because they need to keep him healthy. He has thrown the deep ball better than Southwick — that particularly showed up against Colorado State — but he struggled to handle a stout defense at BYU. Southwick is expected back before the end of the regular season. I would think if nothing else he’ll start on Senior Day.

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UW-Boise State Q&A

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Chadd Cripe, who covers Boise State football for the Idaho Statesman.

Look for Q&As with writers who cover the opponents of the University of Wyoming football program every Friday.

What are the biggest strengths that has enabled Boise State’s defense to be so dominant this season, and are there any real weaknesses?

This defense is just so sound — not as dominant as the groups in years past, if you look at yards per carry, sacks and tackles for loss — but it’s very difficult to score against the Broncos because they don’t give up many big plays and they force a lot of turnovers through their pass defense. They have not allowed a touchdown play longer than 7 yards this season and only one quarterback has thrown a touchdown pass (Derek Carr, late in the game). The secondary is outstanding and new defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake clearly has confused opposing quarterbacks. If there’s a weakness, it’s the run defense. You can chip your way down the field — but it’s difficult for teams to string together the number of successful plays required. UNLV, in the second half, tried to do that — they ran 19 plays, mostly short runs, stalled inside the 5 and missed a field goal.

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