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.

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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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Bohl concerned with top two offensive threats for Boise State

It takes 11 guys on offense and defense for a unit to perform well.

But when first-year Wyoming coach Craig Bohl talked about the Cowboys’ foe this week — Boise State — two guys came to the forefront.

Grant Hedrick

Grant Hedrick

Senior quarterback Grant Hedrick leads the Mountain West in total offense (325.6 ypg), and is the only player in the conference with more than 300 yards of total offense per contest. He also leads the league in completion percentage (71.4 percent). Hedrick is second in passing yards (279.5 ypg) and in passing efficiency (153.7). Hedrick’s 461 rushing yards is third among MW quarterbacks.

“He can throw it deep and short, he can run and makes good decisions,” Bohl said. “As an old defensive coordinator, when that quarterback plays well, the plays on (the defensive) call sheets get a lot harder. The element of the quarterback run makes it all the tougher.”

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Mountain West football power rankings/picks – Week 6

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi with his weekly installment of his Mountain West football power rankings and picks for Week 6 of the college football season. Look for this every week during the football season, and as always, your feedback is welcome.

1. Nevada (3-1 overall, 1-0 MW): The Wolf Pack didn’t jump from No. 2 to No. 1 just because of its 21-10 road win at San Jose State, but it also has allowed the fewest points of any MW team this season (77). Throw in dual-threat quarterback Cody Fajardo and, at least right now, Nevada is at the top. This week: vs. Boise State, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). We should see how good Nevada is this week. Boise State is will be mad and motivated after a road loss at Air Force. Going to go with the road team in a close one. Boise State 24, Nevada 21.

2. Colorado State (3-1, 0-1): An impressive 24-21 win at Boston College last week. The Rams lead the conference in total offense (492 ypg) and are second in scoring (32 ppg). A couple of key starters a banged up this week — including quarterback Garrett Grayson, but it won’t matter much this week. This week: vs. Tulsa, 1 p.m. MT Saturday (MW Network — online only). The Rams’ impressive offensive numbers should climb and they will win their third straight game. Colorado State 38, Tulsa 16.

3. Air Force (3-1, 1-1): One of the biggest moves up this week. Not many saw the Falcons’ 28-14 home win over Boise State coming. Air Force leads the MW in scoring (33.2 ppg) and is third in scoring defense (21.2 ppg). Maybe the biggest surprise is it is seventh nationally in rushing defense (82.2 ypg). This week: vs. Navy, 1:30 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). This game should decide the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy winner this year. Again, going with the road team here in a close one. Navy 27, Air Force 23.

4. San Diego State (2-2, 1-0): An expected 34-17 home win over UNLV last week, but let’s see if the Aztecs can go on the road this week in league play and win. SDSU also will start a true freshman quarterback in Nick Bawden. Its stay in the top four may not last long — or could it? This week: at Fresno State, 8 p.m. MT Friday (CBSSN). For some reason I like road teams this week. I think the Aztecs will play good enough defense to make Fresno throw the ball more, which is not a good thing. San Diego State 28, Fresno State 20.

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Mountain West football power rankings/picks – Week 5

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi with his weekly installment of his Mountain West football power rankings and picks for Week 5 of the college football season. Look for this every week during the football season, and as always, your feedback is welcome.

1. Boise State (3-1 overall, 1-0 MW): The Broncos remain a solid No. 1, They have won three straight since their season-opening loss to Ole Miss, and have outscored their opponents 104-54 during that time. This week: at Air Force, 5 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). Boise State may have some issues with Air Force, but in the end the Broncos will be too physical and talented. Look for another big game from junior running back Jay Ajayi, who leads the MW with 494 yards and five touchdowns. Boise State 34, Air Force 21.

2. Nevada (2-1, 0-0): The Wolf Pack was off last week, and is the only team in the West Division with a winning record. An improved defense and senior quarterback Cody Fajardo should make Nevada the favorite in that division moving forward. This week: at San Jose State, 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday (CBSSN). A game Nevada needs to win if it is going to be a factor in the West Division. Nevada 38, San Jose State 24.

3. Colorado State (2-1, 0-1): The Rams also were off last week, but the play of other teams in the league last week moved them up a couple of spots. Senior quarterback Garrett Grayson leads the MW with 331 passing yards per game, and with 332 yards of total offense per contest. This week: at Boston College, 10:30 a.m. MT Saturday (ROOT). The Rams make the long trip across the country to face a B.C. squad that beat USC at home a couple of weeks ago. This trip won’t end well for CSU. Boston College 27, Colorado State 13.

4. Wyoming (3-1, 1-0): All three of the Cowboys’ wins have been at home and by a combined 10 points. Two were come-from behind wins. You’ve got to admire the never-quit attitude, but things have to improve, especially on offense, moving forward as the Pokes average just 17 points per game. This week: at No. 9 Michigan State, 10 a.m. MT Saturday (ESPN2). Both teams run similar schemes offensively and defensively, but Michigan State does it much better. Michigan State 42, Wyoming 10.

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Mountain West football power rankings and picks – Week 3

WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi with his weekly installment of his Mountain West football power rankings and picks for Week 3 of the college football season. Look for this every week during the football season, and as always, your feedback is welcome.

1. Boise State (1-1 overall, 1-0 MW): The Broncos may not be elite in the national picture, but they showed they are still a major player in the MW with their 37-24 home win over Colorado State last week. Boise State looks to be the favorite in the Mountain Division and junior running back Jay Ajayi (305 yards in two games) may be the league’s best player. This week: at Connecticut, 10 a.m. MT Saturday (ABC, ESPN2 reverse mirror). A long road trip but if Boise State is focused it won’t have much of a challenge. Boise State 34, UConn 10.

2. Nevada (2-0, 0-0): An impressive 24-13 home win over Washington State last week has the Wolf Pack moving up. The impressive thing about the win was how the defense shut down a potent Washington State offense. This week: at Arizona, 9 p.m. MT Saturday (Pac-12 Network). Arizona is a step up in competition.The game will be good, but not good enough for a Nevada win. Arizona 33, Nevada 21.

3. Wyoming (2-0, 1-0): Don’t think the Cowboys will be this high all season, but give them credit for starting 2-0 for the first time since 2011 — the last time it went to a bowl game. Wyoming has only three penalties in two games, and even though it isn’t always pretty, it has shown both mental and physical toughness. This week: at No. 2 Oregon, noon MT Saturday (Pac-12 Network). It gets real for the Pokes with this game and at Michigan State in two weeks. Saturday will be a humbling experience. Oregon 45, Wyoming 6.

4. San Diego State (1-1, 0-0): The Aztecs let one slip away last week at No. 21 North Carolina, 31-27. North Carolina had a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown early didn’t help the Aztecs. San Diego State must eliminate the mistakes and learn how to finish, but this is still a solid squad. This week: Off.

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