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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Breaking down All-MW football selections

One had to wonder if those who voted in the All-Mountain West football teams would go with TCU’s Gary Patterson, Boise State’s Chris Petersen or Wyoming’s Dave Christensen as the coach of the year.

By the way, here is the link to the entire MW All-Conference teams and individual awards list: http://www.themwc.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/120611aab.html

Patterson followed up last season’s No. 2 national finish and Rose Bowl championship with another undefeated league record and a third straight conference title. Right or wrong, fair or unfair, Petersen likely lost his chance after his team lost at home to TCU, even though the Broncos once again finished the regular season ranked in the top 10 nationally.

Then there was Christensen, who took a team picked to finish sixth in the MW in the preseason by the media and had the Cowboys finish third with a true freshman quarterback.

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Nine UW players recognized by Phil Steele

Nine Wyoming football players made Phil Steele’s midseason All-Mountain West team, which was released today.

In my earlier Twitter post on this, I said there were eight. Sorry, math and counting were never my specialty. LOL

None made the first team, but three made the second team and six made the third team.

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Wrapping up at MW Media Day

I think I’ve done just about all the interviews I can on this final day of Mountain West Football Media Day here in Las Vegas.

Wyoming senior linebacker Brian Hendricks said he was impressed with the Cowboys’ two true freshmen quarterbacks this summer — Brett Smith and Adam Pittser. Hendricks was impressed with Smith’s overall strength, and said he did some good things in the weight room. Smith enrolled at UW in January and went through spring drills. Hendricks also said Pittser is an impressive athlete with a good arm, who is trying to learn the offense as fast as he can.

Just got done talking to Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore. He’s a really nice and humble guy who just got married last weekend. But at first glance, he doesn’t look like one of the best college quarterbacks in the nation. One person told me last night he looks more like a mathlete than an athlete.

Maybe, but the guy can play quarterback.

San Diego State quarterback Ryan Lindley looks the part. He’s a big, physical specimen that could probably play linebacker on defense. Lindley doesn’t have his two best receivers from last season in Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson, and two returning receivers suffered season-ending injuries this summer.

“It doesn’t matter if I have Randy Moss or any of the best receivers around me, if the guys up front don’t block we don’t do anything,” Lindley said. “We will be fine, and we have good backs and receivers to turn to if we have to.”

Rumors surfaced late Tuesday night that Utah State would soon join the MW. But MW commissioner Craig Thompson said both the school presidents and athletics directors didn’t discuss expansion in their last meetings in May and June. One MW official said the league has no interest in Utah State.

Thompson gave his annual state of the conference address, and for more on that see my story in Thursday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle www.wyomingnews.com and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.com.

It’s back to the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo for me Thursday through Sunday. But before that I’ve got to get some other work done and catch a flight home. Thanks to all of those who followed me on Twitter the last couple of days, and commented on the blog. Looking forward to hearing more from you in the coming weeks.