His 84-8 record over eight years probably entitles Boise State football coach Chris Petersen to a throne fit for the king of football in Idaho, not the diminutive stool offered Monday for him to sit on at a news conference ahead of Saturday’s season opener against Washington.
The 5-foot-11 Petersen joked about needing a pillow, but he can only hope the chair incident is the one low point of the week leading to Saturday’s big rematch: In December, his Broncos beat the Huskies in the Las Vegas Bowl, 28-26.
Playing this time at Husky Stadium after its $250 million redecorating job, Petersen expects to encounter a raucous, signal-extinguishing crowd of around 70,000 on the bank of Lake Washington — and a foe with 20 returning starters trying to make sure what happened in Vegas stays there.
No question, Petersen said: The Huskies will employ the same no-huddle offense his own Broncos, ranked No. 19 in The Associated Press preseason poll, used to great effect to win four consecutive bowl games.
“It’s not if,” Petersen said of UW coach Steve Sarkisian’s hurry-up style. “They will.”
Saturday’s game will be a clash of two quarterbacks who at the end of the 2012 season were on different trajectories.
Boise State’s Joe Southwick was outstanding, particularly in the Broncos’ final four games when he threw nine touchdowns and no interceptions. Meanwhile, Huskies quarterback Keith Price was picked off at critical moments, including a misfire that sealed the Huskies’ Dec. 22 bowl-game loss to the Broncos.
Petersen has praised Southwick’s progress and leadership, especially during spring and fall workouts.
Still, he said Price can’t be written off just because of his 2012 slump.
“Joe started to figure out some things in the latter half of the year and did a nice job,” he said. “And we know that Keith Price is a very dangerous quarterback.”
Southwick told reporters Monday that it’s impossible to compare his current mentality with the one he had during 2012’s opening 17-13 loss to Michigan State, a game in which he didn’t throw for a touchdown and was intercepted once. His field command has come naturally, he said, not from an “in-your-face” confrontational style, rather one borne of respect that accompanies results.
“There’s some more credibility when you play a little bit, kind of get some production,” Southwick said. “I just feel really comfortable.”
His biggest worry among Washington’s defenders is Shaq Thompson, the outside linebacker who started every game as a true freshman last season.
Thompson “is the best player on their team, probably,” Southwick said. “He stands out on film.”
BSU plans to rotate numerous players in its backfield, including running back Jay Ajayi, a sophomore who averaged almost seven yards a carry in 2012, and tailback Aaron Baltazar, who Southwick said sports a field presence that belies his true-freshman status.
BIG 12 QB CAROUSEL SPINNING
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said during the first Big 12 coaches weekly teleconference that he had settled on junior-college transfer Jake Waters as his starting quarterback.
TCU coach Gary Patterson will let everybody find out who starts for the 20th-ranked Horned Frogs when either Casey Pachall or Trevone Boykin runs out on the field against 12th-ranked LSU on Saturday night. Both are expected to play.
“The difference with me is I think I can win with both of them in big games,” Patterson said.
Pachall is 15-2 as a starter, but he played only four games last season before leaving school for a substance abuse program. Boykin then won three Big 12 road games.
Meanwhile, the quarterback job at West Virginia is down to Florida State transfer Clint Trickett or Paul Millard, who was Geno Smith’s backup the past two seasons.
Les Miles is keeping TCU guessing about whether LSU running back Jeremy Hill, the Tigers’ leading rusher last season, will play in Saturday night’s season opener. The Tigers’ coach said Hill will miss some playing time because of his arrest in late April. However, Miles is not specifying when Hill might serve that punishment, or how long the duration might be. … Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan is out until at least October as he recovers from a torn ACL, and coach Brady Hoke said safety Courtney Avery is expected to miss two weeks after having arthroscopic knee surgery over the weekend. Avery found out that he had been named captain the day after his operation. … Oklahoma offensive lineman Jacob Reed was suspended from school after he was charged with assaulting his ex-girlfriend and breaking into her apartment over the weekend. … Florida plans to have starting running back Matt Jones and middle linebacker Antonio Morrison back in the lineup when they visit Miami next week. Jones, hit with a viral infection in July, is nearing full strength, said coach Will Muschamp. Morrison would have been an opening-day starter if not for two offseason arrests. … Louisville coach Charlie Strong said senior running back Senorise Perry will start Sunday’s season opener against Ohio while stressing that the ninth-ranked Cardinals will use all of their ballcarriers against the Bobcats.