Boise State is putting the finishing touches on its spring football practice. From all indications, it has been a successful camp with only some minor issues popping up.
Injuries have also been held to a minimum, and some of the younger talent on the roster seems to be doing good things.
Week four brought more of the same. With good energy, some outstanding efforts and a few guys stepping to the head of the class in glimpses of what might be.
Let's look at the stock report this week and find out which players are finishing strong in the fourth and final week of spring practice for the Broncos.
Spring ball brought some new faces to The Blue. One of them is Duece Mataele a defensive tackle, JUCO transfer out of Mt. San Antonio College.
At 6'3" and 285-pounds, Duece is twice the man as many, but moves very well around the ball. Mataele is quick, powerful and is an intimidating presence on the field. He has done some good things in spring ball, and there has been a buzz around him with some of the fan base around town.
However, all anyone really has to know is what coach Petersen thinks of him.
Petersen also told KBOI2.com before spring ball started that, "we've really liked him, and his attitude is great."
He sounds like the perfect fit at Boise State, and with the defense needing some depth, it seems like he came to town at the perfect time.
Look for Duece Mataele to impress in the spring game and on into the fall.
Joe Southwick continues to improve and impress.
He finished last season with a solid four-game performance, and it looks like he has carried that over into 2013. From all indications he is confident and coming into his own as the signal caller for the Broncos.
Head coach Chris Petersen had some good things to say about his senior quarterback. In an Idaho Statesman article written by Chadd Cripe, Petersen is quoted as saying:
I think he's playing at a high level in practice, but it's practice - there's no do-overs when we play. But he's been around here a long time and he gets the concept of practice, that it may not be perfect, but it has to be at a really, really high level for that to carry over on game day. And I think there's been progress made there.
Quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith took the praise of Southwick even higher. He was quoted in the same article as saying:
I think he is playing with even more confidence and so that's been a really good thing. We're going to lean on him heavy. He's a senior and a returning starter at the most critical position. I think he's grabbed onto that and run with it.
The truth about the "quarterback competition" this season is that there wasn't one. Southwick is the starter, and barring an injury he should be leading the Broncos come opening day.
Okay, it's not that the backup quarterbacks have somehow taken a step back. It's just that Joe Southwick seems to have taken a large step forward.
Grant Hedrick, Jimmy Laughrea and Nick Patti are great players, and the 2014 quarterback battle is poised to be epic.
But, this year, the job belongs to Joe Southwick, and each of the other quarterbacks will do their part, either in certain wildcat and option packages or send in plays and play the role of backup.
It also has to be nice for coach Petersen to have so much talent at this position.
Boise State needs a kicker—a good kicker.
So much so, that the Broncos brought a JUCO transfer in this spring to help fill the void. But, as the saying goes, "not so fast."
Either redshirt junior Dan Goodale has stepped up his game, or both kickers are struggling.
The former seems to be the case.
Coach Petersen was quoted in the Idaho Press-Tribune as saying:
We do not, said Petersen when asked if they had a leader. I think it’s your typical kicker battle. One day we think we have a leader and the next day the other guy is the leader. The important thing is we find one guy that can get it done for us when it really matters, when a little pressure is on them.
The spring game should be a good indication of these players’ ability to step it up. It will certainly be something to watch.
Most Boise State fans know that Jay Ajayi is a big running back with power and speed. In fact, most fans probably wish they could clone him so that the Broncos could have a solid backup at that position.
Enter Derrick Thomas.
While certainly no clone, JUCO transfer Derrick Thomas is similar in size to Ajayi, and looks similar when running the ball.
An Idaho Press-Tribune article by BJ Rains quotes coach Petersen on his thoughts about Thomas:
Derrick Thomas is doing a really nice job. We don’t know much about him in terms of our system but he shows flashes out there. He stays on track, he’ll show up on game day
If both Ajayi and Thomas stay healthy, the Broncos could have a very potent rushing attack this fall.
Speaking of Jay Ajayi, nothing has changed for the redshirt sophomore. He is still the projected starter, and Boise State fans are no doubt eager to see his follow-up performance.
Last season he wowed more than a few fans, but in 2013 he may take the wow factor to a much higher level.
Overall, head coach Chris Petersen has to be happy with his team this spring.
Several players seem to be stepping up, and junior college transfers seem to be panning out.
Petersen has to be happy with the confidence of his starting quarterback, and with the depth he has at receiver and the talent he has at running back.
With with the changes that the Broncos are implementing in the offense, along with the players they have on that side of the ball, you would think scoring points will be much more "Boise State like" this fall.
The spring game for the Broncos is Saturday April 13, 2013 at 5:00pm MST.