Boise State started its fall football camp this week. So far, it seems to have been very productive, energetic and mostly positive.
There have been a couple of hiccups, but for the most part the first week was business as usual for the Broncos.
Let's take a look at the events and measure them and the players who have stood out for the wrong and right reasons.
Known as "Deuce," Tutulupeatau Mataele was supposed to be a monster on the defensive line. He looked great in the spring, and everything pointed to him being a starter.
However, something happened on the way to Seattle. Deuce Mataele is out indefinitely.
According to Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman, Mataele is dealing with some academic issues.
Cripe quotes head coach Chris Petersen as saying, "he's got an academic issue he’s working through and I don’t know a timetable on it." Petersen added, "no matter how this thing tuns out, we'll have some guys ready to go."
The translation seems to be that fans may not see Mataele until later in the season, or perhaps beyond.
With the loss of Mataele for any length of time, the Boise State defensive line is going to suffer a bit.
The line is talented, but thin. The loss of Mataele makes it even more thin. But, before fans panic, they need only remember how the Broncos coaching staff gets young players ready seemingly season after season.
This may just lead to other players stepping up, and in the long run, it could be a good thing for Boise State.
Sophomore free safety Darian Thompson was picked as camper of the day on day one.
The Idaho Press-Tribune quotes coach Petersen when he said:
He (Thompson) came into camp in top-notch shape. He knows what he’s doing out there. He picked up right where he left off at the end of last season.
That is about the best thing a player could ever hear from a coach going into fall camp.
Junior linebacker Blake Renaud looks to be poised for a breakout season. He has the physical attributes, the talent, the toughness and the attitude to be a good leader for the Broncos.
He will no doubt start at middle linebacker this season, and coach Petersen thinks he's going to do some good things as well.
Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman quotes coach Petersen when he says:
The nice thing about Blake, he’s one of those guys who has played a lot of ball for us. He’s one of those guys who’s not a headline name, but he’s been very good on our special teams. He has played in there with those backers and made a lot of plays for us. He understands things and is physical. So now it is his time to take that next step and a lot of people should be knowing his name.
Cripe also quotes Renaud and how he feels about his leadership position. Renaud said:
I enjoy being the guy in the front. ... I’m just trying to be the best linebacker I can. … I’m not much of a talker. I like to try to show it on the field. I’m happy about being one of the top guys.
It sure sounds like a man on a mission.
Look for Blake Renaud to do some good things this fall.
Sophomore running back Jay Ajayi looks like he is in incredible shape. He has dropped a few pounds, but he has also clearly added muscle.
In his interview with the media at practice this week, Ajayi said some positive things. Ajayi stated that he thinks the lost weight will, "add an extra gear" in his game.
If you watched him play last season, adding another gear would be incredible.
Senior Linebacker Jonathan Brown earned camper of the day honors on the first Thursday of fall camp.
According to Jay Tust of KTVB.com, head coach Chris Petersen had some high praise for the senior. Petersen said:
He's showing great senior leadership for us out here, and he brings a lot of energy to our defense. He knows what he's doing, and he's playing at a high level.
Brown brings experience to a defense that is in transition. There will be a lot of new faces out there this season and, as a senior, Jonathan Brown should be able to help the younger guys develop.
Sophomore wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes certainly made an impact as a true freshman last season. Now, however, he is one year smarter and ready to be utilized in an expanded role.
BJ Rains of the Idaho Press-Tribune quoted Boise State offensive coordinator Robert Prince when he said:
We really limited him last year. ... We wanted him to get a chance to play just because he’s a very dynamic receiver, so we limited him. Now we’re just going to let him play and he’ll do everything that all the receivers do.
Williams-Rhodes added his insight, saying that he "used last year to learn the offense." He went on to say, "now everything is much easier than it was last year."
If it truly is easier for Williams-Rhodes, opponents are in trouble.
You can watch the Shane Williams-Rhodes interview on KTVB.com.
Senior wide receiver Kirby Moore looks ready for his senior season.
BJ Rains of the Idaho Press-Tribune mentioned in his day one coverage that Moore, "had arguably the best catch of the day."
Moore will be a key part of perhaps the deepest receiving corps in the Mountain West.
Senior defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe seems to be starting off his last fall camp in the right way.
Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman reported that in camp Tjong-A-Tjoe, on back-to-back plays, caused two fumbles and had two sacks of backup quarterback Grant Hedrick.
Senior quarterback Joe Southwick's stock is up, and then some.
So far in fall camp there is a tremendous amount of zip on the ball, and his accuracy seems much better.
Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman had a very interesting quote from offensive coordinator Robert Prince. Prince said that the Broncos are "eons ahead" of where they were last season.
Cripe goes on to quote junior wide receiver Matt Miller in regards to Southwick's progress. Miller said:
He had a great summer... You saw it today. He was throwing some really good passes in there. He did that all summer. He worked on it really hard, threw a lot of balls after workouts. I think it’s really going to show up this year.
All of that sounds like good news for the Broncos and their fans.
Head coach Chris Petersen likes practicing on grass.
Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman has a quote from Petersen about the matter.
The turf, we make work and it’s good and you get awesome traction... but when you’re on it for a long period of time, it’s nice to be on grass.
Simply put, the softer surface is easier on the feet and knees. It is a more comfortable surface to spend hours on, especially on long hot days.
The grass itself is part of a project to re-do the intramural field in the middle of the Boise State campus.