BOISE, Idaho--Sometimes press conferences are blase. In this week's press conference with Boise State offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz, Bronco fans got a great glimpse of what the man is like, what kind of coach he is, and his philsophy of working with his student-athletes and preparing them for life.
I asked him how he thought his offense battled in the second half. One can tell a lot about a person or in this broad sense a football team by the way they handle adversity. Football fans have seen many teams behind 45-10, and what follows usually is pretty embarrassing. So the question went beyond who was going to win the game, since barring a near-miracle, Utah State had that pretty much in the bag. It addressed what kind of pride the players had in themselves and their teammates, and what they wanted people to remember them for. Disaster had struck in the form of eight turnovers, enabling the Aggies to build that kind of insurmountable lead. Here is what coach Drinkwitz said:
"I thought those guys competed hard--we still didn't make the plays we need to, but I was proud of those guys. I wasn't proud of the execution, and I wasn't proud of the overall performance, but the competitive spirit...there's nothing more that you would like to do than to crawl inside a shell and act like it didn't happen, but you can't do it. Those guys continued to fight, and that competitive spirit shined through."
More generally, Drinkwitz said, "We're not going to lose confidence in who we are or our identity. I'm not going to forget that for four straight weeks, we had zero turnovers and averaged 40-something points. That's who we are--we had a slip-up last week, and we're going to correct that and we're going to get on to Wyoming."
Drinkwitz continued following the same line of questioning--"You always want to fight. You never want to stop fighting. You couldn've said, 'hey, let's just run the football.' No, we wanted to fight; we wanted to score points. Yeah, we could duck our head in the sand and hand it off, and get on that bus and go home, or we could fight it out. By God, we're going to fight. That's the attitude of everybody on this staff, and that's the attitude of everybody in that locker room."
"You know what?" he continued. I hope those guys...I hope they take it with them a lot further than football; I hope they take it with them for the rest of their lives. It ain't always pretty. Things aren't always easy; it doesn't always go like you planned. But you gotta' fight it out, and you can't give up on one another."
Boise State hosts Wyoming this Saturday during Homecoming, and Drinkwitz had this assessment of the Wyoming offense: "They're very technically sound--they don't try to do a whole lot; they just do what they do very well. That's the trademark of the coach at Wyoming, both offense and defensively. They've played a lot of young guys in the secondary who you can tell have really matured and have got that game experience, and are relying on each other now."
The Broncos and Cowboys meet Saturday night at 8:15 in Albertsons Stadium.