Know Your Opponent: Boise State

ATLANTA - Chadd Cripe, the Broncos beat writer for the Idaho Statesman, gave us a little more insight to the Boise State University football team prior to the season opener against the Ole Miss Rebels.

Spirit: "Coach Bryan Harsin has big shoes to fill after the job Chris Petersen did for eight seasons. Harsin, in his first season as head coach at BSU, was 7-5 at Arkansas State as head coach last season. Petersen was an amazing 92-12 in those eight seasons with the Broncos."

Cripe: “Philosophically they’re very similar. They coached together for ten years. What they believe in is very similar. The way they go about things is different in some ways. (Harsin) has been real active on twitter. He toured the state with some public outreach. He’s been a little more interactive and reaching out to the fans. But philosophically they’re much the same.”

Spirit: "Last season Boise State’s offensive line allowed 26 sacks, the highest number since before Peterson was named head coach. It appears there are a lot of new faces along the Broncos’ offensive line. How are they stacking up this preseason?"

Cripe: “(The offensive line) is the biggest question mark on the team. They have two returning starters, and they’re both playing new positions. They’ve got three (other) guys that started a little bit. And they have a new offensive line coach. We haven’t gotten to see the team much at practice, so that position is kind of a mystery. It will be interesting to see how they do (tonight) in a game.”

Spirit: "Senior quarterback Grant Hedrick brings experience to the game against Ole Miss. Your thoughts on him?"

Cripe: “He played most of the last seven games last season (after early-season starter Joe Southwick was injured). He’s got a lot of talent. He’s got a really good arm and really good speed. He didn’t play well against the best defenses. It’ll be interesting to see how much he’s grown over the offseason.”

Spirit: "Defensively eight starters return for the Broncos. That appears to be a solid unit. Is it the team’s strongest area of the three – offense, defense, and special teams?"

Cripe: “They’ve pretty much got everybody back on defense. But they’ve got some great playmakers on offense. It’s back to whether the offensive line is going to be good enough or not. On defense, they’re quite a bit more experienced.”

Spirit: "Boise State has one of the nation’s best records the past decade. Last year they were a little off their game, it appears. What are some of the intangibles that have helped them become one of the nation’s best programs."

Cripe: “Until last year (when they went 8-5), it was pretty much unheard of for them to get blown out of a game. They always found a way to hang around most games. Last year was not that way (with three losses by more than two touchdowns). We’ll see if they can step up and perform better in the big games. They didn’t perform well in big games last year. One advantage this year could be that they have their kicker back, one of their two punters is back, the holder is back, the long snapper is back, the punt returner is back, and the kickoff returner is back. So they have all their specialists back, and that may be one area they could have an edge with all that experience.”

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