Tag Archives: Grant Hedrick

Quarterback Situation At Boise State: Once Dark Now Dazzling

Grant Hedrick

Grant Hedrick

The once bleak quarterback situation at Boise State seems to have rounded out the past week or so.

Grant Hedrick is obviously the leader of the pack. He has a half-year experience as a starter. He plays well, in fact he plays exceptionally well. The bar for quarterbacks at Boise is set very high; there have been some great ones. Hedrick is probably the most athletic quarterback Boise has had.

It will be the first time at Boise State he will play the role as a front-runner. He’s always been chasing, now he’s being chased. It’s amazing how some horses don’t run well from behind, but when they take the lead they just don’t maintain the lead they increase it. They run faster than they do when trying to overcome the leader.

Thomas Stewart

Thomas Stewart

Thomas Stewart was a good pick-up. He is skilled coming to Boise State with junior college experience. He may likely line up as Grant Hedrick’s backup. Stewart looks as if he could slip into Hedrick’s uniform and you’d never know the difference.

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Ryan Finley

Ryan Finley, who comes to BSU with good credentials is a red-shirt freshman with a healing shoulder injury. He’s a different type of quarterback; tall and comfortable in the pocket. Could he move in behind Hedrick? It’s hard to say, he hasn’t taken any college snaps.

Alex Ogle

Alex Ogle

This past week Boise picked-up a high school senior, Alex Ogle. He is regarded as a sleeper and may well be the diamond in the rough. It’s difficult to project how soon it will take him to adjust to the college game and college life. Most likely he may be red-shirted. That has been Boise’s modus operandi.

Thomas Sperbeck

Thomas Sperbeck

Boise State also has Thomas Sperbeck on the roster who is a wide receiver, but quarterbacked in high school. (He can flat out fly. In the future there will be some wide receiver sweeps with Sperbeck launching some deep ones.)

Richard Hoppe

Richard Hoppe

The one quarterback that seems to escape mention is Richard Hoppe. He’s no slouch. He’s nimble on his feet and has a decent arm with a nice touch on the ball. He’s a walk-on. Those guys turn out to be the guys who have the greatest motivation to succeed. If he was good enough to be given a number he must have sufficient skills to play. Last year he red-shirted. (I’m giving him another paragraph.)

From watching some high school video he looks poised and comfortable. He’s Boise State; undersized, underrated, under recruited and if called upon will over achieve.

That makes a possible six quarterbacks roster. I think Boise State can live with that.

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Whadda We Gonna Do, Whadda We Gonna Do, Baltazar And Patti Are Gone?

 

To date, Ryan Finley has been Boise State's highest rated quarterback coming out of high school.

To date, Ryan Finley has been Boise State’s highest rated quarterback coming out of high school.

Over the last two years there was so much hype about Nick Patti that his leaving is second only to Petersen’s exiting to Washington. Now we know how the Soviet Union felt when Barnyshnikov defected.

Aaron Baltazar bolting for who knows where was a tough one also. It looked like he and Patti would be seniors together at Boise.

Does this all mean a program in crisis? Not really. You build the possibility of crisis into a program. I think we’re secure at quarterback and running back. Sure we don’t have the back-ups we thought we would have, but great programs find a way to win without all the pieces in place. (Just picked up JUCO standout Thomas Stuart)

Thomas Stuart, a JUCO transfer who will add some depth to the quarterback position.

Thomas Stuart, a JUCO transfer who will add some depth to the quarterback position.

This past season was one of the first times in recent Bronco history that a quarterback went down with an injury. Hedrick stepped in and the argument can be made he was equally as effective as Southwick.

Anemic play calling can’t be blamed on anybody but the coaches.

It might be added that Kellen Moore would have had a difficult time with the offensive structure instituted the past two years. Southwick and Hedrick both looked uncomfortable at times with what was called. At times I wondered if OC Prince was watching the same game I was at.

Likely Patti coming into his red-shirt freshman year thought of himself as the heir apparent to Joe Southwick. In fact many during the 2012 year were asking for Southwick’s head on a platter in favor of Patti. Hedrick was never a part of any discussion by any of the local pundits, fan blogs, watering holes, or the airwaves.

Southwick’s brilliant performance in the MAACO bowl against UW in 2012 sealed Patti’s fate and positioned him as a back-up this year. Did anyone really think Hedrick was going to roll over and play third?

We don’t know much about Ryan Finley, but it could be that Patti might have envisioned him as too much of a threat as the starter after Hedrick‘s graduation? Did the recruiting of Jalen Green send a message that Boise was going to go out and find a top-notch q-back and forget the plans they had for Patti?

Green is gone. He‘s committed to three schools that I know of. (He’s burned more bridges than the Nazis did retreating over the Rhine in WW II.) Can you imagine Green calling audibles or running an option, he’d never make up his mind.

All the hand-wringing about the loss of Patti presupposes Hedrick might sustain an injury and we don’t have anyone to turn to after the 2014 season.

Finley was a highly sought-for recruit. He was recruited by only PAC 12 and Big Ten schools, that’s impressive. Indiana and UCF were the biggest programs besides Boise who recruited Patti. Finley was rated far better than Patti. It appears losing Finley would have been far worse than losing Patti.

Anyway the reason for Patti leaving may have been something as simple as the inversion.

Aaron Baltazar is the mystery. Boise fans seemed to really take to him like they did Ian Johnson. He was starting over Ajayi because of his fumblitus. When Baltazar went down with a season ending injury Ajayi turned it up a notch. He clearly became the Bronco’s No. 1 running-back again and looked like nobody was going to take it away from him.

Baltazar came to school ready to play. No way was he going to red-shirt. He may have seen himself playing behind Ajayi for two more years leaving him only one year to shine.

Losing Baltazar is a jolt. Next year Boise State may have had two running backs with more than a thousand yards rushing each.

Without Baltazar we are still very deep at running back. Returning will be Devon Demas, Jack Fields, and Derrick Thomas. It also looks like a recruit from Norco, California will be on the roster next year. If Charles Bertoli improves as much from 2012 to 2013 he will be a force by which to be reckoned. That said, I think his work ethic and determination will give the other backs something to emulate. He leaves it all on the field.

As far as the q-back situation is concerned, Boise State has garnered a reputation that allows them to pick and choose top-rated recruits. There is plenty of talented high school talent who want to come to The Blue. Between now and the National Signing Day Boise State coaches will be taking a look at a lot of q-back prospects. They won’t be latching hold of the first ones that come along. He’s going to have to be the right one.

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A Princely Performance By Joe Southwick

 

 

Coach Petersen and Coach Prince give Joe Southwick and his family the perfect Senior Day gift; that's class.  Joe started and played the first series which ended with a touchdown pass. It took him less than a minute.

Coach Petersen and Coach Prince give Joe Southwick and his family the perfect Senior Day gift; that’s class. Joe started and played the first series which ended with a touchdown pass. It took him less than a minute.

The first offensive series was picture perfect. A screen pass to Jay Ajayi that put the ball first and goal and a quick slant to Matt Miller for the touchdown and Southwick was done for the evening.

It could not have been more beautifully scripted. It was an unforgettable tribute to Joe Southwick and his dedication to the Broncos. Thanks Coach Pete and Coach Prince. It was a princely gesture.

Enough cannot be said about the Boise goal line defense. There is a certain amount of physicality and strength that goes into a good goal line stand, but more than anything it requires mental toughness, discipline, and agility.

New Mexico had the ball nearly 20% more minutes than Boise, but only managed 17 points. In the second half the Boise defense was incredible, perhaps the best this year.

Jay Ajayi and Matt Miller  turned in great performances. Ajayi 147 rushing yards and 105 receiving yards with two touchdowns. Miller had 9 receptions for 111 yards and three touchdowns.

Earlier this year it looked as if Ajayi had given the reins of number one running back to Aaron Baltazar because of problems holding onto the ball. Ajayi’s running improved as he became more ball control conscience.

Grant Hedrick was 13 for 21 with 175 yards and tossed three touchdowns. There were times when he appeared not to be poised, but the Bronco line has trouble picking up blitzes. Several times Hedrick could only run for his life. Yet, good quarterbacks (Kellen Moore) have figured out how to sidestep a blitzing linebacker with the least amount of effort while keeping their eyes down field.

It was an interesting twist to see defensive back Jonathan Moxey show up on the offensive side of the ball. Although he was thrown for a loss it looks as if we may see several different looks next year.

Think about this, Bronco fans; most of the season was played without much of the Bronco elite (Southwick, Baltazar, Moore, and a whole host of seasoned interior linemen hobbled by injuries).

This was not a great season, but not bad either; 8 and 4. Last year Auburn was 3 and 9 and lost to Alabama 49-0. What a difference a year makes. Last year Baylor was 8 and 5. Two years ago Ohio State was 6 and 7.

Where the Broncos will end up in the post season is anybody’s guess, but I’d like to see them matched with Navy or Notre Dame.

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Boise’s Fourth Loss; There’s Sunshine Beyond The Inversion

A field goal  with time running out would have won it for BSU.

A field goal with time running out would have won it for BSU.

This was a tough loss, 34-31 San Diego State over Boise State/

Was it me or did Boise State seem to slow down at running a play and immediately get to the line of scrimmage to run the next play? It seemed like there was too much time for thoughtful reflection.

Grant Hedrick looked like he was in the state of confusion. Play calls must take the confusion out of the equation. If you got seven people rushing from the box a couple of audibles for quick slants over the middle about five to seven yards off the line of scrimmage will cure that.

A game has to be called to stifle the overwhelming pass rush that will give Hedrick a chance to get over the jitters and move the offense.

Hedrick must be given more of a plan than duck and run or fall.

The pick he threw for a touch down was more the fault of an Aaron Burks slip when trying to come back to the ball. Slips happen, that’s football.

I don’t like to ever be critical of play calling, but some calls defy a grasp on reality.

Jay Ajayi is quickly becoming the premier running back in the MWC. He had 103 yards on 22 carries. My diamond in the rough, Charles Bertoli, had one run for five yards. The interesting thing about his run, it came in the first half not in the second half when the game is out of reach. He’s averaging 7.1 yards per carry.

The D-line was brutal on the run. The secondary needs some maturing.

The Bryan Douglas TD return was great. We haven’t seen that in a while.

There were two no-calls on scoring drives, false starts. One was so egregious the offender actually gave up because he was certain of being flagged, but he wasn’t.

Anyway we got beat and that’s it.

Let’s see the glass as half-full rather than other wise.

BSU has been kicked around a little bit this year, but they are young and growing.

When you consider the number of underclassmen who are the bedrock of both the offense and defense, Boise’s best days are ahead of them.

Let’s take a look at Boise’s former non-BCS rival TCU. They moved up and stand at a 4 and 7 year. True, they are in the Big 12, but the point is we are not experiencing the growing pains they are. Let’s give a better grade of players a chance to mature and find their groove. The Broncos are attracting better talent.

The 2012 class has 10 of their 25 recruit rated 3 star. In 2011 of the 23 recruits only 9 were 3 star. There were only 10 recruits in 2010 and none of them were were 3 star. Of the 21 recruits from 2009 none were even a 1 star. That class is the one that should be in their red-shirt senior year.

Thus far all the 12 recruits are 3 star for the 2014 year.

Chris Petersen does not offer any excuses, but points out the injury situation is none like he‘s ever experienced. Frankly, I think the coaches and team have done a heck of a job. Plenty of freshman have had to burn their red-shirts and many red-shirt freshman have had to step in to positions they weren’t quite ready.

The Broncos just have to come to grips with reality, they have entered a new realm and era. They are the team to beat. They are the team that other teams will be up for.

Let’s hope Wyoming knocks off Utah State next week. That will set up a rematch with Fresno, the Bronco’s last chance to redeem at least some of the season.

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Boise State Over Colorado State; Lightning Strikes Fast

Hedrick strikes.

Hedrick strikes.

It looks like the head was closer than the heart predicting the score to this game; My head: 35-24, My heart: 45-10.

Colorado State’s plan to beat Boise was to create long drives sustained by a short slant passing game. They planned to aim for the Achilles tendon of Boise, a young, inexperienced, and undersized secondary. They wanted to keep the Boise State offense off the field thus their defense on the field. The plan nearly worked. Their time of possession was insane, 40 minutes compared to Boise’s 20 minutes.

(In 20 minutes of possession Grant Hedrick and company put up 42 points, now that’s insane. He is lightning the bottle.)

The good thing; although Kapri Bibbs scored three touchdowns he was held to 2.8 yards per carry, less than half his season average. Colorado State as a team was held below its per carry average.

The bad thing; a marginal quarterback put up nearly 400 yards.

Boise’s first play from scrimmage was like watching a bad movie for the fourth or fifth time or worse yet your mother-in-law showing up at the front door with bags in hand. A fumble on the exchange from Hedrick to Ajayi greeted us. Hearts sunk. It’s hard for me to tell, but I think the fumble was Hedrick’s, but Ajayi didn’t look so hot on the sidelines afterwards.

Hedrick threw 5 TDs and ran for another. He was 19 for 27, 305 yards, and no interceptions. That put his qb rating at 226. Even though those are great numbers that is not the best we will see of him. That is only the preview.

The TD pass to Shane Williams-Rhodes was pure magic and courage. Hedrick read the blitz, saw the hit coming, and flung the ball exactly where the blitzing safety should have been.

He kept drives alive with good passes, good decisions, and good legs.

Hedrick’s performance was cut a little short by three dropped passes. They were to guys wide open and it either hit them in the hands or on the numbers. They ended drives. They are almost as bad as a fumble, they just can’t be recovered by the other team. The reasons for them are exactly the same as fumbles, sloppy thinking.

Matt Miller played his quiet unassuming self with 6 catches for almost 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. (We sure miss Kirby.)

It looks like Ajayi will not be playing the fourth quarter with a lead. We don’t need the ball on the ground and Prince knows that everybody will be trying to rip the ball away from Ajayi. If Ajayi does what he’s supposed to in the off season and takes his anit-fumblitss pills likely we won’t see him coughing it up at all next year.

Ajayi had another good game (13 carries 91yards). The referees kept him out of the end zone on one run. The review clearly showed he was in bounds. (Did I see a female referee?)

Derrick Thomas looked good on the returns, but not speedy. Running the ball in the fourth quarter was another issue. He doesn’t seem to find openings. He holds on to the ball even when they’re trying to rip it away. He did a good job.

On defense three names kept showing up Ben Weaver, Gabe Perez, and Tanner Vellejo; all freshman. Is that a preview of things to come? The great thing about having three guys like that, they flush everybody into the arms of the other guys.

Cleshawn Page’s hit on Colorado State’s punt return man was cheap. There is no other way to put it. That’s not Boise football, in fact that’s not football. If the intent was the jar the ball loose it’s best to hit the ball or right below it.

A word about Dillon Lukeheart’s hit last week. It was not as egregious as the one against Colorado State. The BYU receiver was moving into Lukeheart which made it appear worse. The receiver was in a lower position. Lukeheart was trying to lead with his pads for the ball; at least that’s what I saw.

Cheap shots don’t cause fumbles, they cause penalties.

Frankly, at this point as fan I can’t be anything other than pleased. This is really a young team – very young. Most of the vets are seeing limited action or no action because of injuries.

Now the Broncos get a week off to get healed and get smarter.

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Boise State Vs. Colorado State, Predicting The Score; Let The Lightning Out Of The Bottle

If you look closely you can see the number 9.

If you look closely you can see the number 9.

You will not see a great Grant Hedrick performance unless you let Grant Hedrick be Grant Hedrick. Let the lightning out of the bottle. Grant Hedrick reminds me of a compressed spring. That said, the coaches know more than I do. I’m just a fan and that’s what I see.

Hedrick is trying to throw touch passes to guys that haven’t seen them. He trusts his receivers too much. Matt Miller and Kirby Moore are his type of guys. If he doesn’t see those guys open let him go or let him sprint outside. He’s most effective on the move. Let him check-down while running not standing in the pocket.

It looked to me like Hedrick had too many things in his head against BYU. Here it is; if you don’t see the first man open, move. If you don’t see the second man open move again. If you don’t the third man open, move a lot.

Grant Hedrick is the guy who will pick up the fallen flag and charge the hill.

He has more potential than what we've seen. Someday he will explode.

He has more potential than what we’ve seen. Someday he will explode.

Hedrick has been prepared in the past only for mop-up action and special packages, not to engineer an entire game. That is not an excuse for not being prepared; he is. Let’s face it, we don’t have the talent across the board position by position we have had in the past, but it is developing.

I’m always expecting the best from Boise. I expect them to always play at maximum. I’m a fan and fans think with their heart, but yet there is always a rational side that eats away at me. Sometimes the heart and head are the same. To CMOB (Cover My Own Behind) I’m going with two scores.

Heart: 45-10 BSU

Head: 35-24 BSU

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Boise State’s Third Loss; What Went Wrong

Jay Ajayi, another great performance.

Jay Ajayi, another great performance.

Well shut my mouth, butter my behind, and call me biscuit. Boise State was handed its third loss of the season. They were beat 37 – 20 by a very good BYU team with a motivated quarterback, Taysom Hill.

Normally I wait a couple of days before posting about a game. I like things to sink in a bit.

Allow a quote from my post predicting a great Boise State win:

“I’m caught between my heart and my head. One should always go with their head. So I’m going with my heart.” https://jitterygt.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/boise-state-vs-byu-predicting-the-score-grant-takes-richmond-or-was-it-provo/

My head was saying 34 – 28 BYU. No apologies – I’m a fan not a realist.

Did Boise miss Southwick? A little, but Grant Hedrick did not cough-up the ball three times. Yes, he did throw a pick, but that’s what quarterbacks do.

Grant Hedrick, some lessons learned.

Grant Hedrick, some lessons learned.

Hedrick looked nervous in the pocket, but I think he handled himself well. This was his first start, it was an away game, and against a top-notch opponent. I think BYU is better than UW and Fresno.

Jay Ajayi turned in another great night (151 yard in 23 carries), but he did fumble once. Shane Williams-Rhodes had a good night (10 catches for 95 yards), but he did fumble once. Boldewijn had two catches, but he did fumble once. Is there a pattern emerging here?

Boise had no picks nor created any fumbles. You can not expect to win if losing in that department. You must create more turnovers than your opponent. A good defensive team not only stops the ball they get the ball.

I thought we’d see Hedrick tuck and run more often. He had plenty of time in the pocket and my hat goes off the Boise State offensive line. They did a tremendous job. Early-on BYU had a good rush, but for the most part they did a fine job. The running game was also substantial, although there was a couple of forth and short Boise got beat back on. One was a bad spot, but that’s spilled milk.

The d-line did a good job rushing Hill, but had trouble closing in on him. It seemed to me they were content to contain him.

It looks like our d-backs could use some more time in the weight room. There were a couple of balls that were clearly muscled away from them.

Let it be said this is a team loss. If Southwick would have been around his critics would have hung it on him. If Boise won it would have been and upset.

Now it’s back to conference play at Colorado State next week.

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