The amount of time a player spends within Boise State’s football program doesn’t translate exactly to playing time. It must be earned.
Boise State head coach, Chris Petersen, expects his veteran players to use the knowledge they’ve acquired over their years within the program to help make themselves, and everyone else around them, better this spring. Even if it potentially means making a younger player better who could possibly take your spot later in the year.
“The number one way guys can learn how to do things is through modeling,” Petersen said. “When you’ve got guys out there doing it the right way it accelerates the process for the younger (inexperienced) guys.”
As we’ve seen in past years, BSU’s coaching staff isn’t afraid to give young players chances when they deserve them. That continues to reverberate in each player’s mind, no matter how safe they think their position may be.
These reasons, along with many others, are why even the most experienced Broncos must continue to get better every spring and show the coaches how much work they’ve put in during the off-season.
“Everyday I’m going out there like I’m a freshman,” junior safety, George Iloka, said. “Coach (Marcel) Yates is on me more now because I’m older. He expects more things from me now, and I like that. He wants me to improve everyday.”
The Broncos do not have a shortage of experience or leadership going into spring ball. BSU returns 22-of-24 starters from the 2010 Fiesta Bowl, along with several other experienced players at just about every position.
Petersen hopes having players with game experience in pressure situations will allow the coaches to focus more on the details rather than the X’s and O’s during early season practices.
“It makes it a lot easier when you can put guys out there who know how it’s supposed to look, and other guys can follow through with it,” Petersen said.
What Petersen doesn’t want to see are players feeling like they’ve ‘been there done that’ and not going full speed. Some of the players even admit it’s hard not to loaf around at the beginning of spring drills because of the repetition over the years and the slow pace.
Spring practices are meant to be basic so the players can get used to contact and proper technique. The veterans are considered the tone setters during practices and the new guys focus on the speed of the game and how to adjust accordingly. The older players assist in making the transition as easy as possible for the freshmen.
“Our older guys will help those young guys and know that it could hurt them a little bit, but I think when you’re truly a team and are in it for the right reasons those are the things they will do,” Petersen said.
With only three practices in the books the team is extremely pleased with where it’s at. Nearly a dozen players are out with injuries, and that number can change from day to day. Some of them are still battling injuries they’ve had since last season, but it’s not stopping them from participating and contributing.
“I feel like my body is still affected by Jan. 4 (the Fiesta Bowl) a little bit, but that’s what you get for playing football,” senior nickel back, Winston Venable, said. “You’re body’s always going to be a little dinged up, but there’s time to rest later in life.”