Boise State has had its share of surprises during the 2013 season. None more so than when starting quarterback, redshirt senior Joe Southwick, went down with a potential season-ending broken ankle on his first play from scrimmage last week against Nevada.
The Broncos turned to redshirt junior quarterback Grant Hedrick, who performed spectacularly in Southwick’s absence.
As the Broncos prepare for this week’s non-conference matchup with BYU, having more repetitions in practice against Hedrick could be a blessing in disguise, as they go up against another dangerous dual threat quarterback, Taysom Hill.
“They’re very similar quarterbacks,” junior wide receiver Matt Miller said. “Taysom is just a little bit bigger, more physical runner and Grant (Hedrick) is more shifty and he will try and put a move on you.”
Hill, sophomore, is the epitome of a dual threat quarterback who has been giving defenses fits all season long.
“I think they’ve created a whole system around him and his strengths,” Boise State head coach Chris Petersen said. “And he looks like he’s a better thrower than he was
Hill came in as a backup against Boise State last year at Bronco Stadium, completing four of 10 passes for 42 yards.
However, Hill hurt the Broncos on the ground as he carried the ball 12 times for 72 yards, scoring the Cougars only touchdown of the night.
“He’s a warrior. He carries the ball like a running back and he’s got a very strong arm,” Petersen said. “He’s a tough guy to defend.”
Going against a running threat like Hill, quarterback containment will be of utmost importance from the Boise State front seven.
Containing Hill will be a focal point especially for senior defensive lineman Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, and two time Mountain West conference defensive player of the week, redshirt junior defensive lineman Demarcus Lawrence.
“It’s hard for the DB’s to keep somebody covered if they (the quarterback) have a lot of time,” Tjong-A-Tjoe said. “We just need to get some pressure and make sure he doesn’t scramble around and make something happen with his legs.”
The Broncos have been hurt by high-volume runners in the past. Containing a scrambling quarterback like Hill will pose quite a challenge for the Bronco defense, and will have to be a key point for them if they want to escape Provo on Friday night with a win.