PedersonBoiseState | Gridiron Football | Ncaa Division I Fbs Football Teams

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JANUARY2OO8

COACH

niRPTTOR

as 1 got older. the one thing in life I knew 1 u"asn'l going to lie was a football coach.i. CA? PETERSEN: My (lad.s. Ron. Il's C WWCOACHAD. where I played basketball and football.COM 2008 JANUARY 4 7 . I wenl to Yiiba (^ity High School. But 1 have to tell you. I remember my dad watcbing 10 mm films willi the football slalV. so as young . was a junior college football aiach al Yiiba College in Maiysville. Tbat's probably whete it all started. CA.s I wa.•0 OACH: How did your interest in football and athletics develop growing up in Ytiba City.

Are there any qualities in your athletic career that helped translate that success to your coaching career? PETERSEN: I think the one thing is that I have just always been very. How did learning under both Walsh and Bellotti influence your own coaching philosophies? Pc. What made you decide that coaching was going to be your future vocation? PETERSEN: The only reason I did that was because I was going to go to C^anada and play in the Canadian Football League. COACH: After serving as an assistant under Tim Walsh at Portland State. who was my offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. what coaching was all abotit. As a kid I played tennis a lot. And it was a very mtich an eye opening experience for me in so many ways. and I've said this all along. From there I went to the U. I had no idea. It seems like there are a loi of toaches who are ex-quarlcrbacks.ssiori was more into coaching than the psychology Held." There are so many tiint' commitments.s a player you know how it's supposed to be done. A. Paul Hackt'tt had been a UC-Davis guy. learn from each and eveiy experience. COACH: When did you begin to develop yotir offensive-minded acumen? PETERSEN: It started at UCDavis because Jim Sochor. the organization folded. rLR:=. and how to teach. But to actually teach the game to somebody and how you are supposed to conduct yourself and all those types of tilings. thai I said to myself. It has to be such a passion that you say to yourself. "I can't do anything else. I was the freshman coach for one year and was then going to coach the varsity receivers at UC-Davis. thought I had all of the answers.s court. of Pittsburgh and worked under Paul Hacketi. to the point where I reali/. Then that opportunity opened up at Pittsburgh. I th<}Ught I was all set 48 JANUARY 2 0 0 8 COACH AND ATHLETIC DIRECTOR .sed to compete and act. I was going to be a scbool psychologist. also coached Paul Hackett. I had just got done playing. that that was a good opportunity until I figured out what I really wanted to do. COACH: You graduated with a BA in Psychology and immediately started your coaching career as UC-Davis' freshman head coach. So I felt that was the righi thing to do. played in a iot of totiriiaments. ! could almost not control myself out on the tenni. It's so hard on you and your life. Then 1 coached the varsity for three seast»ns. 1 was in grad school at UC-Davis and got my Master's in Educational PsychoUtg). and within two weeks of coaching I realized 1 had no answers. Bnt in terms of how to coach guys. 1 think thai being that I was yotinger helped me relate to them. In Llic rneaniime. I knew. Technically I was the GA. But then I slowly began to feel that my pa.be sort of an assistant/GA type of guy so they could see that you could coach. COACH: At UC-Davis you dominated Division II football as a quarterback. and as 1 look back at some of those days my behavior was very poor. There are a lot of former linemen who ai e head coaches . having just finished playing. I did lhat for a year and then I went to Portland Stale for two seasons. He had been at Davis forever and is one ofthe winningest coaches in Division II histojy That really got me started. And you don't know until you start doing it yout"se!f. they didn't have a guy in the rotation that they wanted. Bui I felt 1 had to coach the treshman team again becatise I had learned so many things that I felt I needed to do it again. So they asked tne to do it. it's a completely different experience. You listen to him talk abotit football and you know he could be a world-class biology teacher. And then getting with Paul Hackett was a tremendous experience. Well. So at each stop I would figure it oul. Through my parents and some good coaches I kind of got my. it has to be something you can't not do. So I was kind of stuck with nothing to do and decided to go back to graduate school. but I was also the quai terbacks coach. But I certainly don't think it's limited to just that position. So I woiuid up coaching the freshman team for two seasons. The gtiy is as good a teacher as I have ever been around. because when I got older I was so competitive and so itito the games and watching the struggles that coaches go through. that in Older lo stay in this field and cerlainty in college coaching. I signed a contract with Montreal. I played competitive tennis. You can be a serious competitor but there's still a correct way to act and behave.PERSON TO PERS Chris Petersen to go and about two days before I was supposed to leave. you worked for Mike Bellotti at Oregon where you helped turn the Ducks into an annual Pac-10 contender as well as a major force on the national level. It's so hard on your family. That was beneficial lo me . as it just so happened. named the Northern California Athletic Conference (NCAC) Player of the Year as a senior and rated the top D-II passer in the nation. Usually you had to coach with the staff at UC-Davis for a few years . Without question.trv: The rea.son that I've funny. COACH: What does it take to maintain longevity as a coach? PETERSEN: A coaching gig is so hard. "rrii not going to let these 18-year-olds control my happiness.to be around a teacher and a football coach of that caliher for a year." It wasn't until I went to college and hooked up with some awesome coaches at the University of California-Davis that it really opened my eyes to what coaching was all about. very competitive.ed lhat this is something 1 can't do without.se!f harnessed and channeled lo how a guy is suppo.those guys who are aiways thinking. we had a freshman team and I knew that was kind ofa hard gig to get.

And I learned . I already knew most of the staff that was in place. what are some of the fundamentals that you preach for that position? PETERSEN: That's the whole thing. And my wife and 1 thought about coming here. too. But we just really liked Oregon a lot and decided to stay put for some time. Those are my buddies and the guys from whom I learned how to do so many things. Tim Walsh was great to work for.so many different things from Mike as far as how to conduct yourself and how to organize. So I was very familiar with it. In our style of offense. borrowing. was that I was with three ofthe best football guys in the country in my opinion. That was a big challenge right away. and stealing from the great offensive minds you had learned from or did you develop your own philosophy? PETERSEN: There is so much football there with al! of those people that 1 had to kind of hone it dttwn to what 1 was going to be all about. Dan probably just pushed me harder than Dirk did to get tne to come here. who is now at Auburn. As we have gone through the years we have sort of added a different spin and added things here and there. and then Jeff Tedford. COACH: What brought you to Boise State? There seems to he some interesting lineage between yourself and the two previous Broncos coaches. I was able to glean a htUe from each of them. then Dirk Koetter. But the thing that was such a perfect fit for me to come over here was that we were running the same style of offense we had run at Oregon. Every coach that has been placed in my path has shaped me into the coach I am today. U was three years later that Dan Hawkins got the job. although that wasn't a huge motivation to tell you the truth. The other thing tbat I had at Oregon. our quarterback has to play at a high level. And Dan Hawkins and I go back to our UC-DaNis days together. I think I was one ofthe last guys to get hired. and all very successful in their own way. Plus he's a good football mind. who is at Cal. They all had very different styles and methods of doing things. PETERSEN: Dirk Koetter became the head coach here while I was at Oregon. COACH: As the new OC.Chris Petersen gotten to this position and have some success as a coach is because I have been so fortunate. Dirk took him with him from Oregon. that was so beneficial. what was your mindset? Were you beg. 5O ANUARY 2OO8 COACH AND ATHLETIC DIRECTOR . I was the wide receivers coach and tbe offensive coordinators were Al Borges. who is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars. COACH: At Boise State you have had two excellent quarterbacks in which to huild your offense around. Now it looks quite a bit different but that's because of all of the other great assistants that we have had here that have all had input into what we are doing. in Ryan Dinwiddie and Jared Zabransky. As both a former college QB and QB coach. It was a chance to be an offensive coordinator.

his leadership skills. I look for a guy who is on a continual quest for improvement. And then someone who is a knowledgeable football coach/teacher. Then. you were elevated to the top job. our defensive coordinator. We feel our offense is balanced enough that we can acclimale ourselves to any situation. When we are recruiting a kid there are some tangible things we look for on tape. I was still going to be involved in the offense but as the heafi coach you certainly can't do it all. TTiroughout your entire career. I didn'l think twice ab(ini it unli! everybody started to make a big deal about how these were the two yoimgest coordinators in the cotintry.s the linebackeiii coach at Cal before I hired him.sser. And we want him to really simplify the game for us. 1 know when 1 came here. 1 was able to keep and then recruit some awesome assistant coaches. We also like to shift in motion. I want someone who has a passion for this game and wants to do better each and every flay. What offensive keys do you stress to yotir players? PETERSEN: First and tort-mosi are turnovers. But our quarterback has to be a great decision-maker. It's first being abie to run ilie ball and then stop the run. who played at Oregon when I was there. He wa. guys I had tremendous confidence in. He needs to be a smart guy because we game plan a lot. Otu" offensive coordinator. had been with us for a long time and is m\ right hand man. What do you look for in assistant coaches? PETERSEN. COACH: A head coach is only as good as his staff. We've always believed in the ninning game to make our offense successful. We tweak our game plans. running ihc bail. are always good in the turnover department. for the most part. multiple formations. But really what is going to make him successful is all of the intangibles: How are his instincts for the game? How sharp he is. then we go from there. We put a lot on that guy's shoulders.\ll ol' those things are truly hard to know until you get him into yottr program for a year or two. in our philosophy. low ego. Those are the things that we are always looking for around here. That's the thing we continually harp on. So our keys to success don't ustially change from game to game. you have had tremendous success coaching offense. We need to have a person of high character. one of my first couple of games I think we threw 13 passes in a game. Both of those guys were 29years-old at the time. Everything is based on whai he can do. How did you handle the transition from overseeing the offense to directing the entire team? PETERSEN: First of all. We get into multiple. You can make stats work for you anyway you want. It really does.PERSON TO PERSON Chris Petersen son in his First season as OC Then I was able to get Justin Wilcox. Anything we can do to get that done is what our focus is on offense. who is now at Colorado. But they are fabulous people and excellent coaches and I knew ihose were the guys that we had to have and we were able to get them. and a guy that doesn't put us in bad situations. But if you look at ttirnovers every year. an accurate pa. That starts with ninning the ball. COACH. a person who is always tiying to find a better way to do things. We're all about making the qtiarterback successful around here. Bryan Harsin. Brvan did a tremendous joh last sea- 52 ANUARY 2 0 0 8 COACH AND ATHLETIC DIRECTOR . the teams that have winning records. We try to do a-s mtich homework as we can on those issues and see if he fits our mold.ss). COACH: After five years working as an a. It starLs with the type of person that tliey are. and his drive to be the best. . and high output. His throwing mechanics and his accuracy. The second thing is.stant to Dan Hawkins. We change them from week to week depending < n his experience and intelligence 3 level.

COACH While offense is your forte. We also like to be exciting and wide open. if chat. It will be interesting to see this thing evolve. "We're not going to wear any Fiesta Bowl shirts here. COACH: A lot has been said about whether the NCAA should organize a Division I playoff system. There's probably one percent. We just always believed that if we take care of our business and do what we're supposed to do. is it true that you saw a dead duck lying in the middle of the field. We are very much a wide open style of ofiense that will take chances and do whatever we need to do to win a game. They keep changing and tweaking the system to try to make it as good as they can. One of the first things we did after we won the Fiesta Bowl is we didn't allow any Fiesta Bowl champion gear in our weight room. that's really out of my control and our control. We have to earn everything we get.m Your dramatic win over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl featured some trick plays in high-pressure situations. Our strength coach said. heightened media coverage can help inflate players' egos. As far as the dticks landing on it and stufF. So it didn't get called. I've said this even when I was the offensive coordinator: Our defense has been tremendously. we were trying to get to those earlier in the game. Otir quarterback is always among the leaders in quarterback efficiency rating. when we were showing some people the turf— and we were all kind of chuckling saying we had never seen a dead duck— sure enough as we turned aroimd. We love the blue turf. What steps have you and your staff taken to maintain emphasis on the team instead of the individual? PETERSEN: One ofthe things that has been the profile ofthe kind of student-athlete we have recruited here has been a little bit of that underdog mentality. Wlien I first came here there was a poll taken in the local paper asking if we should go back to green turf or keep the blue ttirf. if there isn't a dead duck lying on the turf. On defense we first and foremost need to stop the ntn. we'll do it. fundamental football. tremendously underrated. that's kind of myth that's been going on for many years. How much practice time do you devote to these special plays? How often do you incorporate them into your game plan? PETERSEN: That's a litde bit ofa rub. quote. It looked like it possibly could have been attacked by an animal or something. COACH. It's funny becatise I don't have a strong opinion on that. But I do have to say. but there was one. partictilarly the hook and ladder (hook and lateral) to de the game and send it to overtime and the Statue of Liberty play on the two-point conversion.someone that's a great program and we will be very happy about that bowl game. As your program continues to grow more sticcessful. That's over and done with. maybe we'll go back to green. So then we had them at the end of the game and we used them when we needed to. We run the ball very well. which some have duhbed "Smurf Turf. atid we think that is our best odds. My thinking was. the poll was like 98 percent in favor of keeping the blue turf— don't even consider changing it. we were just in the wrong situation. For us it worked out. It worked for Utah a couple of years before. It just so happened that we needed all three of those plays at the end of the game. Well. We're back to square one and it's time to get our blue collar focus going." That has to come from the coaches and we preach that a lot. That Statue of Liberty play and the halfback pass. do you feel that your team deserved a playoff and a shot at a national championship? PETERSEN. Very little of what we do is trick plays. I grew up with the Bowl System." that was installed in 1986? As a follow-up. And we want to eliminate explosive plays as much as possible and be very good tacklers. COACH: How much of a homefield advantage is Boise State's one-ofa-kind blue synthetic turf field. apparently mistaking it for a lake or pond as it dove from the sky? PETERSEN. having only spent one year in the system. If that means throwing a halfback pass on fourth down.PERSON TO PERS Chris Petersen Oklahoma. We want to make the opposing offense one dimensional. With Boise State being the only team that went undefeated dtuing the 2006 season {11-0). It kind of feels like people overlooked him. Those are the things we have done here very well. the situation at the Fiesta Bowl. I think that's been pretty applicable to the situation here. We really like that edge and that mentality. We iike to think that we play sound. And that's really how I feel and our players feel now. We won't blink an eye. Now there is talk of a PIus-1 format. field position. Nothing is going to be given to tis. You don't winfiveWAC Championships in a row without playing big time defense. Our philosophy is kind of the reverse of our offense. We want to confuse the quarterback. we will be playing . down and distance. We really view ourselves as a hard-nosed. And there's no doubt that our defense was unbelievable in the Fiesta Bowl against 54 ANUARY 2 0 0 8 COACH AND ATHLETIC DIRECTOR . We have great people in college football that are making those decision and they are trying to do right. of our game plan that's. I like the Bowl System. So they could be landing on it. whatever. blue collar outfit. Miiat kind of defensive philosophies do you employ at Boise State? PETERSEN. I think it's just the old cliche that tlie offense sells tickets and gets people excited and the defense wins championships. It may or may not be an advantage to us playing at home but it's certainly part of our identity and we love it. trick plays. I don't know {lmighler). Whether they change it to a playoff system. for people who don't know about Boise State.

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