Editor's note: Following is a partial transcript from Boise State football coach Chris Petersen's first media availability of fall camp.
Question: How have things looked the first couple of days.
Petersen: It is always easy to have great energy and go real hard the first couple of days, but we have gotten the intensity up and are on the right track.
Question: Same plan as years prior?
Petersen: Two days in just helmets, two days in shoulder pads and helmets. Fifth day is full pads. When we get into pads we can do a couple of drills that we wouldn’t do in just helmets. As hard as these guys are running with the ball and practicing, we can get a lot done with just helmets.
Question: Like the new grass on the fields?
Petersen: I do, I love it, it’s great. We spent the least amount of money redoing that thing. It’s nice to be on grass, it really is.The turf we make work, it’s good, and it’s awesome traction, but when you’re on it for a long period of time, it’s nice to be on grass, there is no question about it.
Question: How do you compare the field with what you had last year?
Petersen: Well last year it was really worn down even before we got on it. When we’re on it it can be torn up very, very quickly. It didn’t hold up last year. We’re going to be on (grass) for most of fall camp.
Question: Have the guys come into camp pretty prepared?
Petersen: I think they had a good summer. It’s hard for us to really know that because we really don’t see them. I think from the first two practices the indication is that the older guys got some things done, not just running but did some football on their own and I think it has paid dividends.
Question: How does the offseason compare to years past?
Petersen: It is hard to know. But I think they did as any team we’ve had so far, but again we have only had two practices. We’ll see what kind of fortitude, toughness things of that nature, we’ll have in two weeks.
Question: What do you expect to get out of Taylor Loffler?
Petersen: We thought tremendous things about Taylor in high school, and in camp we were so excited about him, but then he had an ACL injury and sat out that first year and then he got another one. So we are keeping our fingers crossed that he it hold up, because if it does he is a smart guy, a big athlete who can run and move, and he is extremely tough and physical. We’re really hopeful that he can get back on the field without any setbacks.
Question: How do you see him handling the setbacks and the waiting to get back on the field?
Petersen: Really good. He’s done a great job. One, it’s not easy. He stayed strong. I’m sure he was in as much pain mentally as he was physically. But he didn’t mope around, didn’t complain, he just rehabbed and he is in a good spot right now.
Question: Have you been surprised by the receivers' play the first two days?
Petersen: We had heard that they had a good summer, so the first two days have been pretty clean, but again, no pads are on. I think this, if we can continue this pace, they will take another step in their development. It’s going to be staying healthy to keep working this hard and staying focused to keep this intensity up. Once you start wearing helmets it becomes a hard practice. I don’t think people realize. I know when the coaches are talking the players are grateful because they are running so hard in practice.
Question: With the continuity on offense, is it ready to take the next step?
Petersen: I think so. The kids have the right mindset. But I know every coach says this, but we have to have some luck and hold up. We are just keeping our fingers crossed that we can minimize (injuries).
Question: How are the receivers going to help in getting more explosive plays in the offense?
Petersen: There is no question. Kit starts with the quarterback giving the receiver a chance, and they have to go up and make plays on those 50-50 balls, where the defensive back is right there. We have had receivers in the past who could do that. Kellen would give those guys a chance, and he had some pretty good guys around him. And with the guys around Joe, that’s what we need to have happen.
Question: Are Geraldo Boldewijn and Aaron Burks ready to take the next step?
Petersen: I will say this, they are what you want them to look like. Now we need to get them to play like we want them to look like. But I think they are getting there. Those guys did a nice job last year of taking a step and it doesn’t happen overnight. I think the stage is set for those guys to take the next step, and if they do, and there are others guys who can too, but it will take the passing game to the next level.
Question: How important is Bryan Douglas' leadership to the secondary after recovering from a (torn anterior cruciate ligament)?
Petersen: I like our secondary. There is some newness out there. Guys who haven’t played a ton. It’s nice to have Bryan back out there. His knee is right where it should be, but you go from eight months of not playing any type of explosive football to camp, so we have to be smart and bring him along. We don’t need to win the game today or tomorrow, we just need to get him into the season and get it just right.
Question: Why did Donte Deayon want a new number, number 5?
Petersen: I don’t know his reason is, I wanted him to stay at 30, but I don’t care what his number is, just make plays and you can have whatever number you want. I don’t know why they are so hooked on these single digits, but usually in the NFL if you are single digit guy it means you aren’t going to be there long. If you do well in the classroom, do the right things and make plays, we will try to get you the number you want.
Question: Do you ever change your approach to fall camp depending on the guys that you have?
Petersen: I think the big thing for us is that we continually coach with an edge, with urgency. If you have a lot of continuity on your staff with your coaches there can be a thing where, hey, now we got this. You go to places with a new staff and there is great urgency. I would hope we could always do that.
Question: What have you seen out of Rees Odhiambo, is he ready to take the next step?
Petersen: He is another guy who looks the part. He works hard, does the right things and it starts to generate a buzz. We are excited to see his progress. We liked him all along (in high school). He was a big and athletic, and we weren't wrong on that.
Question: What do you look for in tackles?
Petersen: It is very complicated. Big guys who are fast, can move their feet and are really mad most of the time out there.
Question: Blake Renaud has had to wait his turn, but do you expect him to make an impact?
Petersen: The nice thing about Blake is that he had played a lot of ball for us. He might not have been a headline name, but he has been great on special teams and has played back there with those other backers and is very physical, and it is his time to take the next step, and a lot of people will be knowing his name soon.
Question: Is he a lead by example type of guy?
Petersen: He is a lead by example guy, a man of few words for sure. But most importantly, guys pay attention to guys who lead by example. He is very physical he is a great guy to have in the box and I think everyone will feed off of him.
Question: How has Shane Williams-Rhodes developed?
Petersen: He is a fun guy to be around, has such a great demeanor, so explosive. I'm excited for him. He was our only true freshman last year. With another year under his belt he will really know how this thing goes. I'm always amazed at true freshmen who come in here and get things done, because it is hard. For the things he did last year, we are really excited about what he is going to do.
Question: What have you seen from true freshman Joe Martarano, just being around the guy what is he like? He is a single digit number guy.
(Note: Martarano is a true freshman from Fruitland who was drafted in the 13th round of the MLB draft but opted to stick with football.)
Petersen: Well, he gave up a lot of money to come here, so he can be a single-digit guy. The one thing I really appreciate about Joey is that I just really like being around him. But he just got out of high school, so we need to be patient and let this thing happen how it’s going to happen. He’s had one practice, so it will happen how it’s supposed to happen. We said all along that we want to do what is best for him. What is in his heart. If baseball can fit in there, and he can somehow make it work, Boise State doesn’t have baseball, but maybe some summer time stuff… Joey’s family was so great, but it was really about what was best for him, because that is how he is going to have success. But he is all football now, so we will get it dialed in and see what the future holds.
Question: Any freshmen on your radar who could contribute this year?
Petersen: Yeah, there are a lot on our radar, but for me to single anyone out after one practice would be very hard to do. But there is no question there will be a couple, because we are going to need them.
Question: (defensive tackle) Deuce Mataele hasn’t been out there, what is the reason for that?
Petersen: He has been dealing with an academic issue. But once we know something, we will let everyone else know.