Coach Pete wants to focus on fundamentals against Air Force

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Boise State head coach Chris Petersen said Monday his Broncos must stick to their fundamentals, not try anything new, to beat a disciplined Air Force Academy when the teams meet Friday following a short week of practice.

It might be tempting for Petersen to borrow from Utah State's game plan, after the Aggies dismantled Air Force last Saturday, 52-20.

But Petersen, coming off a 63-14 victory over Tennessee-Martin, said he's not looking to mimic Utah State's playbook.

For one, with just four short days to practice, he says there's no window of opportunity to copy tactics Utah State might have found successful against the Falcons, who run a triple-option offense.

"They will confuse you very quickly, very easily," Petersen told reporters Monday. "If you start coming up with new schemes on short weeks, and all those type of things, you'll be asking for trouble." | Watch Coach Pete's Press Conference

And he's convinced Air Force is a much better team than reflected by Utah State's lopsided rout.

Falcons quarterback Jaleel Awini was treated by his own receivers to a disastrous first career start; they dropped several of his passes.

"They won't drop them again. That would have completely changed the game, a couple of them were touchdowns," Petersen said. "That score was completely deceiving."

The Broncos rebounded from their season-opening 38-6 drubbing by Washington against UT-Martin, a Football Championship Subdivision foe that gave Petersen a chance to test his second- and third-string quarterbacks while trying not to run up the score.

Even so, the BSU defense was dogged by several missed tackles, a carry-over weakness from the Huskies game.

Broncos safety Darian Thompson said the NCAA's new rule against targeting hits, designed to reduce injuries or concussions, has been a factor in his own play as he second-guesses how to charge an opponent - for fear of being ejected.

"It's a huge factor, that's something we really had to change," Thompson said, adding it played a key role, in particular, in one down against Washington two weeks ago. "That play ended up as a missed tackle. I think I had to put my eyes down, worrying about the strike zone, trying (not) to get suspended."

Air Force will be Boise State's Mountain West Conference opener.

After the UT Martin blowout, however, BSU quarterback Joe Southwick said he's not viewing Air Force as the Broncos' first real chance to prove itself against a top-tier opponent following the Washington loss.

"I don't think we ever really look at it that way," Southwick said. "Each week is a different opponent. We just take it one game at a time. Slow and steady is going to win this race. Every opponent is going to bring their different challenges."

On Saturday, Southwick had a favorite target in Shane Williams-Rhodes, who caught seven passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns. Petersen and Southwick both said the diminutive Williams-Rhodes, at 5-foot-6 and just 158 pounds, has the ability to slip between defenders, catch the ball and then make his own opportunities.

"You get the ball in his hands, exciting things are going to happen," Southwick said.

Petersen acknowledged Williams-Rhodes, a sophomore, "hasn't grown a second" since he was recruited out of Spring, Texas, but that his fleet feet and athleticism more than makes up for his size.

"Shane embodies everything we've always been about around here, we're about good players, we're about speed, those are the two most important things, the third being athletic," he said. "We're just going to take good players, and he certainly is that."