Boise State quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith spoke to the media for the first time since spring practices, and had plenty of good stuff to say on Joe Southwick and the other quarterbacks.
Here is a mostly complete transcript (audio posted to the left).
On Southwick: “He’s getting more and more confident and comfortable, and I think that showed on Saturday. I’m glad he gave some guys chances with the ball and guys came down with it. Early in the year, we missed some big throws down the field. The first one, he launched one to Dallas, and he came down with it.”
“I’ve really been pleased with his preparation … there’s not many times he goes into games and gets confused. He knows what we’re trying to do, he does a great job of studying tape, and I think that’s paying off for him.”
On Southwick’s biggest strides: “I think the ball coming out on time. At Michigan State, there were a couple of times he could have thrown it a little bit quicker … that’s a miserable environment to go into for his first start.”
“I think he’s confident throwing the ball down field, we’re going to try to continue that as the year goes on.”
His evaluation of Southwick after four games: “I think it’s been OK. I wouldn’t say we’re satisfied in any stretch. I think in some parts, and Joe would agree, a little disappointed in some areas, especially efficiency in the red zone as an offense. But things start with the quarterback and kind of end with the quarterback.”
“We were really concerned with not taking sacks, after four games, we have only (two) sacks … there’s some things to build on and things to improve on.”
On third downs and red zone against New Mexico: “It’s been a focus, pleased with that. Now we’ve got to be able to continue it. If he can take those steps forward each game, I think he’s got a chance to be playing his best football at the end of the year, and we’d be really happy with that. I do think he can be a really good quarterback and give us a chance to win games. If he keeps improving, he can be really good.”
On where Southwick can step up most: “Obviously, play in the red zone … there are some times he can put his foot in the ground and run, versus maybe throwing it away. I want to him to still grow on third down, we’ve been pleased with a lot of his decision-making in general. He’s an athlete, he can move. I don’t think we’ve quite shown that yet.”
On Grant Hedrick: “He’s been getting all the second reps and he got some reps today with the ones, just to make sure he’s fresh and ready. Nick’s doing a lot of the scout team and Jimmy’s in that third spot right now.”
“He takes a good hit in the first scrimmage, and that’s been lingering with him early. Now, it’s a whole lot better. We’ve thought about it each week, I think it’s getting closer and closer to going in.”
On Southwick handling the starting job: “I think he handles it really well. There’s a ton of pressure on him, he’s getting all over. He tells me he goes to the supermarket and he’s getting heckled. I think he’s handled it really well. He’s a tough kid. It means so much to him, too. It’s important for him to have some success, he deserves to have some success, (with) the way he works.”
On more of Southwick’s strengths: “His understanding, his recognition of coverage. His understanding of what we’re trying to do as an offense. I think he’s a good play-action passer. I think he’s grown in his decision-making. There’s not too many times in four games where blatantly it’s been like ‘why did you throw that ball?’ Just a couple.”