BOISE — They say teams show the most improvement from the first week to the second.
It isn’t quite true for Boise State, which had a bye week between its 17-13 season-opening loss Aug. 31 and is back on the field Saturday at home against Miami (Ohio).
“Maybe for us, hopefully, it’s between week 1 and week 3,” Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. “I don’t think anybody wants a game, then have a bye.”
Suffering a close loss to a top-15 team like Michigan State showed the Broncos they can compete with talented teams, but scoring no offensive touchdowns and yielding more than 200 rushing yards shows both sides have plenty to work on.
“We saw a lot of things on tape for each position that we felt like we could have done a lot better at Michigan State,” said receiver Kirby Moore, who added the team is “very eager” to play Saturday.
Petersen said the team practiced three times last week, and though it mixed in some preparation for the RedHawks, the team stressed on fixing its own problems. Among them was tackling, which the defense said was likely its biggest bugaboo.
“We all want to get back on the field and get a ‘W,’ but you have to use the bye week to get better — and that’s what we’re doing,” safety Darian Thompson said.
While Petersen is anxious to see his team in a game setting, as opposed to on the practice field, his team said having a bye following a loss has enabled them to put their focus onto their own problems.
“Obviously we would’ve liked to get on the field, but the two-week wait was perfectly fine with us,” Moore said.
More time ahead for Fields: The Broncos ran only 56 offensive plays against Michigan State, and coupled with a run game going nowhere (37 yards), true freshman running back Jack Fields ran just once for two yards.
“I told him ‘we’ve got to get you the ball more than that,’” Petersen said. “He said ‘coach, don’t worry about it.’”
The 5-foot-9, 194-pound Fields ran for nearly 2,500 yards last season as a high school senior in El Paso, Texas.
Petersen said he envisions larger roles as the season progresses for players like Fields and receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes. Williams-Rhodes dropped a pass behind the line of scrimmage that was ruled a fumble since it was a lateral. Petersen said the play certainly upset him, but knows the youngster will learn.
“He’s going to be a dynamic playmaker,” Petersen said.
News and notes: Petersen said the four players suspended for the season opener — receiver Dallas Burroughs, quarterback Jimmy Laughrea, snapper Chris Roberson and running back Jay Ajayi — are “all eligible to play, I’ll say that. We’ll see if they do.” … Petersen said he won’t divulge injury updates early in the week for upcoming games unless the injuries are serious. … Petersen said the pass-heavy RedHawks are something “completely different” than the Spartans, who ran 244-pound Le’Veon Bell 44 times in the opener. Quarterback Zac Dysert is eighth in the nation with 29.5 completions per game.