BOISE — Boise State coach Chris Petersen was excited to see his quarterbacks compete in the team’s first fall scrimmage Saturday.

Afterward, he found himself having just as many unanswered questions at the position as he did coming into it.

The clock is ticking for the Broncos to find a starting quarterback out of a four-man competition with the season opener in 19 days and the final fall scrimmage coming next weekend.

“They were average,” Petersen said after the closed scrimmage. “... It’s different than just practice. We’ll be looking forward to coming out here next Saturday with a crowd and hopefully taking a step forward.”

Petersen said “we’re not where we need to be” and that the quartet, comprised of junior Joe Southwick, sophomore Grant Hedrick, redshirt freshman Jimmy Laughrea and true freshman Nick Patti has “shown flashes.”

On Wednesday, Petersen said he was hoping the competition would be narrowed to two or three next week, but that now may be less likely.

“I think there’s some separation, but it’s not enough to go ‘OK, we’ve got our guy,’” Petersen said. “Every time I start to think ‘we might have our guy,’ we don’t have our guy. We’ll have a guy — eventually.”

Though Petersen wasn’t terribly pleased with his offense, he said “the defense did very well, created some turnovers.” He pointed at one player in particular who made a big splash.

“Deon’tae Florence showed up really nice today,” Petersen said.

Florence, a junior college transfer, is a redshirt sophomore cornerback who had two interceptions and ran a fumble back for a touchdown in the scrimmage.

“He had a good day — all the DBs did a good job,” cornerback Jamar Taylor said.

The defensive backs, anchored by seniors up front with Taylor and Jerrell Gavins, have been a bright spot thus far in fall camp. With Florence, Ebo Makinde and Bryan Douglas behind them, coupled with talented youngsters at safety in sophomores Lee Hightower and Jeremy Ioane, Petersen has optimism about what the group will bring this season.

“I think our secondary’s done a decent job out there,” Petersen said Saturday when asked about standout groups. “... Those guys are showing up.”

Boise State’s defense also “very much eliminated” big plays, Petersen said, though he did give kudos to true freshman running backs Devan Demas and Jack Fields.

“They looked very good,” offensive lineman Joe Kellogg said. “We’re going to need them this year.”

COMING UP

The team will hold a short, closed practice today. ... The fall scrimmage, which will be held next Saturday at Bronco Stadium at 7 p.m., is free to the public. … Boise State will hold a dedication ceremony Wednesday at Dona Larsen Park, the new home for the Broncos’ softball and track teams, along with Boise high schools’ football teams.

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