Boise State coach Chris Petersen spent nearly 10 minutes at Mountain West media days talking about discipline and the three simple rules that he asks his players to follow: Be early, make good decisions and finish everything.
Unfortunately for Petersen and the Broncos, he’s had to deal with an increasing number of players who haven’t been able to live up to those expectations. At least 12 Boise State players last season were given suspensions of at least one game. Three others were dismissed from the team, including starting defensive end Sam Ukwuachu.
Starting safety Lee Hightower and promising tight end Hayden Plinke were suspended from the University and are no longer students, while a whopping five players were suspended for Boise State’s loss to San Diego State.
“We have some simple rules and if you follow those it would be easy,” Petersen said. “But it’s easier said than done. I know this. It’s a privilege to play college football. I believe that through and through. I think it’s a privilege to coach college football. And with that privilege comes responsibility. I believe that so, so strongly — so that means you have to give up other things.
“You’re going to have to conduct yourself in a certain way. You’re not going to be able to be the normal college student. You’re just not. And if you are going to be that guy, then go somewhere else.”
Starting defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, who has been predicted by multiple preseason publications as the Defensive Player of the Year in the Mountain West, served two separate one-game suspensions last season. The second came when he missed the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, a 28-26 win over Washington.
Lawrence is still on the team this fall, but how many more chances will he get? Petersen has made it clear during his previous seven seasons in Boise that he doesn’t care how talented or important you are to the team. If you screw up, you’re gone. And Lawrence could be on his final straw.
The Broncos can only hope that the disturbing trend of suspensions and discipline problems don’t become an issue again this fall. There’s only so much they can take without losing an edge on the field.