Florida St NC State Football

Florida State quarterback James Blackman (1) looks to pass during the first half of a game against North Carolina State on Nov. 3, 2018.

BOISE — Chase Hatada is expecting a motivated Florida State team to greet Boise State when the Broncos kick off the season a week from Saturday in Jacksonville.

“This is the first time they didn’t make a bowl game in like, what, 65 years?” the senior defensive end said. “They are going to come out and be super hungry to attack us.”

It hasn’t quite been that long, Chase. Florida State’s streak was 36 consecutive years with a bowl appearance prior to missing out last year — the longest streak in the country. The Seminoles finished 5-7 for their first losing season since 1976.

“It’s a new year,” Hatada said. “Whatever happened last year with their team, it really doesn’t matter. They are going to come out hungry.”

Boise State dove into preparation for Florida State on Tuesday as it returned to the practice field for the first time since Saturday. Fall camp is in the books, and the Broncos have less than two weeks before playing the Seminoles on Aug. 31 in TIAA Bank Field in front of a national audience on ESPN.

The scout team jerseys were out as the Broncos practiced for the first time against some of the looks and plays they expect to see from the Seminoles. Film study of the Seminoles ramped up and parts of the game plan started to be installed.

“Guys are excited to move forward and prepare for an opponent,” linebacker Bruno DeRose said.

The word of the day Tuesday from Boise State’s defensive players? Tempo.

“A lot of tempo,” DeRose said. “They do everything very fast. … What they do they do it very well, so we have to be consistent and sound with our fundamentals and techniques and do what we do very well.”

Florida State was one of the worst offensive teams in the country last year. They ranked 113th in scoring at just 21.9 points per game, 103rd in total offense at 361.2 yards per game and 127th in rushing offense at just 91.1 yards per game.

But they’ve added former Baylor and Houston offensive coordinator Kendall Briles and made some personnel changes to the offensive line that they hope will help them get back on track.

In addition to watching Florida State tape from last year, the Broncos have gone back and watched their loss to Baylor in the 2017 Cactus Bowl when Briles was the offensive coordinator for the Bears. They also are analyzing Briles’ offense last year at Houston.

The common denominator? Speed.

“They are a really good football team,” Hatada said. “Utah State had tempo and we had ways to prepare for them, but we have to be ready. Those guys are darn good football players and we have to go out and prepare for tempo and prepare for speed.”

On defense the Broncos are also expecting Florida State to be much improved. The Seminoles have eight starters back from a group that allowed 31.5 points per game — their most since 1973.

Florida State brings back eight of its top 10 tacklers and will have size and speed on that side of the ball that the Broncos rarely see playing a Mountain West schedule.

“It’s definitely a unique challenge,” Boise State left tackle Ezra Cleveland said. “The biggest challenge I would say is they are all decently heavy. Most guys in the Mountain West aren’t really that heavy, but most of them are 260 (pounds) and above. It will be a tough challenge.”

Boise State will continue to focus on the Seminoles this week ahead of Saturday’s 2 p.m. Fan Fest, an open practice at Albertsons Stadium. Game week officially begins after that.

“It’s exciting,” Hatada said. “When we started fall camp we were just focusing on ourselves and getting better but it’s almost here. This is the first day of preparation for (Florida State), so we have a lot to improve on but by the time 8/31 comes around, we’ll be ready. If you can’t get excited for this one, then you shouldn’t be playing football.”

B.J. Rains is the Boise State beat writer for the Idaho Press and a two-time winner of the NSMA Idaho Sports Writer of the Year Award. Follow him on Twitter @BJRains.

B.J Rains has covered Boise State athletics for the Idaho Press since 2013. He is an Associated Press Top 25 men's basketball poll voter, and also contributes to KBOI-TV as a Boise State insider.

Support Local Journalism


Load comments