BOISE- The following is a mock conversation between Boise State head football coach Chris Petersen and senior center Jeff Cavender last week:
Petersen: "Hey Jeff, how's it going today?"
Cavender: "Pretty good, Coach, I feel great and am really excited for Thursday's game. How are you?"
Petersen: "I'm doing fine, thanks, and glad to hear you are too. Let's just try not to get too distracted before kick-off, okay?"
Cavender: "Yeah, that's a good point, Coach, with the whole 'Blue and Orange Out' and the ESPN camera crews..."
Petersen: (gives a half-smile but doesn't say anything)
Cavender: (sheepishly adds) "Yeah, Coach, I know. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said what I said in the paper."
For all we know, that exact conversation could have taken place between Petersen and Cavender, the latter of which made a guarantee to the Idaho Statesman last Wednesday about tailback Ian Johnson.
"I promised him 150 yards and three touchdowns (against Southern Miss)," Cavender told the newspaper.
Johnson did make the guarantee come true. He had 191 total yards (111 rushing, 80 receiving) and three touchdowns in BSU's 38-16 win over the Golden Eagles.
But that doesn't matter, according to Coach Petersen.
"We just need to go play," said Petersen in his post-game press conference immediately following the win Thursday night. "We don't need to talk about it in the newspaper and guarantee anything. That just doesn't help us."
As expected, Cavender's comments found their way into 'Southern Miss territory.' In fact, they made the Golden Eagles' message boards on this very website, Eagletalk.net, undoubtedly adding motivation to an underdog football team already traveling to a hostile environment.
"You can talk to the coaches, you can talk to your teammates about what you're gonna do, and stand up in a team meeting and say something like that," added Petersen. "But just that...kinda gets into something we don't want to get into."
"At first everyone was like, 'Hey you can't really make that comment,'" said Ian Johnson. "Then it was kinda like, 'Hey, we said it, let's just do it.' And then (Southern Miss) kinda called us out, and then they called us out again. It basically just put a little bit of bulletin board material for them, then a little bit for us, and we fed off it."
Luckily for Boise State, the Broncos were the better team Thursday night, so now whenever Southern Miss coaches, players and fans reflect on the game, they'll try to figure out why they lost rather than what was said.
But the Broncos know better.
And they know it doesn't take much to lose a game. Just ask Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas, Rutgers, Clemson, or any other top program to lose this week.