Pundits Tough, Coach Tougher on Boise State After Another Win
But they've got nothing on Boise State head coach Chris Petersen.
Moments after another ho-hum Bronco domination of WAC upper-crust opponent Hawaii 42-7 on Saturday, Petersen was asked about Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Kellen Moore's career-best performance.
"I think the thing is, there are two interceptions that hit me right between the eyes," Petersen said. "He played great, but those are uncharacteristic throws."
To put Petersen's comments into perspective, his star junior quarterback was 30-of-37 passing for 507 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Moore's total yards were the third-best performance in school history -- and it was done while setting the school record for career touchdown passes and career 200-yard passing games.
And let's not forget Moore's string of 19 straight completions in the first half.
For Petersen, all of Moore's impressive statistics coupled with two interceptions equated to a shrug and a "good enough for government work" stamp of approval.
Step aside, pundits.
Then, there's Moore himself, the floppy-haired, unassuming quarterback who generates as many "that's the quarterback?" comments weekly as he does passing yards.
Moore's perspective remains in lockstep with his coach.
"I felt like we were rolling pretty well," Moore said of his team's offensive performance with the no-huddle system the Broncos brought out on Saturday. "But then you get a little too confident and you make a couple of picks."
And so goes Moore's analysis of his performance.
Senior wide receiver Austin Pettis, who also set a school record Saturday for career receptions, understands just how much his quarterback demands perfection.
"He's going to throw for 500 yards and then he's going to think more about those two picks and what he could have done different," Pettis said. "But that's just the kind of player Kellen is. He's a competitor."
And this was all after Boise State installed its own version of the no-huddle offense, one that certainly rivaled Oregon's gaudy numbers after one game. But Petersen doesn't see that a reason to show any leniency. After all, Moore had four extra days to prepare for Hawaii with the new offense.
"When he was watching film on Hawaii, Kellen just stared at the screen, longing, 'If I just had four wideouts, I could do some things.' And we know he could," Petersen said.
But he could also throw two interceptions amid the confusion and unfamiliarity of running the offense.
Even Moore dismissed a reporter's question about booking a flight to New York for the Heisman Trophy award ceremony after passing for over 500 yards.
"You know I don't care about that stuff," Moore said with the wave of his hand. And he meant it.
With each passing week, it becomes more and more evident than regardless of who's undefeated at season's end, Boise State probably won't be going to Glendale as one of the two teams in the BCS title game. But Boise State doesn't seem to care.
So what does Boise State care about?
Wins? Wins over automatic-qualifying BCS opponents? Conference titles? Home winning streak? Overall winning streak? Impressing the voters?
Nah, none of that is important to Mr. Perfect Petersen, the man who has a penchant for signing overlooked players, turning them into overachievers, and creating a culture where nothing less than perfection will do.
There's always something to improve. The work is never done. Like his pundits, Petersen is far from impressed.
Even after completly disassembling a hot Hawaii team that was starting to show shades of its 2007 team, Petersen failed to see how the win would impress anyone.
"No, I don't think (we) made a statement," Petersen said of the win. "We're the same old Broncos. I think we played well, but you know how it goes on that front."
That front is the national media, polls and computers. And that front doesn't seem to like the Broncos. Well, them and every other red-blooded SEC and Big 12 fan who thinks their conference champion has a birthright to play for the BCS title.
So Petersen has long since ignored them. Hurl all the insults you like. Lob all the strength-of-schedule arguments that you can. Rip down the Broncos and stomp them in the mud.
But you better get in line behind Petersen.
Unlike TCU's Gary Patterson, you won't hear Petersen panhandling for his team to play for the BCS title -- at least not until the Broncos play a perfect game.
"The common question is, 'Can you continue that?'" Petersen said. "We know that. But it's easier said than done. We've got Idaho next, and that's going to focus us very quickly. This is the big month that we've been talking about. Hurdle one is Hawaii and it's cleared. Now, we're on to hurdle two, which is Idaho."
Hurdles three, four and five are Fresno State, Nevada and Utah State. And you can bet Boise State is going to clear them all. But don't bet on Petersen necessarily being all that happy -- nor anyone else if the stars somehow align and it puts the less-than-perfect Broncos into the BCS title game.