LAS VEGAS -- Here are some notes and quotes from Day 1 of Mountain West media day:
The biggest talk of the day was the arrival of Boise State and the imminent departure of TCU. To the surprise of no one, the Broncos were tabbed the preseason favorite to win the conference, a position they were quite accustomed to in the WAC.
Boise State coach Chris Petersen said: “Preseason polls are saying we’ve got some good players coming back. I don’t think it says anything about the team we have. We do have some good players but what we have to do is we have to develop our young talent. We have some older players who have played a lot of football and then we’ve got a gap between some guys who haven’t played and need the experience, need the knowledge. Our job as coaches is to narrow that gap.”
The Horned Frogs are the defending league champs, but have a new starting quarterback in Casey Pachall. Many believe the game between the two schools in Boise on Nov. 12 will decide the conference championship. Of course, that game was originally scheduled to be played in Fort Worth. But once TCU announced it was leaving for the Big East, the game was switched to Boise.
TCU coach Gary Patterson has voiced his displeasure on the matter, and said Tuesday he initially felt TCU was being treated as if it had already left the conference.
The Horned Frogs have a tough slate of games, and open MWC play in Week 2 -- at Air Force. That comes a week after opening at Baylor in a Friday night game on ESPN.
“The mark of a great football team is how you do on the road,” Patterson said. “You have to go on the road, every year we’ve ever had a great season, we’ve always started on the road.”
One thing is for certain in the game between the two teams -- Boise State won’t be wearing all blue uniforms. As part of its entry into the league, Boise State administrators agreed that the school wouldn’t wear its traditional blue jerseys and blue pants on the blue home field.
The MWC board of directors felt the all blue uniforms gave the Broncos an unfair advantage.
Air Force was tabbed to finish No. 3 in the conference and could be a dark horse contender in the league, especially if the Falcons pull off the upset of TCU to open conference play. They return eight starters on a solid defense, along with Tim Jefferson, Asher Clark and Jonathan Warzeka on offense.
San Diego State quarterback Ryan Lindley looked like a new man walking around media day, appearing much bigger in the upper body. Even Patterson took note, saying Lindley looked transformed. San Diego State coach Rocky Long said this about his veteran quarterback: "He’s big, he’s strong, he’s smart. He’s got a great arm and he’s got accuracy. What else do you want? The leadership role started toward the end of last year when he had complete confidence in his own ability and complete confidence in the system. That’s why we have not changed the system."