Boise St.'s Petersen wants to stay, but keeping options open
BOISE, Idaho -- Chris Petersen says there could be another head coaching job appealing enough to make him consider leaving Boise State. But the coach of the Broncos (No. 25 BCS, No. 24 AP) insists he doesn't know where that job might be right now.
Petersen, who has compiled a 23-2 record in two seasons, is among a handful of candidates being linked to coaching vacancies across the college football landscape, including Georgia Tech, Nebraska and Baylor.
On Monday, Petersen, said he had not been contacted about any opening. He reaffirmed his commitment to Boise State, but left the door ajar when asked if he would consider other opportunities.
"It just would probably depend on the situation," he said. "And the only reason I say that is you never say 'never.' Is there a school out there that I'm kind of going ... 'if they called?' No, there's not.
"This is a great place and I'm completely happy here and hope we can stay here a long time," Petersen said.
Speculation about the long-term tenure of Bronco football coaches is a familiar pastime around southwest Idaho this time of year.
Two years ago, then-head coach Dan Hawkins, coming off a fourth consecutive Western Athletic Conference title, was lured away to Colorado and the prestige of competing in the Big 12 conference. Hawkins led the Broncos after Dirk Koetter, who led the Broncos for three seasons, left for Arizona State and the Pac-10 in 2001.
In a bid to keep Petersen and blunt the appeal of salaries paid to upper echelon coaches, Boise State administrators sweetened Petersen's contract at the end of last season. With his base salary and incentives, Petersen could earn more than $1 million this season.
Part of his bigger payday is tied to the team's performance this year.
The Broncos (10-2, 7-1) lost to Hawaii (No. 12 BCS, No. 11 AP) on Friday, snapping a nine-game winning streak and a run of five consecutive conference titles.
But the Broncos boasted the WAC's second-most potent offense, averaging 42.8 points and 475.7 yards per game. On defense, Boise State gave up the fewest points, 20 per game, and allowed a league-low 326.5 yards per game.
Still, the Broncos failed to get by Hawaii and make a case that last year's darling deserved a second straight invitation to a Bowl Championship Series game.
In Petersen's first year, he guided the Broncos to a perfect 13-0 record, capped by their thrilling overtime win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.
Petersen denied that playing in the Hawaii Bowl or at home in the Humanitarian Bowl -- the best bowl bets for the WAC's top two teams -- would be a letdown after playing for bigger stakes nearly a year ago.
"You've got to earn that," Petersen said. "Those are special bowl games and you've got to be a special team to get that done. We're obviously just not there quite yet. We're still a bit young and inexperienced in some places to be in that position."
Petersen said the players will have the week off to recover from a long season before bowl preparations begin next week. He also said offensive lineman Tad Miller will miss the postseason after tearing two ligaments against Hawaii. Petersen said return specialist Rashuan Scott also injured a knee and his status for the bowl game is uncertain, while cornerback Orlando Scandrick should be cleared to play despite dislocating a thumb Friday.
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