Profiles In Heroism: Chris Peterson

Submitted by Brian on December 7th, 2007 at 5:28 PM

Head Coach, Boise State
Age 43
Exp. 2nd year
Record 23-2
Previous Jobs
OC @ Boise State 2001-2005
WR coach @ Oregon 1995-2000
QB Coach @ Portland State 1993-1994
QB Coach @ Pitt 1992
Playing Career
UC-Davis QB, 1983-1986.

For some reason, Chris Petersen keeps getting brough up as a candidate for a Profile In Heroism by emailers and commenters. I will oblige, though it's just because he might have the best nickname outside of "OBC" in the coaching ranks: Papa Smurf. But, lo, he appears to be an attractive candidate.

At 43, he's beaten Oklahoma in the BCS and run up a 23-2 record. Before he was head coach, he coordinated the crazy effective Bronco offense to consistent success. And there was Trick Play Fiesta 2007, which endeared him to college football fans everywhere.

There's not much of a historical baseline to compare here, but what exists will be discussed in the "potential catches" section. In sum: Peterson's maintained, not built, the Boise legacy of WAC dominance. And really, how hard is it to dominate the WAC? If you can lose to one of the worst teams in the Pac-10 by two touchdowns, then house the rest of your conference, chances are that says more about San Jose State than it does Boise State.

None of these things are states!

Tot Scr
2007 10 5
2006 10 2
2005 29 9
2004 4 2
2003 7 1
2002 1 1
2001 14 18

Xs and Os Proficiency: As Boise State's offensive coordinator since 2001, Petersen has a wide array of shiny numbers to his credit; these can be seen at right. Boise gets guys in space against overwhelmed linebackers and eats them alive; the results against the rest of the WAC have been consistently devastating.

Petersen would be most welcome as an offensive coordinator.

Recruiting: A N/A; two years at a school in Idaho does not provide much in the way of info.

Potential Catches: Beating WAC teams is no great accomplishment, and Petersen stepped in to a situation ready-made for winning. Boise only moved from I-AA in 1996 and, after a rough first couple years, immediately established itself as the WAC power. BSU's worst year since a 4-7 1997 campaign was Dan Hawkins' first season, when the Broncos went 8-4. The rest of Boise State's existence as a I-A program: 10-3, 10-2, 12-1, 13-1, 11-1, 9-4.

This consistent success launched both Dirk Koetter and Dan Hawkins to BCS level jobs. Koetter was totally mediocre at Arizona State and was fired after six years; Hawkins is in his second year at Colorado -- too early to tell. But Petersen is not a Schiano or a Tedford who built up one of college football's doormats, he's just a guy who managed to not screw up Boise State's evident institutional advantages over the rest of the WAC.

This is not Urban Meyer, who turned around Bowling Green and Utah in record time. This is a guy who walked into success and has maintained it.

Relative Compensation: I think we could probably swing it.

Would He Take The Job? Yes.

Overall Attractiveness: No. If Oklahoma tackles that guy on the hook-and-ladder last year we are not having this conversation. Two years as a head coach at a place set up for success does not a Michigan candidate make.

Is he better than the idea of Hoke or Interim English? Yes. If Michigan really screws up this search 100% -- and they're on their way -- Petersen would be somewhere on the C list of guys who would obviously take the job if offered. But God, what a fiasco that would be.

Better that Debord? Several times better.