Coach Petersen happy with Hedrick

Coach Petersen happy with Hedrick
Boise State coach Chris Petersen hugs quarterback Grant Hedrick (9) after an NCAA college football game against Nevada in Boise, Idaho, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. Boise State won 34-17. (AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger)
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — For now, Boise State coach Chris Petersen can say what a lot of college football coaches could only hope for after losing a starting quarterback mid-season.

But three weeks after losing senior starter Joe Southwick, Petersen and the Broncos (6-3, 4-1) are still in the hunt for a Mountain West Conference title.

"There is still a lot to play for," Petersen said Monday. "These games are big for everybody at the end of the season. That's where we need to keep our focus, and stay excited about those things. It's easy to be worn down by a long season, a lot of injuries."

Especially when injuries hit the quarterback position.

Petersen said Southwick needs a couple of more weeks to heal from an Oct. 21 surgery to repair an ankle broken on the first series against Nevada.

Backup Grant Hedrick stepped in, rushed for two second-half touchdowns en route to a victory over the Wolf Pack. After a rough outing in a loss to BYU, Hedrick got Boise State back on track two weeks ago when he threw five touchdowns and ran for another in a 42-30 win at Colorado State.

So far this season, Hedrick has completed 69.8 percent of his passes for 801 yards and seven touchdowns. He's also added another dimension to the offensive playbook with his running skills. Since taking over, Hedrick has rushed for 169 yards on 25 carries.

He has also limited mistakes, throwing just two interceptions in 90 passing attempts, and his experience as Southwick's backup and knowledge of the offense the last two years has prevented the coaching staff from significantly shrinking the playbook.

Petersen said all the positive things Hedrick has done are hardly a surprise.

"We've said it for a long time that we think Grant is going to be a heck of a player," Petersen said. "I think he's started to show that. He's got some really great tools and we've known that since the day we recruited him. His mechanics are really clean.

"So this is more of what we kind of knew he could do," Petersen said.

Petersen also said it's too soon to determine a starter when Southwick returns and is practicing at full speed. Southwick has been lobbying the team's medical staff to sign off on an early return, but Petersen shrugged off the notion when asked by reporters Monday.

"He'd be the starter last week if it was up to him," Petersen joked.

Hedrick and the Broncos are coming off a bye week and turning their focus from rest and recovering from nagging nicks and bruises to Wyoming (4-5, 2-3), a team coming off a 48-17 thumping at the hands of Fresno State.