Idaho Free Press from Nampa, Idaho on February 23, 1976 · Page 12
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Idaho Free Press from Nampa, Idaho · Page 12

Nampa, Idaho
Issue Date:
Monday, February 23, 1976
Page 12
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The Idaho Free Press The News-Tribune, Monday, February 23.1976 - A-4 'lhop«p«ople evaluate me are two diflerenl people . . about what the learn does . . on my own merits . . . . I think more people Coach Knap and I will be concerned . 'The chances o winning really appeared \o be high here. It's the best head coaching job lhat opened up In Ihe Western United States I h l s v e a r . . . ' 'We want conlidence In ouf throwing game . . . Bui we also want to have a strong enough running game that we kaep Ihe other team's defense from zeroing i n . . . ' 'I Ihink that Ihe kids we hate now, combined with Ihe ones we hope to gel, ij'm us a good shot al keeping the league title . . . ' photos by Diane Dlian C'finer Boise State's new football coach discusses the job B y J o r m l l . Klllcn BOISE -- Trying to interview Jim Criner. the new head fool ball coach al Boise Stale University, is a lilile like trying to interview Mandrake Ihe Magician. Now you see him. now you don'l. It's not that Criner is shy. or rude, or on Ihe FBI's ten most wanted list. It's just lhal every person and phone call that was coming into Ihe Boise Stale Varsity Center Friday afternoon seemed to be looking for or calling for Ihe 35-year-old former UCLA assistant. Add to that the fad that Criner himself was trying to keep tabs on more recruils than the L'.S Army and a reporter can look up to find a lot of his questions being directed at nolhing but an empty chair. But when (he man is in the room and when the phone does stop ringing fora moment, the reasons Criner was named to the job begin to come through. ONE OF CRl.NEH'S .MOST obvious trails is what seems lo be an amazing ability to keep a tremendous number of things going through his mind at one lime. His mind, in fact, may be the only thing that gets arounrl more than the coach does himself. Criner has to have one of the world's greatest mental transmissions. He can shift gears faster than Mario Andretti. One minute, he'll be answering a question about what he thinks makes a good offense and the next he'll be telling an assistant coach what to do about a problem in the equipment room Then he's back lo Ihe offense wilhout missing a beat. In the midst of a discussion of recruiting practices, he'll suddenly ask athletic director Lyle Smith for a scholarship form for a defensive back from California and then, he's back to his explanation of what he feels makes a good recruiter Criner's ability to get down lo Ihe specifics behind his philosophies is also intriguing While many coaches seem lo have come out of college with a degree in how lo generalize to reporters. Criner can lell you just why one certain player should fit into hisoffense and why another isn'l quite what he has in mind. One observer of Criner's lalk lo Ihe Idaho Press Club Friday afternoon remarked that Criner didn't seem to have the charisma of a Tony Knap but hack in the environment of the athletic offices, it was obvious Ibal even in the small amount of time lhat his travels have allowed him lo spend so far at BSU. Criner has established a very real atmosphere of control and confidence surrounding Ihe football offices. THAT WASN'T AN EASY JOB. Afler all. bow simple could ilbelo move into the office of a living near-legend and take control when the shock waves started by the departure of Knap were yet to subside. But Criner seems very un-awed by himself and not Ihe least bit worried about Knap's shadow. "Coach Knap and ! are Iwo completely different lypcs of coaches and I'm not really worried aboul people making comparisons belween us." said Criner when asked about the difficulty of replacing the man who took BSU to Ihe Big Sky title and (lie NCAA Division II playoffs the last Ihree years. "What I hope people will do is evaluate me on my own merils. "I really think people will be more concerned aboul what (he team does as opposed to what I do. If we win, I suppose there'll be some recognition far me -- and for my staff -- and if we lose, well, I'm sure there'll be criticism. "But people shouldn't make comparisons. The outcome is Ihe important thing, not who's bringing it about." The outcome Criner says he'd like lo bring aboul is another Big Sky title. "We're not thinking about two or three years, but about this season that's coming up. We want lo keep thai title." That's a pretty big order and Criner knows il. What prompted him lo lake on the BSU job in the first place? "Well, I think its the best head coaching job that's opened up in (he western United States this year, outside of the USC and UCLA head coaching positions." That puts (he Broncos in prclty class company, al least in Ihe eyes of the man that's now running the show. "The chances of winning really appeared lo be high here," said Criner, explaining what went through his mind when he The pass isn't gone, but you'11 see the I considered taking the job. "It's Ihe best town in the conference from a recruiting stand poinl and (here's great support from trie administration, and community. And there's a lot of potential for growth in (he program "ASSKSS1NO AM. THOSK THINKS, of all Ihe jobs thai have opened up. 1 Ihink this one gives me Ihe besl chance lo do what I want lo do as a head coach." Being a bead coach isn't something Criner has approached lightly, lie's coached just aboul everything there is lo coach on a football team and al several major colleges Utah, Cal. BYU besides UCLA -- and it hasn't been because he couldn't hold down any one job. Everywhere he's been. Ihe unit he's been responsible for has stood oul in Ihe statistics. He's travelled his route for a purpose. "I've made a point lo gel as much exposure as possible to as many people as possible. "Coaching is like leaching. Voushouldn'l lock yourself into any one position. You shnuld gel as much exposure as you can to as many different ideas as you can and then draw on the tilings lhat you think will work besl for you. "Over Ihe years. I've been learning nol only football, hul I've also been learning how to run a program as a head coach. I feel lhal now I've had Ihe necessary exposure lo different ideas and now I'm ready lo apply the theories lhat I've got about running a program." The program that Criner has planned for Boise Slale will differ greally from lhal Knap ran for the past eighl years, bul the reasoning behind his attack is similar lo that used by Knap. Bolh coaches developed Iheir football philosophies by adapling Ihe type of football Ihey themselves found hardest lo deal with over (he years. "Our main idea on offense," says Criner, "will be to keep the dcfenseoff balance all Ihe time. Thai's why we'll be going more with a 5U-5D approach -- half passing antl hal.' running -- instead of passing mosl of the lime as Ihey've done here before. "We want (o have confidence in our throwing game, regardless of Ihe down or distance. "Bul we also want to have a strong enough running game, though, lhal we keep the other team's defense from zeroing in our passing game." Whal Boise Slate fans will see in Ihe fall, then, is an T formation with a lol of variations. "WK'I.I. SPt.lT T1IK BACKS so we can allack either the strong or Ihe weak side of Ihe defense. We'll make use of the pro, Ihe slot, (he double-wing -- several different variations." If it all sounds fairly complicated lo you, you're righl. II is. Thai's why Criner needs special people lo run (he show. He losl one of (hem when Ray Dilulo, the Boise High back he hoped (o use as (he main man in his running game, signed wilh Minncsola. Bul he slill has a shot at another of Ihose special people. This one is Dee Picked, (he former Vallivue High quarterback who's presently at Walla Walla Community College in Spokane. Criner first became aware of Pickell when he firsl arrived in Boise. "Everyone was talking aboul him so I took a look al some films, and 1 was really impressed with him. Joe Davis, Ihe Santa Barbara quarterback, was Hie junior college nil- American, but Oee is better." The reason Criner wants Picket! so badly is lhal in his offense, lie needs someone who can drop back lo throw, run Ihe play action pass and run Ihe weak side sprint "Dee can do all of Ihose things and a lol more," says Criner. Criner likes his chances of landing Pickeli. bul he's not Ihe only one interested. The firsl lime he tried to set a hold of Picked, he couldn'l reach him because Dee wasn't home He was in Las Vegas, lalking lo Tony Knap. Saturday. Criner flew lo Walla Walla lo talk to Pickell and as of Sundav af- Icrnoon. Picket! was slill undecided. "Dee. along wilh other quarterbacks we already have, can help us do Ihe sort of things we wanl to do. offensively." Defensively, Bronco fans will be seeing new things as well Broncos have been a ·!-:! learn Ihe past few years, but Criner is thinking along Ihe lines of something completely differenl "WK WANT TO STAHT from a seven or cighf man front and we hope lo build around a greal noseguard. Bul thai, of course, will all be diclaled by who we'll have to beat lo win the lille. We'll have a zone concept." In the past, Boise has been a man-lo-man type leam defensively. Criner has a sound explanation for his approach. "The Irend around Ihe country has been lowards the option game, so defensively, people have gone from the -!-3 to Oklahoma t odd -man front) type defensives. The idea is lo gel a man on Ihe perimeter, which is very important lo slop the option game." If Criner's right aboul the odd fronl doing, a betler job on the option, he has just the licket for stopping other Big Sky teams. Idaho. Montana, Montana Slale. Idaho Stale, and Northern Arizona all use variations of the option game, employing eilher (he veer or the wishbone. "Defensively." Criner says, "you must be ahead of the trend." And lo do that, the coach feels he must go wilh an odd-man fronl. How does Criner propose lo find Ihe special people he needs to fill out his roster? "Well, we feel we can find mosl of the people we need right here in Idaho." So that's what Criner is Irying to do with all his running around. He's been visiling alhleles. their parenls and Iheir coaches. Irying to convince them that Boise Slale can help them and lhat Ihey can help Boise Slale. His idea is lo find 11 or 12 players lhat he's sure of and then fill out Ihe rest of Ihe roster with JC transfers and other recruits. "We definitely feel we can find Ihe kids we need here in Idaho. These players are well developed because of the caliber of the programs Ihey come out of. If we can keep Ihe besl of Ihcm here al Boise Slale. we can play anyone. "Of course, because of the small population of the stale we're going lo have lo go out of stale for some players, bul as : we do belter. I Ihink we'll go outside lor fewer and fewer of ' them. "The high school coaches here do as good a job as any do anywhere, despite whal you hear about California football or Texas football. If a guy doesn't lake these athletes he's crazy." CIIINEB IS ALSO IMl'KKSSEI) with Ihe people he already has at Boise Stale. "The thing that makes me feel bad aboul all Ihe (ravelling I've been doing is the fact lhat I haven't had more lime lo spend with Ihe team because lliey're the mosl important I haven'l really had the chance lo gel lo know them as well as I'd like lo. "But I'm really impressed with Ihose lhat I have talked to and 1 really thought a lot of the way they carried on Iheir off- season conditioning program even though there wasn't a head coach .iround for that period of time. Thai reailv shows me a lol "1 Ihink lhal wilh Ihe kids we have now. combined wilh the ones we hopo in pel. give us a good shot al keeping the league Boise finishes off Zags HyPaUJarrily BOISE --Shooting a brilliant 87 per cent from Ihe foul line in the first half and an outstanding 57 per cenl from Ihe field in Ihe second half. Boise State's Broncos remained in the thick of (he Big Sky Conference basketball race with an B9-65 victory over Gonzaga Saturday nighl. For a while, though, il didn't look like Ihe game would even be finished. With 14:51 remaining in Ihe second half and Boise Slale. ahead 50-3-1. Bulldog coach Adrian Buoncristiani pulled his leam off Ihe floor lo protest a Dan Jones reject of Jim (Jrady's shot. Buoncristiani fell that goallending should have been called, and he ordered his leam into the locker room Gonzaga returned after about four minutes lo Ihe vocal displeasure of the Bronco fans, and continued play after accepting a technical foul for delav of the game. Ironically. BSU's 76-70 loss lasl Saturday lo Ihe Bulldogs, in Spokane saw Bronco coach Bus Connor complaining about Ihe officiating. The win pu(s Boise Slate right in Ihe middle of the Big Sky race, bolh for Ihe championship and a berth in Ihc four-learn playoff lo dcliM-mino the conference's representative in Ihe NCAA Tournament BSU now has a T'i record ;mc! is in a three-way lie for second with V.'eber State and Idaho State. Northern Arizona is in the lead wilh an 8-t mark, while Monlana and Montana Slate -- who were tied for first before the weekend - - arc slill in it wilh 6-5 marks. Olhflr Big Sky games Saturday nighl saw Idaho Slale drop Idaho 92-63 in Pocalollo. Northern Arizona dump Montana Slale 85-81 in Flagslaff and in Ogucn. Montana fell lo Weber Slaw. 76-66. for Idaho Stale, things came easily against Ihe Vandals as Ihe Bengals hil r6 per cenl from Ihe field and forced Idaho into 21 turnovers. ISU led at hall'time 45-27 and Idaho never had a chance. Greg Griffin's 17 poinls was high for the Bengals as coach Jim Killingsworlh ran his bench into the game early in the second half. Steve Hayes. ISU's 7(i cenler. had just 15 but passed Ihe son-point mark for the season before leaving (he game At Flagstaff. MAU guard Tom DcBerry pul (he 'Jacks ahead for good 73-72 on a pair of free throws with 5:58 left and Northern wenl on to take Ihc win and undisputed league lead in a game that was close all Ihe way. Jimmie Watts scored 2J poinls for Weber as the Wildcats kepi themselves in Ihc (hick of things against Montana. In Boise. Terry Miller led bolh squads in scoring with 16 points, while Steve Connor added 15 markers, and Trent Johnson and Dan Jones contributed 12 and 10 respectively for the Broncos. Grady paced Ihe Bulldogs with 15 poinls, and John Holsiein chipped in 14. Overall, BSU was 51 per cenl from Ihe field on 32 of G3allempts, while Gonzaga was26of7l for a very- low 37 per cenl. The Broncos were a fine 25 of 32 from Ihe free throw line, including 13 of 15 in the first half. Gonzaga was 13 of 20 from the charity stripe. BSU had a definite edge on the boards, outrebounding Ihe visitors 49-32. The versitile Miller led Ihe Broncos with II) boards, while Betty Denson, Ken Howard in regional meet WASHINGTON'. D.C. iSpscial) - Belly Denson of Caldwell and Kenny Howard of \ampa will represent Idaho in Ihe Western Regional of the Ualeigh Bowling Spectacular '76 !o be conducted by Ihe National Bowling Council in Sail I,ake Cily. Utah on February 28-29. Denson and Howard won Ihe right lo represent Idaho in this compelition by winning scratch all evcnl.5 titles in the 1975 tt'IHC and A IK.' slate association tournaments. They will be joining representatives of 12 oth"r stales at Salt Lake City Irying lo advance lo the nalional finals in Oklahoma Cily next May. The top five howlers from four llcgionals in bolh Ihc men's and women's divisions, move on to Oklahoma Cily This stale champions portion of Ihe '76 Spec lacular is lo dclernrne national nonprofcssional champions. Older liegionals are scheduled at Uuffaln. ,V. V.. Winslon-Salem. N.C. and Wichila, Kan The slale representatives competing al Sail Ijke Cily are from Alaska, Arizona. California, Colorado, Hawaii. Idaho. Montana. Ne\.idj, New Mexico. Oregon. Ulah. Washington and Wyonrng. Bowlers will roll 12 games in Itcgional competition, Johnson added nine caroms. For the Bulldogs. Willie Moss and Grady each garnered seven rebounds. Boise Slale held the early lead on the scoring of Miller and Hoke, bul Gonzaga began to pull close on Ihe oulside bombs of 6-2 guard Holsiein. The Broncos, who were ahead 14-5 al one poinl, saw thai advantage shrink lo 21-19 wilh 7:30 remaining. ISSU then chose lhal moment lo gel their offense in gear, oulscoring Ihe Bulldogs 16-4 to assume a 3723 halftime lead. Buoncristiani received one technical in the first 20 minutes, as he was unhappy wilh the Bronco parade to Ihe free llirow line. The Bulldogs were only one of two from the line to BSU's 13 of 15. The second half was all Boise Stale, as Ihe Broncos rushed oul to a 16-18 point lead. Then Ihe Jones goaltending controversy oecured, and for a minule il seemed possible thai Ihe game might end prematurely. Gonzaga did manage lo pull lo wilhin 13 on several occasions, the lasl wilh 10 minutes remaining al 57-4-1. At thai point, Jones turned in a thrce-poinl play to put the Broncos safely oul of reach- Boise Stale concludes its Big Sky season Ihis weekend wilh crucial games ngainst Monlana and Montana Slate, which will undoublably decide (possibly wilh the aid of a coin flip) if and in whal position BSU will make Ihe playoffs. BOISE STATE It.GOHZAGAIS GCHZAGA 0 FT Hoilfein IS 1-3 Sleek Firne MOH in Hclter 9 0 Jon«» 1 4 Dcweeir Gradr TOTALS BOISE S T A T E Corner Trulamch Milltr fr M 11 17 0 0 1! M srewart Nioell JVcKenna Chrltlianton 7-1 M Httr 1-1! 14 TOTALS 11 II » 11 1 BnuSlaft )! Owua«* 1: REIOUNDIKO -- Reit* Statf «, r.or.|»«a 31. lnc*ividgall II, IttaiHK t, Vni I. GrUl '. SHOOTINO PERCENTAGE! - fli Srale M I. Gcnilfa 14 4. TURNOVERS - fctiu Slllf H. Goniata Pfctto ky airy (

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