With just under a week before the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl matchup between Boise State and Utah, Boise State's head coach Chris Peterson participated in a teleconference with Utah media Thursday.
When a media member asked what his mindset might be if his team were the underdog, Peterson heaped plenty of respect on Utah, and his counterpart Kyle Whittingham; refusing to take the role as favorite in this game.
"We have tremendous respect for Utah and the many things they have accomplished," said Peterson of his bowl opponent. "They're a heck of a team, a heck of a program. We feel like we've got our hands full [with them]."
With the injury to Jordan Wynn, and the subsequent naming of Terrance Cain as Utah's starting quarterback for the bowl game, Peterson said the change did little to alter his game plan, or bowl preparation for Utah.
"We try to prepare for a team's system, not a specific player," said Peterson. "If we had to replace our quarterback for injury or some reason, we wouldn't alter our whole system for him. So it's the same here. We have geared our game plan for Utah's offensive system."
Peterson did pause, however, to praise Cain and some of the things he brings to the table as an opposing player.
"He's a senior, so he's been through a lot and seen a lot," said Peterson. "He's a very good player and he's very effective."
The biggest revelation from Peterson, perhaps, was his mention that his team had practiced little in preparation for the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl. Having played its last game of the season on December 4, Boise State has had a week less to prepare for the game than has Utah. Utah played its final game of the season on November 27.
Another hindrance to Boise State's bowl preparation is the fact that most of its players have finals this week.
"We don't practice during finals week," said Peterson Thursday in addressing his biggest challenge in getting ready for his team's December 22 date with Utah. "So we've had little prep time for this game, and that's probably been the biggest challenge for us going in."
Though the Utes are also going through finals throughout bowl preparation time, they have managed to juggle scheduling conflicts for the most part and been able to practice, avoiding a layoff. The timing equals out to an almost two week-advantage in prep time for the Utes, and Kyle Whittingham has been known to be dangerous as an opponent when given time to game plan for a bowl opponent.
Boise State appears to be cramming in some practice/prep time, scheduling a practice late on Thursday night. Both teams will have arrived in Las Vegas by early afternoon on Saturday, and both teams will hold practices almost daily leading up to the Wednesday evening showdown. Most of the both team's bowl practices in Las Vegas will be closed to media.