**6:30 p.m. - Tuesday, July 26, 2011-Las Vegas, Nev.**
Boise State coach Chris Petersen, quarterback Kellen Moore, and safety George Iloka had their turn at the podium this afternoon as press conferences wrapped up at Red Rock Resort and Casino. Here are some excerpts from Moore and Iloka's comments. Check back for information about where to watch a recording of the podium session in its entirety. Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson will address the media tomorrow morning.
Kellen Moore-on the Broncos having a bulls eye on their back as they join the Mountain West: "Certainly we expect the best out of every opponent that we face and we know that they are going to bring their "A" game. We're going to be prepared for that and that is just the way we expect it to be. We recognized quickly the challenge of the new conference; week-in and week-out facing an opponent that we have never faced. It's very unique when it is week 8, 9, 10 and you're still facing someone you have never seen before."
Kellen Moore on replacing wide receivers Titus Young and Austin Pettis: "I think we'll be just fine. I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't miss those guys-I played with them for three years so I have been very fortunate with that. But we have guys that are just as talented, but a little less experienced, who will be ready to go."
George Iloka on sharing the MW with TCU for one year: It's going to be exciting playing TCU for the third time. Year-in and year-out they are at the top of the conference, similar to how we have been in the WAC. Playing them this year on the blue is going to be a fun experience and I'm looking forward to it."
George Iloka on his role in the secondary this year: "We shouldn't miss a beat out there. Whoever coach Yates puts at strong safety should be fine. Being a senior and being a leader this year I might have to be more vocal and have some more checks but those are responsibilities that I am ready for.
Kellen Moore on the Broncos home field advantage and the game day atmosphere in Boise: "It's a great place. Boise is a special place and I have loved it. It's a football town. People worry about the blue turf, but they also have to deal with a crowd that sometimes gets color coordinated and all that fun stuff. It's just a lot of fun.
**5:30 p.m. - Tuesday, July 26, 2011-Las Vegas, Nev.**
In advance of their podium sessions this afternoon, Boise State head coach Chris Petersen and players Kellen Moore and Geoge Iloka have been doing interviews with local TV and radio stations from various Mountain West markets. Here are some excerpts from Petersen's interviews:
On the competition level in the Mountain West: "We have them all circled, not just one or two teams. It's back to the same old formula-take it one game at a time and worry about ourselves".
On moving from the WAC to the Mountain West: "It is a very positive step. We like the teams, the competition and the locations".
Are the Broncos the standard bearer in the new look Mountain West? "No, I don't look at it like that. We are the new kids on the block and we have to prove ourselves all over again".
On the characteristics of the prototype Bronco player: "Hard working kids who are passionate and like to compete. They compete with an edge, but are humble and respectful of their opponents."
On why he has stayed at Boise State when other schools have contacted him: "We all want to be in a place where our family likes to live, where we can coach and recruit good players, and we have a chance to win. We have all of that at Boise State."
On the university and the community: "It is amazing how much support we have. The community, the school, and the football program are all tied together and dependent on each other".
**3:45 p.m. - Tuesday, July 26, 2011-Las Vegas, Nev.**
Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore was voted the preseason offensive player of the year in the Mountain West at the conference media days. He is joined on the preseason all-conference team by fellow Broncos Doug Martin (running back), Nate Potter and Thomas Byrd (offensive line), Billy Winn and Shea McClellin (defensive line) and George Iloka (defensive back). Boise State's seven players on the preseason All-Mountain West team are the most of any school, with TCU's four players the next highest total.
Linebacker Tank Carder of TCU was named the preseason defensive player of the year after winning 2010 POY honors. He was the only unanimous selection on the preseason all-conference team. Air Force senior kick returner Jonathan Warzeka was selected as the preseason special teams player of the year.
Moore was a Heisman Trophy finalist a year ago, and comes into the 2011 season with 38 career victories, a 68.1% completion percentage, more than 10,000 career yards passing, and holds virtually every Bronco passing record.
Check back later for an interview with Moore, plus conversations with George Iloka and coach Chris Petersen. Coaches and players from all eight Mountain West schools will be on the podium for press conferences later this afternoon, with Boise State slated for 4:45p.m. (MT).
**12:15 p.m. - Tuesday, July 26, 2011-Las Vegas, Nev.**
Boise State has been selected as the preseason pick to win the 2011 Mountain West title by a panel of media covering the conference. The Broncos garnered 28 of 31 first-place votes to easily out-distance defending league champion TCU, who picked up the other three first-place votes. Air Force and San Diego State rounded out the top half of the conference. Complete poll results are listed below:
2011 Mountain West Football Preseason Poll
Team (first-place votes)
Boise State (28)
San Diego State
Preseason all-conference teams will be revealed later today. Coaches and players, including Chris Petersen, Kellen Moore and George Iloka of Boise State, are doing interviews with local and national media this morning. The Broncos are scheduled for the podium in the press conference room at 4:45 p.m. (Mountain Time). All podium sessions are being streamed live at themwc.com.**Monday, July 25-Las Vegas, Nev.**
The anticipated media horde began descending on the Red Rock Resort and Casino today, with full festivities getting underway tomorrow morning. Boise State is being represented by head coach Chris Petersen, senior quarterback Kellen Moore (offense), and senior safety George Iloka (defense).
A Heisman trophy finalist a year ago, Moore is one of two Mountain West quarterbacks on the watch list for the 2011 Davey O'Brien Award, which goes to the top quarterback in the nation. The other is San Diego State's Ryan Lindley, who is also in attendance in Las Vegas this week. Iloka is the only MW player on the pre-season watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the top defensive back.
Several other Broncos are on pre-season watch lists for various awards, including senior running back Doug Martin for the Doak Walker Award. It will be interesting to see how Martin is viewed by the media here this week. One national publication had him as almost an afterthought among MW running backs following San Diego State's talented sophomore Ronnie Hillman, TCU's running back by committee led by Ed Wesley, and senior Asher Clark of Air Force. With questions at wide receiver following the departures of NFL draftees Titus Young and Austin Pettis, Martin could play an even bigger role in Boise State's offense this year.
The Mountain West pre-season poll and all conference teams will be announced at 11:30 AM Mountain Time on Tuesday. Second guessing and speculation on the results will begin at 11:31. The Boise State contingent is scheduled for a podium session along with San Diego State, UNLV, and New Mexico between 4:00-5:00PM Mountain time, with the Broncos expected to go at approximately 4:45PM. All podium sessions will be streamed live at themwc.com.
Another topic sure to be discussed here is the possibility of the Mountain West gaining BCS automatic qualifier status following the four year evaluation period that ends with the 2011 season. That is unlikely to happen, although the MW could be granted a waiver by the BCS even if they do not meet all of the criteria for AQ status. For either scenario to play out in favor of the Mountain West, the consensus seems to be that the expected bottom half of the league (Wyoming, UNLV, Colorado State, and New Mexico) will need to be much more competitive than they have been in recent years.
Mountain West players and coaches will have to share the spotlight (and elbow room) at Red Rock with participants in the World Team Hip-Hop Dance Competition. Dance teams have been practicing their routines in ballrooms, lobbies, and hallways throughout the day.
Keep checking back to broncosports.com as the voice of the Broncos, Bob Behler, and I bring you coverage of the 2011 Mountain West Football Media Days from Las Vegas.