After ‘tough day,’ Boise State AD searches for a football coach; defensive analyst promoted

Boise State athletic director Jeramiah Dickey was on the job for less than a week the last time he began a search for a football coach.
A new search began Sunday when Boise State fired Andy Avalos after almost three seasons as the head coach at his alma mater.
Avalos was the first coach Dickey hired when he replaced former athletic director Curt Apsey in 2021.
“This was one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make,” Dickey told reporters on Monday. “I care very much about Andy, and ‘once a Bronco, always a Bronco’ is important to us.”
Dickey said Monday that an internal search committee is being finalized and the department will use a search firm outside the university to help identify the Broncos’ next coach.
“Yesterday was a tough day,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s my job to do my best to serve these student-athletes, and yesterday was a big part of that.”
Dickey wouldn’t go into specifics about why Avalos was fired or why he was dismissed now instead of at the end of the season. He did say the outcome of Boise State’s game against New Mexico on Saturday — a lopsided win — had no bearing on his decision, which suggests his mind was made up before Saturday.
“My goal when making tough decisions is for my head, my heart and my gut to align,” Dickey said. “Once they did, I felt like it was the right decision.”
Things on the field haven’t been perfect during Avalos’ tenure. The Broncos are 22-14 since he was hired in 2021, and they’ve had to overcome slow starts the past two years.
Last year, a loss at UTEP dropped them to 2-2 and cost offensive coordinator Tim Plough his job. This year, a 1-4 record on the road left the Broncos with a sub-.500 record in November for the first time since 1997.
“It’s difficult,” Dickey said when asked Monday to describe how the Broncos have performed the past three years. “We’ve gone to two bowl games, and we have the opportunity for a third. I still believe in our team. We have two games left, and I fully expect us to be playing in a bowl.”
What went wrong for Avalos off the field is more difficult to quantify, but the Broncos have lost high-profile players to the transfer portal mid-season in each of the past two years. Four-year starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier left after the loss to UTEP last year and ended up at Louisiana Tech.
This year, leading receiver Eric McAlister informed the team early last week that he plans to sit out the rest of the season and transfer when the portal opens Dec. 4.
Dickey wouldn’t comment on the atmosphere in the locker room.
“I’m not going to go into the inner workings of our department,” he said. “But I would not have made this decision in-season if I didn’t feel comfortable moving forward.”
Dickey didn’t put a specific timetable on the search for the Broncos’ next coach, but he said he wants one in place as soon as possible, especially with early signing day coming up Dec. 20. He also said he already has a “short list” of candidates.
Dickey, Avalos and interim head coach Spencer Danielson addressed the team Sunday. Danielson said the players were surprised, but he also said they’re resilient.
“We’ve got a great group of kids,” he said. “We’re going to focus on finishing strong the next two weeks, and who knows? We could be playing for a championship.”
Boise State (5-5, 4-2 Mountain West) is fighting for bowl eligibility and to stay alive in the conference title race this weekend when it travels to Utah State on Saturday (5 p.m., CBS Sports Network). The Broncos host Air Force in the regular-season finale Nov. 24.
Collins to join full-time staff
This is Danielson’s second stint as an interim coach. He also filled the role after former Boise State coach Bryan Harsin left for Auburn in 2020.
“I can’t say enough about Spencer and his heart and how he leads and serves,” Dickey said on Monday. “I know everyone in this building believes in him.”
Danielson said Monday that he’ll continue to call plays as the defensive coordinator, but he’ll coach the rest of the season from the sideline, instead of his usual perch high above the field in the coaches box.
He also said Boise State is promoting senior defensive analyst Ron Collins to full-time assistant coach for the rest of the season. Collins joined the staff as an analyst last year.
Collins was defensive coordinator at Boise State from 2002 to 2005. He held the same position at Colorado and Ohio before he retired in November 2021. He also coached linebackers at all three stops, meaning he was Avalos’ position coach at Boise State.
“He was excited for the opportunity,” Danielson said of Collins. “He’s done a great job with some in-season opponent scouting, and he does a great job with our players, too.”
This is the second year in a row that an analyst with ties to Boise State has been promoted to a full-time role. Last year, former Boise State head coach Dirk Koetter took over the offense after Plough was fired.
Boise State quarterback Maddux Madsen delivers a pass in the first half of the Broncos’ 42-14 win over New Mexico last weekend. He was injured at the end of the first half and will miss significant time, interim head coach Spencer Danielson said Monday.
Boise State quarterback Maddux Madsen delivers a pass in the first half of the Broncos’ 42-14 win over New Mexico last weekend. He was injured at the end of the first half and will miss significant time, interim head coach Spencer Danielson said Monday. Kyle Green For the Idaho Statesman
Madsen out for ‘foreseeable future’
Quarterback Maddux Madsen won’t be taking snaps for the Broncos “for the foreseeable future,” Danielson said Monday.
The redshirt freshman made the first start of his career Saturday against New Mexico, but he sustained a knee injury late in the first half. He spent the second half on the sideline with a brace on his right knee.
That means 6-foot-6 redshirt sophomore Taylen Green will be the starter once again. He started 19 games for the Broncos before Madsen was named the starter against the Lobos.
“We’re all about Taylen Green,” Danielson said.
Green, the 2022 Mountain West Freshman of the Year, is No. 2 on the team with six rushing touchdowns and No. 3 with 293 yards on the ground. He’s thrown for 1,205 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions this season, but he hasn’t attempted more than eight passes in the past five games.
He completed 5-of-6 passes for 63 yards and scored on a 19-yard touchdown run against the Lobos. He also led two scoring drives in the second half.
Boise State offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan said expectations are high for Green as the season enters the home stretch.
“I think I’ve been pretty candid in saying he has not been put in easy situations,” Hamdan said Monday. “In my years doing this and working with quarterbacks, I’m also not sure there will be a guy I’m more proud of.”
▪ Danielson said Monday that he’s excited to have running back Ashton Jeanty back at practice this week, but he stopped short of saying the Broncos’ leading rusher will play Saturday at Utah State.
Jeanty has been out since he sustained a lower-body injury in the first half of Boise State’s win over Wyoming on Oct. 28. He leads the Broncos with 921 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground, and he’s No. 2 on the team in receptions (30), receiving yards (396) and receiving touchdowns (4).
▪ Danielson also said linebacker Marco Notarainni will be out for several more weeks, but he didn’t share specifics about his injury. Notarainni has missed the past two games.

Latest Player Notes

How a Wisconsin legend got his German protégé into Badgers pro day

Mar 15, 2024 Marlon Werthmann put his life on hold for the opportunity in front of him Friday at the McClain Center.Werthmann ...

Why former Wisconsin football running back Braelon Allen didn't run the 40 at pro day

Mar 15, 2024 Braelon Allen’s sweat covered his shirt and dripped off his beard as he approached a group of reporters Friday.The ...

How can UW recruit its best class ever? It starts with these five prospects

By Andy Yamashita Seattle Times staff reporter Jedd Fisch has lofty recruiting goals at Washington. He didn’t waste any ...

Texas football kicks off spring practice Tuesday. We answer 24 questions for the 2024 team

Things certainly look fresh for the 2024 college football season, especially on the Texas campus.There’s a new conference ...

College Football Playoff: Conferences solve their differences (for now) and agree on general framework for 2026 and beyond

The FBS conferences and Notre Dame agreed on Friday to continue the College Football Playoff beyond the 2025 season, signing ...

Ball security, leadership key as Aztecs look to identify starting quarterback

San Diego State seemingly auditions a new starting quarterback on an annual basis.In the past 12 years, the Aztecs have opened ...

Results and more: A look at what happened at Penn State football’s Pro Day inside Holuba Hall

Most of those at Penn State’s Pro Day Friday were relatively quiet throughout the afternoon’s workouts, but there was one ...

Defense dominates first two weeks of Oregon State spring practice as Beavers ready for 2-week breather

CORVALLIS – Oregon State hit the break of spring practices Saturday, not exactly the midpoint but a good place to assess ...

Dillon Gabriel to have similar input, autonomy as Bo Nix had in Oregon’s offense

Published Mar. 16, 2024, 6:26 p.m.By James CrepeaEUGENE — Dillon Gabriel will have much of the same autonomy as Bo Nix did ...

Two transfers, one underclassman who impressed in Missouri football's spring game

With that, spring camp’s a wrap.Missouri football held its Black & Gold spring game Saturday in front of a healthy crowd ...
See More Player Notes