When Boise State opens the season on Friday at Michigan State, a former Oregon State quarterback will be among those trying to beat the Spartans.
Jonathan Smith joined the Boise State staff as quarterbacks coach earlier this year. He spent the last two seasons as offensive coordinator at Montana, where he had one of the top-scoring teams among FCS schools.
Before that, he had been the QBs coach at Idaho for six years.
Smith has an immediate challenge with coaching a new starter this season at BSU. Not just any starter, but the QB that replaces Kellen Moore.
A few days ago, junior Joe Southwick was named the starter after a fall camp competition that involved four signal callers.
Smith was a walk-on quarterback during his days at OSU. He says that his experience with the Beavers has helped his coaching career.
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“I always wanted to be a football coach,” Smith told the Idaho Statesman. “By going to the bigger school, I could always drop down (a level), but I thought I’d learn the most football. … It worked out well for exactly what I wanted to do.”
Smith played for Mike Riley and Dennis Erickson (1998-2001) and one of his position coaches was Paul Chryst, who is now the Pittsburgh head coach.
Smith played QB in the 1999 Oahu Bowl, completing 19 of 40 passes for 269 yards in a 23-17 loss to Hawaii. Despite the loss, it was the first time OSU had played in the postseason since the 1965 Rose Bowl.
The following year was better with Smith leading the Beavers to a 41-9 victory over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. Smith completed 16 of 24 passes for 305 yards and three TDs, and was named the game’s top offensive player.
After playing his final down, Smith joined OSU’s coaching staff as a graduate assistant. He worked for one year under Erickson and then Riley, who returned as head coach.