Koetter’s lips tight on Boise opening
by George Henry
Associated Press Sports Writer
December 11, 2013 12:49 AM | 701 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who coached Boise State for three seasons, admitted his interest in returning to the Broncos, but he didn’t say much beyond that.
<Br>Associated Press photo
Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who coached Boise State for three seasons, admitted his interest in returning to the Broncos, but he didn’t say much beyond that.
Associated Press photo
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FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter isn’t saying much about his recent interview with Boise State.

Koetter confirmed Tuesday that he met with Boise State officials, but declined to elaborate.

“All I can tell you is the same thing (Falcons coach Mike Smith) told you (Monday),” Koetter said. “I did talk to Boise State, and that’s really all I’m going to say about that right now.”

In two seasons with Atlanta, Koetter has had mixed results.

Last season’s team, led by Pro Bowl performances from quarterback Matt Ryan, receiver Julio Jones and tight end Tony Gonzalez, went 13-3 and finished 10 yards shy of the Super Bowl.

This season, the Falcons are 3-10 and have been undermined by a porous offensive line, an ineffective running game and Jones’ season-ending injury.

Boise State is trying to replace Chris Petersen, who took the job at Washington.

Koetter, an Idaho native, was the head coach at Boise State from 1998-2000 and left with a 26-10 record to take the head job at Arizona State, but from 2001-06 with the Sun Devils, he went 40-34 before getting fired.

Koetter, who worked as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offensive coordinator from 2007-11, described the current season as one of his most frustrating in 29 years of coaching.

Poor play by the line has given Ryan little time to set his feet in the pocket and find receivers.

Jones broke his foot in a Week 5 home loss to the New York Jets, and Roddy White played most of the season with ankle and hamstring injuries that hurt his effectiveness.

And running back Steven Jackson missed four games with a hamstring injury for a rushing attack that ranks third-worst in the NFL.

These problems allowed opponents to consistently double-team Gonzalez, the league’s No. 2 career-leading receiver, and limit his effectiveness.

“Personally, it’s tough on everybody,” Koetter said. “Nobody has higher expectations for the Falcons than the players and the coaches do. We haven’t lived up to expectations. We haven’t played as well as we’re capable of on offense.”

Atlanta, which began the season as a Super Bowl contender, dropped eight of nine games through a Week 12 home loss to New Orleans and fell out of playoff contention.

The Falcons’ defense hasn’t played well either, ranking 30th in scoring and 29th in both third-down efficiency and total yards allowed.

But even with Gonzalez, White and Jackson seemingly healthy in midseason, the offense averaged just 14.8 points during a five-game losing streak.

Though Koetter wouldn’t cite individuals or units for the meltdown, much of the blame publicly has fallen on the offensive line.

Left tackle Sam Baker and right tackle Mike Johnson were lost to season-ending injuries. The front office decided not to re-sign longtime center Todd McClure, and Peter Konz flopped as his replacement.

Right guard Garrett Reynolds struggled so much that Konz eventually took his job after Joe Hawley became the starting center.

In last week’s 22-21 loss at Green Bay, the Falcons couldn’t hold an 11-point lead and went scoreless in the second half.

Gonzalez and receiver Harry Douglas dropped late passes that would’ve put Atlanta in field-goal range, but the offense went three-and-out on its first two possessions of the third quarter, and Ryan was sacked early in the fourth and lost a fumble.

“The guys were disappointed,” Koetter said. “The coaches were disappointed. We just felt like we didn’t do our part, didn’t finish on offense to get it done.”

The Falcons host the Washington Redskins (3-10) on Sunday.
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