Thursday's Conversation With Boise State's Corey Bell
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Welcome to Thursday’s Conversation. Each week, one Mountain West student-athlete will be featured by answering a series of questions.
Joining the conversation this week is Boise State’s Corey Bell. The senior defensive back was voted a team captain this season and has helped guide the Broncos to the Mountain Division title with a 7-1 league record (10-2 overall).
The No. 22 Broncos will look to claim their first outright MW Championship on Saturday when they host West Division champion Fresno State (5-3, 6-6) in the 2014 Sports Authority Mountain West Football Championship Game. The game will be televised on CBS and kicks off at 8 p.m. MT / 7 p.m. PT.
Question: We’re a few days away from the 2014 Sports Authority Mountain West Football Championship Game. This is Boise State’s first opportunity to win an outright MW title since it joined the league in 2011. What’s the feeling among the team as you prepare for this game?
Answer: It’s a feeling of excitement. This is something we’ve been preparing years for. Our goal every season is to win the Mountain West. It’s a great opportunity to be in the position we are in and we’re all excited to get locked in and take care of business.
Q: Fresno State enters the 2014 Sports Authority Mountain West Football Championship Game having won three straight games. When you look at them on film, what’s the biggest difference you see from when you played them back in October to now?
A: They are doing a good job of getting the ball to their playmakers in space. The quarterback is playing well. The running back has had some big games and does a great job of getting yards after contact. They are playing better as a team and coming together at the right time.
Q: As a senior, how does it feel to be able to play in front of your home fans one last time in a game with such importance?
A: That’s awesome. All of us seniors are grateful for another opportunity to play on the blue and to play for the Mountain West championship and it being against a rival in Fresno State makes it more special.
Q: Boise State has won seven straight games, but they haven’t all been easy. Several games have featured furious second-half comebacks by the team. How have those close games shaped the character of this team?
A: The close games taught us to stay together and we’ve done a good job of that. Our bond is stronger now and I think you’ve seen that in how we’ve played the last few games.
Q: When it’s all said and done, what is it going to take for Boise State to be the team hoisting the Mountain West football championship trophy at the end of Saturday’s game?
A: It is going to take a lot of things. We have to give great effort and everyone has to buy into the plan that the coaches put together. We have to have a great week of practice and be firing on all cylinders on Saturday.
Q: Your teammate, Jeremy Ioane, recently went public with his health struggles and need for a kidney transplant. What was it like to see him on the field last week against Utah State, and what has Jeremy meant to this football team?
A: It was really special to have him out there and he made a couple of tackles, which just fired everyone up. He’s kept things pretty quiet in terms of what’s going on with him. He’s a guy that exemplifies what it means to be a Bronco and the blue-collar attitude and work ethic. He’s battling adversity that none of us are and he’s doing it the right way. He’s a true class act. #10aneStrong
Q: Your dad is a professor at Boise State. What does he teach?
A: He teaches kinesiology. He works a lot with students that are looking to become PE teachers and helps get them student-teaching jobs. We moved to Boise in 1996 or 1997 and he’s been teaching there ever since.
Q: Growing up in Boise, did you always envision yourself attending Boise State?
A: I wasn’t sure where I was going to go. I remember thinking I wanted to get out of Boise, but when the opportunity came to go and play for Boise, it was something I couldn’t pass up. Everything I’ve experienced since has proved it was a great decision. It’s just a special place to be.
Q: You’re a business major. Any specific plans for what you want to do when you finish school?
A: I’m trying to figure it out right now. I’m majoring in general business and am on track to graduate in May. I’m excited about the next phase of my life and am just hoping to get my foot in the door somewhere and doing whatever comes my way next.
Q: You’re a two-time Academic All-MW honoree. How have you been able to balance school with your football commitments?
A: I come from a family of educators. My dad’s a professor, my step-mom and mom are both teachers so school has always been a priority for me. Boise State really does a good job of preparing you to succeed when you first get to campus, setting up all the freshmen with a study hall the entire year. After that you’re on your own and it really boils down to time management. You have to learn how to balance school, life, social and football.
Q: You were voted a team captain by your teammates. What has that experience been like?
A: I consider that one of my biggest accomplishments as an athlete. It’s pretty special because no one can take that away from you. My teammates decided that; it was nothing I did. It’s very special that they voted for me and respected me enough to put me in that position.
Do you have a student-athlete you’d like to see featured in an upcoming Thursday's Conversation? Contact Dan Johnson at djohnson@TheMW.com