Derrell Acrey was a player who wore his heart on his sleeve. When he stepped on the field you knew you were gonna get 100%. Many fans may remember him for his epic pre-game ritual in the middle of the Bronco’s huddle. Other may remember him for his endless effort and 2 Fiesta Bowl wins. Whatever it is, few players sum up what it means to be a Bronco like Derrell Acrey. Because of this, we are excited to provide you with our next installment of the Blue Turf Nation Interview series, with none other than Derrell Acrey.
BTN: You were a part of both Fiesta Bowls, is there one thing that comes to mind that made both those teams so successful? And what would you tell the current roster to help them reach that level of success?
DA: The first thing that comes to mind that made those teams so successful was our team chemistry! I felt so part of the team as a freshman. Everyone new their role and made sacrifices on and off the field, and that pushed the team to Greatness.
BTN: Boise State has become so well known for our pre-game huddle, often broadcasted on National Television, what was it like to lead your team in that pre-game ritual? How did you make sure that pre-game tradition continued after you graduated?
DA: The pre-game huddle started my sophomore year. Bush Hadman (QB. 3) was trying to come up with something new during camp. He approached me for ideas because he said he I had great enthusiasm. After we came up with something he suggested that I LED the pre-game huddle. I was extremely honored that the team would look to a sophomore for moral support. I was nervous for the first game but it just felt right. The energy flowing off of the team moments before we went to battle was like non other. Like a wild beast waiting to be unleashed! Months of preparation and years of tradition rolling down my spine! Staring success square in the face… and Nothing was going to stop us from getting there.
After a couple of years of modifying our pre-game huddle everyone on the team kept asking what was going to happen once I graduated. Who was going to lead and what to say? I kept telling them I’m not worried. Everyone on the team is a leader in their own way… They’ll make it happen
BTN: I recently saw you tweet about how important Ray Lewis was to you as a player, what is it about Ray Lewis that you admire as a football player? And what did you try to emulate about him when you were on the football field?
DA: Ray Lewis brought tenacity and so much passion to the game when he played. And everyone could see it on the field. As a natural leader, I tried to be my best and bring that same passion and excitement to the game.
BTN: Coach Petersen always seemed to get thrown around in rumors of taking a head coaching job somewhere else, but now we know none of them have been true. How did you and other players handle the rumors? Did you ever believe them? What do you have to say to fans that worry about Petersen leaving Boise State in the near future?
DA: We never really worried about it as players. We hear rumors all the time about things associated with football throughout college, and this was no different. So as players, we just tried to make ourselves better on and off the field regardless of who our coach was. Those kinds of things can drive a player crazy thinking about that and not focusing on the task at hand.
My message for the fans would be just relax. Yeah there is always a chance a coach might leave a team but Coach Pete loves the town and the program. I know his goal is to make the Bronco program so great that no coach wants to leave. So keep showing support on and off the field because as a man who pays attention to the little things, I’m sure he sees it
BTN: What is your favorite personal moment and team moment during your football career at Boise State?
DA: My favorite personal moment would definitely have to be the first play of my senior game. I was battling injuries and we just had a crushing loss to Nevada that prevented us from going to the Rose Bowl and everyone was wondering how we would answer to a loss like that. Some people thought we would come out with our heads down and not play like the Boise State we know and love. Well I disproved that theory with and interception for a touchdown the first play of the game while my family was barely walking off the field. Couldn’t happen any better.
My favorite team moment, as everyone else I’m sure, might be the first Fiesta Bowl. The journey just to get to the game was great, but the actual game was something out of a movie script. That game showed the nation that the Boise State Broncos we’re here to play!