Paul Peterson is currently serving as an offensive intern for the Brigham Young University Cougars football program. During his college playing days, Paul compiled a 12-2 career record as Boston College’s starting quarterback and was the first QB in BC football history to begin his career 6-0. He led the Golden Eagles to two consecutive bowl game victories over Colorado State and North Carolina. He was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Week twice, the MVP of the Continental Tire Bowl, and BC’s team MVP his senior year. He was also a J.C. Grid-Wire All-America Quarterback at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah before attending Boston College. His oldest brother Charlie is a former BYU quarterback.

CG365: What are your thoughts and feelings as you contemplate returning with the BYU football squad to Boston College and the site of many great football memories for you?

PP:  I’m excited. I have a lot of friends out there that I’m anxious to see and the coaches who I played for are still there and I’m excited to see them. On the other side of the ball, I’m part of a new team now, so I want to see BYU have a lot of success and come home with a victory.

CG365:  Tell us a little about your studies at Boston College. What did you major in?

PP:  I majored in business. You know, coming from a junior college, there was a little bit of a curve in adapting, but I had a great academic experience there and the faculty was great.  It’s just an awesome school.

CG365:  Did you find yourself to be quite the anomaly on campus as a returned LDS missionary at a private Catholic university?

PP: You know, the Boston College environment is very tolerant of other religions. There are Muslims and Jewish people, many different faiths are represented—the biggest thing was being married. I was the only married guy on the team, and I think I was the only married guy in the whole undergraduate school, so everyone thought that was kind of different.

CG365:  You probably feel pretty comfortable around the BYU team now, right?

PP:  Oh definitely, definitely. The guys are in the same situation and I can relate to them a bit better.

CG365:  Can you share a thought or two of what was running through your mind as you and your wife were driving in your car from Utah to the East Coast the summer you transferred to Boston College?

PP:  We didn’t know what to expect.  We didn’t know what the culture would be like back East…We didn’t really understand how it would be…we were just excited for the new adventure.  We both had an awesome experience.  My wife, Meghan, was able to find a job on campus and get her school paid for and we both graduated.  I think she misses Boston.  She made some good friends out there as well.

CG365:  Do you miss the culture of a historic and dynamic city like Boston?

PP:  Yeah, it has a cool feel. It takes people a while to warm up to you, but once they do, you’re friends for life. We had such a great experience there. Besides Boston College, you’ve got Boston U., Harvard, MIT, Emerson, Berkley College of Music—it’s just a mecca for education.  There’s a lot of students, so there’s a lot of activities geared toward students … Boston just has its own unique atmosphere that’s different from any other place in the United States.

CG365:  Is your wife going to be able to go back there for the game?

PP:  Well, we have a 2-month old baby, so the timing isn’t quite right for her to make the trip back East this time.

CG365:  Are you hearing any smack talk coming from your old teammates about this week’s game with BYU?

PP: BC’s really the type of team—I don’t think anybody really likes to talk smack over there. I remember every game, the head coach [Tom O’Brien] he would say, “Let’s be about it, not talk about it.”

CG365: Would you say the BYU team has the same type of discipline under Bronco?

PP: Oh exactly.  I think they are very similar in the way they lead their teams with their leadership qualities.

CG365:  What do you recall about when you first got your break to take over at quarterback for BC?

PP:  It was awesome.  When I came in—when I first started—we were like 5 and 5, so we were just trying to make that push to be bowl eligible.  So, to be able to go to a bowl game that year, we were way excited about that.  To play a good team like Colorado State in San Francisco was a fun time.  Being a Division 1 quarterback, that first [junior] year I was still trying to figure it out. Midway through, maybe I started figuring it out a little better and they could see that.  It was fun playing. There’s nothing better than a bowl game and coming out on top.

CG365:  What about your senior year when you were already the established starter?

PP:  The next year was going well until I got injured the second to the last game of the regular season at Temple.  I broke my hand so I had to sit out the Syracuse game and we ended up losing.  We would have played in the Fiesta Bowl if we’d have won that.  But I came back for the bowl game with that broken hand still, and we came out on top of that game, too, against North Carolina.

CG365:  Didn’t you end up breaking your leg in the second half of that game?

PP:  I did—the first part of the fourth quarter. My hand was getting a little weak throughout the game and I had fumbled … when I went to scoop up my fumble, a guy caught me from behind and snapped my leg.

CG365:  Ouch.  I remember seeing photographs of you being wheeled off the field and you were flashing a victory sign to the fans—

PP: No, I think I was pumping my fist.  But, I was watching on the Jumbotron and we had just executed the fake field goal to score a touchdown. I was pretty sure we we’re going to come out on top, after that.

CG365:  Having played at Boston College and knowing the system there, do you think they will take BYU lightly?

PP:  No. The head coach over there, he prepares those guys pretty well.  I don’t think they take any game lightly.

CG365:  Okay, BC played a really tough, double-overtime game last week.

PP:  Yeah, that was a grinder—and good for BC to come out on top of that.

CG365: So, when you’ve played in a highly emotional, physical game like that against a conference foe—you gotta win that game?

PP: Yeah.

CG365:  Is it hard to get back “up” the next week?

PP:  I don’t think so. Well, not for me anyway. When I was playing, I was excited to play every game. It didn’t matter who the opponent was. I don’t think you can take anyone lightly.You’ve seen the Division 1 teams losing to these 1-AA teams who are ready to play, so I don’t think you can really take anyone lightly, and BC definitely won’t be taking BYU lightly after our great victory over Tulsa last week.

CG365:  What was it like being a quarterback at Boston College—did you feel like you were playing in the shadow of Doug Flutie back there?

PP:  There were a lot of comparisons with Flutie, and I was always worried that he’d get offended because I wasn’t half the quarterback that he was … but, I mean, he’s a living legend for BC … I was just really excited to be able to play and be a part of that team, coming from where I’d came from, and the chances that I didn’t have before, to be able to have that chance to play … I was ecstatic just to be the starting quarterback, and to be compared to him was a huge compliment.

CG365: Did you ever meet Flutie?

PP:  Yeah I did, a bunch of times. Actually, he would come during the summertime and we got to throw and work out a couple times together. He’s a great guy.

CG365:  What did you learn from him in those workouts?

PP:  I asked him some questions regarding the similar height disadvantage that we shared, particularly about a couple strategic things he would do to try and take advantage of pass plays, or situations, or finding certain reads, when really, you can’t see and you’ve got 6’8” tackles in your way.

CG365:  I was reading where Steve Young said he had to learn to have faith where his receivers were going to be when he couldn’t see them, and just let the ball fly—

PP:  Exactly.  You’ve got all those repetitions and practice and stuff, so you know where your guy’s gonna be…you just gotta make the right decision…it’s not that difficult.  You definitely have to move around a little bit if you don’t know what’s going on behind the other side of the line and try to find the lanes where you can throw.

CG365:  Are you interested in coaching as a career?

PP:  Yes, definitely. That’s why I’m here.  I’m trying to get into coaching.

CG365:  Would you want to go back to BC to coach?

PP:  Oh, I’d go back there to coach in a second.

CG365:  How do you feel your business degree will help you in coaching?

PP:  (laughs).  I don’t know if it will. No, seriously, I took a lot of management classes and I think that’s what you are as a coach, you’re trying to manage your players in the positions that you’re coaching to be successful and have the same output. The main goal is wins, and in business it’s similar, where you’re trying to win business, earn money, be successful. I think there’s that type of connection I can make with my background.

RF365:  Okay. What’s your favorite non-football memory at Boston College?

PP:  There might be more than one! The basketball team had won about 21 games in a row and was playing Pittsburgh at home, so it was a big game.

CG365:  This is your senior year?

PP:  Right, my senior year, after the bowl game I had just gotten off crutches, and I’m hobbling onto the basketball court. Coach O’Brien presented the team MVP award to me and there was a standing ovation for quite a while, so that was a pretty cool experience.

CG365:  What’s your favorite food in Boston?

PP:  My favorite place to eat would probably be Anna’s Taquarilla.  They have cheap burritos and they’re good!

CG365:  What about your favorite tourist site?

PP:  Believe it or not, I love the Museum of Fine Arts.

CG365:  If you have the choice between a Patriot game and a Celtic game, which do you go to?

PP:  Oh, you gotta go to a Pats game.  They’re sold out for twenty years, I think.

CG365:  I’m sure your answer would probably be different if we were back in the Sixties.

PP:  Exactly.

CG365:  Any special message you would like to share with BYU fans?

PP:  I want to make sure that Cougar fans know that I’m part of a new team. Although I have good friends back there and those connections, I’m part of a new team and we are going to do our best to bring a victory back here this weekend.

CG365:  When you were playing at Boston College and having success, BYU was going through a really dark period in the program with consecutive losing seasons and some serious off-the-field problems with a handful of players … from what you read or heard about the program during that time period, how would you describe the program as you see it today?

PP:  You know, I think this team has some great, great players, and our coaches do an awesome job here of getting production out of those players. Our team as a whole—there’s a different feeling here at BYU. There’s obviously a different atmosphere here than in the past, and a different tradition that Coach Mendenhall is trying to instill in the players. The guys want to be successful and I think they are doing everything they possibly can to do that. The program is definitely headed in a great direction.

CG365:  I don’t think Arizona was better than BYU in that first game. The team beat themselves with penalties and other mistakes.

PP:  I definitely agree.

CG365:  When it comes to practice, is it really possible to see improvement in a team on a daily basis, or is that just another coach-speak platitude?

PP:  I think you can. There’s kind of this little cycle that happens … after the game, usually Mondays and Tuesdays are not the best practices … you get a lot accomplished.  You’re going over new material, so there might be some slow parts, or some things we’re trying to pick up, going from one defense to a different defense, to different personnel, and there’s a learning curve those first couple of days. And then, after that, it’s expected to get better, to get crisper, know the game plan … I think you peak toward the end of the week … and that game, obviously, is where you’re going to have the most experience and gain the most.

CG365: As the season wears on, do you feel it’s important to lay off the heavy hitting in practice and save it for the game?

PP: Yeah, we did that at BC. You have to. Physically, to be able to grind it out in full pads throughout the week, it’s just too hard on the players … they’re still trying to recover on Monday and Tuesday. You gotta get their legs so they’re fresh—so they can be 100 percent for the game. It’s a total disadvantage if you’ve got guys banged up for your game. It’s not smart management of your assets.

CG365:  Have you been helping to pattern the BYU scout team so they run their offense the way Boston College runs it?

PP:  One of my responsibilities is that I get to write down the plays in practice that we run and load them into the computer—

CG365:  But aren’t the coaches trying to utilize your knowledge, pick your brain about BC—

PP:  Sure, during the day when they’re watching film, I definitely answer any questions they have for me. I think I’ve been able to help the team prepare in that regard.

CG365:  So, what kind of memories came back to you when you were watching the film of BC with the Cougar coaches—were you able to immediately, instinctively pick out things that you would notice from being the QB in their offense?

PP:  Yeah, exactly, because their offensive coordinator has been there forever, Coach Dana Bible. I love the guy. He does some great things with the offense, and watching it, you know—most of the guys that are playing there now were there when I was, so I get to see my buddies playing on film.

CG365:  Who are some of your best buddies that are still playing at BC right now?

PP:  Matt Ryan and I were pretty good buddies. He came in with me, and we spent a lot of time in meetings cracking jokes and poking each other in the ribs, trying to stay focused in the meetings we were having … some of the offensive linemen are still there, the running backs … Josh Beekman, the guard, and James Martin, the tackle, are still good, good buddies of mine.

CG365:  Okay, a couple more question. Recruiting. What’s more important, a top rated package of physical skills or heart?

PP:  That’s a good question. You’re obviously going to try and find the athletes that have both of those. That’s your main goal. But, I feel like I was a guy that was mostly heart. I didn’t have a lot of talent, or certain physical attributes that separated me from other people. So, if you find an athlete that’s lacking some of the physical attributes you’re looking for, you hope the heart can make up for it. As a coach, your job is on the line, and you gotta be able to find those players that have both as much as possible.

CG365:  How about this BYU team–do you think they have heart?

PP:  Definitely. They definitely have heart. They have great athletes, but they have a huge heart. They are going to do whatever it takes to get that victory.