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Hightower suspended indefinitely, Thompson steps up as starter

Boise State head football coach Chris Petersen announced starting free safety Lee Hightower will miss his second straight game for a violation of team rules on Monday.

Hightower was suspended prior to last Saturday’s game in Wyoming.

When asked if Hightower had learned a hard lesson, today coach Petersen said: “I don’t know. I haven’t talked to Lee.”

Petersen added that Hightower is not currently practicing with the team and there is no timetable for his return.

Hightower had started all seven games leading up to Wyoming, and was tied for sixth on the team with 31 tackles.

Stepping up at free safety will be redshirt freshman Darian Thompson.

“Darian has done great all season,” Petersen recalled. “We’ve kind of thought of him as a starter.”

Without Hightower in the lineup, Thompson got opening nod for the first time in his career last Saturday.

He finished the game with five tackles and a pass breakup.

“He didn’t disappoint,” Petersen said.

“He’s been doing a really good job and we had no hesitation that he was going to be the starting guy. We’re really excited about him.”

Thompson now has 24 tackles on the season and is tied for the team-high with two interceptions.

With the all the shuffling, redshirt freshman Dillon Lukehart should also see more time at safety.

The Eagle High product has appeared in all eight games and is another young player that will see his role expand.

“They all work hard,” Petersen said referring to the freshman. “Certainly when a guy goes down, they know ‘okay, now my role is really changing.’ There is a new sense of urgency.”

With that in mind, Petersen says the pace of practice is different than a game, adding there is only one way to determine if a player is ready to contribute.

“You really find out when it’s game time and the lights come on.”

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— Coach Petersen also said that freshman tight end Hayden Plinke will not play this Saturday against San Diego State. Plinke was suspended prior to the Wyoming game for a violation of team rules as well.
— Defensive tackle Greg Grimes, nickel Dextrell Simmons and defensive end Kharyee Marshall all sustained injuries against Wyoming. Coach Petersen described them as day-to-day and week-to-week.

— Jay Tust (Follow on Twitter: @KTVBSportsGuy)