Here we go. Tomorrow is the "big" game. The Vandals are going down...and hard. First-year coach Robb Akey has all but sealed the doom of the Vandals by flapping his gums. Not that Akey said anything too offensive, AND I do believe that he was trying to "have fun"...but you have to wait until you have some success to start firing up Bronco players by calling them 'Donkeys'
Akey has been trying to throw red meat to the Vandal fans (all 12 of them) and boosters by making comments about burning BSU media guides, throwing out the lame 'donkey' term and trying to add an extra win to their streak...but Akey doesn't know what he is doing. He has no historical stake in this game and knows nothing of the rivalry. There is bad blood in this one and Akey's comments have only fired up the Bronco players, coaches and fans. Bad time to play the Broncos...senior day...eight wins in a row...conference title coming up.
At the half in Logan...BSU up 31-0.
Two blocked kicks (one a punt block for a TD) and far less penalties.
Tharp is super sharp...Ian has his groove back again.
All is well so far.
You get the feeling that Kevin Robinson is going to bust one of these kickoffs for a TD, though.
I think my prediction from last week is a tad off.
I will spot USU 7...but I doubt they'll get more at this rate.
BSU 52 USU 7?
Game Over. 52-0
BSU pitches first road shutout in over 30 years.
Tharp only missed 3 passes all day.
Great, great effort by the Broncos.
It's officially Idaho week. Destroy the Vandals!
In 2004, it was unexpected. In 2006, it was getting ridiculous. Both of those years, Boise State came into San Jose with perfect records—both of those years they barely escaped with the W. Despite being heavily favored every year against San Jose and despite having never lost to San Jose...the Spartans have found ways to scare the Broncos plenty of late. Gone are the days of the 77-14 shellackings, these Spartans, under coach Dick Tomey are scrappy, athletic and driven. However, recent history aside—the Spartans have little chance of winning on Saturday.
The main reason that the Spartans are facing a huge uphill battle is that they are playing on the blue. Boise State has never lost to a WAC foe on the blue and doesn't intend to tomorrow. The second reason that the Spartans are in trouble is that their offense is banged up and on life support. Stud tailback Yonus Davis is out with an ankle injury and the Spartans leading rusher is their QB, Adam Tafralis. The Spartans average only 71 yards per game on the ground...not good news against a BSU team that gave up only 89 rushing yards last week in Fresno to a team that averaged over 200 yards per contest. Adding to the Spartans offensive struggles is the fact that their kicking game has been horribly anemic...converting just 17% of their field goal attempts this year.
Obviously, the Spartans are going to have to go to the air against the Broncos, but I doubt they'll find much success there as Marty Tadman, hard-hitting Jeron Johnson, Orlando Scandrick and Kyle Wilson are on the prowl in the secondary. The Spartans will get some yardage there...maybe exploit a blown coverage or two, but I doubt they will score more than 14 points on this defense—and very well may be shut out like they were in Fresno a few weeks ago.
One bright spot for the Spartans is their defensive secondary and linebacking corps. They've got a good one in DB Dwight Lowery, who was an All-American pick last year and has 3 INTs this year, one of which he took for a TD. Lowery is also a dangerous return man that the Broncos will have to keep an eye on. Across the field from Lowery is CB Chris Owens...who is every bit as dangerous a cover man. He has 4 INTs on the year. Linebacker Matt Castelo is a formidable defender as well. If the Broncos can keep the ball away from these 3 playmakers...the Boise State offense should click well. I, for one, am very interested to see our talented wide receiving tandem of Jeremy Childs and Titus Young take on Lowery and Owens—BUT, the Broncos really shouldn't have to pass much.
Last week, in Ian Johnson's second game out of the lineup, we realized that we have a very, very good stable of running backs. Jeremy "don't call me 'peanut'" Avery and DJ Harper absolutely tore up the Fresno State defense and with Ian back this week...we have a angry, hungry three-headed monster in the backfield. I see the Broncos once again using "the committee" as Ian re-finds his form and running wild on the Spartans. The last few games in the series have been exciting...but this one has blowout written all over it. Expect to see a fairly tight contest in the first half...but the Broncos roll in this one.
BSU 42 SJSU 7
BSU does not get mulligans for early season losses like other teams (Michigan?)...but they've rebounded nicely from their letdown in Seattle to win 6 straight. The tough stretch of Nevada, La Tech and Fresno...all on short weeks, is now over and the Broncos have finally clawed their way back into the top 25.
The Broncos are #21 in the AP and #22 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll. More importantly, the Broncos are at #22 in the BCS rankings and with continued winning, a little help and a November 23rd beatdown of Hawaii could possibly find themselves back in a BCS bowl (hey, if Notre Dame could do it last year, why can't we?)
BSU got their mojo back—and they picked a perfect night. Friday night on ESPN2, BSU answered two big questions that had been swirling around the program for two weeks; the first one? Where the heck is our defense? The answer, on Friday, was: RIGHT where we left it, with Marty Tadman, Jeron Johnson (back after a 3-game absence) Kyle Gingg, Ryan Winterswyk and the rest of the crew—BSU's defense played phenomenal football for 3 quarters, putting big hits on Fresno QB Brandstater and shutting down the potent Bulldog run game. The second big question? Can two freshman running backs really move the ball on Fresno with Ian johnson out? The answer to this was a resounding "YES". Redshirt freshman Jeremy Avery and True Freshman DJ Harper exploded against Fresno and combined for over 200 yards in the first half of the game. DJ Harper had a breakout night, and possibly a pivotal night in his development as a Bronco; rushing for over 150 yards and a clutch TD run where he fought off multiple tackles and dove into the endzone. Avery looked smooth as silk as he made quick cuts, juked defenders and followed his blocks masterfully, en route to a 125 yard game and 3 TDs.
The Bulldogs came out quickly, matching BSU's first TD and then taking an early lead as Clifton Smith raced to the endzone after fielding a BSU punt. DJ Harper's TD knotted the game up at 14 and then a huge field-goal block by Orlando Scandrick and crew put the Broncos in position to kick their own—leaving the score 17-14 at the half.
The Dawgs have been known this year for huge second-half efforts, so the Broncos needed to stay focused and make the necessary adjustments—they did. BSU, behind terrific efforts by Avery and freshman kicker Kyle Brotzman, were able to outscore Fresno 17-7 in the second half—sealing a 34-21 win, keeping pace with WAC first-place team Hawaii, and winning their 6th game in 7 tries against the Bulldogs.
The stat of the game? BSU's defense held Fresno to 1 of 13 on 3rd down conversions. An amazing stat for a Bronco defense that had struggled mightily in their previous two WAC contests. Jason Robinson's interception on 4th and long was the night's only turnover and clinched the night for Boise. All told, BSU beat Fresno at their own game—they ran the ball down their throats. BSU outgained Fresno 282-89 on the ground and 440-352 in total yards. Taylor Tharp looked efficient and managed the game well for Boise State as the passing game never really took off, Austin Pettis made a clutch diving catch on 3rd and long to keep one Boise State scoring drive alive, and Marty Tadmand and Dallas Dobbs both contributed 9 tackles on the defensive side of the ball.
Fresno is a talented and, like the Broncos, young team and I was impressed with the following players: Marlon Moore, AJ Jefferson, Bear Pascoe, and Clifton Smith. With these youngsters and Pat Hill's tutelage—Fresno should be a force to be reckoned with in the WAC in coming years (alongside BSU, of course)
All in all, a very solid, hard fought victory for the Broncos who return home for San Jose State on Saturday. With the defense seemingly righting their ship, I expect pretty smooth sailing through November until the epic showdown with Hawaii (who is 8-0, but hasn't played anyone with a pulse yet).
The Milk Can stays in Boise for one more year.
It's BAAAACK. I'm not talking about poltergeist or other general spookiness that occurs late in October. I am talking about the annual Fresno State/Boise State skirmish. I know, I know...BSU has the upperhand in this series winning 5 out of the last 6 meetings, but last time Boise State went to Fresno in '05 they got handed a 27-7 beating at the hands of the Dawgs. In '05, the stakes were the same—retention of first place in the WAC and an inside track to win the WAC crown. After winning 5-straight WAC titles...the Broncos will be conceding nothing on Friday night. The Bulldogs look focused and ready for the challenge this year and a raucous crowd and a very good ground game has Fresno licking their chops for this matchup. Add in the fact that Boise State's run defense has been terrible the last two games and the fact that Ian Johnson is out with an injury and Vinny Perretta is done for the year and Fresno should have a lot of determination and confidence heading into this ballgame.
Pat Hill seems to get his teams up for the "big" games—and so far this year...none seems bigger than this one. Of course, Chris Petersen is no slouch either compiling a 19-1 record since taking the reins at BSU and he should have the Broncos ready to go. A lot of people are anticipating a barn-burner in Fresno, but I can't help but think this one won't be THAT close either way. Obviously, Fresno's strength is running the ball and they will indeed run—whether or not BSU can stop that assault remains to be seen. Through the first 5 games, Boise State really gave up nothing on the ground...but have been toasted in the last two games—which makes this game all the more intriguing. If BSU can find their prior form (helped by the possible return of Safety Jeron Johnson), Fresno will have a hard time putting up points...if not, obviously, all bets are off.
BSU, although missing Ian Johnson for the second straight week, can run the ball too. In fact the Broncos average more rushing yards per game than the Dawgs by about 1 yard...so this would appear to be a pretty even matchup, but the absence of Ian Johnson will tilt the run-game favor to Fresno State with their fine RB tandem of Ryan Matthews and Lonyae Miller. Miller may be absent on Friday as well, but I wouldn't count on it—and though Jeremy Avery is a very good sub for Johnson (gaining over 150 all-purpose yards last week)...Matthews is a bit more sturdy and most likely better able to carry the full load if depth is thin for the Bulldogs.
The passing game favors Boise State as Taylor Tharp has been on fire of late. Helped by Jeremy Childs and Titus Young...the Broncos are a very real threat to go deep at any given time. Fresno's Brandstater is an able field-general, but is not going to light up the scoreboard...so if BSU can shut down the rungame and force Brandstater to throw—the Broncos will have an advantage as the Bulldog team doesn't seem tailored to throw that much. BSU's secondary—although tested lately, have the ability to shut down the passing game, so passing yards will be tough to come by for Fresno, unless, of course they can strongly establish the ground game to open up the passing lanes. At any rate, if Boise State can get up big by halftime—and force Fresno to alter their offensive gameplan...the Broncos could roll.
Boise State has the edge right now on total offense...but after setback games by the Bronco's defense against Nevada and La Tech...I will give the defensive edge to the Dawgs. Special Teams are pretty even, with the Broncos and Bulldogs having big-time kick returners. The coaching edge has to go to reigning Coach of the Year Chris Petersen and crew...although Pat Hill and his staff know how to win. The intangible edge in this matchup has to go to Fresno, playing at home in front of a crowd that wants Bronco blood. The Broncos better be dialed in on offense, because I have a feeling it is going to get loud in the Valley. The Broncos need to wrap up and tackle wel (something they lacked in the '05 game—and the last two conference games) or the Dogs will get rolling and feed off the stadium's energy. Hopefully Bronco Nation will show up in force and let the Broncos know we're behind them here in Boise.
IF Boise sticks to their offensive gameplan and shows more fire on the D-line and LB corps...I think that Boise State wins this one 40-27.
As usual, that's a big IF, as the Broncos aren't really the same team on the road. Plus, we all know that anything can happen in a rivalry game (yes, I said 'rivalry') so my bizarro, Fresno-does-everything-right-like-in-2005 prediction is Fresno 35, Boise State 21.
That should pretty much cover all the bases, right?
Having my confidence in our strong defense shaken to the core...and being convinced that I somehow jinxed our team by last week's bold statements about the Nevada game—I have decided not to really voice my predictions about the outcome of this week's matchup against La Tech. Until I see with my own eyes that last Sunday's epicly crappy defensive performance was an anomaly...I am not prepared to make any declarations about what we "should" or "shouldn't" do this weekend in Ruston. How about I just regurgitate the info that anyone can find on ESPN or other analyst websites?
La Tech always seems to be a tough game for the Broncos in Ruston, LA...that is for sure. Since 2001 (when La Tech last beat the Broncos—in Ruston, no less), the average point spread in the BSU/La Tech game is 26 points more when the Broncos face La Tech at home than when they face them in Ruston. This alone should be cause for a little worry about this upcoming game. The bright side? Boise State's defense was embarassed on Sunday and will be eager to show that the UNR game was a fluke, couple that with the fact that Louisiana Tech's offense is not even close to as good as Nevada's and the worry subsides a bit. However, La Tech's defense, which was terrible last year—is much improved (also, recall that they took Hawaii to OT this year) and are not giving up much...so Boise State's offense needs to be on their game once again.
Here is the ESPN link for today's preview. Boise State should win this one...but the defense seriously needs to get back on track as Fresno awaits after this week and a we all know what a fired up Fresno team can do.
If the defense shows me something today. We'll be back to regularly scheduled posting.
I decided not to blog the UNR/BSU game yesterday...as I, like other Bronco faithful was in a bit of a daze. Apart from being worn out physically...my vocal chords weren't feeling too swell. I'm sure that many a Bronco walked around Monday morning in a bit of a haze...wandering aimlessly...muttering "Kaepernick" softly under their breath. Well, today I feel more refreshed and am able to look back on Sunday night's crazy game with a little more insight.
First off, let me say that this was probably the greatest game ever on the blue—eclipsing the 2004 BYU squeaker and the 2005 Idaho game where BSU turned a 21-21 tie into a 70-35 beatdown in what seemed like 5 minutes. It was as exciting and nerve-wracking as they come...watching Boise State survive Nevada's mind-boggling offensive display in 4 OTs as LB Tim Brady sacked freshman QB Colin Kaepernick as the Wolf Pack tried to convert a two-point conversion (which, by rule they had to attempt). The Broncos and the Wolf Pack combined for almost 1300 yards of offense, and put up a final score of 69-67, which resembled a basketball score, and also, incidentally was the most points scored in a NCAA Division 1-A game since they started keeping track sometime in the '30s.
Secondly, let me say that it was the most PATHETIC display of defense by either team that I think I've ever seen. The conundrum here being that as memorable as the game was, I am sure both teams would rather forget it. The Broncos, who prior to this game had the 3rd ranked defense in the country and hadn't allowed a hundred yard rusher all year long—inexplicably gave up nearly 400 yards on the ground. 400!
Now, I won't take anything away from the Wolf Pack...they seemed to have largely outschemed us offensively and our D looked confused, sluggish and worn out all night. Maybe the Broncos were overly confident after last week's demolition of NMSU? Maybe the Broncos were not expecting a fight from the Wolf Pack after 7 straight years of domination? Who knows? All I know is that the Wolf Pack offense came to play this time around—and our defense did not. Fortunately for Bronco Nation...OUR offense decided to play—and the Nevada D took a cue from ours and decided to stay on the bus.
Tharp looked darn good once again throwing 4 TDs and only one pick. Ian continued his all-purpose attack, garnering WAC player of the week honors for his 205 rushing yards and 50+ receiving yards (and 3 TDs), and Jeremy Childs had another outstanding game. We even saw some old-skool Bronco trickeration in the form of a fake fieldgoald TD strike and the Bronco special teams came up with another big block, this time, a Nevada PAT. After the game, we learned that Vinny Perretta is out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury and Jeron Johson didn't start again because of a nagging hammy injury.
The only real analysis I have is that I HOPE sincerely that this defensive outing was a total anomaly, and that a hard week of practice and some refocusing will cure all ills. If the same defensive effort is put forth in coming weeks...I can honestly see BSU picking up 1 or 2 more losses. That said, as well as our offense is playing right now...any aforementioned losses would be by likely final scores of 50-45 or some such. Get cracking Broncos and look ahead to La Tech...while the rest of Bronco Nation breathes a sigh of relief at Sunday's slugfest.
Oh and by the way, nice game, Nevada. Respect has been regained and I am looking forward to the next few years of the rivalry. And big props to Bronco Nation for getting NOI-ZEE! Loudest I've ever heard Bronco Stadium at the end there.
Outside of maybe the Idaho Vandals...no Bronco opponent has quite the same history and bad blood as the Nevada Wolf Pack. In the mid-90s, Nevada's coach Chris Ault famously said that if Boise State didn't improve the quality of its players...he saw no reason to continue the "rivalry". Well, Ault now looks like a prophet of sorts as the Broncos DID improve the quality of its players (and coaches, and recruiting, and facilities,etc, etc.) and the the rivalry has continued. The only slight wrinkle being that Boise State has absolutely OWNED the Wolf Pack as of late. 1998 was the last year that the Wolf Pack tasted victory against the Broncos...and since then its been ugly. Boise State has one the last 7 meetings in the series by an average of 38 pts. In fact, last year's BCS-clinching game in Reno was the closest the Pack has come to the Broncos in that span—they lost by 31.
As funny as Ault's past comments seem now...they are still the cause of much fan hatred between the schools—multiplied by the head coaching stint of Vandal "great" Chris Tormey. Ault has been much more complimentary as of late of the Bronco program, but you can see in his aging eyes that he dies a little inside each year the Broncos wipe the floor with this squad. Last year, as Boise State sat at 11-0 after storming their way through their schedule...some prognosticators still felt that the Broncos would be defeated by Nevada. Not so, obviously as the Broncos won 38-7...the Broncos always seem to get "up" for the UNR game...like no other (even Idaho). Maybe the history between the schools (BSU now leads 21-12 all-time) or the fact that the media always seems to think the Wolf Pack will beat the Broncos just gets under BSU's skin. Who knows, maybe it is the fact that the Broncos had to share the title with Nevada in 2005 after beating them 48-14 on the blue. Maybe it's just the fact that the "pistol" seems to backfire against the Broncos?
This year, unfortunately for Nevada, won't be any different. Nevada is coming off a tough home loss to Fresno State and the Broncos our coming off a 58-point shutout of New Mexico State. Nevada's rushing defense is ranked 119th in the country, while Boise State's is ranked 4th. Nevada's total defense is ranked somewhere around 100th and Boise State is 3rd. Now, Nevada does have a pretty good offense, ranking 10th in total yards...but BSU is not far behind at 15th and really...do the Broncos need to put up a lot of yards when our defense has been so prolific in shutting other schools down? UNR is also without their starting QB, Graziano after a freak foot injury ended his season last week. Redshirt freshman Colin Kaepernick will get the start against BSU, and looked pretty good against Fresno, but is probably too young and inexperienced to be thrust into a tough game against an amazingly stout D and expected to do much damage. Kaepernick is supposed to be pretty fleet of foot too, but if he gets too happy with his feet...I fully expect him to run right into Nick Schlekway or Mike T Williams...that will probably slow him down a bit for the night. Also, look for the Broncos to put pressure on the young QB and force him into some errors...namely picks for our stellar DBs.
I don't want to seem like I am giving the Wolf Pack no respect...but given the recent history and the matchups that this game poses—I see this one getting out of hand...yet again. Look for the outstanding trio of Ian Johnson, Jeremy "don't call me 'peanut'" Avery and DJ Harper to get yards in bunches and feast on the porous Nevada run D all night. Also, look for Titus Young to have at least one more 50 yard reception as he seems to be always open when Tharp looks deep. Lastly, look for our secondary to have at least 2 INTs and for Marty Tadman to light someone up.
Boise State 47, UNR 13
"Mumme needs bandages". That was what Marty Tadman proposed as the headline of today's Idaho Statesman...instead the geniuses at the Statesman went with "Mumme-fied". That headline makes it seem like Mumme was the victor...but regardless of what lame pun headlines ran today, the message was clear: The New Mexico State Aggies got absolutely destroyed last night on national TV and Hal Mumme was to blame.
Did Mumme provide particularly poor coaching? Not really. What Mumme did to bring this beatdown upon his hapless Aggies was done about 1 year ago exactly. After Boise State's 40-28 win over NMSU last year, Mumme declared loud and proud whereever he went that Boise State was not the best team in the WAC (despite beating every team in the WAC and compiling an undefeated record), then added another insult by being one of the WAC coaches to vote June Jones as coach of the year. Of course it probably didn't help that last year NMSU torched our secondary for over 500 yards leaving them frustrated and embarrassed...despite the win. It also didn't help the Aggies much that on top of all the bulletin board material and bad memories from last year...their starting QB, Chase Holbrook was not 100%. Regardless of the reasons, however, the Broncos put together one heck of a game last night, beating the Aggies 58-0 and holding the nation's 7th ranked offense to only 89 yards of offense (-19 yards rushing) while themselves dropping over 600 yards on the Aggies.
Taylor Tharp was 19 of 26 and threw 4 TDs, the first time a Bronco QB has tossed 4 TDs in a game since Ryan Dinwiddie in 2003. Tharp found Jeremy Childs for two scores, Titus Young for another long-bomb TD and a wide-open Ryan Putnam for his fourth. Childs finished the night with 3 TDs and over 100 yards receiving while Ian Johnson continued his all-purpose yardage crusade as he ran for 85 yards and a score and collected another 73 yards receiving. Despite making several high tosses, Tharp's WR's bailed him out time and again making leaping, and sometimes one-handed grabs.
To say the defense dominated the Aggies would be a slight understatement. The Broncos completely shut down Holbrook (who left after the first quarter) and his backup J.J. McDermott while recording 3 INTs (Tadman, Scandrick, and Wilson). The Aggie running game was absolutely non-existent as they ended the night with negative rushing numbers thanks to several TFLs and a few sacks. Joe Bozikovich planted Aggie QB Chase Holbrook on the turf on the same play that Marty Tadman annihilated an Aggie receiver along the sidelines setting the tempo for a hard-hitting and impressive defensive performance. The Broncos allowed the lowest yardage total by a D 1-A school ever.
The scariest thing about last night's game? The Broncos could've scored 70+ on the Aggies...a goal-line stand after a Kyle Wilson pick (helped by a poor Tharp decision on an option play) stopped one Bronco score and another 25 yard TD by Johnson was called back on a hold. Oh yeah, and the Broncos missed an extra point.
Now that the offense and defense seem to be humming...the Broncos may take to the rest of their WAC schedule like a buzzsaw. The Nevada Wolf_space_pack are heading into town next Sunday and haven't come within 30 points of the Broncos in the last 7 seasons. I would expect another big win this Sunday...unless, of course UNR's coach Chris Ault decides to run his mouth about the Broncos...then it may be another bloodbath.
If you plan on tuning into the Boise State v. New Mexico State contest on Sunday night...you are in for a rare treat. Last year in Las Cruces, ESPN graced us with no less than 25 shots of New Mexico State's coach, Hal Mumme, wiping his nose on his towel, blowing his nose on his towel, and wiping his hands through his lustrous hair. All of those who felt a bit queasy after watching Mumme's display, felt even more queasy when the Broncos, after going up 21-0 in the first quarter, allowed the Aggies to make it a relatively close game behind 526 passing yards from NMSU's tooth-challenged QB, Chase Holbrook. 526!
WIth the memory of getting torched last year in Las Cruces (the Broncos did win that game, let's not forget), the Bronco secondary should come fired up and ready to play on Sunday. Bronco Nation definitely is motivated to give Hal Mumme the business after his disgusting display in NM and his outspoken assertions last year that BSU was not the best team in the WAC. Channeling the Chris Tormey days at Nevada, I would not be surprised to hear Bronco Stadium break out in a chorus of "MUUUUU-MEEEEE".
The Aggies team that was one of the nation's worst in 2005 has turned their program around fairly quickly and at least compete week in and week out. I think that Mumme's "Air Raid" offense has the right guy at the helm in Chase Holbrook and they have some speedy receivers that can make opponents pay. The bottom line is that Boise State should NOT lose this game. They coasted last year after going up big on the Aggies and a sub-par defensive effort allowed the Aggies to make it interesting. If the Bronco defense gives up over 500 yards passing this year on the blue...they absolutely deserve to lose.
Ian Johnson, Jeremy "don't call me 'peanut'" Avery and DJ Harper should feast on this NMSU defense. Johnson seemed like he was running through Nerf tackling dummies last year in Las Cruces and I fully expect him to take off again this year in Boise. Running the ball will also speed up the game and keep the Aggie offense off the field. Last year the Aggies ran about 85 plays against the Broncos and about 75 were pass plays...our nickel and dime package defenders should factor in heavily in this one. I expect to see Rashaun Scott, Austin Smith and true frosh Brandyn Thompson rotating in throughout the night. Oh yeah, and not a knock on Orlando...but I would hope that it's Kyle Wilson that will be on WR Chris Williams' hip all night.
Orange and Blue-out version 2.0 is coming up on Sunday so check out broncosports.com to see what you're supposed to be wearing. Don't be a rebel, wear the right colors...IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK?! Oh, and if I catch anyone starting the wave when we're on O...I'm just gonna lose it Robb Akey-style.
MUMME and HIS AGGIES HAVE THAT 'CAN DO' ATTITUDE or is it 'CAN CAN'
More brilliant lookalike threads from Boise State and New Mexico State fans
BSU 42, NMSU 20
Holbrook <300 yards passing
NMSU rushing <80 yards
BSU rushing 250 yards
Defense with 3 INTS.
Are you writing these down?
Ian Johnson decided to find his groove again on a perfect night. Not only had Johnson been ceremoniously promised to gain 150 yards and 3 TDs by O-lineman Jeff Cavender, but the Broncos needed Johnson to find his '06 form in a tough ESPN contest against Southern Miss. Well, Ian got his yards (191 all-purpose) and his TDs (3, exactly) and helped the Broncos defeat the Golden Eagles 38-16 on national TV and in front of a blue and orange crowd.
Taylor Tharp had his best game of the year with over 300 yards passing, 2 TDs and 1 INT. Tharp found Titus Young on a long strike, found Jeremy Childs and Vinny Peretta a few more times and dumped off nifty passes Johnson all night when he felt pressure from the USM D. The outlet pass to Johnson seems to be a new concept on the Bronco offense, but one that worked extremely well and bailed Tharp out of trouble. Johnson looked great in the open field (80 yards on 3 receptions) and Tharp was able to escape the pressure without taking a sack or trying to run.
The Bronco D looked good again on Thursday, shutting down USM's stud RB Damion Fletcher and allowing only minimal gains through the air. Marty Tadman and Jeron Johnson laid some big hits on the Eagles ball carriers all night from the safety position and Orlando Scandrick and Kyle Wilson did a nice job containing the speedy receivers of Southern Miss. Kyle Gingg had a nice game from his linebacker position with several nice tackles for loss.
Tadman finally broke out a bit on his punt returns, giving Boise State good field position all night and Rashaun Scott got the Broncos near the 50 every time he returned a kick it seemed. The Bronco crowd was loud and rowdy all night and helped the defense confuse the Golden Eagles every series.
All in all, a very impressive win for the Broncos. The Golden Eagles were a good team that just flat got outplayed and outcoached on Thursday night. Johnson and the Broncos look to be peaking at the right time with WAC conference play right around the corner. Hal "the Towel" Mumme brings his New Mexico State Aggies and their "air raid" onto the blue for a Sunday night matchup on October 7. If the Broncos keep their foot on the gas this year, the Aggies should be an easy win. I think that Johnson will carve up the weak run defense of the Aggies all night and our improved secondary won't allow Chase Holbrook to nickel and dime us to death.
Broncos are rollin' now. Next game= BSU 42, NMSU 20
No need to pipe in crowd noise—Boise is going to be rockin' on Thursday night as the Golden Eagles take the field against our Broncos. Southern Miss looks like a well-rounded team with a lot of athleticism and speed and at 2-1, have the same record as the Broncos. Led by a mobile QB in Jeremy Young, the USM offense also has an exceptional runningback in Damion Fletcher who rushed for over 1300 yards last year as a freshman. USM's top receivers are WR Chris Johnson and tight-end Shawn Nelso who have accounted for 346 yards of offense and 3 TDs. Southern Miss is averaging 401 yards per game so far this season as well as putting up an average of 27 points. On the flipside, Boise state is only allowing 249 yards per game and 15 points and is currently ranked 11th nationally, so this could make for an interesting night. Southern Miss' defense has so far yielded 24 pts. per game and given up 342 yards.
The USM defense won't be quite as good against the run as Wyoming or Washington was...so hopefully our run game can finally take off (the Weber St. game does NOT count). Ian Johnson has had a bit of a slow start this year, with only BLANK yards and 3 TDs. The biggest dropoff in Ian's production to this point is his YPC average which has fallen dramatically this year to only 4.7 yards per carry. Ian seems primed to have a big night under the bright lights of ESPN and Jeff Cavender has all but assured the public that Ian will get 150 yards and 3 TDs against the Golden Eagles. Of course, we all know that Ian has it in him, but he needs to find his rhythm like he did last year to really take off again.
If all went well this week, Vinny Peretta should be back in action for the Broncos as should David Shields. Redshirt freshman Jeron Johnson will get his second straight start at strong safety on Thursday and has looked good so far this year.
As usual, if the Broncos run defense can show up like they usually do and shut down the Golden Eagle run game...the Golden Eagles will have to put the ball in the air—with Kyle Wilson, Orlando Scandrick, Marty Tadman and Jeron Johnson roaming the blue...this will not go well. The Bronco defense has been stellar so far this year, especially in our defensive secondary. USM will have to utilize their mobile QB to start opening up running or passing lanes.
I see this game as being as close to a mirror match as we'll see this year, with the defenses making the big difference. Boise State's defense will dominate this game, but the offense needs to start clicking as they've struggled early in the last two outings. If the Defense can play like they have been and the offense starts playing like they can (open up the playbook, coach)...this should be a Bronco win. Add the Bronco crowd noise and home field advantage into the equation and I see this as a 10-14 point Bronco win. Hopefully Kyle Wilson can step in to field some punts this Thursday, broken hand and all... and Rashaun Scott can continue his great play on special teams to give the Broncos some nice field position this week as well.
Remember...don't look like an idiot...it is a blue and orange out this week so if you're sitting in the odd-numbered sections, wear orange and the even-numbered sections wear blue. Rumor has it that they'll be selling cheap Bronco gear in front of the stadium pregame so if you forgot to don your gear...pick some up.
If you want a good laugh pre-game...check out these hilarious threads on Broncocountry and the Eagles' board.
BIG congrats to Bronco legend Bart Hendricks for his induction into the Bronco Hall of Fame on Wednesday. If you never saw this dude play on the blue...you missed out. Also, thanks to Bart for adding me to his link list. You can read Bart's excellent blog by clicking his link in MY linklist to your immediate right.
While the Wyoming game wasn't exactly a dazzling display of offensive firepower—it was a solid win against a good Wyoming squad. The Cowboys', though sporting some of the ugliest jerseys in 1-A, where a decent team with good speed and a good D. I would say that the offensive miscues by the Broncos where cut down, but still present. Tharp still looks pretty good in the pocket, but seems completely oblivious to blitzing LBs coming around the end. I'm not saying that a Bronco QB should never take a sack, but most of the sacks I've seen Tharp take look like he had absolutely no idea the guy was bearing down on him...this can lead to fumbles. Credit the offense for stepping up when they needed to. I think that the 2007 O-line, though largely comprised of the same guys, hasn't really got their swagger back...they aren't opening real large holes for our backs to run through and this, in part, is why Ian is off to a relatively slow start.
Our Defense played amazing against the Cowpokes. They looked fired up, aggressive (maybe a little too aggressive at times, Scandrick) and really fast. Kyle Wilson played an amazing game, he had a pick, a couple of pass breakups and some nice open field tackles. Scandrick looked good at the other corner, but I've gotta say that he seems to get to the ball a bit too early or a bit too late, but at least he's always in the vicinity. Our linebacker play looked good, but still don't know who is really back there as we seem to have injuries and swap guys out a lot. I don't see a backer emerging with the kind of production of a Korey Hall for another year or two. Marty Tadman played a good game as well, at one point knocking away a pass that seemed destined to find a seemingly wide open Cowboy receiver.
On special teams we still seem to have a few issues to work out on kick coverage. Our guys still haven't allowed a kick-return TD, but sometimes seem like they don't wrap up and let a guy who looked like he would be down at the 25 get to the 35 or 40. On punt returns—we simply need someone else back there. I am a huge Tadman fan and love his safety play, but I think that the "sure hands" return man needs to be replaced with an explosive one. Hopefully, this next Thursday Kyle Wilson will be returning punts, broken hand and all. BTW, if you missed Michael Lose's amazing hit on special teams in the 4th quarter...you gotta check this out; it was one of those "wow" moments where it looked like Lose was the bull and the poor Cowboy return man was the slow matador.
This weekend is off, but the Southern Miss eagles are coming into town for an ESPN-televised Thursday night game. I think that our defense gives us a good shot to win this game as they are playing phenomenal ball right now. The offense is going to have to get in sync a bit more as I think that a Boise State win will be contingent on us getting some points on the board.
Remember, the Southern Miss game is another "blue and orange-out" so all odd numbered sections will wear orange and the even numbered sections will wear blue. Looked pretty cool at the Fresno State game last year. Make sure you bring the noise on Thursday too...even if you don't...I'm sure the Bronco booth guys will "pipe" something in. Just kidding on that one, really, Wyoming's coach needs to worry less about hoof sounds and more about his lame no-huddle offense.
Congrats to Rashaun Scott, who was the WAC special teams player of the week due, in part, to his 52 yard kick return against the Pokes. He's gonna take one to the house this year (without a flag, that is)
you lose some. Got back last night and thoroughly enjoyed myself in Seattle. Bronco Nation was out in force and saw blue and orange EVERYWHERE I went. I swear there were twice as many Broncos in town as there were Cougars. Anyway, we had a great time...enjoyed a beautiful day for football in a beautiful stadium The Husky fans were polite and cordial and the game was sloppy, but not embarassing. Still not sure why our offense struggled so much, but the 4 turnovers might have been a factor? When I saw the box score and read that Tharp had attempted 47 passes, I thought to myself: "that is not Bronco football". Tharp looked fairly poised throughout the game and I thought he had pretty good protection from the O-line, but Tharp just simply is not a gunslinger and lacks some of the zip on his throws to really bring a consistent deep threat. Some of the penalties were bad, most were earned by the Broncos. We shot ourselves in the foot on numerous occasions and usually in extremely inopportune times.
IJ wasn't stellar, but I thought we abandoned the run too early and too often...it seemed like we would get 5 yards on first down with IJ, then try to do a fancy screen pass that would get stuffed and lose 1-2 yards and then kept facing 3rd and longs. This, no doubt increased the number of passes, but we should've been setting up 3rd and shorts with the run. Obviously, the fact that we outgained UW in yardage and first downs showed that this is a game we COULD have won, but with the mistakes by the Broncos...we SHOULD not have won.
I thought our D stepped up and really only allowed one real "drive" (the first one) and the other points came on a short field (after the fumble)...although J-Rob AGAIN left his guy wide open...and the other TD came on a missed tackle (although really the two Bronco defenders ran into each other)
I thought that Locker looked OK, but BSU shut him down fairly well after the first series. The kid is dangerous with his feet and got a couple good gains on the ground, but BSU handled his passing pretty well.
The stadium was LOUD and was definitely a tough place for opponents to play. Broncos still have the monkey on our backs...but I believe that we keep it there with mistake-ridden games when we go on the road (something that I mistakenly thought was in our past). I tell you what though, the "new" streak starts today and I see no reason that this loss can't motivate this young team to achieve great things again...namely another WAC title...a 12-1 record and another top 25 finish.
I f'in HATE losing...but I hope our team hates it even more and gets to work to stomp the Cowboys.
PS Our Frosh punter needs to do a little extra work this week as his shanks were and will be a BIG liability.
The the 20th ranked Broncos (I'm using our higher ranking, sue me) line up this Saturday against traditional power Washington they hope to make a statement about who's the dominant team in the Northwest. Certainly in the last few years, Washington has had their share of woes, and has in many ways gone the opposite direction of the Broncos.
HOWEVER, the Husky Nation has cause for jubilation...it seems their savior has arrived in the seemingly mortal body of Jake Locker. Now, the Vatican wants to see a few more documented miracles before they bestow sainthood upon young Locker—but for the time being...the kid looks like the "real deal". Of course, I am merely having some fun at the expense of some Husky fans that believe that Locker can do everything short of walking on water—he is young, talented and looks to be a good one. I am just not sure if he can singlehandedly win this game for the Huskies.
Boise State comes into the game, virtually at full strength, but are they the same strength as last year? Linebacker Kyle Gingg returns to the field after a fall camp concussion and DE Mike T. Williams should be back from an unspecified leg injury. CB Kyle Wilson suffered a broken hand in the Weber State game but will start against UW. Hopefully Wilson's sure tackling won't be affected as the Huskies' team speed could be a concern around the edges.
Locker was 14 of 19 in his debut against Syracuse...the exact same completion percentage as Taylor Tharp in his debut against Weber. Tharp only played about one half of football though, so it is hard to read too far into this. Similarly, Locker never had to get too "fancy" against the vanilla Syracuse defense. Locker showed in the Syracuse game that he is dangerous with his feet, adding 83 yards rushing to his stats. Locker should have a tougher time rushing the ball against the historically tough BSU defense, but if UW running back Louis Rankin can contribute and get some good runs going, Locker could have some open lanes. I think an option-style attack from the Huskies could be successful against our fairly young D-line and linebackers...then again, it could not be successful as well.
The key to this game will be ball management and turnovers. I think that Boise State's secondary is primed for some interceptions and if Justin Wilcox can cook up some good blitz packages and make Locker throw some rushed throws, Tadmand and the gang will be licking their collective chops.
Ian Johnson will of course be a big factor as well as he sets out to prove to another Pac-10 team that he's for real. Nobody's really thinking that Johnson will match his 240 yard, 5 TD outing that he had against Oregon State last year, but I do think that he can cause major problems for the Husky defense. If Ian can get into their secondary, he will be nearly impossible to stop. With Boise State's excellent O-line...I can see a big day for Johnson and I suspect won't see a whole lot of the passing game unless they start to really place all their efforts on stopping the run.
The unit matchups in this game are intriguing as both teams tend to match strengths to weaknesses. UW's defensive weakness appears to be their secondary, but with a good D-line and inexperience in the Broncos deep threats...this could be neutralized. Of course, the Bronco strength on offense is the O-line and the run game...so something has gotta give here.
I will put the special teams play as a "tie" between the two schools...both have young kickers that need to step up and both appear to have legitimate return men. The Broncos, for one, need to work on their kickoff coverage as several near disasters played out last week.
Here's my bottom line: If Tharp can manage to game, not turn the ball over and not try to match Locker BSU will be fine.
If Johnson can get 25-30 touches and keep his ypc the same as it is AND not turn the ball over, BSU will be fine.
If Boise States' D-line can get some pressure on Locker and the Linebacking corps can take away Jake's "escape routes", BSU will be fine.
BSU has a history of taking a quarter or two to "figure out" strong running QBs and I hope that Wilcox has the boys ready for the dual-threat when they step on the field. Strong tackling, heads up play and aggressiveness will make the Bronco D tough to get through. Locker is not invincible and if the Broncos can force him to make mistakes (or pull his halo down over his eyes) the Dawgs will have to go with other options.
Boise State 32, Washington 20
Well kids, the first game is in the books and if you braved the scorching Boise temperatures and made it to the Blue you witnessed a very impressive showing by the newly reloaded Broncos, easily beating the Weber St. Wildcats 56-7 in a game where had Chris Petersen not been such a "nice guy" and called off the dogs before halftime, the Broncos could've hung 90 on the scoreboard. Taylor Tharp was lookin' Sharp as he connected on 14 passes out of 19 attempts and netted over 180 yards through the air and led BSU's first team offense down the field eight seperate times for scores. The defining moment of the evening—the one that has all Boise State fans licking their collective chops was when Tharp dropped back, got drilled and planted in the turf...but not before unloading a perfectly thrown 53-yard TD strike to True Freshman Titus Young. I, for one, breathed a sigh of relief to see that the oft-analyzed Tharp indeed had "big play" ability and looked crisp in his debut as the starter. Tharp was accurate, made safe throws and aired them out when he needed to.
Freshman ruled the day as true freshman Titus Young, DJ Harper, Austin Pettis, Brad Elkin and Brandyn Thompson all saw fairly significant playing time. Titus Young looks like the real deal as he took a reverse 23 yards on his first touch of the game and then on the next drive outstripped the Wildcat defenders for the most exciting passing TD of the night. Running back DJ Harper also looks like he's gonna be a good one as he showed Ian Johnson-like patience in reading his blocks and displayed his tough running as he broke several tackles on a 10-yard TD scamper. WR Austin Pettis has sticky hands and pulled in some nice passes over the middle from Tharp. CB Brandyn Thompson played mostly on special teams but looked good in with the 2nd team D as well. True frosh punter Brad Elkin didn't get much work in and didn't quite find his rhythm yet, but his punts weren't terrible and everyone knows that when he gets down division 1 game tempo he will be a good one.
Redshirt freshman Jeremy Avery is going to be a total stud. The little guy can move. Deep in the Bronco's own territory, Avery came in for Johnson and proceeded to take his first handoff 50 yards in what looked like he would go all the way. The backfield is absolutely stacked with Avery, Johnson and Harper and should have no trouble moving the ball on anyone this year. Johnson, by the way played all of a quarter and a half of ball, but seemed to knock the rust off quickly rushing for 128 yards on 18 carries and garnering 3 touchdowns. Johnson chipped away on every run he had, quietly gaining 5-6 yards each time before following an amazing Richie Brockel block around the left side for a too-easy 56 yard TD.
The Defense looks amazing. Yeah, yeah...we were playing "lowly" Weber State, but our Secondary made former SEC QB Jimmy Barnes (who was listed as 6'5", 230 lbs., but didn't look an ounce under 270) look downright awful all night. In fact, Weber State scarcely had any first downs or yardage before halftime (49-0, at that point, BTW) Marty Tadman showed why he is an SI.com All-America pick as he was all over any pass that came his direction, and Orlando Scandrick and Kyle Wilson locked down their sides of the field amazingly well.
Wilson and Tadman also showed that the punt return game may have a bright future too as both took a Wildcat punt over 60 yards and nearly scored both times. Wilson directed blockers on his punt return as he nearly took it to the house, eventually outrunning his blocks and being forced out at about the 10 yard line.
I know that you can't ever tell a whole lot about a team when they open against a 1-AA squad, but if last year's perfect season is any indicator (when BSU beatdown Sac St. 45-0) we should be in fairly good shape. The game wasn't sloppy, the starters and newcomers looked incredibly crisp for the first outing and the offense and defense seemed to be firing on all cylinders.
Next week, Boise State tries to get the BCS road-game monkey off their backs as they travel to Seattle to take on the UW Huskies. Without having to reallly open up the playbook last night, the Broncos may have some big surprises in store for the Dawgs..and I'd wager our running game will be a big factor in this one.
Here is a link to a nice slideshow of the game put together by BoiseStatefans.com
Pic at top of article from boisestatefans.com
Get your "Join the Bronco Nation" recruiting poster today. This 11 x 17 poster is a limited edition by yours truly and will look great in any Bronco fans den or Bronco room. The poster is printed on high-quality matte finished paper stock and will look great for years. 20% of proceeds from the posters will go to Horsepower. The price of this poster is $21.00. To see more detail on this cool, retro style poster click on the picture above.
Contact me here is you want your very own Bronco Nation poster.
In this age of corporate sponsorships, we've been graced with the presence of many strange bedfellows in sports event/venure partnerships. Who could forget such great pairings as Minute Maid park, Enron field and the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl? Well, here's another gem to add to the pile.
Boise, Idaho's Humanitarian Bowl (also known as the crucial.com Humanitarian bowl, and the MPC Computers Bowl) has just unveiled their new sponsor...drumroll...Roady's Truck Stops!
Is it just me or do the words "Truck Stops" just smack of class and dignity? I'm sure that Roady's (never heard of it) is a reputable and nice establishment...their website boasts truck stops in nearly every state in the union; but come on—the Roady's Truck Stops Humanitarian Bowl? At least their logo is blue to go with the blue Boise Turf. Get ready for a deluge of jokes and jabs because of this announcement.
Meanwhile, I am looking forward to watching the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl, The Brut Sun Bowl, the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, and everyone's favorite: the Papajohns.com bowl.
Boise State's often maligned, but never duplicated Jared Zabransky has hit Houston after signing a free agent deal with the Houston Texans. As the Texans have jettisoned former WAC QB David Carr and picked up Atlanta's number 2 man Matt Schaub...Houston's QB situation is pretty hazy. I personally like Z's chances of getting a roster spot and the lackluster Houston O-line is one reason. Houston needs a quarterback who can move and improvise...hmmm, who fits that description? Z has been humble in swallowing the bitter "not-getting-drafted" pill and has vowed to work his tail off to make an impact for a franchise. Since Z has Schaub, Quinton Porter, Sage Rosenfels and Bradlee Van Pelt ahead of him, technically on the depth chart...I think that Z's combination of speed, escapability and well, speed can vault him up this not-terribly-daunting chart. I don't look for Z to start this season by any stretch—but if he can continue to improve his consistency and work on his decision making...I think that Z will get his opportunity down the road and be a productive NFLer.
Here is a link to a few videos about the start of Texans' OTAs, look for the Zabransky interview on the Houston Texans' website.
Here is an article about QB quandaries mentioning Zabransky (who is sporting number 15 now, by the way).
Well, there were surprises, disappointments, and drama, but the 2007 NFL draft was the best ever for Boise State. 4 players got picked up in the 7 round draft and many other Bronco seniors have signed free agent deals around the league. The first player drafted was no surprise—Gerald Alexander had been projected to be the highest Bronco taken at Safety...the Detroit Lions actually traded up to take him in the 2nd round. Alexander's pickup marks the second year in a row where a Bronco has gone in the 2nd round (Daryn Colledge in 2006). Alexander has a promising career ahead of him and with his athleticism and knowledge of the corner position, may well find himself moving around the defensive backfield. The Lions really wanted him...and I'm sure Gerald will not make them regret it.
Next to come off the big board in the 5th was Legadu Naanee, the versatile Bronco wideout—going to the San Diego Chargers. Naanee was a force at WR the last two seasons for Boise State who brought a big (6'3" 230 lbs), physical presence to the passing game. Naanee can run, catch and block and has already been given reps at wide receiver, tight end, and fullback for the Chargers. Switching positions should pose no problem for Naanee, since he came to BSU as a quarterback and left as our highest draft pick at wide receiver in years. There's a good article about "LA" at camp here.
The next Bronco draftee was a surprise...and a very pleasant one, at that. Korey Hall, the phenomenal 4-year starter for the Broncos at LB was not even invited to the NFL combine, but he apparently impressed scouts at the pro day enough to hear his name called in the 6th round as the Green Bay Packers drafted him, most likely, as a fullback. Korey Hall has good hands and great instincts and if he plays Special Teams or Fullback for the Pack at all like he played Linebacker for the Broncos...then Green Bay has a great 'get' in Hall. I must admit, I didn't think that Korey had much chance of getting drafted after his combine snub, but was delighted that he was given the opportunity. Obviously the Packers found out what we've known for the past 5 years...that the boy from Glenns Ferry, Idaho can flat out play football...despite what he lacks in "measurables". Korey will be joining another ex-Bronco great in Green Bay—Offensive Lineman Daryn Colledge. Parkjar has put together an excellent video of Korey Hall's BSU career that can be viewed here.
"Mr. Clutch" for the Broncos, also known as Derek Schouman (or SCHOUUUU!) is another local product that heard his name called on the second day of the draft. The Buffalo Bills drafted the talented Tight End in the 7th round. Schouman put up great numbers at the NFL combine and projects well for Buffalo as a Tight End or Fullback. Schouman, though plagued by injuries throughout his BSU career is a playmaker. Schouman has excellent hands and is one of the best downfield blockers in BSU history. The Buffalo Bills got an absolute steal in Derek Schouman—and we look forward to hearing a chorus of "SCHOOOU"s in Buffalo.
Somewhat surprisingly, Jared Zabransky did not get drafted despite great career numbers and an excellent combine showing. "Z" was at first considered to have an outside chance of getting drafted, but by draft day it looked like he may go in the 4th-7th rounds. Ultimately, it may have been Z's inconsistency in the passing game (see: 2005) that was his undoing on draft day...but with Jared's confidence and athleticism I'm sure his free agent deal with the Texans' will be a good decision. I think that Z is in a great place in Houston and will have an excellent chance to crack Houston's 3-deep at QB. God knows that the Texans need a mobile QB, since their O-line obviously can't block for a pure pocket passer.
Other free agent signings of note are: WR Jerard Rabb (Dallas), WR Drisan James (Chicago), Long Snapper Mike Dominguez (NY Jets), DE Andrew Browning (Detroit) and FB Brad Lau (St. Louis)
I am sure that all Broncos that were taken in the draft and free-agency have an excellent opportunity to make final rosters. Broncos are blue-collar, hard-working and scrappy so don't count any of these guys out. All of us in Bronco Nation wish them the best.
In the wake of the epic Fiesta Bowl win, BSU sent a record 6 players to the NFL combine...those players were: QB Jared Zabransky, TE Derek Schouman, WR Drisan James, S Gerald Alexander, WR Jerard Rabb and WR Legadu Naanee. Noticeably absent from the combine was all-everything linebacker and WAC defensive player-of-the-year Korey Hall. Hall did work out for scouts at the Caven-WIlliams sports complex during BSU's pro day and was joined by other notable seniors Colt Brooks, Brad Lau and others. Ideally, BSU would have all of these guys drafted—all combine invitees performed very well and all led their group in at least one test...however, I realistically see 3 or possibly 4 getting drafted, with others settling for Free Agent contracts. The most "draftable" Broncos are probably Alexander, Zabransky, Schouman (who is being projected as a possible fullback) and Naanee. I truly believe that these guys are going to get a shot and have an even stronger belief that the others will land free agent contracts and work their ways onto rosters.
Zabransky is the most intriguing draftee of the bunch. Considered a draft longshot a few months back...he now has several teams interested in his services and may be taken relatively early (4-6th round). Z's appearance as the cover boy of NCAA 08 has surely helped his notoriety, but showing his athleticism and speed at the combine has no doubt turned some heads as well. Zabransky had one of the top shuttle times at the combine out of EVERY position, ran among the fastest 40s and was very accurate with his throws. I believe that Z will be a steal if he is drafted because of his intelligence (top 10 Wonderlic score), escapability and "S" cape ability (remember the 85 yard scamper against Hawaii in '04)
It will be an interesting draft day and by the end, will probably have the most Broncos taken ever. These guys know how to win and are hard-workers...every one of them could make a GM very happy. Good luck to all outgoing seniors...make us proud in the NFL!
As you can see from the above video—the offense has caught up to the defense a bit after the second scrimmage of the spring. Taylor Tharp bounced back from a poor showing at the first scrimmage to lead all Bronco QBs. Tharp went 9 of 11 for 122 yards and 2 passing TDs, one to Freshman RB Jeremy Avery and another to Tanyon Bissell. Bush Hamdan kept pace having another solid outing going 5 of 7. Sophomore Nick Lomax showed that he isn't giving up on the job just yet going a very respectable 3 for 3 and not turning the ball over once. Freshman QB Mike Coughlin fell back to earth a bit hitting 50 percent of his passes, however, he also threw two interceptions—one to LB Tim Brady and another to safety Marty Tadman.
Tanyon Bissell led all Bronco receivers with 2 grabs for 50 yards and a TD. Sophomore Jeremy Childs was close behind with 49 yards on two receptions. RB Jeremy Avery showed that he can catch as well as run as he contributed 32 receiving yards and a TD to go along with his 10 rushing yards. Sophomore Aiona Key notched 29 yards on a reverse and brought in one pass for 12 yards.
The Bronco D continued to look strong contributing 2 INT with a 3rd coming during redzone drills as Marty Tadman took a Bush Hamdan pass 94 yards the other way for a score. The most spectacular turnover took place when Tadman robbed high-jump-specialist Aiona Key of a high Mike Coughlin throw, landing flat on his back with the pigskin.
Updated QB odds:
Spring Scrimmage #2 picture album. Courtesy of statueleftblog
|Spring Scrimmage #2|
Boise State's reputation for offensive fireworks is well deserved, but BSU can play "D" too. From Quintin Mikell to Colt Brooks...The Broncos have had players over the years that can lay the wood. Here are two big time hits from the 2006 season. I will be looking for more videos to show the how the Broncos roll on D. If anyone has Colt Brooks demolition of the Vandals' QB in 2005, please send me a link or a vid.
Dynamite comes in small, Austin Smith-sized packages.
"GA" nearly decapitates Utah's RB
Any more nominees?
As most of you know, Boise State has granted film rights to the story of the 2006 Bronco football season to Iron Circle Pictures. The documentary film, which is tentatively titled Out of the Blue: A Film About Life and Football will have Boise State grad and accomplished Hollywood director Michael Hoffman at the helm and is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2007. Here's the deal: Design a movie poster for the film and send it to me...I will post them all on this site and when I choose a winner, that person will get a lovely 8 x 10 Bronco Football photo for their wall, den, bathroom or whatever. You game? Send 'em in!
Feel free to use your own elements or pics for this, but here are 6 images to use if you have none:
1 2 3 4 5 6
Forgot to put a deadline on this baby...Let's say have them submitted by April 21st.
Jpegs or gifs are preferred and try to keep the file size under 500k.
All photos are found in the 2007 Winter edition of FOCUS magazine and were taken by John Kelly
No, I didn't say "Four Horsemen"...
I said..."Four Horse Race" — And that looks to be exactly what we have shaping up for the 2007-08 season of Bronco Football. The race, of course, is to see which player is going to step up and become the starting Bronco QB.
The winner will have sizeable shoes to fill, following Fiesta Bowl hero and NCAA 08 cover boy Jared Zabransky who went 34-5 as a starter at BSU. The QB will also find himself in the shadow of other great Bronco QBs like Ryan Dinwiddie and Bart Hendricks. One thing is for sure, the Broncos have had a hot streak of quarterbacks and have recruited this position very well throughout their history.
So...who's it going to be? Coaches and fans are hoping that a front-runner will emerge as Spring turns into Fall, but at this point it is for the pundits and fans to speculate.
First off is senior Taylor Tharp, who has been an able backup for the last two years, but hasn't blown away fans with his athleticism or other intangibles. Tharp is clearly the most experienced Bronco of the 4, and should know the playbook like the back of his hand, but so far in Spring Ball has not dazzled fans or coaches. Another obstacle that Tharp may face is being a senior...would the coaches rather start an underclassmen to let them evolve or go with Tharp for his Bronco football swan song? The coaches have made it clear that the best man will see the field this year, but if Tharp even so much as "ties" in this race with an underclassman, you can bet that they will get the nod over the senior. Tharp will need to step up in the remaining scrimmages and solidify his position as the front-runner or he may see his time with the first-teamers diminish as we close in on the Weber St. opener.
Next in line is junior Bush Hamdan. Clearly the most athletic of the group and the QB most likely to remind fans of Zabransky. Hamdan does not possess the blazing speed of Zabransky, but he is mobile and has good escapability — he also has one of the stronger arms. Hamdan did very well for himself at the first Spring Scrimmage, completing 8 of 11 passes for 98 yards, but it is hard to tell at this point if the pecking order has shifted. Hamdan is the shortest of the 4 quarterbacks and has somewhat of a sidearm throwing style — this worries some that think this may be a hindrance against tall, http://www2.blogger.com/img/gl.link.giffast lineman. Hamdan did have at least one pass knocked down in the first scrimmage. Hamdan has shown really well in scrimmages the last few years, but was still been unable to snatch the backup job from Tharp, which leads many to believe that some other issues are at play. In an interview recently, coach Chris Petersen hinted that Hamdan's main obstacle right now is mental, in that he gets down on himself when he makes mistakes on the field. Hamdan gives it all on the field and I think he is going to make a very significant run at the starting job this year.
Nick Lomax is a sophomore and the tallest of the bunch. The son of former NFL quarterback Neil Lomax, Nick was the 2005 Scout Team Player of the Year and has had high expectations heaped upon him since his arrival. Lomax is virtually untested, however, and the first Spring Scrimmage was not his best outing, going only 6 of 14 with an INT to boot. Lomax seems to be the slowest of the 4 hopefuls, and does not possess great arm strength. He has a decent pocket presence — and his height is a major positive. If Lomax doesn't make a strong move, and soon, he may see his snap count fall dramatically throughout the remainder of spring and fall as the coaches try to narrow the field.
Last, but certainly not least, is Freshman Mike Coughlin. Coughlin, the 2006 Scout Team Player of the Year, has tremendous upside as he:
• is the youngest of the 4 quarterbacks
• is the second tallest at 6'5"
• possesses very good arm strength
• is familiar with the Boise State offense, perhaps beyond his years, since he ran a very similar one in high school.
Coughlin's stats in the first Spring Scrimmage were just a hair's breadth worse than top-performer Hamdan's as he went 8 of 12 for 90 yards — Very impressive for a Redshirt Frosh. If Coughlin can duplicate his great performance in the subsequent Spring scrimmages, he may be able to buy himself some valuable time with the first team. Coughlin has been the subject of intense hype, but has so far lived up to his billing. Many Bronco fans are salivating at the prospect of a four-year starter, but time will tell whether this youngster can survive the rigors of spring ball to emerge as a favorite for the spot.
If I handicap the race today, here is how my list would look:
I will report back on this after the next two scrimmages and give my input. Please leave your comments here on this topic.
Lots of stuff going down (and up) at Bronco Stadium — Here's a webcam to check their progress. If you see anyone just leaning on their shovels, get down there quick and tell them to get back to work! Kidding, of course, they are doing a good job. Got one light standard down yesterday and looks like another one is about to follow suit.
This blog will attempt to dump some of the excess Bronco Football out of my brain so I can go on about my business in peace.
Lots of stuff to talk about even though the season is an agonizing 5 months away:
• Stadium expansion is well underway
• We've got a first class quarterback race going on
• Spring scrimmages 2 and 3 are coming up soon
• Will the 07/08 Broncos be able to reach the same stratosphere that the 13-0 06/07 squad did?
If you have any suggestions for articles, feel free to leave a comment.