The annual Blue & Orange game wrapped up last night with the offense beating the defense 25-9. You may think that the scoring system favored the offense, and you would be right. The defense, by all accounts played well and showed that they are a cohesive unit that will go back to Boise State's bread and butter of stopping the run. The defense gave up only one late TD—a 3-yard run by Doug Martin.
QB race will be a photo-finish
The QB race, as everyone expected was NOT resolved last night, but it is pretty fair to say that the 4-man derby has become a two-man race between redshirt freshman Kellen Moore and senior Bush Hamdan. Once again, Moore led all QBs at the scrimmage going 11-of-13 for 99 yards and no turnovers. If you are keeping track at home...Moore had the best stats at 2 of the 3 Spring scrimmages and went 26-of-39 with 265 yards and no turnovers for Spring. The other dog in the hunt, Bush Hamdan, was 7-of-10 for 65 yards in the scrimmage and was 19-of-31 with 239 yards and no turnovers for the Spring.
Now, we are definitely in for a long summer and any one of these QBs can make strides and insert himself back into the race, but for now, between Moore and Hamdan...I believe that we are looking at a similar scenario that we faced in 2004 when Jared Zabransky and Michael Sanford were both vying for the spot. Unless the senior (Hamdan) really distances himself from Moore and the other QBs, I think the coaches will go with "the future" like they did in '04. Obviously, at this point, Moore has the better numbers and has been more consistent...but summer workouts and fall camp could change that. Hamdan is a touch more mobile than Moore and has a bit stronger arm, but Moore is very quick at scanning the field and finding the open man and appears to sense pressure when it is coming and moves well in the pocket.
Barring a total meltdown by Moore over the next few months I would put the quarterback odds at this point at:
*I do believe that regardless of who is named the starter between Hamdan and Moore, we will still see Mike Coughlin in certain game situations.
Defense makes good strides
While injury-prone, the defense still made very positive strides this Spring as the linebacker corps looks to be very deep and very talented. We will probably see any or all of the eligible LBs in games this season. Sophomore Derrell Acrey has impressed coaches this Spring and looks poised to make a big impact this fall. Kyle Gingg, Tim Brady, Dallas Dobbs and Aaron Tevis also have shown coaches what they wanted to see—playing more physical and knowing their assignments.
The secondary has a few question marks with the departure of Orlando Scandrick and Marty Tadman, and the no one really knows who will replace Scandrick across the field from Kyle Wilson this year. The safety position, however, looks to be in good shape as big-hitter Jeron Johnson returns and Jason Robinson has excelled in the off-season. True frosh George Iloka will likely burn his redshirt this year as he's been a force in the secondary all spring.
Running backs a'plenty
The running back situtation, is barely worth mentioning as there is possibly more depth and talent in the backfield than the Broncos have ever had. With a young, untested O-line, the Bronco offense will look to game-changers Ian Johnson, Jeremy Avery, Doug Martin and DJ Harper to blow the games wide-open. While Ian Johnson is the incumbent starter, Martin and Harper have had big Springs while Avery nurses an injury. Harper has been extremely hard for the defense to take down and Doug Martin looks to be a very solid goal-line back.
Spring ball should be enough to assuage the most pessimistic Bronco's fears as the team looks to be filling the voids nicely. Thomas Byrd looks like he will be the starting center and the rest of the O-line will solidify itself in the Fall and hopefully add a little bulk over the summer. The kicking game, with Kyle Brotzman back, should be just fine. The bottom line is this: if the Broncos can regain the chip on their shoulder that they had in '06...the schedule favors another WAC title and good bowl game. The team chemistry will dictate what this 2008-09 Bronco squad can achieve.
OBNUG's Blue & Orange take
Nice IPT slideshow of the B&O
OrangeDeath provides proof of new unis
Statueleft will have scrimmage pics and video galore
Idaho Statesman refutes Phil Dailey's claims that a starter has been crowned.