Clady finishes 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting

Ryan Clady finished a distant third to the Atlanta Falcons' Matt Ryan in the AP's Offensive Rookie of the Year voting...but hey, he got some votes didn't he? As hard as it is for a non "skill" position player to garner much attention in balloting, it speaks volumes that Clady finished one vote behind Titans' running back Chris Johnson and one vote in front of the Bears' Matt Forte. Clady, as previously noted, will be conspicuously absent from the Pro Bowl, but Clady has impressed everyone this season, giving up just a half a sack while playing Left Tackle for the Denver Broncos.

Mark it down...Clady will be an All-Pro next season.

Ryan wins AP Offensive Rookie of the Year [ESPN]


Every cloud...

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da...

Well the season is over and the as the last of the Christmas leftovers are being digested, some much needed perspective has finally settled into the spot where disappointment and heartache sat just six days ago. The Boise State/TCU game provided everything that fans were looking for (besides a Boise State win) and really could've gone either way. Were we disappointed with the outcome? Absolutely—the way the game ended, with Kellen's out-of-leftfield INT, quickly soured the optimistic mood that most fans probably had going into the last 2 minutes of the bowl, but It is great to be a Bronco fan. Their insistence on trying to break the record for "most bowl game ended with a pick in one decade" certainly sprouts some gray hairs among even the most loyal Bronco fans, but no player or fan should be hanging their heads about the 2008 campaign...it didn't end on the highest of notes, but the future looks bright in the land of blue and orange, and here's some reasons why.

10. 1-point away from a perfect season in what "should" have been a rebuilding year.

9. Will absolutely be ranked in the 2009 preseason polls, setting up a more attainable BCS run.

8. Another undefeated regular season, another WAC title.

7. Ian Johnson surpasses Marshall Faulk for all-time WAC rushing TD mark.

6. Kellen freakin' Moore. Need I say more? Ok, I will...he's got 3 more years with the Broncos and his favorite targets are all back next year (even Titus Young)

5. Byron freakin' Hout. True Freshman linebacker/DE hybrid tore it up the second half of the season and will be a force on the Bronco D for 3 more years.

4. George freakin' Iloka. True Freshman safety didn't have the best bowl game, but the youngster surpassed everyone's expectations this year and was a key cog in the phenomenal Bronco D in '08.

3. Preseason WAC fave Fresno State was beaten soundly by the Broncos to finish the year.

2. Barring a pollster coup...the Broncos will finish the season in the top 15 yet again.

1. Boise State has 77 freshman and sophomores on the squad...most were key contributors this year. Experience and conditioning will only make this team better.

12-1 isn't what anyone expected in 2008, and while 13-0 has a better ring to it, Bronco fans better get ready for a ride because the next few years will be some doozies.


Know your enemy (for this bowl, anyway)

Uh-oh...they've got a ginger.

Boise State's final test of the season is a doozy. The #11 TCU Horned Frogs bring a nation-leading defense to the quiet confines of Qualcomm Stadium and the #9 Broncos bring a battle-tested offense and a freshman QB with moxie. Most fans, like me, know next to nothing about the 10-2 Horned Frogs outside of LaDainian Tomlinson and that one 4-eyed coach guy. Needless to say, there is a lot to be learned about our bowl foe (don't worry, Kellen Moore already knows their defense intimately)...so let's explore through the magic of factoids and childish jokes. For the mutual benefit of the Horned Frog faithful, I will let you get to know us a little bit too...so take notes.

Ten things Bronco fans might not know about TCU

10. Texas Christian University was founded by brothers Addison and Randolph Clark in 1873. The brothers, using the contraction of their first names, called the school AddRan Male and Female College (no, that isn't a joke). Addison, being the wordsmith that he was, actually named his first son AddRan as well; either because he really loved his brother or hated his kid.

9. The TCU mascot, the "horned frog" is actually a Texas horned lizard and not a frog at all. These fearsome creatures eat mainly harvester ants, termites, and grasshoppers and have the ability to puff up their bodies or shoot blood out of their eyes to dissuade predators. If the lizard's predator is actually Predator, however, I would imagine they are screwed.

8. The Horned Frogs play their home football games at Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, TX. The Stadium, which seats 44,000, is named for Amon G. Carter, the founder and publisher of the Fort-Worth Star Telegram newspaper. Carter had a well-publicized disdain for Fort Worth's neighbor-city Dallas, and when taking business trips to the city would bring a sack lunch so he didn't have to spend any money there...kind of like when Boiseans visit Garden City.

7. The Professor from Gilligan's Island was said to have a PhD from TCU, among his six degrees. Now that it has been established that fictional degrees can be handed out, I propose that Boise State immediately award Darrin Stevens an MBA (the first one, not the second one).

6. Slingin' Sammy Baugh, who sadly just died on December 17th, is one of TCU's most famous alumni. Baugh was a two-time All-American for the Horned Frogs playing quarterback, defensive back and punter and played 15 years in the NFL for the Washington Redskins. Baugh was among the first inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and even did a little acting on the side. They just don't make guys like that anymore, unless they are willing to spend six million dollars, of course.

5. TCU won the national championship in 1938, only one year after finishing 4-4-2. On their way to the title and an 11-0 record that year, TCU defeated the likes of Arkansas, Temple, Texas A&M, Texas, Rice and SMU and eventually downed Carnegie Mellon in the Sugar Bowl. The very next year, TCU went 3-7. Weird.

4. The longest tenured coach in TCU history was Leo "Dutch" Meyer who coached for 19 years while posting a 109-79-13 record. A model of inconsistency, Meyer only posted 9 winning seasons in his 19 year career, but made them count...winning the aforementioned national championship in 1938 and posting a 12-1 record in 1935. Also, Meyer's 1936 squad could've given this years' Horned Frog defense a run for their money...they posted 7 shutouts.

3. The TCU head coach with the highest career winning percentage was Francis A. Schmidt, who won nearly 85% of his games in his 5 years at the helm. Schmidt seemed to drop off a bit after moving on from TCU, winning only 70% of his games at Ohio State and then completely lost it at Idaho, winning only 36%...but then again, it was Idaho.

2. The namesake of the award for the nation's best college quarterback, the Davey O'Brien Award, is named for...you guessed it...Davey O'Brien—a TCU quarterback who won the Heisman trophy, Maxwell award and the Walter Camp award in 1938. O'Brien was only 5'7" and weighed but 150 lbs. when he won the awards (and the national championship) with the Frogs, which is like Frankie Muniz tearing up NCAA defenses.

1. Horned Frog Miscellany: TCU, for all their storied past and successes, has only won 52% of the games in their history. The Frogs have won 14 conference championships (only 9 outright) in 5 different conferences since 1920 and are 10-13-1 in bowl games in that same span. The Horned Frogs last bowl loss came in 2003 to none other than the Boise State Broncos. Their #11 ranking that they bring in to the Poinsettia Bowl is their highest ranking since 2005, when they finished the year at #11 in the AP and #9 in the Coaches poll. The last time TCU was shutout was in 1991.

Ten things TCU fans might not know about Boise State

10. Receiver Vinny Perretta's father Ralph was an offensive lineman for 6 years with the San Diego Chargers. The elder Perretta played out his career between '75 ad '80 on the same field on which Vinny will end his collegiate career...Qualcomm Stadium (formerly known as Jack Murphy Stadium). Pereta is italian for rubber syringe. Good to know.

9. In 1933, Boise State (BJC) head coach Dusty Kline liked all his football players to get vitamins. Being as it was the depression and vitamins were not exactly an easy get, coach Kline did the traditional thing for that time and gave the players a spoonful of cod liver oil every day. Only problem was that coach Kline gave everyone their dose from the same spoon, causing a nasty case of "trench mouth" (necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis) to break out among the team—some players even lost their teeth to the malady. Fortunately, with the lack of adequate protective headgear at the time...they probably would've lost those teeth anyway.

8. Until last year's draft that saw Bronco OT Ryan Clady go in the first round, Boise State's highest ever draftee was Defensive End Markus Koch. Koch was drafted 30th overall by the Washington Redskins in the 1986 draft. After returning to Boise State in 1993 for his Hall of Fame induction...Koch basically disappeared. Friends and ex-teammates completely lost track of the Bronco great and could not find him until the Clady draft story caused searchers to redouble their efforts. Koch was finally tracked down in Port Townsend, WA where he had been living and working as a yacht broker for 15 years. Koch sadly could not provide any information on the whereabouts of D.B. Cooper.

7. Boise State's lone alum that resides in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is linebacker Dave Wilcox. Wilcox played at Boise State in its Junior College days and as such, had a stop at the University of Oregon before being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers. Wilcox's son Justin, is the current defensive coordinator for Boise State.

6. Legendary Bronco coach Lyle Smith, often called "the father of Bronco football", won his first 37 games with the Broncos and never had a losing season in his 20 years as head Bronco (1947-1967). Smith's high school nickname was "Iron Man" and he lived up to that name when his coaching career started, often chalking the field, doing the team finances and even the laundry, his first year in Boise he was also the head basketball coach (his team went 24-9). After his coaching career was over, Smith became AD and handpicked his successor, Tony Knap—who also never notched a losing season at Boise State.

5. Boise State started out as a junior college in 1932 and became 4-year Boise College in 1968. Hal Zimmerman was the starting QB for BJC in 1967 and in 1968 was the starter for Boise College. How many can make that claim?

4. The first U.S. commercial air flight was an airmail flight in 1926 from Pasco, Wash., to Boise on Varney Air Lines, predecessor of United Airlines. The dirt landing strip was where Bronco Stadium is now. Prior to the campus being built, it was Boise's first airport...and before that: a landfill.

3. Many think that Boise State ripped off their colors and mascot from the Denver Broncos...well it may be the other way around. Boise State's mascot and colors were picked in 1932 by student Owen Sproat and others after a basketball game. As Sproat put it:

“most of the guys rode horses — it was pretty much cattle country in those days.”
The johnny-come-lately Denver Broncos didn't come on the scene until 1960.

2. Bronco Stadium's Lyle Smith Field is the nation's first non-green collegiate playing surface. "The Blue" or the "Smurf Turf" as it is affectionately known was first installed in 1986 and is currently in its 4th iteration. Contrary to popular belief...geese do not break their necks after mistaking it for a white lined lake. Jimmy Hoffa is also NOT buried under the field (as far as we know)

1. Boise State's QB, redshirt frosh Kellen Moore, owns pretty much every high school football record in the state of Washington. Moore had 787 completions, 173 touchdowns, and over over 11,000 yards passing at Prosser High School. He threw 66 touchdown passes his junior year and 67 his senior year. His brother Kirby, the national record holder for career receiving TDs is joining Kellen on the blue next year. Consider this a warning.

Now that we're properly acquainted...let's kill one another on the football field tomorrow evening! GO BRONCOS!


Just Winn, baby.

"Talk to me Warriors!"

Which Bronco made the Sporting News All-Freshman first team? Just Winn, baby. DT and soon-to-be DE Billy Winn was named to the Sporting News (prestigious?) All-Freshman team today for his efforts this season. Winn has 23 tackles and 2.5 sacks on the year from the DT position and will be splitting time with fellow frosh Byron Hout at the injury-addled DE position in the Poinsettia Bowl next week. Only two other freshman from non-BCS schools were chosen for the first team...a punt returner from FIU and a kick returner from Tulsa. True freshman Safety George Iloka made the second team as did demi-god Kellen Moore. The youth movement at Boise State is indeed impressive—the rest of the nation will take notice shortly.

First teamers [SportingNews.com]

Clady snubbed. Weak.

You wouldn't like Clady when he's angry.

Joining the long list of snubs Boise State fans have come to expect this year is one of a different variety. Boise State alum Ryan Clady, who would be prepping to shut down TCU's Jerry Hughes right now if he hadn't left early for the NFL was snubbed by the Pro Bowl selection committee today. This will not stand. I mean come on, NFL...Clady has been getting Rookie of the Year type buzz as he's shut down wave after wave of franchise defensive ends this season and has given up but half a sack this year as well. Last week alone, against the Carolina Panthers, he "schooled" Julius Peppers (their words, not mine) and every writer on NFL.com placed Clady on their Pro Bowl ballot. Sadly, the writers at NFL.com do not actually cast ballots...but you get the point. Clady was robbed, and all of you Pro Bowl voters just awoke a sleeping giant.

Pro Bowl rosters [NFL.com]


The Leno Show

"I'll protect you, Kellen."

Boise State received their 19th verbal commitment (20th if you count the softy) of the 2009 class today as big OT Charles Leno pulled the proverbial trigger. Leno, a 6'5" 265 pounder out of San Leandro HS (CA), had scholly offers from Idaho, SDSU, SJSU, UNLV and Utah as well as interest from several Pac-10 schools. Leno is rated as the #24 Offensive Tackle of the '09 class by ESPN and also grades out as a 79 using their formula. Besides receiving passing grades from ESPN's recruiting team, they had this (among other things) to say about the big man.

Leno is on prime time when he's on the field. He has very good size and is extremely athletic. Runs more like a tight end than a tackle; gives great effort when leading downfield on the screen pass or getting crossfield to pick up a defender. Plays the game with a great sense of urgency and gives 100% every play.
Coach Pete will get that ratcheted up to 110%, so don't worry.

By the way, Leno visited the blue during the Fresno State game so it's a miracle that it took him two weeks to pull the trigger—still one of the most memorable nights at Bronco Stadium I can remember.

Leno scouting report [ESPN]
List of Boise State commits [Scout.com]


The definitive Poinsettia Bowl preview

A few days ago, I was asked to write a "thorough" Poinsettia Bowl preview for Bleacher Report that was to be between 300-600 words...well, it's a good thing I can't follow directions because what the Bleacher Report got was a 1,600 word analysis that would give Deep Blue pause. Rather than post the preview on FFBSU and give people's mouse-scrolling-hand cramps...here is the link. If you've anything to add, please do.


Horned Blogs: Bronco Nation Podcast talks with the enemy

JT from BNN had a little chit chat with a horned frog blogger (say that three times fast) yesterday and discussed all things Poinsettia. Have a listen and check out JT's site when you have a chance...it's nice.

icon for podpress  The Bronco Nation Podcast - Spit Blood TCU Interview [36:35m]: Hide Player | Play in Popup | Download



Logged on to facebook today and saw this horrifying development. Kellen...don't fall in with the wrong crowd!


Consolation prize

So the BCS machine surprised no one last night by choosing 10-2 Ohio State over the Broncos for the final at-large spot in a BCS bowl. I suppose watching the Buckeyes get run over by the Longhorns will be much more enjoyable than watching the Broncos get run over by the Longhorns and maybe there is a silver lining. The Broncos overachieved this year by most accounts with the stellar performance of Kellen Moore and dominating defense, but youth precluded them from really putting perfect games together outside of a few...maybe they just weren't ready for a BCS bowl. The team will almost certainly be ranked in the preseason polls next year and be better set up for a serious BCS run in 2009 and beyond. The first step towards that end would be to take down the pesky TCU Horned Frogs in San Diego on the 23rd of this month. The bowl represents what may be one of the top 5 matchups of the postseason, #9 and undefeated Boise State vs. #11 and 10-2 TCU. The Horned Frogs have a smothering defense and impressive team speed...the Broncos have a smothering defense and a dynamic offense. Something has got to give. Early analysis says that the Horned Frogs and Broncos may be close to a "push" on defense and the edge had to go to the Broncos on offense...setting up an exciting game in sunny San Diego in a few weeks. I will be posting lots of info as it comes out about the matchup and you better believe that there will be a bowl version of "Know Your Enemy" so take heart Bronco fans. The BCS wasn't in the cards this year, but we'll get there again...sooner than you think.


JC Safety commits to the Broncos

Safety Will Shamburger, who verballed to the Broncos in August, backed out of his commitment yesterday. It took all of half a day for a new Safety to take his scholly, when JC transfer Winston Venable threw his verbal at Boise State. Venable, who looks like a lineman in his photo, will have 3 years to play 2 at Boise State and looks like he will immediately vie for the 3rd safety spot that we saw Ellis Powers flourish in this year. Venable is 6'1", 210 lbs. and possesses 4.5 speed...oh yeah, and he punts too so look out Elkin Brotzman! Venable was the Co-Defensive Player of the Year this season at Glendale Community College and made league's first-team defense at two positions (Safety and Punter). With Shamburger's departure from the commit list, Venable still represents the 18th commit of the 2009 class.

Full list of current commits [scout.com]
A few more tidbits on Venable [OBNUG]


50k the hard way

Just noticed a little something...FFBSU has just passed the 50,000 page-view mark. Not too shabby for a messy little Bronco blog. Thanks to all the readers and fans of the blog, I'll try to make the blog bigger and better for the next 50,000 and beyond.


So long and thanks for all the towels

(Cue sad Incredible Hulk music) Hal Mumme has been canned at New Mexico State and towels around the state are flying at half mast. Mumme was 11-38 during his tenure at NMSU, including an awesome 1-7 WAC finish this year, getting blown out by Utah State in their finale. Maybe SMU is looking for a blowhard offensive coordinator.


Duh: Kellen Moore WAC Freshman of the Year

Yes WAC, you get 3 more years of this.

The All-WAC selections were announced today and the list has a heavy blue and orange tint.

The "duh" awards:
WAC Coach of the Year—Chris Petersen
WAC Freshman of the Year—Kellen Moore

1st Team Offense:
WR Jeremy Childs
OL Andrew Woodruff

1st Team Defense:
DE Ryan Winterswyk
S Ellis Powers
DB Kyle Wilson

2nd Team Offense:
WR Austin Pettis
QB Kellen Moore
RB Ian Johnson

2nd Team Defense:
DE Mike T. Williams
S Jeron Johnson

2nd Team Specialists:
PR Kyle Wilson (2nd team?)

Colin Kaepernick received Offensive Player of the Year honors and first team QB honors...no qualms with the OPOTY award, but I think they're being awful fast and loose with the term "quarterback" when Kaepernick is involved. Here's what I mean: Colin Kaepernick threw for 2,479 yards this season, completing 54% of his passes for 19 TDs and 5 INTS. Conversely, Kellen Moore threw for 3,264 yards this season, completing 70% of his passes for 25 TDs and 9 INTs. Which was the better "quarterback"? You tell me. Kaepernick is certainly a dangerous offensive weapon and deserves the offensive accolades, but if this is how we're judging excellence at the quarterback position, Kellen Moore can look forward to two more years as 2nd team WAC QB, even though he'll likely be a national leader in TDs and efficiency. Nice.

Hard to believe, but this will be coach Pete's first Coach of the Year award...he was famously snubbed for the honor in 2006, though he led the team to a 13-0 record and snared the Bear Bryant award. Thankfully, June Jones is now gone and there is no more butt for Hal Mumme to kiss in his absence.

I think it is also worth noting that preseason WAC favorite Fresno State (who you may remember got demolished by Boise State on Friday) placed but one player on a WAC first team (OL Bobby Lepori)

All-WAC Honors
Boise State 2008 Team Awards