Ian Johnson undrafted—My faith in humanity dashed

This is my 300th post on FFBSU. Seems odd that my 300th post milestone is to announce Ian Johnson, the "face" of the Broncos for the last 3 years, went undrafted in this weekends NFL draft and I'm not happy about it. You wanna know why I'm not happy about it? Look at who was drafted. Tom freakin' Brandstater was drafted (!). Two Mountain West running backs were drafted that had fewer TDs in their career than Johnson's sophomore season alone—one of them had fewer career yards than Johnson's sophomore campaign as well. You are telling me that Ian Johnson, the very definition of a character player...who scored 58 rushing TDs in his career and finished 8th in Heisman voting as a sophomore isn't a better pick than UNLV's Frank Summers? Really, NFL? A guy who posted the second fastest time among running backs at the NFL combine and showed versatility and character throughout his career can't even make it 10-deep on the "top remaining players" list hours into day 2 of the draft? Really, "Scouts Inc."? What a slap in the face to a kid who played through injuries, always talked to the media and never complained about diminished touches in the backfield. Say what you will—I know that free agents can and do flourish in the league...but a player as decorated and talented as Ian Johnson should NOT be drafted behind two (!) players from 1-AA. A player as valuable to a team and as committed as Ian Johnson should not be drafted after a quarterback from Nebraska-Omaha or a running back from Abilene Christian. The all-time leader in rushing TDs and face of the WAC just got wacked...10 conference mates were picked up by NFL squads—none could take a "chance" on Ian?

Oh sure, Ian will get his shot somewhere...and he has his "foot-in-the-door" so to speak, but the NFL's system of evaluation leaves much to be desired...and Ian deserved better than what he got. Oh, and I'll go ahead and throw this out there: Jeremy Childs might have made a "slight" miscalculation.

Somewhat less disappointing update: Friends gotta stick together. Vinny and Ian heading to the Vikings as free agents. Ian chose the Vikings from 12-15 suitors (the team with Adrian Peterson as an RB...really?) Good luck to both. Also, Julian Hawkins to Dallas to say hello to O. Scandrick.




The Broncos just got their first commitment of the 2010 class. Yes, I said 2010...well, typed it actually. Anyway, DL Tyrone Crawford from Windsor, Ontario has signed on with the Broncos in what may be the earliest commitment ever. Now Crawford, who is currently on the roster at Bakersfield College, was already somewhat "in the pipeline" as he was originally the object of the coaches interest when they ventured up North during the '08 recruiting cycle. The coaches ended up coming back with Crawford's teammate, Mike Atkinson and Crawford, who had a little trouble qualifying, elected to go the JC route. Now the 6'5" 258 lb. Crawford has things sorted out academically and would like to take the coaches up on their original offer. Crawford was named to the SCFA first-team defense for the 2008 season. Coincidentally, one of Crawford's teammates at Bakersfield is Van Drumgoole, the Vallivue star who received a scholarship last year from the Broncos but later declined it. Current Bronco LB Daron Mackey played at Bakersfield in 2007.

You've seen Atkinson...the big D-lineman that can run like a gazelle. Well, check out Crawford, he also was utilized on the offensive side of things up at Catholic Central High. I'm liking this precedent of getting big, strong D-lineman that are fast and athletic enough to play fullback or tight end.


Oh snap...we got another snapper

The Katy Times (TX) are reporting that Chris Roberson has accepted an offer to play football at Boise State. Roberson, who played both linebacker and fullback at Katy High School, will apparently be coming to Boise to try to snag a floating scholarship at the long snapper position. As Roberson's scholarship is not a definite, it appears he will be attending as an invited walk-on. Roberson believes he'll stick.

"They have a scholarship waiting. They've offered for me to go to school there, and earn the scholarship if I beat out the guys they have."
I'll be honest...I'm not really sure how our long-snapper situation is right now. Dallas Dobbs was a long-snapping specialist the last few years and prior to that, Jon Mike Dominguez held the role—I don't see why the 6'1", 220 lb. Roberson couldn't inject himself right into the mix. After all, he's got his very own long snapping coach.
"I have a deep snapping coach in California, and they saw me on his web site," Roberson said Monday night.
Roberson will represent the 7th Texas athlete on the Broncos' roster. Welcome aboard, kid—and good luck.

Katy's Roberson picks Boise State [Katy Times]


Better late than never

You're gonna need some bigger defensive backs.

Ok, so FFBSU hasn't been the blog of record for Spring football. Things are busy 'round the water cooler and I didn't even get to hit up the much-too-early-on-a-weekday first and second scrimmages (to recap: 1st scrimmage=yay offense...2nd scrimmage=yay defense). So, I packed up the family last Friday to take in the annual "Blue and Orange" game (which this year had more of a Blue and White hue to it)—the reliable end to Spring ball and a signal to diehard Bronco fans that football is an agonizing 4 months away.

The format, as everyone knows, was a bit different this year. Koach Kwiatkowski and Coach Pease both "drafted" their offensive and defensive lineups...Kwiatkowski electing to draft the "all-star" squad and Pease putting together a more modest squad. Of course, Coach Pete got in on the fun by playing God and striking down star players that flew too close to the sun.

The game, and the weather, were great. A crowd that I would put in the 10 to 12,000 range enjoyed seeing the new format and seeing some normally defensive players line up for the offense and some 2008 redshirts see their first gamelike action. In true Bronco fashion, the game had it's own exciting conclusion as the White team, built up to the Bad News Bears of the Blue, stormed back from a 10-0 deficit and got over on the "injury"-riddled Blue team behind some trickeration and opportunistic defense. Austin Pettis, now donning the number 2 jersey that Tanyon Bissell vacated last year, did his best Bissell impersonation and tossed a lofty reverse pass to a wide-open Tyler Shoemaker for the go-ahead score. Shoemaker may have been the biggest star of the scrimmage, showing the faithful that last year's decision to put him on scholarship was not a gamble after pulling down both of the White team's TD's and finishing with 138 yards receiving. After the game, we let the future Bronco down on the turf...he headed right for the high jump mats...D'oh!

Keen observations
  • Doug Martin, though a quick learner and a fierce competitor at the nickel spot was outshined by Winston Venable in a BIG way. Venable is simply all over the field and as sure a tackler as I've seen. If WV doesn't lock down the starting nickel spot in Fall ball color me extremely surprised. It's OK, Doug...offense and special teams will find a place for you.
  • We will see Mike "Bacon" Atkinson line up at fullback this year. Atkinson provided one of the more memorable moments of the scrimmage when he bounced a dive to the outside for a 25 yard gain. He's a force to be reckoned with on the D-line too. Believe the hype people...we really do have a 6 foot, 320 lb. Canadian on the team with quicker feet than Gregory Hines.
  • Jeremy Avery and DJ Harper are going to tear the WAC a new one. Avery must have been born in Reno because he's the "biggest little" running back I've seen in some time—can't be more than 5'7" and 165, but the kid is lightning quick and runs over, around and through tacklers. Harper looks ready for a breakout season as well as he runs downhill very well and may be the quickest-in-a-straight-line back that we've got. Malcolm Johnson can take a much deserved rest and redshirt in 2009...Avery and Harper can handle things this year.
  • Jarrell Root's 'fro has given him special powers. That, or dropping some pounds in the offseason has given him more than longevity. Root had an INT and a fumble recovery and looks like he's ready to be an emotional leader for the defense as a sophomore. The Bronco D-line will be something special this year...bet on it.
  • Byron Hout is awesome. Nothing wholly memorable from Hout's limited action on Friday...but the kid just looks like a football player. Last year's partial-season of dominance will turn into a full-season of dominance in 2009.
  • Kellen Moore has gotten stronger. Not just me...he seems to have more zip on the ball. That can't be good for opposing Ds.
  • Bronco defensive secondary are bad, bad men. If you can somehow get over on Kyle Wilson, Jeron Johnson, George Iloka, Brandyn Thompson and Winston Venable...congratulations, you are Chuck Norris.


Blue by you.

The team parity seems a bit F√ľnke this year.

As you may now know, the annual Blue and Orange (or rather, Blue and White) is taking on a new look this year. The contest this Friday will not feature the wacky scoring or "ones" vs. "twos" scenarios that we've all grown accustomed to. This year, things get real...er. The Blue and Orange White teams have been assigned coaches and the coaches have "drafted" offensive and defensive players for each team to play four 8 minute quarters. Sounds great, right? Yeah, but there's one problem: the Blue team is WAY better than the Orange White.

Now, this isn't to say that the White team will stink...far from it. The White team is chock full of talented, athletic guys...Broncos all. But the disparity between starters on the Blue and White teams is a little ridiculous. Ready?

Well, the Blue team has probable 1st or 2nd round draft-pick Kyle Wilson, speedster Titus Young, 2nd scrimmage MVP D.J. Harper AND Jeremy Avery. I'm not even a little bit done yet. QBs for the Blue team will be Kellen Moore and Drew Hawkins who will be protected by Thomas Byrd, Garrett Pendergast, Zach Waller, Cory Yriarte, Faraji Wright, Brenel Myers and Joe Kellogg. All-potential first teamer Mike Atkinson will be the Blue team DT and Byron "I must break you" Hout will hold down the end. Oh yeah, and they have Brandyn Thompson, George Iloka, Winston Venable and Jeron Johnson.

Now, like I said the White team is no slouch...they have Austin Pettis, Doug Martin, Mike Coughlin and Shea McLellin as well as the only healthy fullback on the team Dan Paul. The O-line for the White squad may be as just as capable as the Blues for all I know. Here's the rub though...the Blue team has AT LEAST 16 guys that were starters or had significant game experience in 2009. Pretty much the entire secondary for the Blue squad are starters as are both the Blue team's runningbacks and quarterback. The White squad has maybe 10 guys with the same credentials.

Now, please understand that I am not slagging off the White team, but the "skill" and "experience" positions heavily favor the Blues. Game changers Richie Brockel, Nate Potter, Billy Winn and Ryan Winterswyk aren't even suiting up.

Do the Bronco coaches realize what they've done? They've given the Blue and Orange White game rooting interest. Go White!

Update: Coach Pete throws a wrench in the whole thing by announcing that star players (i.e., the Blue team) will suffer mysterious mock injuries during the game (I said "mock injuries" guys) that will force substitutions to be made. Looks like a bold gambit by Coach Kwiatkowski now.

Spring Game rosters [BroncoSports]


One of the Cavenders is the new color analyst.

The Cavenders

Jeff Pete Cavender will take Jadon Dailey's recently vacated seat as color analyst for the Broncos this Fall. Jeff Pete was part of the Broncos' undefeated 2006 campaign and was a mainstay on the Bronco O-line next to twin brother Pete Jeff for 3 out of 4 seasons at Boise State. KTVB sez:
Pete will offer a unique perspective with his knowledge of team strategies, plays, coaching personalities, and players make him uniquely qualified for this important position.
Hard to tell whether Jeff Pete will add the personality of the departed Mr. Dailey as frankly, I can't tell him or his brother apart. I mean, I know that one of them was always a good interview during his tenure here...just not sure which one got the gig. The possibility of Parent Trap-esque color analyst switcheroos is quite intriguing though, you've gotta admit. Bob Behler will play the Brian Keith role...wacky hijinx are sure to follow.

Peak names Cavender as color analyst [KTVB]