Friday, August 31, 2012

Broncos on the Chopping Block

Kellen Moore made the Lions roster, but there were some casualties today.

Here were the Broncos cut from their respective teams:

Brandyn Thompson, Washington
Kyle Efaw, Oakland
Chase Baker, Minnesota
Jerrell Root, Miami

and Chris Carr was let go by Minnesota

Efaw and Root were not given a chance.  Baker, however, had a huge
game last night only to be waived the next day.

That leaves the total at 20 former Broncos on NFL rosters.  Congrats to those 20 and to the five above--keep after it and you could get a call with injuries during the year.

Ajayi, Dallas Burroughs, Laughrea and Roberson Suspended

Coach Pete suspended three Broncos for unspecified violations:  Dallas Burroughs, Jimmy Laughrea and Chris Roberson.  Jay Ajayi is serving his one-game suspension for an incident last year.  He was injured at the time of the Las Vegas Bowl so his suspension will be served tonight.  Freshman running back Jack Fields is expected to get significant carries tonight as a result.

This Week in the Top 25

Sportsman's Guide: Military Surplus save up to 70%
Updated this week as results come in:

#1 USC whipped Hawai'i 49-10
#2 Alabama humiliated #8 Michigan 41-14
#3 LSU downed North Texas 41-14
#4 Oklahoma beat UTEP 24-7
#5 Oregon ran over Arkansas State 57-34
#6 Georgia put away Buffalo 45-23 #7 Florida State blasted Murray State 45-3 #9 South Carolina edged Vanderbilt 17-13
#8 Michigan was nowhere near the class of #2 Alabama, losing 41-14
#10 Arkansas blitzed Jacksonville State 49-24
#11 West Virginia scored a 69-34 victory over Marshall
#12 Wisconsin edged Northern Iowa 26-21
#13 Michigan State escaped with a 17-13 win over #24 Boise State
#14 Clemson edged Auburn 26-19
#15 Texas turned back Wyoming 37-17
#17 Nebraska beat Boise State opponent Southern Mississippi 49-20
#18 Ohio State showed off in beating Miami of Ohio 56-10
#19 Oklahoma State showed no mercy in beating Savannah State 84-0
#21 Stanford got by San Jose State 20-17
#22 Kansas State pummeled Missouri State 51-9
#23 Florida turned back Bowling Green 27-14
#24 Boise State lost to #13 Michigan State 17-13

In other games:
Eastern Washington humiliated Idaho 20-3

Boise State opponent BYU downed Washington State of the Pac-12 30-6

Colorado State beat the team the Pac-12 chose instead of Boise State (Colorado) 22-17

Air Force beat Idaho State 49-21 UNLV fell to Minnesota 20-7
Nevada downed California 31-24
Fresno State rocked Weber State 37-10
New Mexico beat Southern 66-21

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Stop the Presses!

Kellen Moore just rushed for a touchdown for Detroit.  Earlier in the game, he rushed up the middle for 7 yards.  Why didn't Boise State have that weapon available?

Derek Schouman with 3 Catches for 49 Yards Already

Good to see the Shoe-Man do well.  He has three catches for 49 yards in the first half for the Saints.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Former Boise State Players in the NFL: Preseason Week Four

Sportsman's Guide: Military Surplus save up to 70%

There's now 25 former Broncos in the NFL, so I thought I'd present the results in an easy-to-follow table.  This will be updated as results come in...

This is an important week as the first round of cuts takes place Monday.

Chase Baker--Minnesota Vikings (6 tackles, 4 solo, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss and one quarterback hurry)
Richie Brockel--Carolina Panthers (no statistics)
Chris Carr--Minnesota Vikings (2 tackles, 1 solo)
Ryan Clady--Denver Broncos (lineman whose team beat Arizona)
Daryn Colledge--Arizona Cardinals (lineman whose team lost to Denver)
Tyrone Crawford--Dallas Cowboys (1 tackle and a sack in limited action)
Tommy Gallarda--Atlanta Falcons (no passes thrown to him)
Kyle Efaw--Oakland Raiders (did not play)
Korey Hall--New Orleans Saints (3 catches for 27 yards)
George Iloka--Cincinnati Bengals (5 tackles, 1 solo, 

Jeron Johnson--Seattle Seahawks (3 tackles and a forced fumble)
Doug Martin--Tampa Bay Buccaneers (did not play)
Shea McClellin--Chicago Bears (no statistics)
Quintin Mikell--St. Louis Rams (no statistics)
Kellen Moore--Detroit Lions (17-30 for 211 yards and 3 rushes for 7 yards and a touchdown)
Legedu Naanee--Miami Dolphins (2 catches for 19 yards)
Austin Pettis--St. Louis Rams (1 catch for 14 yards and a touchdown)
Nate Potter--Arizona Cardinals 
Jarrell Root--Miami Dolphins (1 tackle in limited action)
Orlando Scandrick--Dallas Cowboys (no statistics)
Derek Schouman--New Orleans Saints (team-leading 6 catches for 74 yards)
Brandyn Thompson--Washington Redskins (one quarterback hurry)
Kyle Wilson--New York Jets (no statistics)
Billy Winn--Cleveland Browns (no statistics)
Titus Young--Detroit Lions (did not play)

A Formidable Force: The 2012 Michigan State Spartans

In analyzing the 2012 Michigan State Spartans, I am extremely impressed.  This is a well-coached team with great size (in that respect I equate them with the "Trees of Terror" from the 1980 Grambling team that played Boise State in the 1980 I-AA semi-final.)  Of course, that only refers to size.  As for talent, this Michigan State team is as fine as Boise State has played, and better than the Georgia team that the Broncos opened with last year.
Coach Mark Dantonio has come in and really done a job in East Lansing.  They've knocked off Michigan four years in a row to become the top team in that state.  Enough said.

What makes the Spartans so special is their defense.  I watched that unit completely turn around the game with Wisconsin last year, which Michigan State won in the final second with a "Hail Mary" pass.  So we must first give well-deserved love to the Michigan State defense--they are outstanding and play with a swarm mentality that does nothing but get better when the game is on the line and the Spartan crowd is rocking.  The combination of all that will make things extremely difficult for new Bronco quarterback Joe Southwick and his offense.  With each sack, each turnover, and each stuff at the line of scrimmage, the fire will only grow--I saw it in the Wisconsin game.

Michigan State allowed just 277.4 yards per game to lead the Big 10 and rank sixth in the country, and MSU also topped the conference with a stingy 2.80 yards allowed per rush.  The Spartans allowed a passing efficiency of 113.24 (28th nationally) and 18.4 points per game, 10th in the country.  MSU returns nine starters from that great defense last year.  Defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi has assembled a phenomenal unit and has put great schemes into place.  They don't just get you from one place or one position; 53.4% of Michigan State's sacks last season were by non-defensive lineman.
But the Spartan defensive line is one to behold.  All-Big 10 defensive end William Gholston leads the front four, all 6-7, 278-pounds of him.  William had 70 tackles, with 16 of those being in the opponents' backfield, and five sacks, two pass break-ups, a forced fumble and the recovery.  Gholston has already been tabbed as the preseason Defensive Most Valuable Player in the Big 10.  Opposite Gholston, Marcus Rush (6-2, 250), who posted 58 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and four sacks as a freshman last season.  The future is certainly bright in East Lansing.  

Contrary to other reports you may read in the media, the battle for defensive tackle is between Micajah Reynolds (6-5, 318, Jr.) and Tyler Hoover (6-7, 310, Sr.).  Hoover had nine starts at end in 2010 and took a medical redshirt last year after an early injury.  Senior Anthony Rashad White started four games last year, a similar situation to Boise State's starters on the defensive line this season.  White will fill the shoes of second-round NFL pick Jerel Worthy.  Just like Boise State coach Chris Petersen, Dantonio likes to rotate at least eight players on the d-line.

Others vying for playing time are Vanderbilt transfer James Kittredge, freshman Shilique Calhoun (6-4, 240), Lawrence Thomas, sophomore Joel Heath (6-6, 266) and freshman Brandon Clemons (6-3, 275).
Behind them are an excellent group of linebackers.  As we go through this preview, you'll notice that the numbers are solid at each position and for each guy.  They all contribute and zero in on the ball carrier with great desire and reaction.  They read the play and make the tackle, pure and simple. Junior Max Bullough (6-3, 252) had 89 tackles, seven for loss, and 3.5 sacks at the MIKE position, while classmate Denicos Allen (5-11, 225) added 83 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, and 11 sacks on the opposite side.  Chris Norman (6-1, 233, Sr.) isn't a flashy leader, preferring to lead by his performance on the field--76 tackles, with 6.5 for loss and two sacks.  He gets things done and the Spartan team is better because of it.

Seniors Steve Gardiner and TyQuan Hammock are ready to step in at a moment's notice with solid experience, while freshman Ed Davis (6-3, 220), sophomore Taiwan Jones (6-3, 230) and freshman Darien Harris have fans excited about their prospects.
Given Michigan State's propensity to blitz from any direction at any time, it is obvious that the Spartan coaches have great confidence in their cornerbacks.  Senior Johnny Adams (5-11, 175) is a two-year starter who is a lockdown corner.  He will blitz as well, and posted 51 tackles, four for loss, with three sacks, three picks (that he returned for 141 yards) and six pass breakups. On the opposite side, junior Darqueze Dennard (5-11, 188) will have to hold his own as many teams will avoid throwing at Adams.  Dennard is recovering from shoulder surgery but is expected to be at full team for the opener.  Senior Mitchell White, sophomore Mylan Hicks and freshman Trae Waynes provide backup.

Junior Isaiah Lewis (5-10, 205) returns this fall at strong safety after a 2011 season in which he tied for second in the Big 10 with four interceptions.  His partner at free safety will be either Jairus Jones (6-1, 207, Jr.) or Kurtis Drummond (6-1, 200, So.)

I believe the season opener with Boise State will be decided in the trenches, but especially watch for the Michigan State offense vs. the Boise State defense.  We know the Spartan defense will be dominating--can the Bronco defense rise to the challenge?  This is an important battle on so many fronts--ball control, time of possession, momentum, the question of taking the pressure off new Bronco quarterback Joe Southwick and his offense or not, etc.
Andrew Maxwell - Indiana v Michigan State 
Kirk Cousins was a master at the helm of the MSU offense last year and should be an outstanding pro.  Junior Andrew Maxwell (6-3, 212) has been given the keys by Coach Dantonio this fall.  Maxwell is a former Elite 11 high school quarterback and has been afforded valuable experience and the opportunity to learn from one of the best at his position.  He was an efficient 18-26 last season for 171 yards and a touchdown.
Cousins and company racked up 390 yards of offense and 31 points a game last season.  The Spartans will come at you with multiple formations and their philosophy is basically "We're bigger than you and we're going to come at you full steam and overpower you until you're worn out."  Le'veon Bell (6-2, 244, Jr.) is just a load of a back who runs like a freight train with pistons firing and legs churning.  Bell shared time with Edwin Baker and is now ready to be the man.  In two years, Le'Veon has churned for 1,553 yards (5.37 yards per carry) and 21 touchdowns and don't leave him alone in the flats--he also has snared 35 receptions for 267 yards.  Expect Bell to get the ball upwards of 20 carries a game.  Bell has the pleasure of running behind big fullback Niko Palazeti (6-1, 250, So.); see another parallel to Boise State?

I mentioned the trenches, and there's nothing to indicate that the men up front for Michigan State will do anything but bully their way into opening big holes for Bell to run through.  The Spartans bring back returning starters Dan France (6-6, 315, Jr.) and senior Fou Fonoti (6-4, 296, Sr.) at tackle,  Chris McDonald (6-5, 298, Sr.) at right guard and sophomore Travis Jackson (6-3, 280) at center.  Jack Allen (6-1, 295, Fr.) has moved into the starting spot at left guard.  They'll be entrusted with the battle on the line of scrimmage, freeing up Maxwell and Bell to take care of business behind them.  

The most unproven area on the offense and on the Spartan team in general is the wide receiver corps.  It will be a whole new battery of Maxwell and new receivers this fall.  Tony Lippett (6-3, 190, So.) looks to be the starter at the "X" position while Keith Mumphery (6-0, 208, So.) will start at the "Z" spot and Bennie Fowler (6-1, 218, Jr.) gets the nod at the "F" receiver.  Lippett had four catches for 44 yards last year, Mumphery had two grabs for 39 and Fowler 2 catches for 20.  Big tight end Dion Sims (6-5, 285, Jr.) is essentially a sixth offensive lineman.  But don't let that size fool you--he also snared 12 catches for 99 yards and three touchdowns last season.
Michigan State has the luxury of a proven senior at the placekicker position in Dan Conroy (5-10, 186).  Conroy was 17-23 last year with a long of 50 yards.  Kevin Muma (6-0, 195, Jr.) will kick off for the Spartans, with Mike Sadler (6-0, 180, So.) doing the punting.  Sadler was dependable back there last fall with a 41.1 average.  Nick Hill (5-8, 190, So.) and senior Larry Caper (5-11, 222) will be back to return kicks while Hill will be the punt returner.  Hill is Mr. Excitement, leading MSU with a 26.3 average on kickoff returns last year and the Spartan coaches hope for similar results back returning punts.

Formidable?  Indeed.  Many are picking Michigan State to win the Big 10 this year on the strength of that amazing defense.  The game Friday represents a tremendous opportunity for Boise State to prove they can play too.  Offensively, the Spartans will play smashmouth football with their big back Bell, then Maxwell will try to surprise the defense with one over the top.  Defensively, the Spartans will make Boise State feel as if there were 14 guys out there rather than 11, filling the Bronco backfield with blitzes from all directions.  If Boise State's aim was to pick the toughest possible opponent for the season opener, they hit a bullseye.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Martin to Start for Tampa Bay

According to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, Doug Martin of Boise State has overtaken
LeGarrette Blount of Oregon as the team's starting running back.  Way to go Doug!

Can Boise State's Special Teams Be "Special" Again?

It has been a while since Boise State's special teams have truly been "special".  And it has cost them.  If three chip-shot field goals had gone through, Boise State would have been 53-0 the last four years.  Knowing those missed field goals cost the school $10-15 million, the smart thing to do would have been to hire a field goal specialist.  Coach Chris Petersen has been quoted as saying in jest that he doesn't understand field goal kickers.  So why not put someone in charge of them who does understand that mindset?

 The Broncos' special teams were among the best in the nation in the formative years of the new millennium.  And to be fair, there are still elements that excel.  Boise State is one of the top teams in the nation in blocking punts and field goals.  And Mitch Burroughs and Chris Potter are two of the top punt returners anywhere.  But it isn't a complete package, and for Boise State to be the team it wants to be, they'll have to rectify those problems.
Michael Frisina (5-5, 162, Sr.) has won the job as Boise State's placekicker with Dan Goodale backing him up. Frisina played in five games, going 3-4 on field goals and 21-23 on PAT's.  Michael was a unanimous first-team all-conference performer at Saddleback Junior College, leaving as the highest-scoring kicker in school history.  He was a College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete and a member of the Southern California All-Academic Team.
Trevor Harman (6-3, 216, Jr.) will punt for the Broncos and will handle kickoff duties. Harman walked on in 2009 and became the Broncos' primary kickoff specialist as a freshman.  He averaged 63.8 yards per kick and had nine touchbacks.  He also punted 10 times for a 44.7 average.  Harman was named to the All-WAC Academic team following his freshman season.  Last year, Harman had a 65.2-yard kickoff average with 17 touchbacks.  Chris Roberson (6-0, 228, Sr.) is the long snapper.
Dangerous D.J. Harper (5-9, 205, Sr.) and speedy Mitch Burroughs (5-9, 193, Sr.) will be back to return kicks while both Burroughs and fellow senior Chris Potter (5-9, 159) will likely return punts this year.  Harper returned five kickoffs for 66 yards last season and had one kickoff return as a sophomore for 21 yards.  

Mitch Burroughs Wyoming v Boise State
Burroughs returned eight punts for a 15.9 average as a sophomore and was eighth in the nation last year with a 13.3 average on 18 returns.  Mitch also had a 22.8-yard kickoff return average last season.  Potter returned 10 punts for a 12.9 average as a freshman.  He boosted that average to 13.32 in 2010, 13th in the nation, with a touchdown and was second in the Mountain West to teammate Burroughs last year with a 10.50 average.

All eyes will be on East Lansing this Friday to see if the Broncos addressed the most-pressing issue from the past two seasons.

Tevis Cut from Saints

The NFL cuts occurred yesterday with only one former Bronco cut.  Aaron Tevis, who was injured and did not see action in the preseason, was cut from the New Orleans Saints.  The final round of cuts is Friday, following the final preseason games this Wednesday and Thursday.

Fierce But Thin

Although Boise State's secondary should be one of the most aggressive and bone-jarring units in the country, in terms of depth, it is one of the weakest on the team.  This is largely due to the great disparity in the recruiting classes in sheer numbers.  While the 2008, 2009 and 2011 classes all had 20 or more recruits, the 2010 class--the one that should be providing depth at this juncture, only contained 10 recruits.  Coach Chris Petersen has addressed this disparity, saying he wants to even out the classes but of course to do so, he needed to play about 6-8 true freshman last season.  That would have put those guys in the same graduating class as the 2010 recruits, most of whom redshirted.  The next opportunity to even things out will be in the 2015 class, three seasons from now.

Petersen and his staff took advantage of the large recruiting class last year (21 members) to bring in some great young talent, but they'll have to jump in next year to replace the two senior starting cornerbacks.  The depth situation is especially evident at safety, where a freshman is the #2 at free safety, and a senior backs up the strong spot.  


The situation at Boise State's hybrid linebacker-defensive back position, called the Nickel, is bright.  JC Transfer Dextrell Simmons (5-11, 200, Sr.) has won the starting job but he has loads of talent behind him.  Simmons played in all 13 games last season, posting 16 tackles, 10 of them solo, with one for loss, two deflections and a forced fumble.  At Blinn Junior College, Simmons helped his team win the NJCAA National Championship in 2009.

Capital High School's Corey Bell (5-11, 206) gave him a major battle for the job and he'll be a great one to watch over the next three seasons.  Bell played in eight games as a true freshman last year, recording nine tackles and a fumble recovery.  While at Capital, Bell was the SIC Player of the year and all-state in 2010 after registering 44 tackles, 12 for loss, three sacks and three interceptions, one returned for a touchdown.

Jonathan Brown (5-10, 211, Jr.) is ready to play, giving Boise State three talented players that could take the field against Michigan State and do fine.  Brown played in eight games as a freshman with 16 tackles and a pass break-up.  Last season, Jonathan played in 10 games with four starts and finished the season with 19 tackles, including 2.5 for loss and a forced fumble.

Christopher Santini (5-11, 220, Fr.) may be the most talented of the bunch and he'll use his redshirt year to learn the Bronco system and be ready to come out firing on all cylinders next year.  Santini was all-state as a senior at Leland High School in California, posting 99 tackles, 72 solo, four sacks, five pass break-ups, four fumbles, a safety and two blocked kicks.  Hilton Richardson (6-2, 217, Fr.) walked onto the program last year and provides depth.


The key here is good luck--both Jerrell Gavins (5-9, 169) and Jamar Taylor (5-11, 196) were injured last year, though Jamar was able to recover in time to make that brilliant 100-yard interception return against Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl.  If both can stay strong and healthy this fall, expect them to be one of the best corner combinations in the country.  So there you have the quandary--gifted seniors as starters to make this one of the best positions in the lineup, but untested talent behind them. 

Gavins is another Boise State walk-on success story.  After a year at El Camino Junior College, Gavins made an impact right away.  Jerrell played in 12 games as a sophomore including a start against #4 TCU.  He finished the season with 31 tackles, 23 solo, four pass break-ups and 1.5 tackles for loss.  In 2010, Gavins played in all 13 games with one start and had 30 tackles, 15 solo, including 1.5 tackles for loss, .5 sacks and an interception.  Gavins was having a tremendous season last fall with 11 tackles and three interceptions in the first three games when he suffered a season-ending injury.

Ebo Makinde (5-10, 181) and Bryan Douglas (5-9, 166) are listed as the backups behind Gavins and Taylor--they have 30 combined career tackles.  

There's certainly some talent behind that group, but it's largely underclassmen.  Deon'tae Florence (5-9, 168, So.) had a solid fall camp and we'll begin hearing his name more this season.  Florence had 41 tackles, 15 pass break-ups and eight interceptions at College of the Desert in junior college.  Donte Deayon (5-9, 143, Fr.) just needs to bulk up and will likely redshirt.  Deayon was the Most Valuable Player of of his conference at Summit High School in California.  Donte had 92 tackles, four interceptions, two fumble recoveries and two blocked kicks as a senior. 

Centennial High School product Josh Borgman (5-7, 174) knows the system and will contribute in his senior year.  Borgman was named Boise State's Special Teams Scout Player of the year in 2008 and  was a star on special teams in 2009, recording 11 tackles, 10 of them solo.  Josh appeared in nine games in 2010 and had seven tackles, four of them solo.  He also returned four punts for a 7.8 average. Chaz Anderson (5-10, 175) was a member of the 2012 recruiting class and has people inside the Bronco program excited.  Anderson was second-team all-state and all-conference in the tough Sierra League.  Trey Corta (5-10, 182) is a local product from Homedale High School and he'll redshirt as well.  


Jeremy Ioane (5-10, 197, So.) has won the starting spot at strong safety.  Ioane started against Georgia last year but did not finish the season in the starting 11 and he'll need to carry out his assignment on the field.  Ioane redshirted in 2010 and played in 10 games last season with the one start.  Ioane had six tackles on the season, four of them solo.  We know he has natural ability; where Jeremy can make great strides is in his knowledge of the Bronco defense and his responsibilities and his on-field execution. 

Lee Hightower (6-2, 192, So.) has great upside--he was pressed into duty as a true freshman with the injuries last year and responded by getting better each week.  Lee played in eight games with four starts and recorded 25 tackles, 18 of them solo, with 2 tackles for loss, an interception and four pass break-ups.  That experience will pay huge dividends this year as Lee will start at free safety.  

Senior Hazen Moss (6-0, 201) and freshman Darian Thompson (6-1, 197) are listed as the backups to Ioane and Hightower.  Moss played in eight games as a freshman and was another standout on special teams, with 10 tackles, seven of them solo.  Moss was a linebacker at reserve in 2010 with six tackles and a forced fumble.  Hazen was named to the WAC All-Academic Team each of his first two seasons.  Moss again was a star on special teams last year with 11 tackles.

Thompson redshirted last year and is ready to contribute to the success of the Broncos.  He Was All-CIF at Paraclete High School in California as a senior after finishing with 74 tackles, 35 solo, seven interceptions, eight pass break-ups and two pick sixes.  

Chanceller James (6-1, 194) has been bandied about as a possible player at true freshmen--a lot of that will depend on the health and performance of the starters.  James was an all-league performer at Steele Canyon High School in California last year after recording 80 tackles, five interceptions and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.  The Bronco depth took another hit as we learned in the spring that Taylor Loffler (6-3, 211, Fr.) may not play for the second consecutive year.  

Dillon Lukehart (6-0, 199) of Eagle High School in Idaho will likely see significant playing time after his redshirt season last fall.  Dillon was named Special Teams Player of the Year in his redshirt season after coming to Boise State from Eagle High School in Idaho.  Lukehart was the SIC Offensive Player of the Year as a senior and was all-conference on defense as a senior after rushing for 1,824 yards and 26 touchdowns and recording 106 tackles on defense.  Eric Agbaroji (6-1, 203, Fr.) is another promising young player in the Bronco secondary.  Agbaroji was all-conference his senior year at Midlothian High School in Texas after recording 30 tackles, 12 pass break-ups, an interception and three field goal blocks.  

Secondary coach Jimmy Lake has preached to his unit the necessity to create turnovers.  They responded in the fall camp by increasing their turnover count and Lake believes the group has the right mentality heading into the season.  As mentioned above, the secondary should be a strength, but beyond the starters, the youngsters will have to grow by leaps and bounds.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Defensive Ends

The fact that the two starters at defensive end haven't been named four days before the season opener should tell us that it doesn't matter--those positions are interchangeable.  Coach Petersen and defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski have favored the platoon system on the d-line anyway and there is no reason to think that philosophy is going to change.  So whether it's Horn or Lawrence, Ukwuachu or Martin, expect all four to play considerably Friday night and during the season.  They can all bring it, and it will be exciting to see the results play out.

Ryan Finley Leads Team on Game-Winning Drive

Ryan Finley, Boise State's new quarterback recruit for the 2013 class, was 22-39 over the weekend for 340 yards and four touchdowns.  Down four points with one minute to go, Finley led his team on a game-winning drive, culminating in a Finley pass for a touchdown with one second left.

Boise State's Depth Chart for Special Teams

Here's a look at Boise State's special teams depth chart as we get ready for Michigan State:

84 Michael Frisina, 5-5, 162, Sr.
41 Dan Goodale, 5-10, 191, So.
14 Trevor Harman, 6-3, 216, Jr.
41 Dan Goodale, 5-10, 191, So.
44 Chris Roberson, 6-0, 228 , Sr.
52 Kevin Keane, 6-0, 208, So.
14 Trevor Harman, 6-3, 216, Jr.
41 Dan Goodale, 5-10, 191, So.
7 D.J. Harper, 5-9, 205, Sr.
20 Mitch Burroughs, 5-9, 193, Sr.
20 Mitch Burroughs, 5-9, 193, Sr. OR
3 Chris Potter, 5-9, 159, Sr.

Read more here:

Boise State Defensive Depth Chart Vs. Michigan State

Here's a look at the starting Boise State defense vs. Michigan State. The only undecideds at this point are at the two defensive end spots, where great battles have been taking place:

69 Tyler Horn, 6-5, 265, So. OR
8 Demarcus Lawrence, 6-3, 242, So.
99 Mike Atkinson, 6-0, 306, Sr.
91 Greg Grimes, 6-0, 293, Sr.
43 Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, 6-3, 296, Jr.
95 Darren Koontz, 6-3, 274, Sr.
53 Beau Martin, 6-2, 250, So. OR
82 Sam Ukwuachu, 6-4, 222, Fr.
33 Tommy Smith, 6-1, 238, Sr.
13 Blake Renaud, 6-2, 239, So.
48 J.C. Percy, 6-0, 227, Sr.
36 Tyler Gray, 6-4, 227, Fr.
6 Dextrell Simmons , 5-11, 200, Sr.
38 Corey Bell, 5-11, 206 , So. OR
32 Jonathan Brown, 5-10, 211, Jr.
4 Jerrell Gavins, 5-9, 169, Sr.
1 Bryan Douglas, 5-9, 166, So.
5 Jamar Taylor, 5-11, 196, Sr.
37 Ebo Makinde, 5-10, 181, Jr.
10 Jeremy Ioane, 5-10, 197, So.
24 Hazen Moss, 6-0, 201, Sr.
29 Lee Hightower, 6-2, 192, So.
35 Darian Thompson, 6-1, 197, Fr.

Read more here:

Boise State Offensive Depth Chart Vs. Michigan State

Boise State has released its depth chart for the 2012 season opener Friday against Michigan State. In this segment, we take a look at the offense:

2 - Matt Miller, R-Sophomore, 6-3, 215 
18 - Aaron Burks, R-Junior 6-3, 200

20 - Mitch Burroughs, R-Senior, 5-9, 193
83 - Troy Ware, F-Freshman, 6-2, 195

34 - Kirby Moore, R-Junior, 6-2, 203
3 - Chris Potter, R-Senior, 5-9, 159

Left Tackle
78 - Charles Leno, Jr., R-Junior, 6-4, 294
75 - Faraji Wright, R-Senior, 6-3, 300

Left Guard
61 - Joe Kellogg, R-Senior, 6-3, 305
72 - Marcus Henry, R-Freshman, 6-3, 297

65 - Matt Paradis, R-Junior, 6-3, 289
77 - Spencer Gerke, R-Junior, 6-3, 296

Right Guard
54 - Michael Ames, R-Senior, 6-4, 293
64 - Brenel Myers, R-Senior, 6-3, 282

Right Tackle
76 - Jake Broyles, R-Junior, 6-5, 290
67 - Rees Odhiambo, R-Freshman, 6-4, 297

Tight End
87 - Gabe Linehan, R-Junior, 6-4, 241
88 - Chandler Koch, R-Senior, 6-2, 246
85 - Holden Huff, R-Freshman, 6-5, 213

16 - Joe Southwick, R-Junior, 6-1, 187
9 - Grant Hedrick, R-Sophomore, 6-0, 192
14 - Jimmy Laughrea, R-Freshman, 6-1, 200

Running Back
7 - D.J. Harper, R-Senior, 5-9, 205
39 - Drew Wright, R-Senior, 5-9, 203

47 - Dan Paul, R-Senior, 6-1, 262
88 - Chandler Koch, R-Senior, 6-2, 246

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fields, Gray and Williams-Rhodes Will Play as True Freshmen

In the other piece of news not titled "Joe Southwick will Start", Coach Pete said that amazing running back Jack Fields, linebacker Tyler Gray and Shane Williams-Rhodes will play as true freshmen.  So far, just those two.

It's Joe!

We had heard from players that Joe Southwick was the man and now it's official.  Coach Chris Petersen of Boise State announced this afternoon that junior Joe Southwick will be the man he trusts to guide the Broncos this fall.

When Southwick came out of high school in Danville, California, he was highly thought of.  I could tell he was gaining confidence last year and now, he has another year's maturity.  He's got to know he has a great line, great receivers, and great running backs--just be smart back there and you'll do great!

Go!  Joe!

Versatile and Dynamic: The 2012 Boise State Tight Ends

Yet another position that Boise State is blessed with great depth is the tight end position.  Tight ends coach Scott Huff believes, in fact, that this is the best group top to bottom that Boise State has ever had.  With the graduation of Boise's own Kyle Efaw to the NFL comes great opportunity for 2012's stable of Bronco tight ends:

Gabe Linehan (6-4, 241, Jr.) should continue to progress on his way to becoming one of the nation's top tight ends.  Gabe generated career highs last year in receptions (23), yards (252) and touchdowns (five).  Linehan has the size to be an effective blocker and he is a big, tall target to reach up high and be a quarterback's safety valve over the middle.  Linehan possesses great hands, and he'll latch on to every ball thrown near him.  Gabe debuted in 2012, playing in 12 games and getting four starts.  He finished his freshman campaign with six receptions for 82 yards and a touchdown and was named to the All-Academic Team.  Linehan showed his great heart and desire in his redshirt season, when he was named Special Teams Scout Player of the Year.
Chandler Koch (6-2, 246) can put his stamp on the Bronco program as one of the senior leaders of the 2012 team.  Koch played in 11 games last year with two starts.  Coaches love Chandler's blocking, and he's a great example for the others to follow.  Koch also managed to catch four passes last year for 39 yards.  In 2010, Koch appeared in 10 games and had two catches.  In his freshman year, Chandler caught two passes in nine games as a reserve tight end and on special teams.  Koch was named to the WAC All-Academic team in both 2009 and 2010.

Holden Huff (6-5, 213, Fr.) has everyone connected with the Bronco team highly excited.  Huff, the high school teammate of quarterback Jimmy Laughrea, came up with some clutch scoring catches at Rocklin High School in California and he appears destined for similar success at the elite college level.  While at Rocklin, Huff was first team all-section as a senior and finished there as the school record holder in single-season receiving yards (989), career receiving yards (1,664), single-season touchdown receptions (10) and career touchdown receptions (16).  Holden helped his team win not only the Sierra Championship but also a Sac-Joaquin Section title.  Huff's great athleticism also carried over onto the track, where he high-jumped 6'2" and threw the shot put 47-0.

Holden had a superb fall camp after greyshirting in 2010 and redshirting last season.  Huff will be a key factor as early as this year. 

Hayden Plinke (6-4, 255, Fr.) is another great emerging talent.  He came on campus at 230 pounds and has worked hard to get to nearly 260.  Coach Chris Petersen has not announced yet that Plinke will redshirt and we're into Gameweek.  Hayden greyshirted last year after earning all-state honors as a senior at Glencoe High School in California.  As a senior, Plinke caught 31 passes for 457 yards and rushed for 251 more, with an 11.5 per-carry average.  Plinke also won the state javelin title as a junior and served as Student Body President at Glencoe.  Clearly, Hayden is an awesome prospect both on and off the field.

Given his size, all-around ability, integrity and work ethic, Plinke could rival Derek Schouman and what he accomplished at the tight end position at Boise State.
Big things are expected from Kyle Sosknowski (6-2, 247) now that he is a sophomore.  He will be expected to produce in the way that Linehan did last year in his sophomore year.  After redshirting in 2010, Kyle played in 12 games last year with two starts.  He finished the year with two catches for 11 yards.  Sosnowski has great Bronco bloodlines; he's the son of Steve Sosnowski.  Kyle earned all-state honors at Capital High School in Boise as both a junior and senior and was All-SIC all three years.  In 2009, Sosnowski caught 19 passes for 367 yards and nine touchdowns and also excelled on defense.
Connor Peters (6-4, 253, So.) is another Bronco player from the highly-respected De La Salle High School.  Connor played one season for Laney College, where he caught 13 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns and earned unanimous all-conference honors.  Connor was  Started at both tight end and defensive end for the 2010 state football champion De La Salle and earned second-team All-East Bay Athletic League honors.   Peters is eligible for a redshirt season but is ready to contribute.
Jake Hardee (6-3, 234, Fr.) was an All-SIC performer at Bishop Kelly High School his senior year after catching 30 passes for 500 yards and eight touchdowns.  Hardee also was an all-state basketball player his senior year, averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds a game.  Jake was a member of the National Honor Society and the Dean's List, and earned the Scholar-Athlete Award.  

Brennyn Dunn (6-3, 201, Fr.) walked onto the Boise State program from Preston High School in Idaho and will likely redshirt.

Well, we have reviewed all the positions except two, and so far, every one of them contains great depth.  That means there are only two in which Boise State is thin, and we'll look at those in the days leading up to opening kickoff against Michigan State.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Boise State Players in the NFL--Preseason Week Three

There's now 26 former Broncos in the NFL, so I thought I'd present the results in an easy-to-follow table.  This will be updated as results come in...

This is an important week as the first round of cuts takes place Monday.

Chase Baker--Minnesota Vikings (no statistics)
Richie Brockel--Carolina Panthers (1 catch for 2 yards)
Chris Carr--Minnesota Vikings (no statistics)
Ryan Clady--Denver Broncos (started on offensive line)
Daryn Colledge--Arizona Cardinals (played against the Titans)
Tyrone Crawford--Dallas Cowboys (one tackle)
Tommy Gallarda--Atlanta Falcons (one catch for 10 yards)
Kyle Efaw--Oakland Raiders (not thrown to)
Korey Hall--New Orleans Saints (one rush for three yards and two catches for seven yards)
George Iloka--Cincinnati Bengals (one tackle, a solo stop)

Jeron Johnson--Seattle Seahawks (5 tackles to lead the team, with three of them solo, and a fumble recovery, his second in successive weeks)
Doug Martin--Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13 carries for 53 yards and a touchdown and 3 receptions for 12 yards)
Shea McClellin--Chicago Bears (one solo tackle with a tackle for loss)
Quintin Mikell--St. Louis Rams (5 tackles, all solo, and a fumble recovery)
Kellen Moore--Detroit Lions (10-19 passing for 87 yards and a touchdown but with one interception)
Legedu Naanee--Miami Dolphins (1 catch for 8 yards)
Austin Pettis--St. Louis Rams (1 catch for 2 yards and a touchdown)
Nate Potter--Arizona Cardinals (played against the Titans)
Jarrell Root--Miami Dolphins (no statistics)
Orlando Scandrick--Dallas Cowboys (no statistics)
Derek Schouman--New Orleans Saints (no statistics)
Aaron Tevis--New Orleans Saints (no statistics)
Brandyn Thompson--Washington Redskins (one pass deflection)
Kyle Wilson--New York Jets (1 solo tackle)
Billy Winn--Cleveland Browns (2 tackles, both solo, with one for loss)
Titus Young--Detroit Lions (no catches)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Detroit Lions Release A.J. Archer

Which is news for Boise State fans hoping for Kellen Moore to make the Detroit roster.  Archer had been competing with Moore for third on the depth chart at quarterback.

The first cuts that NFL teams must make are on Monday.  If Kellen plays this week, that would be a good sign, and of course even better if he does well.

One Week from Today...

The long wait is nearly over.  One more week until the guys go up against Top 10 Michigan State.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dextrell Simmons Will Start at Nickel

He was pushed hard by promising underclassman Corey Bell, but we have word that Dextrell Simmons will start at nickel.  We're excited to see the new-look, hard-hitting, turnover-hungry secondary in action!

Taking the Helm: The 2012 Boise State Quarterbacks

For the first time in four years, Boise State heads into a football season not knowing who its quarterback is going to be.  I'm sure by now coach Chris Petersen has told the QB's who his choice is, and perhaps even the members of the team, but as usual, he's keeping quiet about the decision.  All four have their strengths:  Joe Southwick has experience and knowledge of the Bronco system on his side, Nick Patti makes good decisions and looks comfortable in the role, Grant Hedrick has great skills as a runner and Jimmy Laughrea has the best size and a cannon arm.  All four came to Boise State with outstanding credentials.

No matter who trots out on the field against Michigan State next Friday, he'll have a host of factors in his favor:

1.  His head coach is Chris Petersen, himself a quarterback, who has helped mold some of the best quarterbacks in the nation over the last 12 years.

2.  He will have the assistance, intuitive play-calling and NFL experience of offensive coordinator Robert Prince.
3.  He'll take snaps behind one of the best offensive lines in the nation and one of the best at protecting the quarterback.
4.  He'll have the luxury of a deep and talented stable of running backs behind him.
5.  He'll have one of the best collegiate receiving corps to throw to.

Joe Southwick (6-1, 187, Jr.) played behind Kellen Moore for the past three seasons, and learning from Kellen has to be a strength.  Southwick began his career as a redshirt in 2009, when he was named Offensive Scout Player of the Year.  He played in eight games as a freshman, completing 17-of-24 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.  Joe tossed a 78-yard TD pass to Chris Potter for his first collegiate touchdown, and also had nine carries for 31 yards.  Southwick was named to the WAC All-Academic Team.

Last season, Southwick played in eight games, firing 23 completions in 30 attempts for 198 yards and a touchdown.  He also ran seven times for 16 yards.

Southwick came to Boise State from San Ramon High School in Danville, California, where he was all-conference as a senior.  He completed 239 passes for 3,782 yards and 36 touchdowns against 11 interceptions and also ran for 350 yards and eight TD's.  In his junior season, Joe threw 35 touchdowns and just eight interceptions, a 63 percent completion percentage and 3,185 yards.

True freshman Nick Patti (5-10, 187) showed his dedication and work ethic when he graduated from high school early and enrolled at Boise State in the spring so he could compete for the starting job.  Patti played in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Phoenix following high school, and was one of 24 quarterbacks in the nation to be invited to the Elite 11 camp prior to his senior season.  Patti was a finalist for both the National Gatorade Player of the Year and Mr. Football in Florida.
Patti compiled a 34-4 record as a starter at Dr. Phillips High School and set school career records for completions (374), yards (5,701), touchdown passes (66) and completion percentage (67 percent).  Those are the numbers you want in a starter.  Patti was named the 8A Florida Player of the Year following his senior season and was named Offensive Player of the Year by the Orlando Sentinel, Bright House and the Orlando Touchdown Club.

As a senior, Patti threw for 2,114 yards and 23 touchdowns and rushed for 626 yards and seven touchdowns in leading Dr. Phillips to the second round of the state playoffs.  Patti led his team to a 14-1 record and a berth in the state championship as a junior, throwing for 2,390 yards, 28 touchdowns and just one interception.  Nick also ran for 377 yards and three touchdowns.

Sophomore Grant Hedrick (6-0, 192) redshirted in 2010, then made appearances last year, completing 2-of-3 passes for 19 yards.  Hedrick also rushed eight times for 70 yards and a touchdown, and was often the man in the wildcat formation for the Broncos.
Hedrick was the Oregon High School State Player of the Year as a senior and was second-team all-state as a junior.  Hedrick completed 65% of his passes his senior year at Central High School in Independence, Oregon, going over the 2,500-passing yards mark and firing 34 touchdowns against a lone interception.  Hedrick also rushed for over 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior.  In his junior year, Hedrick threw for 3,100 yards and rushed for 1,200.  Grant fired 41 touchdowns against seven interceptions, completed 69% of his passes and scored 13 touchdowns.

Freshman Jimmy Laughrea (6-1, 200) was the guy that fired passes to promising Bronco tight end Holden Huff at Rocklin High School in California.  Laughrea was All-Sierra Foothill League his senior year at Rocklin after completing 60% of his passes for 2,527 yards and 22 touchdowns and rushing for 327 yards and six scores.  In his junior year, Laughrea threw for 2,635 yards and 22 scores and rushed for six more.
Laughrea redshirted last season and was named Boise State's Offensive Scout Player of the Year.

Four talented signal-callers, each of whom has the capability to lead Boise State to an outstanding season.  We have our sources that tell us who the starter will be but, in keeping with Coach Pete's embargo against the media revealing specific information about the Bronco quarterbacks, we will hold our tongue.

Boise State Season Tickets Will Be Mailed Tomorrow

Christmas in August!

Boise State season football tickets will be mailed tomorrow and should arrive in most homes Saturday, thanks to Saturday delivery by the United States Postal Service.  If you don't get yours by Monday, call the Boise State ticket office.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Carrying the Load: The 2012 Boise State Running Backs

Playstation 1 90% Off
One by one, Blue Football Through and Through is analyzing the 2012 Boise State football team, position by position.  We're beginning with those that are the strongest that should help carry the Bronco team, and ending with the ones that aren't as deep and need players to step up.

Running back should be another strong position this fall.  Senior D.J. Harper, after playing behind Doug Martin and others his entire career, is finally the go-to guy in the Boise State backfield.  He will be helped tremendously by the return of fullback Dan Paul, more on him later.  Harper possesses both the size (5-9, 205) and speed to be utilized inside the tackles as well as a breakaway threat.  D.J. has already had an amazing career and the Texas Tornado doesn't have to press to have a good season.  He has the benefit of knowing that he is the #1 guy, but also that he'll have plenty of help; in other words, Harper doesn't have to do it all by himself.  
We knew right away about D.J., who had the fourth-best season in school history by a freshman in 2007.  Harper shocked defenses for 376 yards and five touchdowns and became the first true freshman since 1988 to rush for more than 100 yards when he picked up 153 against Fresno State.  D.J. also caught three passes for 13 yards and a touchdown.  The following year, Harper rushed 55 times for 278 yards and four touchdowns and returned a kickoff for 21 yards.  

Harper had high hopes in 2009 and was off to a great start, gaining 284 yards, averaging 6.5 yards a carry and scoring three times in three games when he suffered a season-ending injury against Fresno State.  After working diligently to recover, Harper came back in 2010 and I'll be darned if he didn't get hurt again in the third game.  Harper was sensational against #10 Virginia Tech, scoring a 71-yard touchdown.  

Harper finished last season behind only Doug Martin on the Bronco team with 557 yards and a career-high nine touchdowns.  Harper is now less than 400 yards away from ranking in the Top 10 in school history.  Harper's 24 rushing TD's is ninth in school history.  He also caught 19 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown, returned five kickoffs and even blocked a punt!

Senior Drew Wright (5-9, 203) is listed behind Harper, but he'll be challenged by a trio of tremendously talented underclassmen.  Wright played sparingly as a freshman and picked up 55 yards, then gained 38 yards in 2010.  Last year, Wright came into his own when he carried 43 times for 218 yards (5.1 average) and three touchdowns and also caught three passes for 17 yards.

Jack Fields (5-9, 194, Fr.) is the odds-on favorite to play as a true freshman.  Bronco coaches and fans were excited about Fields from the moment he stepped on campus and if anything, he has added to that excitement with his play this fall.  Fields is a runner in the style of Doug Martin and will likely continue to add bulk and muscle in his four years in Boise.

Fields was a three -year starter at Americas High School in Texas.  Jack rushed 160 times for 960 yards and nine scores as a sophomore, then picked up 1,698 yards and scored 18 times as a junior.  Last season, Fields was 5-A co-Most Valuable Player and second-team all-state, when he carried 280 times for 2,478 yards (8.85 yards a carry) and scored 25 touchdowns.

Jay Ajayi (6-0, 222, Fr.) hopefully has put his issues behind him and is ready to contribute.  One thing he knows for sure; if he hasn't, he won't play.  Ajayi is lightning fast and provides the Broncos with another breakaway threat.  

Ajayi carried 209 times for 1,627 yards (7.8 yards a carry) as a junior Frisco Liberty High School in Texas.  As a senior, Jay picked up 2,240 yards on 225 carries (9.96 yards a carry) and scored 35 TD's. 
Devan Demas (5-8, 170, Fr.) is more than ready to move up the depth chart if necessary.  Demas could redshirt but has the ability to play right away or even start.

Devan accumulated 2,114 all-purpose yards and 26 touchdowns as a senior when he was named second-team all-district at Cypress Creek High School in Houston, Texas.

Behind these five are freshmen Charles Bertoli (5-11, 191) and Jamel Hart (5-9, 211).

The absence of fullback Dan Paul last year due to injury was a big blow to the Boise State offense.  Bronco coaches did their best patchwork job, inserting several players to do the job Paul normally did, but it wasn't the same.  Paul's rehabilitation has gone very well; in fact, he's even bigger (6-1, 262) than before and ready to deal out punishment to any opponent who has the nerve to set foot in the Bronco backfield.  As was the case last year, Paul's health is critical to Boise State's ability to reach their potential, but just in case, Jamal Wilson (5-11, 227) is ready to step in after a redshirt year.

Doug Martin was a first-round draft choice, but Boise State looks to be even stronger on the ground this year as any number of talented backs can hurt you from all angles.