Saturday, August 31, 2013

Air Force Downs Colgate

38-13 win on opening day for the Falcons.

Broncos and Huskies Set To Battle In Seattle

People are calling tonight’s game between Boise State and Washington “the rubber match”, yet Boise State has yet to see a game in Bronco Stadium in this series.  Yep, one of the games was on a neutral field in Las Vegas, and the other two?  Right in the comfy confines of Husky Stadium in Seattle.  Washington has lost games on their home turf (1 last year, 2 in 2011, 3 in 2010 and 2 in 2008); it’s just that none of their conquerors have been named Boise State.

The Broncos lost the first game of the series in Seattle in 2007, mainly because they couldn’t punch it in from red zone territory, seeing their running game bottled up near the goal line and focusing on one receiver despite that receiver drawing double and triple teams. 

On paper, position by position, Boise State is considerably better than that 2007 team, but so is Washington.  However, the key to victory for the Broncos is much the same:  they must score touchdowns in the red zone.  So how has Boise State addressed the needs exposed in 2007 and what is the outlook for red zone scoring?

Admittedly, the Boise State offensive line is young, but I believe it will be one of the best in school history—we’ll see.  Charles Leno Jr. returns for his senior year before he heads on to the NFL to become yet another star tackle from Boise State.  But before he moves on, he’ll need to be the rock the Bronco line can build on.  Leno (6-4, 295) will be joined by seniors Matt Paradise (6-3, 200) at center and Spencer Gerke (6-3, 303) at guard.  At the other two spots—this is where the youth comes in. 

Guard Marcus Henry (6-3, 285) and tackle Rees Odhiambo (6-4, 307) are both sophomores but are solid.  Keep in mind Henry was recruited by Washington after he had committed to Boise State—they tried to steal him away but nothing doing.  Henry was voted the Kingco Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year and helped Bellevue (Washington) win consecutive state titles in 2009 and 2010.  Henry beat out another promising line prospect—Mario Yakoo (6-3, 323, Fr.) to win the job at right guard.

Odhiambo is starting ahead of the tackle (Jake Broyles) who started in last year’s season opener at Michigan State.  Odhiambo, a native of Kenya, only played football for two years before landing at perennial Top 15 power Boise State.  Coaches like his flexibility and agility and above all, with just the two years of football prior to coming to Boise, the extremely talented Bronco coaches can mold him exactly how they want.  So lest anyone think these youngsters are starting because there aren’t talented challengers, think again.  Great things are expected from these two in the next three years.

Joe Southwick (6-1, 202) returns for his senior season as the starter at quarterback, after completing 70% of his passes over the last seven games last fall.  The word out of training camp is that the game has slowed down for Joe, and his play in August has his teammates raving about the progress he has made.

Jay Ajayi (6-0, 220) compiled one of the most impressive campaigns ever for a Boise State freshman running back last season, smashing a school record for yards per carry with 6.7.  He didn’t get a huge load (82 carries for 548 yards), but made the most of his touches, and he has Bronco fans as excited as, well, the last Bronco back to make the NFL—Doug Martin.  Jack Fields (5-9, 195, So.), Aaron Baltazar (5-10, 215, Fr.) and transfer Derrick Thomas (6-0, 208, Jr.) give amazing depth at the running back spot.  Boise State will not officially have a fullback position, even though they like that formation.  Bronco coach Chris Petersen and his staff believe they can utilize their tight ends in that spot without missing a beat.

Speaking of tight ends, Boise State is thrilled to have Gabe Linehan (6-4, 238, Sr.) back this season after missing most of last season.  He’s one guy the Huskies have yet to see, and Linehan gives Southwick a great target, plus another receiver who can collect yards after the catch.  But sophomore Holden Huff (6-5, 236) filled in superbly for Linehan last year (17 catches for 250 yards and 4 touchdowns), and he should play plenty this fall.

At the outset, I said that one of the main reasons Boise State lost to Washington in 2007 was the focus on one receiver.  While that was the result of one of the most talented receiving trios in school history on the 2006 Fiesta Bowl team all graduating (Legedu Naanee, Drisan James and Jerard Rabb), that won’t be the case this time.  Sure, dependable Matt Miller (6-3, 222, Jr.) is the main receiver will probably get his 60+ catches for 800 yards, but he has plenty of help.  Seniors Geraldo Boldewijn (6-4, 220) and Aaron Burks (6-3, 205) are big, experienced, and both had spectacular camps—they will both see lots of action at the “Z” Receiver spot. 

Kirby Moore (6-3, 208) is another guy that just does his job—runs the proper route, helps out his quarterback, catches everything he touches, and doesn’t make mistakes.  He will be backed up by freshman sensation Shane Williams-Rhodes (5-6, 157, So.), who not only will see more playing time on the Bronco offense in a variety of ways, but coaches want to put the ball in his hands for both punt and kickoff returns.

As for the Boise State defense, they are the biggest difference between 2007 and 2013.  The current members of the Bronco “D” have transformed the unit from “solid” to deep and talented.  If I can offer just one criticism—the defense has yet to be dominating or consistent.  They bottled up most every team they faced, but gave up huge chunks of yards on the ground to Le’Veon Bell of Michigan State, Washington’s Bishop Sankey and unheralded New Mexico.  So while they ranked as one of the Top 10 defenses statistically, until they can be consistent for four quarters each and every game and  be able to “take over a game”, you won’t hear many football prognosticators call them “one of the Top 10 defenses in the nation”.

That said, the improvement from the 2007 Washington game is stunning.  Demarcus Lawrence (6-3, 245, Jr.) is one individual that the word “dominating” applies to.  Lawrence will be one of the better defensive ends in the country this year.  Kharyee Marshall is slated to be his running mate, and what he lacks in size (6-2, 240), Marshall more than makes up for in quickness.  It doesn’t matter how big an offensive lineman is if he can’t keep up with Marshall.  Beau Martin (6-2, 271, Jr.) and Sam McCaskill (6-3, 240, Fr.) have both coaches and fans excited about what they can do.

Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe (6-3, 300, Sr.) fits the nose tackle position to a tee—he plugs it the hole with that wide body.  Tyler Horn (6-5, 265, Jr.) has played both defensive line positions, and he has won the job at the other DT thanks to his effort and performance.  Armand Nance (6-0, 288, So.) is another talented tackle, and Justin Taimatuia (6-0, 281, Jr.) provides depth.

Blake Renaud (6-2, 243, Jr.) has bided his time waiting to start, and 2013 is his time.  The sharp, dependable, hard-hitter from one of America’s top high school football programs (De La Salle in California) is ready to go in the middle linebacker spot.  Tyler Gray (6-4, 228, So.) beat out promising freshman Ben Weaver (6-0, 233) at the weak-side position, while Jonathan Brown (5-10, 206, Sr.) and Corey Bell (5-11, 210, Jr.) should both see playing time on the other side.

The secondary is one of the most talented, albeit untested, positions on the Boise State team.  Donte Deayon (5-9, 151, So.) is the heir apparent to Jamar Taylor, and he’ll be joined by junior Bryan Douglas (5-9, 178) at cornerback.  Jeremy Ioane (5-10, 190, Jr.), whom Washington quarterback Keith Price will remember as the guy who ended the Las Vegas Bowl with a pick of Price, is back at strong safety, while talented sophomore Darian Thompson (6-1, 200) beat out senior Ebo Makinde (5-10, 185) to start at free safety.

Placekicker Dan Goodale (5-10, 196, Jr.) is another of the guys most mentioned as having an excellent fall, while at gametime, the punting position is still undecided between senior Trevor Hartman (6-3, 211) and freshman Sean Wale (6-1, 185).

Price (6-1, 202, Sr.) struggled a bit last year after an outstanding season in 2011, and he’s eager to show he’s back in form.  Price completed 60.9% of his passes last year for 2,728 yards and 19 touchdowns, but that also came with 13 interceptions.  Most of the college football “experts” have said that the outcome of this game depends on Price.  If he plays well, they say, Washington will win.

Sankey (5-10, 203, Jr.) smoked the Broncos last bowl season to the tune of 205 yards, and he was one of the Pac-12’s top rushers with 1,439 net yards and 16 touchdowns last season.  If Boise State hasn’t figured out how to stop Sankey, they’re in for a long night.

Washington coach Steve Sarkanian announced the suspension of tight end Seferian-Jenkins, something he pretty much had to do to save face with the Washington fans, players and media.  Seferian-Jenkins plead guilty to drunken driving in July.  As of the time of this writing, Sarkanian has not announced who will start in his place.

Junior Kasen Williams (6-2, 212) had a breakout season last year with 77 catches for 878 yards, and he will be the go-to guy for Price.  Freshman John Ross (5-11, 173) won the right to start at wide receiver, and with his blazing speed, he poses a double threat as UW’s punt returner.  Another wideout who has impressed in fall camp is senior Kevin Smith.  Much as Boldewijn and Burks are finally living up to their potential at Boise State now that they are seniors, the same is true for Smith (5-11, 214).

The offensive line that Boise State will see Saturday night will be much the same that they saw last December.  Junior tackles Ben Riva (6-6, 306) and Micah Hatchie (6-5, 305), center Mike Criste (6-5, 306) and guard Colin Tanigawa (6-3, 275) have built quite a reputation in giving the Huskies a solid offensive line, and they’ll be joined by sophomore guard Dexter Charles (6-4, 289).

Like Boise State, Washington’s strength is their defense.  They were able to claw their way back into the game last year because the Husky defense simply stymied the Broncos in the second half.  Jau’oli Kikaha (6-3, 250, Jr.) and sophomore Cory Littleton (6-3, 230) will start at end, with junior Danny Shelton (6-1, 327) starting in the middle and converted tight end Evan Hudson (6-5, 277) at defensive tackle.

Princeton Fuimaona (6-1, 217) and Travis Feeney (6-4, 224, So.) have battled neck-and-neck all fall and it’s still a gametime decision as to who will start at that outside linebacker position.  John Timu (6-1, 235, Jr.) and Shaq Thompson (6-2, 225, So.) have secured their spots behind the Husky line.

While the Boise State secondary is talented but largely untested, the Husky secondary is solid and experienced.  Senior safeties Will Shamburger (6-0, 192) and Sean Parker (5-10, 195) return, along with senior Greg Ducre (5-10, 178) at one corner.  Marcus Peters (5-11, 193) will start at the other cornerback slot.

Senior Travis Coons (6-2, 199) will handle the placekicking duties while Washington’s punting duties (like Boise State) are still up for grabs.  It will be either senior Kevin Smith (5-11, 214) or freshman John Ross (5-11, 173).

Like the Oregon, Virginia Tech, Georgia and Michigan State season openers of the past four years, it should be another great contest to open the Bronco season.  Both sides appear to be confident, the fans are into it, both teams feature outstanding coaching staffs, and all of Seattle is excited to present the Huskies’ new $280-million makeover—the remodeling and expansion of Husky Stadium.

Hold on to your hats—this should be exciting!  Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. Mountain Time.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Squally Canada Loses His Scholarship

Squally Canada, who gave his word to Boise State a few months ago to play football for the Broncos, has lost his scholarship.  Canada explored other options after giving said word and now he will indeed be playing elsewhere.

You'd think kids would learn...

Saturday's Games of Note

Nevada plays at UCLA
Air Force hosts Colgate
Wyoming is at Nebraska
San Diego State is home against Eastern Illinois

Southern Mississippi hosts Texas State
BYU travels to Virginia

and the big one, Boise State is at Washington.

Fresno State Survives Rutgers 52-51

Derek Carr and Fresno State made up for an otherwise lackluster showing by Mountain West Conference teams yesterday, prevailing 52-51 in overtime over Rutgers.  The Scarlet Knights had missed a 43-yard field goal in the final seconds of regulation, and Carr floated a pass down the middle for a touchdown on the first play of overtime.  Rutgers came back with a touchdown, but failed a two-point conversion.

San Jose State was the only other winner among the new MWC teams with a 24-0 victory over Sacramento State.  Utah State had Utah on the ropes, but not only let them out of danger; they let them win the game, 30-26.  Hawai'i fell to USC 30-13 at home and UNLV was pounded by Minnesota 50-23.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Moore Comes Back To Earth A Bit

10-18 for 78 yards and 2 TD's but one intercept in leading Detroit to another preseason win.

San Jose State Wins

Spartans beat Sacramento State 24-0.

Utah State Blows Big Lead At Utah

Aggies had the game in hand 23-14 but let Utah off the hook and lose 30-26.

UNLV Blown Out By Minnesota

51-23.  Ouch.

Utah State Leading Utah at the half

17-14.  Chuckie Keaton 19-25 passing and 37 yards rushing in the first half for the Aggies.

College Football Is Here!

Today's games:

Utah State is at Utah
Fresno State hosts Rutgers
Hawai'i entertains USC
San Jose State is home against Sacramento State
UNLV is at Minnesota

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Five True Freshmen To Play for Boise State

A fairly high number of true freshmen will play for Boise State this fall, which unfortunately will add to the imbalance of classes.  Coach Chris Petersen has said he wants to even out the recruiting classes, but playing the five true freshmen will bring the classes further out of balance.

Standout tailback Aaron Baltazar, ends Gabe Perez and Kamalei Correa, linebacker Darren Lee and cornerback Jonathan Moxey are scheduled to play this fall.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Can't Run, Can't Throw? Kellen Moore Leads Lions to Victory

If you didn't know much about football, or didn't watch Kellen Moore for four years, like say a football analyst or pro scout, you would think he's slow.  You might think he can't throw an NFL ball.

But for those of us fortunate enough to see Moore play for four years, we know that analysis is full of holes.  Like Larry Bird in basketball, Moore has eyes in the back of his head.  He has a "sixth sense" to be able to tell when someone is bearing down on him, and slow or not, he turns it up an extra gear and is able to avoid an oncoming rusher.  I'll also add that he's surprisingly strong and able to break tackles.  Many times in his career at Boise State, I thought a defender would nail him for a sack, only to see Kellen shake it off, regain his field of vision, and spot an open receiver downfield for a big gain.

As for "not having a strong arm", I'll let last night's results speak for themselves.  Moore entered the game in the second half with his team having a 16-3 lead.  He proceeded to go 9-12 for 150 yards.  Moore led Detroit to a touchdown on his first drive and, with the Lions facing a third-and-20 from the 50, his 19-yard throw set up a 48-yard field goal.  Then, Moore and the Lion offense took over on their own four-yard line, and Moore led his team down the field with pinpoint throws, including another toss for a TD.  Seventeen points, a 9-12 performance, a 96-yard drive, two touchdowns and one field goal in slightly over a quarter.  Seems to me that's all that matters--you have a quarterback here that leads his team to long drives for scores. 

 If you're scoring 17 points in a little over a quarter, who cares what your 40-time is or how many push ups you can do?  This insane emphasis on measurable exercises is what has gone wrong in the NFL.  Rather than judge pure football talent, which is something the pro scouts are unable to do, they use safe measurable statistics to justify their jobs.

Kellen Moore is a John Elway or Joe Montana type of quarterback--and he proves that every time he is given a chance.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Moore Has Great Game vs. New England

Moore was 9-12 for 150 yards and two TD's and led the Lions on another drive to a FG in just one quarter.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

New Video Board Sounds Awesome!

In addition to the obvious improvement in sound and video, the new board will include an app that you can post to from your phone. Finally, it sounds like we'll be able to know other scores, rather than the two times a game update that was a thing of the past. You will also be able to see the lines at the concession stands so you can choose the one with the shortest line. Eventually, you'll be able to order a coke and have it delivered to your seat.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Chancellor James Out for the Year

Bad news for the Bronco secondary.  Chancellor James, who was expected to contribute significantly this fall, is out for the season with a torn ACL.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Two Key Position Battles

Boise State is incredibly deep at nearly every position, but there are two specific position battles I want to point out that will be interesting to watch.  And, they are probably the only two spots on the team that, depending on how the players play this year, could mean the difference between winning a game and losing.

Defensive Tackle:  We don't know when Deuce Matele will return, so that spot is up for grabs.  I think it's between Tyler Horn and Armand Nance.  With Horn being more of a natural end, and reports of how Nance is doing, I give the advantage to the latter.

Placekicker:  Dan Goodale is the known, newcomer Tyler Rausa is the incoming transfer.  The job will go to the guy who is money from inside 30 yards, no misses, no worries, no sweats.  Kicks beyond that are a bonus.

Another position to watch is the linebacker battle between Tyler Grey and Ben Weaver.  Both are solid and the position is in good hands, no matter who starts.  I expect both these talented backers to play quite a bit.

Boise State in the History Books

Wonder where the Age of Boise State ranks in the history of college football?  You'll want to make sure you visit the tab  This contains all of the statistics that help explain why Boise State is the most dominant college football team since 1900.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Kirby Moore Is The Camper of the Day

We already know Burks and Boldewign are having great springs, and now add senior receiver Kirby Moore to that list.  Of course, the reason for the receivers doing great is that the offensive line looks superb and Joe Southwick is doing amazing.  But once again, Sam McDCaskill continues to make noise, and his presence and performance is being noted by all the Bronco players.  He is definitely one of the unpredicted stars of the Boise State team.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bronco Confidence Up From Last Year

In discussions I've heard, confidence is one key word coming out of Fall Camp.  And it's only three days in!  The job of the Bronco coaches will be to keep the players down to earth this year.  Boise State is loaded with talent, and you get the sense that the players know it.  The offense is clicking on all cylinders, and today, the defensive line had an excellent day, with Mccaskill, Nance and Lawrence looking especially good today.

Boise State looking like they could play a game right now.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Prince: Bronco Offense Is "Eons Ahead" Of Last Year

Fall Camp is only two days old, but so far quarterback Joe Southwick is doing extremely well in his second year in command of the Boise State offense.  Aaron Burks was a key target of Southwick's today and provides the deep ball threat for the Broncos.  The d-line also stood out today, but the thing that most Broncos will be excited about is this quote from offensive coordinator Robert Prince:

"The Broncos are eons ahead’ of last year on offense with Southwick in his second year as the starter."

Deuce Mataele Is Out Indefinitely

Boise State coach Chris Petersen announced today that defensive tackle Deuce Mataele, a JC transfer, is out indefinitely with an academic issue. Academics are more important than football, so hope he gets his priorities straight.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Southwick Hoping To Take The Broncos To New Heights

More News From Fall Camp

Brian Sperbeck is now listed as a wide receiver, adding more depth there.  It could possibly mean that Chanceller James is wowing the Bronco coaches and so they don't need Sperbeck in the secondary.

Notable Size Increases

Two Broncos in particular have made great progress in the weight room.  Running back Aaron Baltazar, who was listed at 5-10, 185 on LOI Day, is now 5-10, 215.  And tight end Holden huff has gained 15 pounds and is now listed at 236.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Southwick Named To Manning Award Watch List

Joe Southwick of Boise State is one of 30 quarterbacks on the Manning Award Watch List.  The award is given annually to the nation's top quarterback.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Boise State Expected To Be Worse Than Last Year According to USA Today

In the USA Today poll of coaches, Boise State was 19th this preseason.  The Broncos finished last season #14, so even with the number of returning starters, opposing coaches believe Boise State will be worse this year.  I guess the Bronco players will either prove them right...or wrong.

  1. Alabama
  2. Ohio St
  3. Oregon
  4. Stanford
  5. Georgia
  6. Texas A&M
  7. South Carolina
  8. Clemson
  9. Louisville
  10. Florida
  11. Notre Dame
  12. Florida St.
  13. LSU
  14. Oklahoma St.
  15. Texas
  16. Oklahoma
  17. Michigan
  18. Nebraska
  19. Boise St
  20. TCU
  21. UCLA
  22. Northwestern
  23. Wisconsin
  24. USC
  25. Oregon St.