Attack The Opponent: That Darned Bye
We’re in the thick of a moment that should be committed to memory carefully. With four games left in the season, the Broncos are a dangerous team. They out-prepare their opponents, and out-execute them too. Boise State plays hard, hits harder, learns quickly, can adjust on the fly and obviously has fun. A team like that is hard to beat. The truly hard part of the schedule is over. The rest are traps. Next up is New Mexico, yet another option team but one that is still 2-5. Then SDSU, who needs to be beaten into submission similarly to what happened to BYU last Friday. After that is Wyoming, who very much want to beat our guys and seem to think they can do it, but then they also aren’t a good football team so, whatever. They’ll take their best shot in a few weeks. Utah State could be a tripping point if overlooked, but they are down to fourth string freshman QB’s. Just how good of a coach and recruiter is Matt Wells, anyway? Not many are that good. After that, if the Broncos emerge unscathed, we’re talking an MWC Championship game on the Blue. In year one!
Next June, when there isn’t anything going on and its a billion degrees outside and we’re in the doldrums of a college football offseason, remember how glorious this has been. Bowl season is coming, possibly with a decent opponent for the Broncos, and then soon enough it will be over for another year. Recruiting info will ramp up and then ramp down, signing day, the spring game, and all of a sudden it’s the middle of the summer and everything sucks a bit more because college football is so impossibly far away.
This has been a spectacular season so far. Sure, it started off in a less than optimal way, but that loss vs. Ole Miss didn’t turn out to be so bad. The Air Force game was an aberration, a horrible example of worst case scenario. Grant stood up afterwards, dusted himself off, and has proven to be a very good quarterback – the most accurate in the nation by almost 2% over Brett Hundley, Jameis Winson, and Cody Kessler. Those are awfully big names to be ahead of on the arguably most important quarterback metric.
Jay Ajayi has also had a great season so far, getting tons of yardage. He’s an impact back, and can get 4.5 yards just by existing. The Jay Train is going to go to a very lucky NFL team whenever Jay decides it’s time to take that step. Speculation gets us nowhere, because Ajayi is the only one that knows and it sure seems like he’s hungry and focused and trying to play football for Boise State to the best of his ability. He’s maturing as a player and it’s truly wonderful to watch. However, there are some younger guys who are making a difference too. Thomas Sperbeck, the circus catch making receiver who has stepped up brilliantly in place of Matt Miller for one.
(Speaking of Matt, his injury just sucks. He was 15 yards away from the school receiving record and instead of figuring out how to get it he just stepped back, put on a headset, and is still being a great leader on the sidelines and in the locker room. Mr. Miller, here’s to a quick recovery and a great combine performance and draft.)
Shane Williams-Rhodes is having a good, if not somewhat quiet year. He is on track to better his TD best from last season, and is only a few big plays from being back around that heady 9.1 yard per carry number from last season. Swerve seems to always be just a broken tackle away from popping off for big things, and with New Mexico and Wyoming and their terrible defenses coming up, he should do some interesting stuff. Jeremy McNichols is another young player who is electric with the ball. He is a great compliment to Jay, with his ability to keep defenders honest on the outside.
The Broncos defense has additionally been quite solid, snatching the most interceptions as a team in the MWC, holding teams to the second lowest in rushing yards and yards allowed per carry. Pass Defense stats totals aren’t as pretty as the rush D, but the takeaways and the fact that the Mountain West’s defensive player of the week has been a different Bronco twice this season (Donte Deayon and Kamalei Correa), we can safely call the defense back.
It’s a good time to be a Bronco fan. Coach Harsin and his assistants have infused this team and this city with much needed optimism. Albertson’s Stadium was so loud it was impossible to think on Friday night at times, and it’s been a while since that happened. Boise State football is truly fun again, and winning is the reason. Coach Petersen left the program in pretty good shape and Harsin added to it with a truly excellent 2014 class. The world appears to be changing around us as far as what schools are able to offer recruits, so it remains to see if Harsin and his team can keep up the torrid pace, but Boise State remains a place to be for kids who want to win football games, learn how to be a successful person, gain a family, get a good education, and possibly a chance to play football professionally. If anybody can sell a recruit on that, it’s these guys.
We’re 8 games in and the future is just as bright as it was that first day Harsin stepped, beaming, to the podium last winter. That is more than we ever could have asked for. Let’s hope the rest of the season is just as satisfying.