Attack The Opponent: Boise State Broncos (Spring Game Edition)

To start, if you have not yet seen the latest video out of the football complex, please watch it now. In fact, if you have seen it, watch it again until you have it memorized because it is one of the best illustrations of the whole “what it is to be a Bronco” concept that has ever been. Anybody else think Hars has a future in voiceover work if this whole football thing ever gets old for him?

After an offseason rife with controversy (both the position battles as well as a little of the, uh, off field kind), it’s nice to have a day with real football in the long drought after March Madness ends.  Yeah, there will be some interesting stuff going on in the interim, but time itself is marching toward the biggest season opener since some short lefty kid from BFE, Washington went to Eugene and took down the mighty Ducks.

Attempting to analyze the spring game as an indicator of where a team will be in 4 months is a little like trying to project out what a child will be like as an adult by tearing apart every detail of how they play in the yard as a toddler. However, since this is football and there’s nothing else to do between now and The Beginning, we’re going to do just that.

There are two questions that will be argued about all summer long, no matter what happens today. Who is going to carry the offense, and will the team be ready to play UW next fall and win? Because everybody knows that while yes we will keep cheering and showing up whether the Broncos win that game or not….we’re really going to need them to step up and win that game. For themselves, their program, and Bronco Nation as a whole.

Boise State didn’t lose a whole lot of seniors last year, but the gaps that they have left are looming large. The QB position is loaded, but at this point, nobody really knows what’s going to happen. We need to look at not only throwing and footwork mechanics, but also understanding of the offense as well as the speed of making the reads. At RB, while The Weapon himself, Jeremy McNichols won’t be out there today, we should be watching for which guys have that vision and patience that set great BSU running backs apart. The Broncos need to find their workhorse, and while depth shouldn’t be an issue at that position, it would be nice to not have to RB by committee all the time.

It would be nice to see some progression on the lines, both sides of the ball. Last year they were talented and strong, but it’s going to take stepping up to exceptional to make the playoff dream even part of the discussion. On offense, there is a lot returning. 5 OL are back this season, with two more around who saw significant playing time last season. These were the guys that made Jay Ajayi a star, and now to be able to come in with experience and depth, well, the new RB and QB will be very lucky, well protected and well blocked for guys. Defensively, losing a guy like Beau Martin would normally be very difficult to do. However, BSU is basically sitting on a gold mine of experienced leadership on the line, rolling 2-3 deep at every position. This defense will be the envy of the Mountain West for sure, and could easily make national noise.

The receivers and TE’s also will be fun to watch today. Getting to see what Chase Blakely and David Lucero are working with will be good. I’m looking to see that they have a handle on the playbook and also try to get an idea of what role the TE’s will have this season. It was nice to see them back last year, but it felt like they could’ve been utilized a bit more. Jake Roh and his awesome hands are returning, and Holden Huff has a great opportunity to step up and be a leader right now in this young and potentially epic group. On the receivers side, there are a billion questions. Based on last season, Sperbeck and Anderson are the fire, but leadership is important. Gotta get those spark type plays from Shane Williams-Rhodes. There is depth at WR, but not much experience. There is more speed on the way as well. Highly touted recruits Akilian Butler and Bryan Jefferson will be arriving this fall, but spring is about the guys on campus.

Remember what it was like to have depth on defense, with amazing returning talent, some up and comers with something to prove, and the knowledge that There Will Be Shut Down Defense Played By Boise? 2006-2011 were pretty good times. The noise out of the complex is sounding a bit like a renaissance. Deayon, Moxie, Maston, and Thompson are all back. So is college-football acclimated Dylan Sumner-Gardner.

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Tyler Rausa has been appointed the Broncos new kicker. You only get one chance at a good first impression, bro. Don’t shank it wide left on your first time out in front of the crowd and all will be well.

This spring game is unlike any we’ve seen. First, we will be celebrating the career of one of the greatest Broncos ever or ever will be, Kellen Moore. The university has already confirmed that the ol’ #11 won’t be retired, but are also saying that nobody will be wearing it for a good, long time. Kellen is building himself a career in the NFL, looking to be the #2 QB after re-signing with Detroit this spring. We at the BTN are still beating the JUST PLAY HIM ALREADY drum, but Kellen is obviously a much more patient person than we are and is willing to play the long game. It will be good for Bronco Nation to see him today, and help celebrate a wonderful college career.

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After the game, BSU has invited 2007 American Idol winner Jordin Sparks to perform a concert on The Blue as part of their Bronco Day celebration. Fans will be allowed on the field, and it’s at least a unique opportunity to watch a pop concert on the turf. Hey, if Jordin’s excited about it, why not?!

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