Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Taking a Look at Boise State

As incredible, and unpredictable as the 2006 campaign was for the Broncos, coach Chris Petersen is doing all he can to keep his players thinking in the here-and-now. For one thing the Bronco's are not letting their players be interviewed by the opposing teams media this season. The idea behind it is after being last years media darlings, they want this years team to live in the present, rather than the immediate past.

Boise State is still living on that hype as they started the week a 4 point favorite over Washington on the road which is something that would have been unheard of until last seasons Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma. The line has been going down since it opened as Husky fans more than likely have been betting on UW which I happen to believe is a good move going into this game.

Boise State in 2007 isn't above reaching into a bag of tricks on offense to even the playing field against stronger BCS opponents. Expect the Bronco's to run a trick play, or two to catch the Huskies off guard on Saturday. I don't think anyone will soon forget the fantastic Statue of Liberty call in last years Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma.

Ian Johnson will be the featured performer for the Broncos again this season, after earning All-WAC First Team honors and a spot on the AP's All-American Third Team as a sophomore. A candidate for All-American recognition again, and even the Heisman Trophy heading into 2007, the elusive Johnson led the nation in scoring with 25 touchdowns a year ago, with his 1,713 yards rushing establishing a new Boise State record.

Senior signal-caller Taylor Tharp, the backup who in the last two seasons has completed 32-of-50 passing for 359 yards and a pair of scores, is the anointed choice to lead the Bronco's multiple offense at QB this year. He looked fine in his debut against I-AA Weber State, but he is going to be seeing a whole different animal in Husky Stadium this Saturday.

Producing the holes up front and keeping whoever might be calling the plays in one piece, All-WAC linemen Ryan Clady and Jeff Cavender help to form one of the toughest and most physical lines in the conference. Senior Tad Miller and junior Andrew Woodruff are also returning starters ready to mix it up in the trenches. They will face a very tough test on Saturday against a very tough veteran Pac Ten defensive line. Washington had no problem picking up seven sacks against Syracuse without using any of their blitzing packages.

Boise State also knows how to play a little defense in one of the pass happiest leagues in the country, however the Bronco's will be in rebuilding mode on that side of the ball.

Boise is missing seven returning starters on the defensive unit heading into 2007, there's little doubt that missing both Korey Hall and Colt Brooks might cause some to second-guess how well the group will perform.

Hall, the WAC's Defensive Player of the Year, now yields his leadership position on the field to defensive back Marty Tadman who, were it not for the play of both Hall and Brooks, would have made several headlines himself a season ago. Tadman finished the campaign second on the team with 67 tackles and tied Hall with six interceptions, making him the nation's active leader in career picks with a total of 12, three of which he has returned for touchdowns. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick will provide plenty of support behind Tadman after placing fourth on the squad with 52 tackles and having broken up six passes. Boise likes to play man, and will give the Huskies a lot of different looks they didn't see last week in Syracuse.

Junior defensive end Mike T. Williams had just 22 tackles in 13 games last year, yet almost a third of those were made in the backfield and four against the quarterback. Although his stats don't stand out as much, the other end position will be handled by senior Nick Schlekeway who led the team with a pair of fumble recoveries.

Linebackers Kyle Gingg and David Shields have some big shoes to fill, but both have plenty of potential. Locker, and Rankin may have another field day against the Boise St LB's this weekend because they are bigger, stronger, and faster than they are.

On special teams the Bronco's start over with a new punter, and kicker. Both seemed to do fine in the Weber State game last week. Returning punts will again fall to Tadman who averaging about eight yards per return in 2006, while Scandrick and Perretta bring experience in kick returns.

Overall expect the Bronco's to field a strong team in 2007. They have a lot of momentum, and the nations longest current winning streak. These kids know how to win, and they aren't afraid of anyone. That being said they are a WAC team, and they aren't even the favorite in their conference this year.

We just saw what happens to good WAC teams who run into middle of the road Pac Ten teams who come out shooting on all cylinders this past weekend when Arizona State easily handled a pretty good San Jose State squad. I am inclined to believe the same type of thing is going to happen in Husky Stadium this weekend.

On Friday, and Saturday I will be running the preview, and match ups for the game. I am going take it all apart to show you why Washington should be victorious this coming weekend. Once again this isn't Syracuse, Washington will be facing a much better coached team with an established system in place, but if UW plays as well as it did last Friday they shouldn't have a lot of trouble with the Bronco's in Husky Stadium.

I expect Washington to be a much better team in week two, and I look for that improvement to continue in large jumps through the early weeks of the season. The largest amount of improvement a college team usually makes is between weeks one, and two.

(Correction, I earlier had John Hellmandollar listed as Fb as per the BSU media guide, but he has graduated. Thanks to the BSU fan who pointed it out!)

Everything you ever wanted to know about Boise State

Boise State was originally founded in 1932 as "Boise Junior College" by the Episcopal Church. After two years the school was independent, and in 1940 it moved to its present site, along the south bank of the Boise River. In 1965 it gained four-year status as "Boise College" with creation of baccalaureate degrees, and in 1969 joined the state system of higher education and was renamed "Boise State College." In 1974 Boise State College gained university status and became "Boise State University." With nearly 18,900 students, Boise State University is the largest institution of higher learning in Idaho.

Boise is the capital and most populous city of the State of Idaho. As of the 2000 census, Boise's population was 185,787. Boise has grown considerably in recent years and is now comparable in size to other mid size cities at the center of their own metropolitan areas in the United States such as Grand Rapids, Des Moines, and Providence.

The Broncos have experienced a great deal of recent football success. Since 1999, the Broncos' record is 86-16 with seven conference titles (Big West Conference 1999-2000, Western Athletic Conference (WAC) 2002-06), and five wins in seven bowl appearances. The Broncos finished the season in the Top 25 polls in 2002 (12th), 2003 (15th), and 2004 (13th), 2006 (5th), and started the 2005 season ranked 18th. The Broncos have had two undefeated regular seasons in the last three years.

During the 2006 season, Boise State won the WAC championship for the fifth straight time and finished the regular season undefeated for the second time in three years. Because of rule changes that made it slightly easier for a "mid-major" school to earn a Bowl Championship Series bid, the Broncos became eligible for a berth after finishing with a #8 national ranking (they needed to finish 12th or higher). The Broncos were selected to play the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl on January 1, 2007. The Broncos became the second team (after the 2004 Utah Utes) from a conference not guaranteed an automatic BCS bid to go to a BCS bowl game. The Broncos defeated the Sooners 43-42 in overtime.

The winning score was a successful two-point conversion by running back Ian Johnson on a variation of the Statue of Liberty play that was made possible after a Hook and Lateral play on 4th-and-18 went for a touchdown to force the game into overtime. On the first play, the Sooners scored on a 25-yard Adrian Peterson run and successfully kicked the point after touchdown. Boise State countered with a trick play that sent starting quarterback Jared Zabransky in motion as a receiver. Running back/receiver Vinny Perretta threw a five-yard touchdown pass to tight end Derek Schouman. Zabransky was named the game's offensive Most Valuable Player, while Marty Tadman was selected as defensive Most Valuable Player. Due to the 41-14 loss Ohio State suffered to Florida, Boise State became the only team to finish the 2006 season with an undefeated record and now hold the nation's current longest winning streak at 14 after a win last week over Weber State.

Pac Ten Power Ratings

I will be running the ratings on Monday's this season, but because of the holiday, and our anniversary, I am running them a day late this week.

1. USC....Not exactly impressive on offense yet, but how much do you show everything against Idaho? RB McKnight is going to be real special. The Trojans have the week off before facing Nebraska on the road in a major test. (Holding)

2. California....Great win for the Bears who could play for all the marbles in January. Cal's offense was unstoppable, and they showed tremendous speed. They gave up some points, but was after all Tennessee. (Rising)

3. Arizona State....Erickson is ahead of schedule, Colorado is up next. The Buff''s won a close one over CSU in their opener, but ASU is going to kill them. (Rising)

4. UCLA....Not a great game against Stanford, the Cards stayed in the game way too long. Dorrell isn't a very good coach, and while the team is loaded, expect them to struggle at times. (Falling)

5. Washington....Impressive win, but we will know more about this team after Boise State. Locker looks pretty good doesn't he, but lets see how he looks after the five game opening gauntlet is over. (Rising)

6. Oregon State....They can run, but can they throw? I know Riley can coach, and I know these guys will get better, but they looked too one dimensional for me, and the Utah offense wasn't a tough test for their defense. Yet, maybe one dimension is enough if it is Yvenson Bernard. (Holding)

7. Oregon....Houston put up way too many yards and points on the Ducks. the Ducks pick the wrong week to visit Ann Arbor, look for the fired up, and wounded Wolverines to show no mercy against the porous Duck defense. (Falling)

8. Washington State....Not as bad as expected, but the defense needs a lot of work. Wisconsin is probably going to win the Big Ten this year, so the Cougars have a chance to win some games starting this week against SDSU at home. (Holding)

9. Arizona....Terrible start, and there is still no offensive threat. No doubt about it, Stoops is in trouble, and it is a mystery why you can't get an offense going in a warm weather climate. (Falling)

10. Stanford....Despite the score these guys hung in with UCLA most of the game. Harbaugh already has these guys playing better. Stanford needs 2-3 more recruiting classes to get back where they were under Willingham. Harbaugh just happens to be an excellent recruiter. (Holding)


prrbrr said...

HIe, so when do the media scribes get on Peterson for his no interviews take. I also heard (rumor) that BSU doesn't have names on jerseys? Is this true? Packing up my stuff to fly to SEA and stay for the next 2 home games. I think this saturday will show how much we have improved as we expose to the media how BSU has been BSing them. They are a very good team, however, I believe they had to replace too many parts from last years team to be as nationally prominent. DAWGS 35 BSU 24

Health Insurance Expert said...

Boise State is good, but not nearly as good as they were last year. they graduated quite a few top players such as three receivers who are all playing in the NFL right now...hard to recover immediately from that. Their QB looked fine in the opener, and you expect that from a senior who has been biding his time.

I only saw a little of last weeks BSU game, and I didn't notice the jerseys, the game was over so quickly I didn't watch much.

travis said...

First of all Jon hellmendollar isn't on the team any more, and BSU will win by 21 points.

Health Insurance Expert said...

No Hellmendollar? Well that is good news, you guys should update your media guide. Honestly I don't see BSU even scoring 21 in the game, let alone winning by 21. They aren't going to be able to run the ball, and the noise is going to be deafening.

The slipper is about to come off cinderella's foot on Saturday, remember to wear your tutu.

Lundy77 said...

Hey... I do releaze this is your "home opener" and you are salavating to play BSU... just remember you were a combined 8 - 26 the last three seasons. The Broncos will be ready... they don't need names on the back of their jerseys the name on the front says enough... better put your chin straps on tight. BRONCOS 42 - DUB 23

Health Insurance Expert said...

It is kind of pathetic when you think about it, I can't remember a WAC opponent that we were ever favored not to beat, however we did lose to Nevada three years ago in a day that will go down in infamy.

I like your enthusiasm, I thank you for posting, and I laud you for your knowledge of recent Husky history....but...this is a whole different Husky team that you will be playing on Saturday.

You haven't seen anything like Jake Locker, and your defense isn't going to be able to contain him.

You are going to score some points, but it will be under 21, and UW will win by two TD's and you guys will slink back to Boise to nurse your wounds with fully loaded baked potato's.

Lundy77 said...

I know Jake Locker is supposed to be some kind of savior... but he is still a freshman.... and Syracuse has a pourous defense. Yeah... you guys are actually 2-2 agains't WAC teams out of the last 4 meetings. You barely beat Fresno State at home last season... and you whupped up on Idaho 2 years ago. We aren't either of those teams.... we have won 6 straight league titles... and we are looking to make a statement like we did last year at Utah... which was their worst home loss in over 30 years.
So... it won't take a double-shot starbucks coffee for you to recognize the beat down you'll get on saturday.

Health Insurance Expert said...

Lundy 77 thanks for visiting and posting. I have complete respect and admiration for your program, and yes, if things go well they can win this Saturday.

You are very accurate in what you say except that there is little correlation with this current Washington squad, and the ones we have seen over the previous four seasons. This is a whole different animal to deal with.

We frankly don't know how good, or bad Syracuse is, and I am siding with very bad to be fair.

That being said Jake Locker is the best looking QB prospect I have seen in 40 years, at any school, and that is saying quite a bit.

Check out the film and watch his release, watch how he sets his feet, watch his instincts, and notice that he makes few mistakes.

I know Boise is ready, I know how well coached they are, and how big of a game it is for your program, but this isn't Utah, it is Husky Stadium, and it is one of the most difficult places to play in the country.

I think we have two good teams that are going to play each other on Saturday, and the best team is going to win, but Boise isn't sneaking up on Washington.

Lundy77 said...

I agree... your team has a different makeup this year. If we don't go in with our heads screwed on right it could be a bad game for us. I have heard some great things about Locker. UW is on the right road and I think you will have a good run the next few years. I respect the PAC-10 and I even like UW generally speaking. (Hoops and football.) I just have to give my team props. I hope it is a well played game no matter what the outcome.

Health Insurance Expert said...

I like your team too, and I was screaming my lungs out for them at the Fiesta Bowl. It may have the best game I have ever seen.

I think your team will have it's head screwed on right, as will UW.

This is going to be one of those days when the best team will win.

This isn't Appalachian State vs Michigan. If you played that game 20 times, Michigan would will the next 19.

Boise State can bang heads with anyone on a consistent basis. I just think Locker is what puts UW over the top, stop Locker, and you stop UW.