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2011 Boise State Preview – Offense
Boise State RB Doug Martin
Boise State RB Doug Martin
Posted Jun 9, 2011 2011 Preview - Boise State Bronco Offense

Boise State Broncos

Preview 2011 - Offense

- 2011 Boise State Preview | 2011 Boise State Offense
- 2011 Boise State Defense | 2011 Boise State Depth Chart
- Boise State Previews  2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

What You Need To Know: This should be an interesting test to see if the Boise State system is the Boise State system after finishing second in the nation in yards and scoring. Gone is offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin to Texas and in comes Brent Pease after spending the last few years as an assistant and a receivers coach. The problem will be those receivers with Austin Pettis and Titus Young gone, leaving a gaping talent hole. However, Heisman-caliber QB Kellen Moore is good enough make everyone look good, and while there might not be the big plays of last year, all will be fine as long as the receivers run precise routes. The running game will be strong as long as Doug Martin is healthy, but a reliable No. 2 back is a must in case D.J. Harper gets hurt again. The line is a work in progress with lots of shuffling and plenty of question marks, but three starters are back including Nate Potter, who’ll be a top 50 NFL pick next year, and Thomas Bryd, an undersized but talented center.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Kellen Moore
273-383, 3,845 yds, 35 TD, 6 INT
Rushing: Doug Martin
201 carries, 1,260 yds, 12 TD
Receiving: Tyler Shoemaker
32 catches, 582 yds, 5 TD

Star of the offense: Senior QB Kellen Moore
Player who has to step up and be a star: Senior WR Tyler Shoemaker
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore WR Geraldo Hiwat
Best pro prospect: Senior OT Nate Potter
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Moore, 2) Potter, 3) RB Doug Martin
Strength of the offense: Kellen Moore, The System
Weakness of the offense: Wide Receiver, No. 2 Running Back


State of the Unit: The Boise State passing game was its typical amazing self finishing sixth in the nation averaging 321 yards per game and second in passing efficiency behind Auburn. While there might be a step back production-wise with all the new faces at receiver, the quarterback play should be stellar again. The key, though, will be developing the backups for the future.

The team finished second in the nation in passing efficiency, but senior Kellen Moore was No. 1 completing 71% of his passes for 3,845 yards with 35 touchdown passes and a mere six interceptions. Two of those picks came in the blowout win over Hawaii and none of the interceptions came in a close game; he was nearly flawless.

The Heisman finalist threw two touchdown passes or more in every game and threw for 300 yards or more five times including a 507-yard day against Hawaii and 328 yards against Utah in the bowl win. As good as he was, he’s going to have to be even sharper and even more efficient without Austin Pettis and Titus Young to throw to, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be. The numbers might not be there, but his leadership, accuracy, and clutch ability should once again be peerless. There isn’t a cooler, calmer head in the game, and that will mean everything in the jump to the new conference.

He might only be 6-0 and 191 pounds, and he might not be a runner and he might not have a huge arm, but he has it when it comes to short to midrange passes. The lefty set the NCAA record for completion percentage by a freshman (69.4%) and was the Washington high school record holder for touchdown passes (173), and now he has grown into a master. 38-2 as a starter, he’s going to go down as one of the all-time greats with one more big year. Moore might not have the ideal size and arm, and neither does sophomore Joe Southwick. That doesn’t matter, though, for the 6-1, 197-pounder who has a good, accurate arm and excellent running ability. He got a little bit of garbage time completing 17-of-24 passes for 202 yards with a touchdown, while running for 31 yards. It’s his starting job next year, but he needs to get as much time as possible to be ready to hit the ground running. He’ll likely step in and play in blowouts on a more regular basis.

On the way is true freshman Jimmy Laughrea, one of the team’s top recruits and a typical Boise State quarterback with a good, accurate arm and the smarts to keep the mistakes to a minimum. He’s not huge at 6-2 and 197 pounds, but he has more rushing ability than several current Bronco quarterbacks. Watch Out For … Southwick. Obviously Moore is the main man, but it would be nice if the succession plan was in place and ready to go for 2012. There are other good options on the roster, but the coaching staff needs to know if Southwick is the one to carry the program forward.
Strength: Kellen Moore. A 68% completion percentage; 10,867 yards; 99 touchdowns; 19 interceptions; three rushing touchdown, a touchdown catch. Oh yeah, and the 38 wins. He’s a special quarterback and he’ll get even more respect this year.
Weakness: Austin Pettis and Titus Young. Did the quarterback make the receivers or did the receivers make the quarterback? Pettis and Young each caught 71 passes and they helped make Moore look great. Now Moore has to go on without his two star targets to rely on.
Outlook: The stats won’t be as good without the top receivers to throw to, but it’s not like the cupboard is totally bare. Moore will continue to spread the ball around, he’ll continue to be deadly accurate, and he’ll continue to be foot-on-the-throat nasty in key situations as the steady leader of the high-octane attack. As much as Moore will be celebrated and highlighted, the storyline could be the backup situation as everyone wonders who’ll be next.
Unit Rating: 9.5

Running Backs

State of the Unit: Can the Boise State running game finally get some love? With all the celebration about Kellen Moore and the top passing attack, the runners have gone mostly unnoticed even though the ground game finished 21st in the nation with over 200 yards per game. Unlike other top running teams, the quarterback isn’t a part of the yardage mix. Gone is speedster Jeremy Avery and his 495 yards and 11 touchdowns, and his 14 catches, but there are more than enough good backs to form a solid rotation.

Senior Doug Martin went from being a powerful No. 2 back to a killer of a lead back averaging 6.3 yards per carry with a team-leading 1,260 yards and 12 scores. At 5-9 and 215 pounds, he’s a smallish, compact banger who doesn’t go down with the first hit, but he also has the speed to take plays the distance with an 84-yard dash to his credit. While his running style might not give him a long shelf life, this isn’t the NFL and he should be even more of the featured back in all areas. He rumbled for 100 yards or more in six games and scored twice in five games working as a tough, unstoppable goal line back when he gets his chances. With good hands, catching 28 passes for 338 yards and two scores, he can be a good bailout option, but his strength is at hitting the holes hard and always going forward.

Senior D.J. Harper didn’t get a whole bunch of work running just 18 times for 160 yards and two scores, averaging 8.9 yards per carry before getting knocked out for the year with a knee injury for the second season in a row. He was supposed to be a breakout player in each of the last two seasons, but he suffered an ugly knee injury in the third game of the 2009 season, got hurt again last year, and now has to try to go through the whole rebuilding project again. When he’s right, the 5-9, 210-pounder has a nice blend of speed and power and he can catch the ball as well as any back in the Mountain West.

Senior Dan Paul was a linebacker, and then a fullback, and then a linebacker, and now a fullback again. He only ran once for a yard and caught seven passes for 30 yards, but the 6-0, 250-pounder is a blaster of a run blocker and he should be used even more in the passing game.

Watch Out For …
Harper. Can he finally stay healthy? The speed, quickness, and talent were all there to be a major playmaker, but two knee injuries are going to slow him down a bit and he can’t be counted on for a full season. With Avery gone, he needs to play a bigger role.
Strength: The passing game. The Broncos are able to balance out the attack and have no problems spreading it around, but most of the focus will be on Kellen Moore and a passing game that’ll throw it over 400 times. The ground game came up with 486 runs, but defenses are going to be worrying about Moore first and foremost.
Weakness: No. 2 running back. Can Harper really be a key part of the rotation for a full season? Jeremy Avery and Jarvis Hodge combined for 800 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns, and the slack has to be picked up somewhere. It’ll be a devastating blow if Martin goes down.
Outlook: Obviously Kellen Moore is the team’s signature star and most important player, but Martin might not be far off. He’s the tone-setter battering ram who takes the heart out of defenses every bit as much as a Moore third down pass, but he needs to be on a pitch count. He’s not a 20-carry back game-in-and-game-out, but he’s a tough runner who’ll average more than five yards per carry. More backup production is needed.
Unit Rating: 7


State of the Unit: Titus Young is now a Detroit Lion, being picked in the second round, and Austin Pettis was selected by the St. Louis Rams. There are decent receivers returning and Kellen Moore is going to make everyone look good, but it’ll be tough to replace two nasty veterans like Young and Pettis. The key will be for a No. 1 target to emerge right away, but more than anything else it’ll take a village to keep the passing attack moving. If you can run a precise route and if you have good hands, you’ll get a chance to be in the Boise State passing game mix.

Senior Tyler Shoemaker is going from being a complementary No. 3 receiver to the main man just by being the most productive returning player. The 6-1, 213-pound veteran finished third on the team with 32 catches for 582 yards and five scores, but 11 of his catches and 241 of the yards came in a two game stretch against Louisiana Tech and Hawaii. More like an H-Back than a true wideout, he has nice hands and he’s a field stretcher averaging 18.2 yards per grab. Now he has to get used to being keyed on. 5-9, 168-pound redshirt freshman Alexander Miles will get his shot in the rotation adding more speed and quickness to the position. He’s physical for his size and he can move.

The breakout player in spring ball was 6-4, 200-pound sophomore Geraldo Hiwat, a big, little-used target who caught 11 passes for 160 yards in his limited role. And then the light went on. Still very, very raw, having played only one season of high school football after moving to Boise from Amsterdam, he’s still working on becoming a complete receiver, but he has the size, the speed, and the suddenness to be a breakout star. He’ll combine with junior Tyler Jackson, a 6-0, 193-pound former safety who has yet to do anything on the field, and 5-8, 180-pound redshirt freshman Anthony Clarke, an Idaho all-state quarterback with good quickness.

5-9, 158-pound junior Chris Potter caught a 78-yard touchdown pass against New Mexico State, but he only finished with eight catches for 125 yards. A phenomenal punt returner who averaged 13.3 yards per try, he’s extremely quick and he has good route-running skills, and now he’ll get his chance to show what he can do with more time in the offense. Potter is the quick, shifty target, while 6-2, 191-pound sophomore Aaron Burks has the size. After getting to school early last year, he became a little-used backup making six catches for 58 yards in a limited role.

With all the changes in the receiving corps, senior Kyle Efaw should play a bigger role after catching 24 passes for 299 yards and five scores with two scores against New Mexico State and two against Utah State. Always known for being on the other end of the pass on the fake punt that turned the tide of the 2010 Fiesta Bowl win over TCU, and he’s been around long enough and is athletic enough to work as one of Kellen Moore’s main targets. At 6-4 and 242 pounds he has the size to be a decent blocker, but his strength is as a pass catcher. He’ll be backed up by 6-3, 232-pound sophomore Gabe Linehan, who came on over the second half of the season to finish with six catches for 82 yards and a score. Mostly a special teamer so far, he’s a good athlete with the talent to play a bigger role.

Watch Out For … Hiwat. He might not be polished and he might not be ready to make six catches a game, but he looks the part with the size, speed, and skills to grow into a top target. If spring ball was any indication, he’s going to be a major factor.
Strength: Kellen Moore. He’s going to make everyone around him better. He might not come up with big plays on a regular basis he did with all the top targets around, but he’ll make the right decisions and he’ll get everyone involved. Nothing helps out a new receiving corps more than a Heisman-caliber quarterback.
Weakness: Wide receiver. Young finished his Boise State career with 204 catches for 3,063 yards and 25 touchdowns, along with eight touchdown runs, and Pettis ended his run with 229 catches for 2,838 yards and 39 touchdowns. Boise State can’t quickly replace playmakers like those two.
Outlook: The biggest concern going into last year was this year, and while the overall production won’t fall completely off the map, there can’t help but be a drop-off. The stats won’t be bad because the offense is so strong, but there’s a major talent dip without Pettis and Young. Hiwat and Shoemaker have to shine, and Efaw has to be a reliable veteran. The stats will be better than the talent.
Unit Rating: 6

Offensive Line

State of the Unit: The line was phenomenal allowing just eight sacks and doing wonders for a running game that averaged over 200 yards per game. There’s tremendous talent at a few spots, but two starters need to be replaced. A few key redshirt freshmen need to shine right away, and the right side, Kellen Moore’s blindside, has to be secured.

Two-time, First Team All-WAC senior Nate Potter is back at left tackle after a few tremendous seasons, and now it’s salary drive time. A good pro prospect, the 6-6, 300-pounder should once again be terrific in pass protection and is great on the move finishing off blocks. Injuries have been an issue, missing time as a sophomore and getting banged up early on before last season, but he’s tough, has managed to fight through the little problems, and has the versatility to play either guard or tackle. He’ll be backed up by either Chris Tozer, a versatile backup who’ll play both inside and out, or Michael Ames, a 6-4, 291-pound junior who has seen starting time at right tackle but can play anywhere on the line.

Ames will get a long look at center, but the position is filled by senior Thomas Byrd, a First Team All-WAC performer with tremendous athleticism and the smarts to make all the right calls. While he’s a too-small 5-11 and 288 pounds, he’s a great finisher, doesn’t make mistakes, and is as dependable as they come. He got a bit bigger and should be great for the running game, but he’s better on the move.

Junior Joe Kellogg has seen time at both guard spots, but he’s better on the left side. The 6-2, 299-pounder has been banged up, but he’s a big, tough blocker who’s one of the team’s strongest players for the ground game. He’s a good veteran who’s helped by playing next to Potter. 6-3, 290-pound sophomore Spencer Gerke can play either guard spot and will get a long look at the starting right guard job. He saw a little time as a true freshman, but he has the athleticism and the versatility to fit the system.

Gerke will get a long look at the right guard job, but 6-4, 278-pound sophomore Jake Broyles will push for starting time after seeing time in eight games. Very smart and very strong for his size, with the frame to work at tackle if needed, he’ll get every chance at the job. 6-1, 286-pound sophomore Matt Paradis will be a main backup at center and right guard, and will likely be groomed for Byrd’s job in the middle next year. A former defensive lineman, he’s physical, but still raw.

It’ll be an ongoing battle for the right tackle job. Charles Leno is a 6-3, 278-pound sophomore with terrific athleticism, great talent, and the potential to be a three-year starter after seeing time in ten games. Junior Faraji Wright got a look at the left tackle job last year and saw a little time with three starts at left guard. The 6-3, 291-pounder can play anywhere up front, while 6-2, 277-pound junior Brenel Myers got a few starts at right tackle and can step in at either tackle spot. Originally a guard, he’s a tough blocker for his size. Also fighting for the job is 6-2, 270-pound redshirt freshman Greg Dohman, a promising all-around blocker who started out his career as a possible defensive lineman and will push for time at both tackle jobs.

Watch Out For … a ton of movement. Write the depth chart down in pencil because it’ll change on an hourly basis. There are several players and lots of options for each of the spots. Byrd will start at center, but everything else is up in the air.
Strength: The system. It doesn’t matter who’s thrown out there, Boise State always gets big-time blocking production. Last year’s line wasn’t exactly full of stars, but no one got a finger on Kellen Moore and the ground game was terrific.
Weakness: Continuity. On the plus side, there’s a ton of versatility and plenty of options. On the negative, even with three returning starters and a ton of veteran depth, the Broncos will have a hard time nailing down the starting five until just before the season.
Outlook: With an NFL talent in Potter to work around, and with a rock at center in Byrd, the line has its anchors. Now it’s a matter of filling in the pieces. Potter could work at right tackle to protect Moore’s backside, and there will be several players tried out in several spots, but the production will be there no matter what the starting five configuration turns out to be.
Unit Rating: 7.5

What You Need To Know: The offense gets all the credit and all the respect. After all, the Broncos were second in the nation behind Oregon in yards and points with an ultra-efficient, unstoppable attack. However, the defense also finished second in the nation in yards and points allowed and it was No. 1 in sacks and second in tackles for loss. This might be a no-name defense, but it’s going to be really, really good, especially in the front seven. The starting defensive line will be a terror in opposing backfields with all four positions getting to the quarterback on a regular basis. The linebackers aren’t household names, but they’re all great hitters and they’re all built like NFL-sized defenders. The secondary loses three key players in Jeron Johnson, Winston Venable, and Brandyn Thompson, but it’ll be fine thanks to the terrific pass rush helping the cause.

- 2011 Boise State Preview | 2011 Boise State Offense
- 2011 Boise State Defense | 2011 Boise State Depth Chart
- Boise State Previews  2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006