Can Boise State Go On Without Kellen Moore?
Posted Apr 8, 2012

From the Scout publishers, here's the inside info on the key questions this spring.

Spring 2012 - Key Questions

Boise State

What's happening this spring season? Several FSN publishers provide their insider info on the key questions that matter to the real world of college football. Scroll down for the links to all the spring questions.

Q: Is too much being made about the loss of Kellen Moore?

From Kevin Hiatt, … I don't know if you can make too much of the loss of the all-time winningest quarterback. He was, without question, special, and the Broncos take a step backwards without him. However, it's not like Boise State lucked into recruiting him and has no idea how to produce winning QB's. The program has produced winners with a pure athlete playing QB – Jared Zabransky - and a pure drop back passer in Moore, so whoever wins the QB battle isn't going to have to try to be Kellen. The coaches remake the offense around that QB rather than make the QB fit the Kellen mold.

Q: Really, how bad are things after all the turnover on both sides of the ball?

The turnover hit hard in some areas but left lots of experienced support in others. Losing Kellen Moore obviously hurts, but the O-Line is very deep and experienced and the RB behind the new QB (DJ Harper) originally beat out likely top 50 NFL draftee Doug Martin for two years. Only one WR was lost to graduation; there's a lot of talent and experience to ease the quarterback transition.

On defense, all the line starters are gone, but the two likely tackle starters - Mike Atkinson, whose nickname is Canadian Bacon, and Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe - played a ton the past two seasons and would have started on several other teams.

The end has a second-team backup who played extensively last year as a true freshman, so there's experience. One DE spot is open, and there's a lot of competition for that spot with returnees and a couple of transfers, a surprisingly good transfer from CSU-Pueblo (Beau Martin) and a JUCO All-America transfer, Demarcus Lawrence, who spurned Tennessee to sign with Boise State.

Linebacker has two part-time starters back, so there won't be much drop-off with Tommy Smith at MLB and JC Percy on the outside. Recruiting linebacker has been very, very good the past two years with Blake Renaud and Ben Weaver in the middle, and Christopher Santini and Tyler Gray on the outside.

The top two cornerbacks, Jerrell Gavins and Jamar Taylor, return from injury. Corner will be a strength, but the secondary lost both safeties, and losing George Iloka might be a tougher loss than Kellen Moore. Lee Hightower, who went from true freshman to starting corner, is a likely replacement for one of those spots. The other is up for grabs between five returning players and three freshmen. The Nickel position has two part-time starters plus a freshman-wunderkind from last year, local recruit Corey Bell, competing for the spot.

So, out of all the losses, there are spots at QB, DE, and S that are truly up for grabs, but all the other positions have experienced returnees who will in all likelihood own the starting jobs. Depth is where the battles will really rage, and as the coaches have shown, they're not above starting a true freshman if he earns the job.

However, with a new starter at QB, and a new offensive coordinator, really, we don't know how things will look in the opener against Michigan State. I have to assume, however, that Chris Petersen will have his finger in the pie when it comes to preparing the offense. It'll be business as usual.

What's the biggest insider storyline from this spring that the average fan should know about?

The quarterback. All four QB's on campus have a legit shot and the freshmen have looked just as good as the upper classmen, so it really is wide open. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a freshman QB lead the team out of the tunnel at Michigan State.

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