Boise State Preview 2006 - Offense
Boise State Broncos
Posted Aug 9, 2006

Boise State Broncos Preview 2006 - Boise State Offense

What you need to know ... If you're looking for a big drop-off now that Dan Hawkins is gone and Chris Petersen is running the team and not the offense, it's not going to happen. Bryan Harsin will handle the attack and everything will keep on humming with the WAC's best line paving the way for a good backfield and allowing QB Jared Zabransky more time to try to get his groove back. The receiving corps is loaded with experience and talent. If Zabransky can cut down on his interceptions and be more efficient, 40 points a game is an attainable goal.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Jared Zabransky
202-342, 2,562 yds, 18 TD, 16 INT
Rushing: Ian Johnson
119 carries, 663 yds, 4 TD
Receiving: Jerard Rabb
38 catches, 572 yds, 5 TD

Star of the offense: Sophomore OT Ryan Clady
Player that has to step up and become a star: Senior OT Ryan Keating
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman WR Jeremy Childs
Best pro prospect: Clady
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Clady, 2) OG Tad Miller, 3) QB Jared Zabansky
Strength of the offense: Offensive line, overall experience
Weakness of the offense:

Is Jared Zabransky going to take the next step up in his development and cut down on his interceptions? He'll have his moments when he runs the offense like a well-oiled machine, but he'll have to be more consistent and show he can fight through the problems. Taylor Tharp is a nice number two who can step in and keep things running well.
The key to the unit: If Zabransky is able to use his mobility and experience to free-lance and make more big plays than mistakes, things will be fine as long as he's more efficient.
Quarterback Rating: 8

Projected Starter
- Jared Zabransky, Sr. - 262-449, 59%, 2,562 yds, 18 TDs, 16 INT, 107 carries, 262 yds, 2.4 ypc, 11 TD
Zabransky has the tools and the experience to be the WAC's most important player, but he has to improve after a junior slump. The coaching staff had challenged him to become a better thrower, and it didn't happen. While he's a dangerous runner with the ability to tear off big gains at any time, he's not the most polished of passers even though he can go through hot streaks. His biggest problem has been with interceptions throwing 29 over the last two years most famously with a four pick day to open last year at Georgia. At a solid 6-2 and 203 pounds, he's as tough as they come physically, but he has to show he can improve enough to be steadier.

Top Backups
- Taylor Tharp, Jr. - 21-37, 57%, 271 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT, 4 carries, 11 yds, 1 TD
Tharp stepped in at times during blowouts and got his feet wet. Now he'll be expected to grow even more as the number two quarterback and become a bigger part of the offense. He has a decent arm and good mobility, but he needs more experience to be counted on to be the main man.
- Bush Hamdan, Soph. - 3-8, 38%, 59 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
A promising reserve, Hamdan needs to start showing off a bit more to hold off Nick Lomax from taking over the number three spot. He's not huge, but he has a live arm and enough mobility to be a running threat. He saw a little bit of time last year in mop-up duty.

Running Backs
Boise State liked to use a tailback-by-committee approach last season and it worked well finishing with the WAC's best rushing attack. Lee Marks, Antwaun Carter and Jeff Carpenter are gone, but the return of Jon Helmandollar, after taking a year off for personal reasons, provides the combination fullback-tailback that can make up for most of the losses. Ian Johnson is an All-WAC caliber tailback with big-time speed. The depth is average, so there might be more of a 1-2 punch this season. 
The key to the unit: Ian Johnson and Jon Helmandollar have to stay healthy. There aren't the options there were last season.
Running Back Rating: 7

Projected Starters
- Ian Johnson, Soph. - 119 carries, 663 yds, 5.6 ypc, 4 TD, 5 catches, 46 yds, 9.2 ypc
Johnson came out of nowhere as a freshman to emerge from the pack to be a standout. While he hasn't had to be a workhorse with three 16-carry games, he's good enough to carry the ground game. A bolt of lightning when he gets a sliver of daylight, he'll be a home run hitter who'll be more of a factor in the passing game.

- Fullback Brad Lau, Sr. - 2 carries, 3 yds, 3 catches, 29 yds, 1 TD
A pure blocking fullback, Lau will likely get the ball in his hands even less this year with the return of Jon Helmandollar to power the ball. However, that doesn't mean he can't be used as a short-yardage runner. At 242 pounds, he's great for the ground game as the team's most physical fullback.

Top Backups
- Jon Helmandollar, Jr.
Helmandollar ended up sitting out last year taking away one of the team's key all-around runners. While he's not huge at 5-11 and 215 pounds, he's a fantastic power runner who's unstoppable on the goal line rushing for 13 touchdowns over the second half of the 2004 season. He can be used as a fullback as well as a tailback with good enough hands to become a big part of the receiving game.
- Brett Denton, Sr. - 14 carries, 27 yds, 1.9 ypc
A pure backup, Denton has seen a little bit of time since his true freshman season on offense and on special teams. He'll have to play a bigger role this season combining with Max Davis for the number three job.
- Fullback Michael Lose, Jr. - 1 carry, -2 yds
At 227 pounds, Lose isn't the physical presence starter Brad Lau is and will have a hard time seeing too much work on offense with so many players in the mix. He'll mostly make an impact on special teams.

It's a dangerous group with a great combination of experience, speed and talent with the top three receivers returning and three good tight end options. Drisan James is an all-star talent who has to get the ball in his hands as much as possible, while Jerard Rabb and Legedu Naanee are among the most dangerous inside targets in the WAC. The real excitement is over 2005 top recruit Jeremy Childs, who'll find a spot somewhere soon. There are three good tight ends to work with led by Derek Schouman.
The key to the unit: Everyone has to take advantage of their chances. All the veterans will have to take turns being the number one guy.
Receiver Rating: 7.5

Projected Starters
- Drisan James, Sr. - 34 catches, 518 yds, 15.2 ypc, 2 TD
James has been a fantastic number two receiver over the last few years and earned second-team All-WAC honors after solidifying himself as one of the league's most dangerous players. He only scored twice, but he caught a 55-yard pass against Idaho and was used occasionally as a runner. With his fantastic athleticism, he'll be used even more this year to get the ball in his hands.

- Jerard Rabb, Sr. - 38 catches, 572 yds, 15.1 ypc, 5 TD
Rabb came over from the JUCO ranks and became the team's leading receiver. Consistent from start to finish, the 6-2, 199-pound senior proved to be a good inside target with a knack of turning medium range passes into big plays. He's turning into a strong route runner who should be Jared Zabransky's favorite target.

- Tight end Derek Schouman, Sr. - 17 catches, 177 yds, 10.4 ypc, 1 TD
An All-WAC caliber tight end, Schouman didn't quite blow up last year like he was expected to as a receiver, but he remained a fantastic blocker. At 6-2 and 233 pounds, he makes up for his lack of huge size with a will to hit in the running game. After only catching only catching one touchdown last year, he'll be a bigger part of the red zone offense.

Top Backups
- Legedu Naanee, Sr. - 34 catches, 483 yds, 15.2 ypc, 6 TD
Naanee went from quarterback to receiver to the team's most dangerous receiver starting in ever game and leading the way in yards per catch and touchdowns. He's 6-2 and 228 pounds with tremendous athleticism, and he'll play a big role as a number three receiver and a backup behind Jerard Rabb at the Z position.
- Vinny Perretta, Soph. - 12 catches, 169 yds, 14.1 ypc
The small, speedy sophomore saw a little time in the rotation, but he didn't do much of anything until the bowl game when he made four grabs for 84 yards against Boston College. He's quick enough to be used as a kick returner and has the deep speed to play behind Drisan James at the X.
- Jeremy Childs, RFr.
It's only a question of time before he becomes the team's top receiver. He was a huge recruit for the program two years ago with the talent to have gone almost anywhere on the West Coast after catching 85 passes for 1,258 yards and 22 scores as a high school senior at Los Alamitos High in California.
- Tight end Ryan Putnam, Jr. - 4 catches, 41 yds, 1 TD
At 244 pounds, Putnam is the team's biggest tight end and will mostly be used in running situations. Even so, he caught a few passes last season in blowouts and should be able to exploit the openings created by the attention paid to all the other good targets.
- Tight end Jared Hunter, Sr. - 2 catches, 31 yds, 15.5 ypc
The former linebacker moved over to tight end any was part of the rotation. He caught a few passes, and has the makeup to be a good receiver, but he'll mostly be a blocker.

Offensive Linemen
All-American Daryn Colledge might be gone, but tackle Ryan Clady and guard Tad Miller are all stars who'll lead the way for the league's best line. There's more than enough experience and talent elsewhere to easily match the production of last year's front five, and now there's more depth and more options to play with. The most interesting spot will be at right guard where the massive Andrew Woodruff will step in for an injured Pete Cavender.
The key to the unit: Ryan Keating needs to shine at right tackle. If he's solid, Jared Zabransky will have ten days to throw.
Offensive Line Rating: 8

Projected Starters
- OT Ryan Clady, Soph.
One of the best offensive linemen in the WAC, the 6-6, 319-pound sophomore is the new star now that Daryn Colledge is gone. Clady spent last year at right tackle where he had a stellar year. He was dominant during stretches, and now should grow into an All-America caliber blocker with a bit more experience.
- OG Tad Miller, Jr.
Certain to be in the hunt for All-WAC honors, Miller is back for his third season as the starter at left guard where he has been a rock for the running game. At 6-4 and 304 pounds, he's a big blocker who'll combine with Ryan Clady to form the league's best left side.
- C Jeff Cavender, Jr.
With 24 straight starts, the junior knows what he's doing in the Boise State offense. He made the successful move from tackle to center last season and showed no problem handling the line calls. While he's not necessarily an All-WAC caliber talent, he's a physical athlete on the inside who'll be more than steady.
- OG
Andrew Woodruff, Soph.
A spot starter last year, the 6-3, 311-pound sophomore is the biggest player on the line and will likely get the starting spot after the loss of. Pete Cavender to injury. He has a ton of upside should be one the team's strongest players.
- OT Ryan Keating, Sr.
Keating will slide into the job on the right side with Ryan Clady moving over to the left. He's 6-4 and 319 pounds with with plenty of backup experience; now he has to become a reliable starter.

Top Backups
- OG Pete Cavender, Jr.
The returning starter at right guard is out for the year after suffering a ruptured Achilles' tendon. When he returns next year he'll see time at both guard and center..

OT Tony Volponi, Sr.
A backup for the last three seasons, the 315-pound senior has enough experience to step in if needed on the left side behind Ryan Clady. While he's nowhere near the talent that Clady is, he's a decent athlete and isn't going to hurt the offense.
- OG Jeff Biedermann, Jr.
Part guard and part center, the 6-3, 303-pound is a physical blocker who used to see time on the defensive line. He'll start out on the left size behind Tad Miller.

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