Boise State Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
Boise State Broncos
Posted Aug 9, 2006

Boise State Broncos Preview 2006 - Further Analysis

1st and Ten – “Hey, no pressure, just win the WAC and take us to a BCS game, but really, no pressure – Nearly every coach in college football would love to be Chris Petersen.  Here’s a guy taking over a team with 17 returning starters from last year’s WAC co-champions who have something to prove (after losing to Fresno State) in a year that the BCS expands to five games.  Talk about starting off your career with a bang.  The former offensive coordinator is the next in line to take the Boise State program to another level, after Dan Hawkins moved on to Colorado last December.  Since Petersen has been the offensive coordinator in Boise, the Bronco offense has been nothing short of sensational.  They’ve done it with balance and seemingly a bunch of no-name QB who eventually turn into household name stars.  Bart Hendricks.  Ryan Dinwiddie.  And, now, Jarad Zabransky.  But, along with Zabransky, 16 other starters return to a team that has its sights squarely on taking back the WAC.  Sure, they won a co-championship in 2005, but that’s not what the BSU fans expect, nor do they desire.  And, therein lies the pressure facing Petersen this year.  It’s not the fact that he’s a first year head coach (although that has its own inherent ‘battles’).  It’s not to win the WAC.  It’s to take this program to another level – a BCS game.  Former head coach Dirk Koetter put Boise State on the map.  Hawkins got it some national exposure as the ‘nice underrated program out west’.  Now, it’s on Petersen to take the next logical step.  He has the team to do it and now with five BCS bowl games, it’s reasonable that an undefeated or 11 – 1 BSU squad has a realistic shot at going to a big money game.  But, no pressure, coach, just have fun and enjoy the year.  Yeah, right. 

2nd and Seven – Q – When most people look at the Broncos this season, they’ll see a lot of experience on both sides of the ball.  Zabransky leads, whoa, hold on, what do you mean ‘both’ sides of the ball?  How about all three sides of the ball, triangle, thing?  In other words, teams had better be aware of punt/kick returner/stealth weapon Quinton Jones, or they’ll pay dearly on special teams (the other white meat, no, wait, the third side of the ball/triangle/thing).  Jones can absolutely fly and his explosive abilities put a lot of pressure on opposing special teams units.  Last year, he had three punt returns for touchdowns, which begs the question of why a team kicks the man the ball.  Either way, having a return weapon like Jones, in addition to the potential on offense, another 45 point per game year is on the horizon.

3rd and Three – Western duo – Last year, Iowa had Abdul Hodge and Chad Greenway.  Ohio State had a duo of AJ Hawk and Bobby Carpenter (okay, so they had Anthony Schlegel as well).  Two strong defenses led by solid linebacker duos.  Boise State is fortunate to have that same situation in 2006 with potential WAC defensive players of the year at linebacker Korey Hall and Colt Brooks.  Hall is the man in the middle who roams sideline to sideline, due to start his fourth year in a row.  He finished the 2005 season with 106 tackles to lead the Broncos, and should be atop the list again this season.  Unless Brooks beats him to it.  At his strong side position, Brooks was the resident play-maker for the Bronco defense, although he looks more like a strong safety than a strong side linebacker.  Colt (man, what if Texas plays Boise State in a bowl game Colt McCoy tackled by Colt Brooks, how cool is that?) had 11 tackles for a loss and six sacks.  He just creates pressure on defenses with his speed.  As the two aforementioned Big Ten duos did in 2005 for their respective teams, the Bronco pair will be the polarizing force for this defense this year.

4th and One – With the exception of one…– The Broncos run defense was not only the best in the WAC, but the Broncos were in the top 15 in the nation giving up only 108 yards per game.  But, on a night that not a whole lot went right, the run defense suffered in a big way against Fresno State, yielding a season high 206 yards on the ground.  The loss cost the Broncos an outright WAC title and Fresno State was the only team to truly exploit the Boise State run defense all season long.  With Hall and Brooks at linebacker and an experienced DL, led by Andrew Browning, the run defense should again be active and aggressive.  Another top 15 finish should be on the horizon, but there’s one night when they’ll want, no, need to prove that they’re that good – November 1st, Fresno comes to Boise.

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