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

The last time there was a coaching change at Boise State, the results were even better than before. How can Chris Petersen build on what Dan Hawkins did after replacing Dirk Koetter?

 Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

New Colorado head coach Hawkins cranked out 53 wins in five years while establishing BSU as the preeminent program in the WAC despite some splashy moments from Fresno State and Hawaii. Fortunately for Petersen, he inherits a heater of a team from Hawkins that should be the favorite for the WAC title. While there aren't the pressures and expectations in Boise like there are in South Bend or Norman, anything less than a title with this team would set off alarms.

Petersen won't change the high-octane offense too much, if at all, considering he was the team's offensive coordinator last year, but there'll be a spotlight on an interesting coaching staff that has a world of potential. Hawkins was a unique talent who was a master at pushing buttons and coming up with innovations needed to keep one step ahead of the rest of the league. How much tinkering will go on with what worked? Is the coaching change seen as an opening for the rest of the league to take over? Once again, not with this team.

Head coach: Chris Petersen
1st year
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 23, Def. 24, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 8
Ten Best BSU Players
LB Korey Hall, Sr.
2. DT Andrew Browning, Sr.
3. S Marty Tadman, Jr.
4. OT Ryan Clady, Soph.
5. QB Jared Zabransky, Sr.
6. LB Colt Brooks, Sr.
7. OG Tad Miller, Jr.
8. S Gerald Alexander, Sr.
9. CB Orlando Scandrick, Soph.
10. PR/KR Quinton Jones, Sr.

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:

8/31 Sacramento State
9/7 Oregon State
9/16 at Wyoming
9/23 Hawaii
9/30 at Utah
10/7 Louisiana Tech
10/15 at New Mexico State
10/21 at Idaho
11/1 Fresno State
11/11 at San Jose State
11/18 Utah State
11/25 at Nevada

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2005 Record: 9-4

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/3 at Georgia L 48-13
9/10 at Oregon State L 30-27
9/21 Bowling Green W 48-20
10/1 at Hawaii W 44-41
10/8 Portland State W 21-14
10/15 San Jose St W 38-21
10/22 at Utah State W 45-21
10/29 Nevada W 49-14
11/5 New Mexico St W 56-6
11/10 at Fresno St L 27-7
11/19 Idaho W 70-35
11/26 at La Tech W 30-13
12/28 MPC Computers Bowl
Boston College L 27-21

If the defense isn't with Fresno State's as the best in the league by a long shot, then that means something went horribly, horribly wrong. The secondary will give up a ton of yards, as it always does at BSU, but it's full of All-WAC talents who can all run. Korey Hall and Colt Brooks lead a loaded linebacking corps, and the line, anchored by Andrew Browning, should be dominant against the inept WAC rushing games.

Of course, Boise State has been known for its offense, and that's where Petersen and new and very young offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin have to shine. Quarterback Jared Zabransky slipped in a big way after a fantastic sophomore season, but he's a seasoned veteran who should shine behind a strong offensive line and with a receiving corps that would get all the WAC pub if it weren't for that crew out in Hawaii. The attack should be just fine.

So what are the expectations? Where can the program possibly go from here? For starters, beating a really, really big boy would be nice. Even though there aren't any to be had on the slate, getting to the BCS, now that the rules have changed and a fifth bowl has been added, is a real possibility.

Yeah, it's all on Petersen. Outside of a massive outbreak of injuries, the Broncos should shine.

The Schedule: When a trip to Utah is your toughest test, you know a huge season is in store. There's only one BCS conference team to play, Oregon State, and it has to come to Boise. Three of the big league games against Louisiana Tech, Hawaii and Fresno State are also at home, but all the fun and merriment could come to a screeching halt in the regular season finale at Nevada. Outside of a road trip to Wyoming and the games against the Wolf Pack, Beavers and Bulldogs, the Fresno State kind, it'll be a shock if else comes within 20.

Best Offensive Player: Sophomore OT Ryan Clady. The new Daryn Colledge, the 6-6, 319-pound sophomore moves over to right tackle where he should be a fringe All-America candidate for the next three years. While he has a lot of work to do to be as good as Colledge was, he has all the tools to be great.

Best Defensive Player: Senior LB Korey Hall. Being the best defensive player in the WAC is a bit like being the best episode of Arliss, but Hall is a talented veteran in the middle of the defense with 283 career tackles and 21 tackles for loss. He's always around the ball and always in the right position.

Key player to a successful season: Senior QB Jared Zabransky. If he tears off huge rushing yards in chunks and is the always-clutch leader he was as a sophomore, a double-digit win season is a lock. If he he keeps throwing interceptions and has a meltdown like he had in the season opener at Georgia last season, the Taylor Tharp era might begin and then all bets are off.

The season will be a success if ... Boise State gets to the BCS. It'll take 11 wins with the one loss being in a nail-biter, but the schedule is too light and the team is too loaded to shoot for anything less. Even if the formula doesn't end up working out and the Broncos don't go to one of the big games, a WAC title would be nothing to sneeze at.

Key game: Nov. 25 at Nevada. Taking away the bowl game last year in Boise, the last regular season home loss the Broncos have suffered was in 2001 to Washington State. That's a span of 30 games meaning it's doubtful anyone touches Boise State on the blue turf. If Nevada is as good as expected, the WAC finale could be for the title.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- Third quarter scoring: Boise State 121 - Opponents 45
- Sacks: Boise State 38 for 214 yards - Opponents 19 for 143 yards
- Rushing touchdowns: Boise State 36 - Opponents 9

The Last Time Boise State…
…played in a bowl game…2005 (MPC Computers Bowl vs. Boston College)
…missed a bowl game…2001
…pitched a shutout…2003 (Idaho State)
…was shutout…1997 (Washington State)
…scored 50 points…2005 (Idaho)
…won a conference title…2005 (share, WAC)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…2003 (Ryan Dinwiddie)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2003 (David Mikell)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2003 (Tim Gilligan)
…had a first-round draft choice…never

Related Stories
Boise State Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
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Boise State Preview 2006 - Offense
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Boise State Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by  Aug 9, 2006

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