2008 CFN Boise State Preview
Boise State RB Ian Johnson
Boise State RB Ian Johnson
Posted Apr 18, 2008

Boise State had a down, disappointing year ... it went 10-3. Boo-hoo. While there are major concerns on both sides of the ball, led by Ian Johnson, there are more than enough good pieces in place to retake the WAC championship. Check out the CFN Boise State Preview.

Boise State Broncos

Preview 2008

By Pete Fiutak

2008 CFN Boise State Preview | 2008 Boise State Offense
2008 Boise State Defense | 2008 Boise State Depth Chart
2007 CFN Boise State Preview | 2006 CFN Boise State Preview

The 2007 Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma changed the Boise State program and showed that it really could compete and beat the biggest of the big boys when all the pressure was on, but after a disappointing season, if 10-3 can actually be considered a downer for anyone, it's time to prove the miracle in Glendale wasn't a culmination. Instead, it needs to be a jumping off point to bigger things brought on by the attention a win like that could bring, but that doesn't mean there won't need to be a little bit of rebuilding done now and then.

With seven
ten-win seasons and 96 wins over the last nine years, this is hardly the little-program-that-could. It was a big deal for Washington, a decidedly mediocre BCS team, to beat the Broncos. It was a huge deal for Hawaii to pull off a win to take the WAC title. And it was really important for East Carolina to win the Hawaii Bowl as it showed what it's like when the tables get turned. Boise State was not the big boy and the hunted, while ECU was the hungry program looking for respect. That's not going to change for a while.

Head coach: Chris Petersen
3rd year: 23-3
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 22, Def. 19, ST 4
Lettermen Lost: 19
Ten Best BSU Players
RB Ian Johnson, Sr.
2. WR Jeremy Childs, Jr.
3. DE Ryan Winterswyck, Soph.
4. CB Kyle Wilson, Jr.
5. DE Mike T. Williams, Sr.
6. WR Vinny Perretta, Sr.
7. RB Jeremy Avery, Soph.
8. LB Derrell Acrey, Soph.
9. PK Kyle Brotzman, Soph.
10. LB Kyle Gingg, Sr.

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2006 Record: 0-0

Aug. 30 Idaho State
Sept. 13 Bowling Green
Sept. 20 at Oregon
Sept. 27 OPEN DATE
Oct. 1 Louisiana Tech
Oct. 11 at Southern Miss
Oct. 17 Hawaii
Oct. 24 at San Jose State
Nov. 1 at New Mexico State
Nov. 8 Utah State
Nov. 15 at Idaho
Nov. 22 at Nevada
Nov. 28 Fresno State

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2006 Record: 10-3

Aug. 30 Weber State W 56-7
Sept. 8 at Washington L 24-10
Sept. 15
Wyoming W 24-14
Sept. 27 So Miss W 38-16
Oct. 7 NMSU W 58-0
Oct. 14 Nevada W 69-67 4OT
Oct. 20 at La Tech W 45-31
Oct. 26 at Fresno St W 34-21
Nov. 3 San Jose State W 42-7
Nov. 10 at Utah State W 52-0
Nov. 17 Idaho W 58-14
Nov. 23 at Hawaii L 39-27
Hawaii Bowl
Dec. 23 East Carolina L 41-38

High expectations can be a good thing, and it's not necessarily bad when a program isn't satisfied with a ten-win campaign. The linebacking corps struggled against good running teams, the offense wasn't quite as consistent throughout the year, and the early loss to the Huskies put a damper on season from the start, but even though the Broncos exited the national spotlight in early September, and with everyone focusing on Hawaii, a very, very good year might be quickly forgotten about.

Two losses to close the season marred what was yet another strong season. The Broncos were 10-1 going into the date with the Warriors and searching for a possible second straight BCS bid. They struggled against Nevada, but they blasted everyone else in the WAC with an offense that never slowed down even when star RB Ian Johnson was banged up, and while there were a few issues on defense, the train just kept on rolling.

The trips to Hawaii have to be used as a wake-up call. Losing to the Warriors is nothing to fret over, that was a special team that was sky-high for the huge WAC battle, but the loss to East Carolina proved that as good as Boise State might be, it can never rest, and it can never read the press clippings. It still has to maintain that little guy edge with a big-time attitude.

Hawaii was the hot team last year, Fresno State will be the star this season, and Nevada and Louisiana Tech are each going to be sneaky-good. However, this is still Boise State's league and everyone else is hanging around in it. At least that's what this year needs to prove.

What to watch for on offense: Can the offensive line somehow rebuild in a month? Let's cut through the bull. Boise State isn't going to lose to Idaho State, and it's not likely to lose to Bowling Green. It'll lose at Oregon, but there's an off-week before the WAC season kicks in against Louisiana Tech. By October 1st, a lighter, more athletic, far less talented, inexperienced line will have to be ready to let the skill guys do their thing. If the line isn't ready for primetime, all the experience and all the talent elsewhere won't matter.

What to watch for on defense: The ends. Mike T. Williams has seemingly been a part of the Broncos since the program was back in the Big West, but he just now appears to be blossoming into an all-around star. Sophomore Ryan Winterswyck led the team in sacks in a strong first season, and now he's about to go nuclear as, possibly, the WAC's most dangerous defensive player. These two need to make up for a mediocre group of tackles, and they need to set the tone for the rest of the D.

The team will be far better if … the run defense is nastier. The Broncos play two teams that can run the ball, Oregon and Southern Miss, before dealing with Nevada and Fresno State in the final two games of the year, so the statistics will be great. The run defense will be ranked in the top 25 until mid-November and all will seem right with the world, but the linebackers have to be far better at the point of attack, and the tackles have to be more physical.

The Schedule: While Boise State is at the point where it thinks it can play with anyone, the only almost-certain loss is probably at Oregon. Everything else is winnable and there's a nice build up to the trip to Autzen with relative layups against Idaho State and Bowling Green along with a week off. The road trip to Southern Miss will be a battle and WAC away dates against San Jose State and Nevada will be challenging, but overall this isn't that bad. The big key is getting Fresno State at home in the regular-season finale. That could mean everything for the WAC title.

Best Offensive Player: Senior RB Ian Johnson. Even with a bruised kidney that basically cost him three games and part of others, he still ran for 1,041 yards and 16 touchdowns. When he's on, and he's healthy, he's one of the nation's most productive backs, and even with good backups in Jeremy Avery and D.J. Harper to help the cause, he should finish his career, assuming he can stay healthy, with over 4,500 yards and 60 touchdowns.

Best Defensive Player: Sophomore DE Ryan Winterswyck. Named the team's best defensive lineman last year, now the hype and the attention is about to come. Can he handle being the target of offensive gameplans? Can he handle the double and triple teams he'll likely face? It he's as good as he was this spring, the answer could be a resounding yes.

Key player to a successful season: Redshirt freshman OT Nate Potter. While there will be several other options tried out to replace first round NFL talent Ryan Clady at left tackle, Potter will get the first shot at the gig. It could be argued that Clady was the best offensive lineman to play in the WAC in the last ten years, and he was the foundation for everything the Bronco offense was able to do. Potter isn't the massive blocker that Clady was, but he's a good athlete with excellent upside.

The season will be a success if ... Boise State wins the WAC title. The schedule works out well with the toughest league games coming late in the year. By that time the holes should be plugged and the lines should be jelled. Last year could just be a hiccup as the Broncos get back on their title train again.

Key game: Nov. 28 vs. Fresno State. If they can beat the Bulldogs on the blue turf in the regular season finale, the WAC title should be theirs. Since joining the WAC, the Broncos are 26-3 in November with all three losses coming on the road. They haven't lost a home game in November since dropping a 36-35 heartbreaker to Idaho in 1998.

2007 Fun Stats: 
 - Penalties: Boise State 92 for 828 yards – Opponents 67 for 518 yards
 - First quarter scoring: Boise State 143 – Opponents 59
 - Sacks: Boise State 35 for 219 yards – Opponents 19 for 192 yards