2008 Boise State Preview - Offense
Boise State RB Ian Johnson
CollegeFootballNews.com 2008 Preview - Boise State Bronco Offense
Preview 2008 - Offense
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2008 Boise State Offense
2008 Boise State
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What you need to know: The nation's fourth best scoring
attack, and 12th best overall offense, has some very good parts
and some very, very iffy areas. The running backs are incredible
with Ian Johnson, Jeremy Avery and D.J. Harper as dangerous a
trio as any in the country, and the receivers, led by Jeremy
Childs and Vinny Perretta, are deep and talented. The
quarterback situation will be fine, but a new starter needs to
be found among four options. Kellen Moore has the inside track,
but senior Bush Hamdan is close behind. The problem is an
offensive line that's thin, loses four starters, and has no
developed depth whatsoever. Overall the production should
continue, but consistency should be a problem early on.
Passing: Michael Coughlin
6-14, 95 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Ian Johnson
207 carries, 1,041 yds, 16 TD
Receiving: Jeremy Childs
82 catches, 1,045 yds, 9 TDSe
Star of the offense: Senior RB Ian Johnson
Offensive line, experienced
Player who has to step up and become a star: Redshirt
freshman OT Nate Potter
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore WR Titus Young
Best pro prospect: Johnson
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Johnson, 2) WR Jeremy
Childs, 3) WR Vinny Perretta
Strength of the offense: Running back, wide receiver
Weakness of the offense:
Projected Starter: For the second straight year there's
a major quarterback battle with several decent options. Last
year, Taylor Tharp won the job and did a great job of keeping
the production rolling. While it's still a battle going into the
fall, 6-1, 174-pound redshirt freshman Kellen Moore might
be the main option to build the offense around for the next four
years. While he's not all that big, he fits the Bronco mold with
good accuracy, a strong arm, and excellent mobility. He set the
Washington state high school record for touchdown passes with
173. If he's consistent in fall practices, he's the option.
Projected Top Reserves: 6-1, 192-pound senior
Bush Hamdan was barely beaten out by Tharp last year for the
job, and he ended up completing just four of six passes for 98
yards and two touchdowns. While he's not an elite passer, he's a
good runner with a big arm. Can With the potential to take off
and add more to the ground game, it's possible Hamdan could
still be the man even with Moore and his upside making him the
likely No. 1.
6-6, 216-pound junior Nick Lomax, the son of former NFL
star, Neil, is a big, athletic bomber who hasn't been able to
crack through and make a true run for the starting job. He
completed six of 13 passes for 76 yards in his limited time, and
now he's the likely third man in the mix.
6-5, 216-pound sophomore Michael Coughlin is being given
a bit of a look for the starting job after starring on the scout
team. A big, strong, accurate passer, he has to shine when he
gets the chance after completing just six of 14 passes for 95
yards with a touchdown and an interception in his limited time.
Watch Out For ... Moore. Close to being thrown into
the fire as a true freshman, Moore wouldn't be representing a
rebuilding phase for the Broncos, but he'd signal the direction
the program would be going in. If he's the starter, he's the
face of the program for the foreseeable future. Or at least when
Ian Johnson graduates.
Strength: Four decent options. Boise State could
plug you into the quarterback job and get 30 touchdowns and
3,000 yards. There isn't a bad choice among the four, but the
question will be who can add the biggest spark while being the
Weakness: Experience. Everyone has had a chance to
dabble here and there with a little bit of playing time, but it
was Tharp's show last year. There's a big difference between
getting to come off the bench and being the main man who'll have
to look over both shoulders after every bad throw.
Outlook: Moore and Hamdan are the main options in
the battle for the starting job with Coughlin and Lomax fighting
for third. Boise State doesn't rotate its quarterbacks, so the
winner this fall is it. It doesn't really matter who the starter
will be. He'll hand off to Ian Johnson 25 times a game, complete
65% of his passes, and have a stunning touchdown-to-interception
Projected Starter: How good is senior Ian Johnson?
He ran for 1,041 yards and 16 touchdowns, averaged five yards
per carry, and caught 25 passes for 312 yards and a touchdown
yet had what was considered an off season. After tearing off
1,713 yards and 25 touchdowns as a sophomore, yeah, he was a bit
down, but he was also
hurt last season missing time in two games with a bruised kidney
and wasn't quite back to form for a week after coming back. It
turned out to be a problem in the bowl game getting just four
carries in the loss to East Carolina. After bulking up a little
bit, he's hoping to be able to take more of a pounding. The
5-11, 195-pounder, when he's right, has tremendous burst, is a
great workhorse, and is automatic around the goal line.
Projected Top Reserves: With Johnson sitting on
the sidelines for two games last year, now-sophomore Jeremy
Avery filled in and the ground game didn't miss a beat.
While he's not a full-season workhorse like Johnson, the 5-9,
172-pound Avery is great when needed rushing for 110 yards and a
touchdown against Louisiana Tech and 124 yards and three scores
in the win over Fresno State. All three times he got ten carries
or more he went over 100 yards, finishing the season with 672
yards and eight scores with a gaudy 6.5-yard-per-carry average.
A flashy receiver, too, he caught 14 passes for 153 yards and
5-10, 191-pound sophomore D.J. Harper is hardly a bad
third option. The team's third leading rusher last year came up
with 376 yards and six touchdowns, and showed off the speed and
power this spring that should make him an even bigger part of
the mix. He can bang it between the tackles or take it outside
Eventually, redshirt freshman Doug Martin will play a big
part in the ground game. The offensive scout player of the year,
he's a 5-10, 204-pound power back with excellent breakaway
When the team uses a fullback, which won't be all that often,
it'll be up to junior Richie Brockel to step in and be a
blocker and receiver. He only ran once last year for two yards,
but as a part fullback and part receiver, he caught 12 passes
for 104 yards and four touchdowns. The 6-2, 249-pounder gives
the offense several options.
Watch Out For ... Avery and Harper to get more work.
They both proved they can carry the workload, and while it'll
still be Johnson's ground game, the less he has to do, the
Strength: Speed. Johnson can tear off big runs,
Avery is a flash of lightning, and Harper can move. There's a
home run waiting to happen no matter who's carrying the ball.
Weakness: The line. It could be tough to repeat
the numbers with a new offensive line trying to get its feet
wet. These backs need just a little bit of room and they'll be
gone, but they can't do it alone.
Outlook: The ground game tore off 2,404 yards and
35 touchdowns last season, and while everyone of note is back,
the potential issues on the line, and a new quarterback, will
mean everyone will tee off on the backs. If healthy, Johnson is
a lock for 1,000 yards, possibly 1,500, and Avery and Harper are
good enough to combine for 1,000 yards no matter what Johnson
Projected Starter: Is Jeremy Childs back on the team or
not? Suspended at the end of last year, and for spring ball,
after getting nailed for plagiarism, he's still trying to get
back in the mix. The passing game needs him after an 82-catch,
1,045-yard, nine touchdown season as the team's most dangerous
weapon. He was a big-time recruit for the program a few years
ago (talent-wise, he could've gone to almost any Pac 10 school),
and he proved it right away. With 6-0, 196-pound size, excellent
speed, and the production to blow up when needed, he's a true
number one target. The only downside, outside of the
off-the-field issues, is his lack of scoring production over the
second half of last year catching just one touchdown pass over
the final five games.
5-9, 190-pound senior Vinny Perretta is a dangerous
runner as well as a receiver, but he only saw time in four games
last season after suffering a shoulder injury. He made nine
catches for 120 yards and ran five times for 30 yards and a
score in his limited role, but he's mostly known for his
legendary five-yard touchdown pass to tie up the 2007 Fiesta
Bowl. While he's not a number one target, he's a very quick,
very good complementary receiver.
Taking over at tight end will be 6-2, 233-pound senior Chris
O'Neill after catching 11 passes for 123 yards and a
touchdown. Good in a rotation so far, and will be used in a
tandem with fullback/tight end Richie Brockel, O'Neill will be
used more in the passing game this year and should be a steady
Projected Top Reserves: While he's not Childs,
5-11, 165-pound sophomore Titus Young is a major-league
playmaker who showed even more flash and potential this spring.
After finishing third on the team with 44 catches for 639 yards
and five touchdowns, and averaging 14.5 yards per catch, he'll
be used even more on the outside as a deep threat. If Childs has
any problems, Young can step in and produce.
6-3, 200-pound sophomore Austin Pettis came from out of
nowhere and became the team's second leading receiver catching
46 passes for 465 yards and six touchdowns as he came on over
the second half of the season. Most of his production came in
blowouts, making 23 catches for 260 yards and five touchdowns in
a three-game stretch against San Jose State, Utah State and
Idaho, but he showed enough upside to be a key target behind
With 6-3, 222-pound size, junior Julian Hawkins is one of
the team's most interesting options on the outside. More of a
big tight end than a wideout, he poses major matchup problems.
Fifth on the team with 23 catches for 208 yards, he's a strong
midrange threat who provides more bulk and muscle to the mix.
Working his way into the lineup will be senior Toshi Franklin,
a slightly disappointing 6-1, 180-pound backup who was a top
player in spring ball last year but only caught seven passes for
73 yards. He has good hands and decent enough speed to start
6-4, 224-pound redshirt freshman Chris O'Neill is a local
product, and while getting him to stay home might not have been
a big problem, he was still a great recruit for the program.
Very athletic and very promising, he's the receiving threat the
team was missing at tight end last year.
Watch Out For ... Perretta. The passing game went on
to be just fine without Perretta, but he's a veteran playmaker
who adds a few new dimensions to the offense with his running
ability and good hands.
Strength: Young talent. Childs, assuming he
doesn't bolt early for the NFL, will have a year left, and
Pettis and Young are sophomores. Efaw is a potential playmaking
tight end. There are good pieces to build the future of the
receiving corps around, but that future is now.
Weakness: A number one if Childs is out. Perretta
could be a very productive main man if needed, but he's a better
running mate. Is Pettis or Young ready to make the next step up?
Outlook: Assuming Childs is back and all is fine,
the receiving corps will be among the deepest and most dangerous
in the WAC. Perretta is a fantastic veteran, Young is a rising
superstar, and Pettis is a solid target who'll only get better.
This is a good group that'll make the new starting quarterback
better than he really is.
Projected Starters: Who's going to replace Ryan Clady? Boise
State might have gotten better as a program, but it still doesn't get
players of Clady's caliber hanging around all that often. Trying to step
in and be productive will be 6-6, 269-pound redshirt freshman Nate
Potter, a good-looking prospect who projects to become a top pass
The one returning starter is 6-3, 336-pound senior Andrew Woodruff,
a solid veteran who started every game at right tackle in 2006 and moved
inside to guard last year. While he played right guard, he'll likely
move to the left side, and could even step back out to tackle if needed.
One of the team's strongest players, he's a punishing hitter with
surprising mobility for his size.
Working at the other guard spot, most likely on the right side, will be
6-3, 281-pound senior Jon Gott, a backup on the left side so far.
Even after a good spring, he'll need to push to keep the job with youth
movement underway. He hasn't been a major factor so far playing in only
three games last season, but his seniority makes him a leader by
Taking over at center will be 6-0, 277-pound redshirt freshman Thomas
Byrd, and he's a good one. A short, squatty blocker with excellent
leverage, he should be a fixture in the middle of the line for the next
four years. He's an athletic, tough run blocker who'll earn All-WAC
honors before his career is over.
Right tackle will be an issue with 6-5, 261-pound sophomore Matt
Slater stepping in after serving as an unused backup last year.
Looking more like a pumped up tight end than a mauling lineman, he's a
good athlete who should be great in pass protection. At least that's the
Projected Top Reserves: Looking for playing time
at one guard spot, most likely on the left side, will be senior Ben
Iannocchione, a former West Virginia Mountaineer who was a one time
superstar recruit who just never panned out.
Adding a bit more size at tackle is 6-3, 270-pound redshirt freshman
Garrett Pendergast, a promising prospect who was rated as a top high
school defensive tackle as well as a good offensive line prospect. He'll
play behind Potter on the left side, but he could end up seeing time at
both outside spots.
An up-and-coming center prospect is 6-1, 289-pound redshirt freshman
Cory Yriarte, a strong interior player who might end up being moved
to guard if Byrd really is the answer in the middle for the foreseeable
future. Yriarte is a promising run blocker who should see his share of
Watch Out For ... the good pass protection to
continue. The Bronco line only allowed 19 sacks last season, and while
this year's group won't do that, it's athletic enough to keep the
number to around 25.
Strength: Young potential. This is a line that
should grow over the next three seasons with redshirt freshmen and
sophomore Kevin Sapien playing prominent roles. While it would be
nice if it all came together right away and the line became a rock,
that's asking for a bit too much.
Weakness: Size. Last year's group wasn't just
experienced, it was really big. Gone are the 300 pounders and in are the
trimmer, quicker blockers who might not be as punishing right away for
the running game.
Outlook: Uh oh. The line won't be too bad with
several good recruits from the last few seasons ready to take over, but
with four new starters and absolutely no developed depth whatsoever,
this will be the make-or-break unit for the team's season. This might be
a case of having to take the lumps now and hope for a big payoff by the
end of the year or even next year, but that day should come. It just
might not be early on.