Preview 2009 - Offense
2009 CFN Boise State Preview
2009 Boise State Offense
2009 Boise State
2009 Boise State Depth Chart
2008 BSU Preview
2007 BSU Preview
What you need to know:
There are some major question marks,
but there were concerns last year, too, and the Broncos rolled
once again with the nation's 12th best scoring attack and
averaged 441 yards per game. It all starts with QB Kellen Moore, a cool,
calm playmaker who makes everyone around him better. As long as
he gets time and his receivers can come up with yards after the
catch, the nation's 11th most efficient passing attack will be
fine even though four of the top five pass catchers from last
year are gone. Ian Johnson was one of those top receivers, and
he was also the leading rusher. However, he won't be missed as
much as many might think with D.J. Harper ready to help fill the
void in a regular rotation with Jeremy Avery. The line will be
out of this world ... next year. This is a young group without
any seniors and with injury problems on the right side. However,
if everyone's healthy, the line will be great in pass protection
once again and should be serviceable for the ground game.
Star of the offense:
Sophomore QB Kellen Moore
Passing: Kellen Moore
281-405, 3,486 yds, 35 TD, 10 INT
Rushing: Jeremy Avery
111 carries, 614 yds, 4 TD
Receiving: Austin Pettis
49 catches, 567 yds, 9 TD
Player who has to step up and become a star: Junior OT
Unsung star on the rise: Junior WR Titus Young
Best pro prospect: Senior FB Richie Brockel
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Moore, 2) RB Jeremy
Avery, 3) WR Austin Pettis
Strength of the offense: Kellen Moore, Young talent
Weakness of the offense:
Receiver, Offensive line combination
There was a battle for the
starting job throughout last offseason, with left-handed sophomore
Kellen Moore barely coming up with the starting nod. It
turned out to be the right move as Moore completed 69% of his
passes with 25 touchdowns and ten interceptions, while rushing
for a score. At 6-0 and 184 pounds he's not big and he doesn't
have a rifle arm, but he's deadly accurate fitting the Bronco
mold. He set the Washington state high school record for
touchdown passes with 173. Ultra-efficient and generally
mistake-free, outside of a three-pick day in the win over
Nevada, he's great at getting the ball to his receivers on the
move and he's a great decision maker for his age.
Projected Top Reserves: Moore is the unquestioned
starter, but 6-5, 220-pound junior Michael Coughlin
isn't a bad option if needed. Big, strong, and
accurate, he hasn't gotten much of a chance, completing 3-of-5
passes for 13 yards and a score last year, but he has the talent
to push the passing game deep to keep the offense moving. Very
smart and ready to step in, he's a good No. 2 passer to rely on.
Redshirt freshman Drew Hawkins will be
developed for the future. The son of former Boise State head
man, and current Colorado head coach, Dan Hawkins, Drew is 6-2,
175 pounds, and has an accurate arm. He's a smart passer, but he
isn't his brother, Cody, and he doesn't have big-time upside.
Watch Out For ... Moore to be even better. There's no
worry about any sort of a sophomore slump after a strong spring.
He has a better command of the offense than last year and should
be even sharper.
Strength: Moore's efficiency. The offense doesn't
ask the quarterbacks to do anything crazy, it's all about
getting the ball into the hands of the playmakers as quickly as
possible. Moore can do that.
Weakness: Backup experience. Moore was so good and
so durable, and needed all the time he could get in his first
year, that there was little time for Coughlin to step in. While
Coughlin should be fine if he has to step in, the difference
between Moore and Coughlin could mean the BCS.
Outlook: Moore was terrific in his first year at
the helm, and while he might not be spectacular, he'll be
consistently good. He's a leader and a star to build around for
the next three seasons, but there needs to be more development
and playing time for the backups. The team can't become too
reliant on Moore without having Coughlin at the ready.
While Ian Johnson was the
signature star of the running game, Jeremy Avery
was just as effective when he got his chances. The 5-9,
171-pound junior finished second on the team with 614 yards and
four touchdowns, highlighted by a 156-yard, two touchdown day in
the win over Idaho averaging a school record 14.2 yards per
While he's a good
receiver, he wasn't used as much as he should've been with just
16 catches for 226 yards. Flashier than Johnson, when he gets
into the open he'll make big things happen.
fullback Richie Brockel is a hard-hitting
blocker who can pave the way for the running game or be used as
a receiver. He only caught ten passes for 94 yards and two
scores, but he has the hands to do far more and can be used like
a tight end or H-Back if needed. The 6-2, 244-pounder has to get
healthy after missing time this spring, and when he gets right,
he'll be a good NFL prospect getting a long look from the next
Projected Top Reserves: While Avery is likely the
No. 1 runner, junior D.J. Harper will be No.
1A. The 5-9, 192-pound junior ran for 265 yards and four
touchdowns with steady work throughout the season, and now he'll
see an increased role. Experienced, he has been the No. 3 option
in the rotation for the last two seasons and will be just fine
if he has to handle the ball for ten or more carries per game.
With a bit more power than Avery, he can run it inside or out.
Redshirt freshman Matt Kaiserman was
the Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year in 2007 after rushing for
1,782 yards and 26 touchdowns, and catching four scores, in his
senior year. 6-0 and 194 pounds, he's not all that big, but he's
slippery, fast, and has a nose for the goal line. He'll
eventually be used in a variety of ways.
Watch Out For ... running back-by-committee. While
Johnson had a disappointing final season with just 766 yards, he
was still the team's leading rusher and the top option. The
Broncos will now use more of a rotation with Avery the top back
but with Harper a step behind.
Strength: Kellen Moore. Because of the accuracy
and the proficiency of the short to midrange passing game, the
running attack doesn't need to carry the offense. That's not to
say the ground attack will be ignored, but it won't have to be
everything for the attack.
Weakness: Power. Johnson wasn't all that big, but
he always cranked out the hard yards when needed. Avery and
Harper are willing backs who'll run inside whenever they have
to, but they're not going to run over anyone.
Outlook: The running game took a step back in
production last season, but that was partly because the passing
game became even more efficient and productive. It'll be a major
stretch to get anywhere near last year's mark of 1,980 yards,
and will likely be more like a 1,600-yard season, with Avery and
Harper combining forces to average over five yards per carry and
to crank out more home runs.
Gone are most of the top
targets from last year, but one key player, Austin
Pettis, returns. The 6-3, 200-pound junior finished
second on the team with 49 catches for 567 yards, and he led the
way with nine scores with all of them coming in a midseason
stretch of seven games, highlighted by a nine-grab, 126-yard,
two touchdown day against Nevada. He came from out of nowhere
two years ago to be the team's second-leading target. The
second-team All-WAC honoree will be the No. 1 target at the Z
Stepping in at the outside X position will be
junior Titus Young after making just ten
catches for 168 yards and a score and running for 52 yards and
two touchdowns in just three games before getting suspended.
He's an electrifying playmaker who averaged 16.8 yards per grab
and will be the team's most dangerous deep threat. Now that he's
back in everyone's good graces, for now, he should become a
Working at the H will be Tyler
Shoemaker and he's about to become a major factor now
that he has an expanded role. The 6-1, 214-pound sophomore
caught seven passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns, and now
he'll be a key midrange target with good hands and nice route
6-5, 250-pound junior Tommy
Gallarda will return at tight end after making six
catches for 65 yards and two touchdowns. Mostly a blocker, he
has the ability to be used more in the passing game after
spending the last few years figuring out what he's doing. A star
high school defensive end, he's a receiver now.
Projected Top Reserves:
The scout team star is ready to show what
he can do in the spotlight. 5-9, 194-pound sophomore
Mitch Burroughs didn't get any work last season, but he
lit up the defense in practices and now will see time in the
rotation both at the Z and at the H. Very quick and tough, he
can stretch the field and go over the middle equally well.
Backing up Young at the outside X position will be
Chris Potter, a 5-11, 165-pound redshirt freshman who
played quarterback as a high school senior and will now be used
as a deep threat. Even though he's not a speedster, he has
good upside as an emerging playmaker who'll be used in a variety
6-4, 232-pound sophomore Kyle Efaw
caught 17 passes for 262 yards, and he can also block.
With good deep speed and the ability to stretch the field,
averaging an impressive 15.4 yards per catch, and now he'll be
used more in two tight end sets as a receiver while Gallarda
will be used more as a blocker.
Watch Out For ... Young.
Now that he's back in the mix, he'll be the home-run hitting
gamebreaker who should make a huge impact in several games. He's
a tremendous prospect who's about to blow up into a WAC
Strength: The offense. The coaching staff and the
BSU passing attack always gets production out of the passing
game as long as the receivers are good route runners. This
year's corps can move and will know what its doing. Three should
be plenty of big plays made on the move.
Weakness: Jeremy Childs. While Pettis is a good
veteran and Young will be tremendous, losing Childs and his
team-leading 72 catches, 802 yards, and seven touchdowns will
hurt. Vinny Perretta and Julian Hawkins, the team's No. 3 and 4
receivers, respectively, are also gone. The receiving corps
isn't starting from scratch, but it's rebuilding.
Outlook: There are several big losses, and there's
no way the passing game can lose three great veterans without
taking a step back, but Pettis and Young will form a strong 1-2
combination and Efaw is a good tight end who needs to get the
ball thrown his way on a more regular basis. But for the corps
to fantastic it'll need to get immediate production out of
Burroughs and Potter.
There's a battle at left tackle with
Matt Slater holding a slight lead going into the fall,
but he has to be consistent in every practice. The 6-4, 289-pound junior
played in every game last season and was a good reserve. More of a
beefed up tight end than a mauling blocker, he's good in pass
Getting the first look at left guard will be
sophomore Cory Yriarte, but he needs more playing time
and he'll be pushed hard for the job. The 6-1, 284-pounder is a short,
squatty blocker, but he gets good leverage, is versatile enough to play
center, and should be strong for the running game if he can be
consistent. He's a talented player who blocks bigger than his size.
Back at his center job is Thomas Byrd after
starting every game. While he's not huge at 5-11 and 282 pounds, he's
good. The sophomore is an athletic, tough-as-nails blocker who'll make
all-star teams before his career is over. He gets excellent leverage and
he rarely makes mistakes.
Is Nate Potter
healthy? A strong spot starter last year, he'll get the full-time job at
right tackle, Kellen Moore's blindside, if he's ready to go after
missing spring ball hurt. At 6-6 and 281 pounds, he's a tall, athlete
blocker who was great in pass protection after being put in the
unenviable task of replacing Ryan Clady. He isn't an all-star yet, but
the sophomore isn't far off.
Also trying to get back to 100% is
junior right guard Kevin Sapien after missing all of
spring ball. Able to play either guard or tackle, Sapien is more of a
natural on the inside as a good run blocking 6-4 and 289 pounds. A pro
prospect, albeit a fringe one, he has tremendous upside because of his
versatility and his athleticism. He could stand to add a bit more
weight, but he's fine as is.
Projected Top Reserves:
Looking to work in a
rotation with Potter at right tackle is redshirt freshman
Michael Ames after serving three years on a church mission.
He's not all that big at a beefed up 267 pounds on a 6-4 frame, but he's
quick, and he's mature. He'll be strong in pass protection.
Sapien is healthy, 6-2, 291-pound junior Will Lawrence
will be a key piece to the puzzle. Originally a defensive lineman, the
mauler from Maryland is expected to be a tough run blocking option at
right guard with size, strength, and upside.
Pushing for time at
left tackle behind Slater will be sophomore Garrett Pendergast,
a great prospect who was rated as a top high school defensive tackle. He
got bigger, a log bigger, and now he's up to 288 pounds on his 6-4
frame. He's good enough, and big enough, to be a backup at either tackle
6-2, 301-pound redshirt freshman Joe Kellogg
will battle Yriarte for the starting left guard. 15 pounds
heavier than Yriarte, Kellogg is a big, smart blocker who won't make too
many mistakes despite his lack of playing time. He's the better run
blocking option of the two.
Watch Out For ... a ton of movement and juggling in
the lineup. Thanks to injuries and newcomers to the starting mix, four
jobs are still up for grabs with Byrd the only one certain to start.
There's good potential in the line, but it might take a little while to
find the right combination.
Strength: Seasoning. Last year the line was about
all the young talent that was stockpiled for the future. Now that
promise has to become production with good prospects all across the
front five. Several players have been waiting to get their chance to
shine, and this is it. There aren't any seniors in the mix, so this
group will only get better.
Weakness: Experience ... potentially. If Sapien
and Potter are hurt for any length of time, the line goes from being
promising, with a little bit of rebuilding to be done, to having to
start from scratch.
Outlook: The line was supposed to be a major
problem going into last year considering all the reloading needing to be
done, and it came through with a dominant year in pass protection. It
wasn't the most physical group, but it got the job done. This year's
line needs to figure out who the five best players are and run with it.
Cohesion is a must considering four positions are still in limbo going
into the fall.