Final fall scrimmage report...

It felt like a Saturday afternoon in fall, but it was Friday evening of Labor day weekend and most Bronco fans were out of town, knowing that the opener was still a week away. But 4000-5000 fans showed, tailgated and watched some good football. We got our final tailgating tuneup and we're ready for the real thing, and it looks like the team is close to being ready as well.

Chris Carr and the number one defense set the tone early with a nice pick on the second play of scrimmage against the #2 offense. Ryan Dinwiddie and David Mikell moved the #1 offense to the one yard line where #3 safety Cam Hall stuffed Mikell at the goal line and popped the ball loose. And in 4 short minutes we saw the real strength of this years team rise up. The secondary is as good as we've ever seen at Boise State. And that's after Quinten Mikell graduates?! There were still mistakes made by the secondary, both Gabe Franklin and Carr dropped interceptions, both looking towards the endzone and a sure 6 points before making the catch. I don't think we'll see that again from either player. But overall, we saw speed, big hitting and big playmaking, something we're likely to see all season from the defense.

Cam Hall, who we're going to see and hear a lot from this season, added a nice pick off a Jared Zabransky pass and Carr added a 55 yard punt return for a TD late in the first half of the scrimmage. But it wasn't all defense, even though RD and DMike sat for most of the scrimmage.

The first half was a showcase for Zabransky and Michael Sanford, as they battle for the #2 spot behind RD, who looks primed for a big, big year. But someone will earn the #1 spot next season and we're starting to see a battle shape up. Zabransky won this battle with his second consecutive scrimmage with good numbers, this time 9 for 12; 171 yards 2 TD's and 1 Int. Hawk says that no one has risen above the other for yet. That may be true, but Zabransky has shown more ability to make the big play. True freshman QB, Taylor Tharp, who got a lot of PT in the second half, showed that he's in the mix next year as well. He threw several crisp passes including a very nice fade to WR Quincy Lever for a TD and he seems to have nice command of the offense already.

Other than Tim Gilligan, no wide receivers really stood out. Several nice passes were dropped and that has to change as the season gets into gear. Mark Onibokun did look good out there, but still needs some time to get the offense after his injuries earlier in camp. Brad Lau, Quinton Jones, Sherm Blaser, Jeff Carpenter, and others all made nice catches, making the WR by committee seem more likely for the Broncos this year.

Freshman starting middle linebacker, Korey Hall drew some ahh's a couple of times with big league hits. He closes the hole so fast it's hard to believe he's only a freshman. And when he gets there, it's an explosion.

The defense is ready.

The offense is close, the line looks great. RD is primed and the receivers show a lot of promise. We are still worried about the running game, because our defense is impossible to run against and in the three scrimmages, there were very few big runs and noone had big stats. Still David Mikell and Donny Heck have proven in the past that they can both put up numbers, so we should be ok.

On special teams, we have a stable of kicking talent like we've never had as well. Tyler Jones kicks the ball into the endzone on every kick and between he and freshman kicker Kyle Stringer we've got 55 yards of FG range. And maybe best of all going into 2003, we have a punter that can hang long punts out there. Kyle Stringer could end up with both duties down the road, he's that good. We also had a lot of good run backs on punts and kicks, hopefully showing our speed and not exposing weaknesses in our cover teams.

We came out of the scrimmage pretty healthy, with one exception. Reserve right Guard, Kellen Wright, limped off the field and is rumored to have torn his Achilles tendon. Hopefully this is not the case, he had risen to the #2 position behind Tyrone Tutogi.

Next up: Idaho State. Bring ‘em on. See you all at the BroncoCountry tailgate party Saturday.

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