However fear not Bronco fans.. there are ample replacements to captain the Bronco juggernaut. Popular opinion seems to be that Jared Zabransky will lead the Broncos, but Mike Sanford, Legedu Naanee, and Taylor Tharp plan to be heard on that subject. Here's a look at what's to expect.. at least today.">
However fear not Bronco fans.. there are ample replacements to captain the Bronco juggernaut. Popular opinion seems to be that Jared Zabransky will lead the Broncos, but Mike Sanford, Legedu Naanee, and Taylor Tharp plan to be heard on that subject. Here's a look at what's to expect.. at least today.">

Spring Ball Preview: Quarterbacks

Welcome to year 1 AD. (After Dinwiddie) The reality for Bronco fans is.. RD is gone.<br><center><img border="0" src="http://img15.photobucket.com/albums/v44/Rafter17/noway.gif"></center><br>However fear not Bronco fans.. there are ample replacements to captain the Bronco juggernaut. Popular opinion seems to be that Jared Zabransky will lead the Broncos, but Mike Sanford, Legedu Naanee, and Taylor Tharp plan to be heard on that subject. Here's a look at what's to expect.. at least today.

Heading into Spring Ball, there is an odd mix of uncertainty and expectancy amongst Bronco fans as to who will be behind Center next season.  BroncoCountry has no incredibly close source, (darn tight-lipped coaches), but we do have good memories and speculation galore.  Here's how we see things.

Soph Jared Zabransky

Jared Zabransky:  Most likely Candidate

Jared Zabransky (6'1 221lbs) seems to be the heir apparent at this point.  "Z" was RD's backup last year, and showed his running ability nearly every time he came in.  However, it's his arm, not his legs that Bronco fans are wondering about.  Z has shown touch on his deep ball against SJSU, when he came in on 1 drive and hooked up for a 77 yard TD with now departed Jerry Smith, but will that same success be there against Oregon State and Fresno?  His QB rating for last year was 119.22, with a TD-to-INT ratio of 1-1.

Here's the scoop on Z.  Originally out of Hermiston HS in Hermiston Oregon.  He was the Eastern Oregon Athlete of the year as a Junior.  He originally verbaled to Idaho, but switched to Boise State when they showed interest.  An interesting fact is that Jordan Palmer, the brother of Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer, was reportedly recruited by Boise State and wanted to play for the Broncos, but was the second choice behind Z.  Once Z committed, Palmer ended up at WAC conference mate UTEP.  Z is a natural leader who has been likened to Ryan Dinwiddie and Bart Hendricks.  Now it just remains to be seen if he can follow through with the potential.  Z is the odds on favorite to lead the Broncos, but his lead over Sanford isn't as great as some folks think.  Talented and a natural leader, at this point you can't say it's his job to lose, but you can say that it's his spot to win.

Senior Mike Sanford

Mike Sanford:  Right in the thick of the hunt

Mike Sanford, (6'4 213lbs), is right there with Zabransky as the favorites to run the Broncos in 04-05.  Sanford is the more prototypical QB, with great size.  While Z may have been considered the 'running QB' last year because of Z's propensity to run the QB option when he got the chance to play with the first team, Sanford is the fastest of the Bronco QB's.  Sanford also had the second highest QB rating amongst Bronco QB's at 141.32, second only to RD's 165.37.  Sanford showed his passing ability, hooking up for a 53 yard TD to Lawrence Bady against Idaho State to start the season.  Sanford also showed his good decision making ability, finishing the season with 1 TD and no INT's.

Here's the scoop on Sanford:  Originally out of Los Alamitos, CA, Sanford was considered the first 'big get' recruit at QB for the Broncos after their first HBowl victory.  The son of a Coach, (Mike Sanford, former Chargers WR Coach and current Utah OC), Sanford was a bit of a an unknown entering his Senior season at Los Alamitos, I believe the story goes something like this.. he transferred in from another State, (Wisconsin?), where the team was primarily run oriented, so he was an unknown until his Senior season.  He committed to the Broncos and came up during Spring Ball of his Senior season to see the Broncos on the Blue.  While in Boise, he was asked by the Statesman why he chose Boise State over some of the big-time schools that recruited him, his response was an instant classic that endeared him to Bronco fans, "Boise State is big time."  If nothing else, Sanford should get points for his foresight.  A smart and talented QB who will undoubtedly draw comparisons to BJ Rhode.  (NFL Size, smart, talented, and the ultimate team player)  Do not be surprised to see Sanford steal playing time if Z misses even a step.

Soph Legedu Naanee

Legedu Naanee:  Too much talent to sit

Legedu Naanee, (6'2'5 235lbs), is quite simply the most talented QB on the Bronco's squad.  You hear of QB's that are "NFL Size", "LA" was that and beyond as a RSFR.  He is already bigger than any of the starting LB'rs on the Bronco's squad, and yet still runs a 4.75 40yds.  LA turned down Pac-10 and Big-12 offers to come to Boise State to be a QB.  Colorado, Oregon, and Oregon State, amongst others, saw LA as a NFL caliber Safety.  LA, however, saw himself at QB, and got a guarantee that he'd be a QB at Boise State.  While there is little doubt that LA would excel at every position on the field that doesn't end in "line", the Bronco coaches have held good to their guarantee.

Here's the scoop on LA:  Talent and potential.. talent and potential.. and did I mention talent and potential?  Originally out of Portland, OR, LA is the dark horse in the QB race.  He was a 4-year starter at QB in HS and set quarterback position records this past year for Boise State in the power clean (327 pounds), back squat (520 pounds), bench press (305 pounds) and vertical leap (33.5 inches).  LA has a huge arm, and great natural instincts, but the knock on LA has always been that he needs to learn to throw the intermediate ball that the Broncos rely on so heavily.  He had only 1 completion last season for 27 yards, and 1 INT.  His 1 INT, however, is misleading as he got it on a trick play where he threw the ball while being tackled and leaning back.  He couldn't step into the throw, couldn't really see the receiver, an yet still threw the ball 40+ yards.  Some have already dismissed him as a QB, calling for him to get on the field at any other position, but they forget that he was the scout team offensive player of the  year as a RSFR.  LA will be given more than a few looks this spring, whether his play will be good enough to usurp Sanford and Zabransky.. that still waits to be seen.

RSFR Taylor Tharp

Taylor Tharp:  Can he live up to the hype?

Taylor Tharp, (6'1 200lbs), like Sanford, comes from a family built around athletics.  Taylor's dad is Dick Tharp, Athletic Director for the University of Colorado.  (Maybe this will lend itself to a Bronco/Buffalo game in the future?)  Taylor is coming off what can only be called a successful RS season.  He came to Boise State with great credentials, ("As a senior, he completed 297-of-485 (both state records) passed for 3,973 yards and was named Boulder County Player of the Year. The 3,973 yards passing were the second most ever in a single season in Colorado High School football. Tharp also threw for 400+ yards three times." BroncoSports.com), and showed that talent while leading the Scout Team Offense.  Tharp has a great future with the Broncos... the question is, is the future now?

Here's the scoop on Tharp:  Plain and simple, Tharp needs to bulk up.  He came to Boise State a skinny kid, and to be able to play D1 ball he needs to pack some meat on those bones.  Once he gets to the point of physically being able to go week in and out, the sky is the limit.  He is behind 3 very good, very capable QB's.. but the speculation has already started that it won't be long until Tharp's talent will have him as the #1 backup.. or more.

TrueFR Cade Woolstenhulme

Cade Woolstenhulme:  Mystery man

Cade Woolstenhulme, (6'5 215lbs) from Nampa, ID walked on the Bronco squad in January of 2004. Spent the last two years on a LDS mission. 

Here's the scoop on Woolstenhulme:  Rumored to be a very good athlete, who could just as easily be successful at WR.  A relative unknown, but from his height and weight, he obviously needs to bulk up.  Most likely won't factor into the race, but as with all question marks.. there's no way to count him out completely.  Hopefully more will be known after Spring Ball.

 

TrueFR Bush Hamdan

Bush Hamdan:  Virginia gunslinger not a factor.. yet.

Bush Hamdan, (6'.5 185lbs), from Gaithersburg, Md.  

Here's the scoop on Hamdan:  Obviously isn't a factor for Spring ball, or for next season as he will undoubtedly redshirt with all the talent in front of him.  

 


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