Spring Ball Preview: O-Line

Boise State has a bevy of big, talented (and young)linemen eager to lead the charge for the Bronco offense. The competition is wide open for starting positions. No matter who wins out-- You're in good hands.....if you're the new Bronco quarterback!

Bronco Sr. Rusty Colburn

One of the keys to Boise State's success story in football has been a cohesive offensive line. In running up a record of 33-6 the past three seasons, this group has been big, talented and deep. Each year, the national media likes to point to key losses on the offensive line as a reason the Broncos will be hard-pressed to match the previous year's achievements. New starters must be named, and relatively untested linemen are asked to perform at a level worthy for Boise State to be recognized on a national level.

In 2004, the Broncos will have two openings and numerous battles for other spots on the offensive line. Guard Tyrone Tutogi and Tackle Jason Turner were key cogs in the Bronco juggernaut and will be missed next season, along with Center Mike MacLeod. Which Broncos will be chosen to fill those holes? What other O-linemen will earn significant playing time? What about the immensely talented group of young linemen trying to wrestle starting positions away from the upperclassmen? And how do the Broncos lose seemingly irreplaceable players each year and yet continue to perform at peak efficiency in a complex offensive system and lead the nation in scoring 3 of the last 4 years?

Coach Chris Strausser has done a superb job in building a tradition of great offensive lines at Boise State. Even though the young guys on the line do not have the game experience, they have learned from Scott Huff, Rob Vian, Matt Navest, Tutogi, Turner and MacLeod in practice and it's the team leadership and chemistry that Strausser has helped to mold at Boise State that enables new Broncos to come into the fold without missing a beat. Strength and conditioning Coach Jeff Pitman plays a vital role in developing these young men into physical specimens that can battle and compete for four quarters with nearly every football team in America.

Bronco Junior Daryn Colledge

  Daryn Colledge (6-5, 272, #73) and Rusty Colburn (6-5, 310, #61) will be counted on for that leadership this year. They have been key contributors responsible for the protection of quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie and opening the holes for former Bronco running backs Brock Forsey and David Mikell . With the introduction of a new starting QB this year, that protection will be crucial. Colledge was only named to the second-team all-WAC team yet is already listed as the 12th best linemen in the nation as a sophomore. After redshirting in 2001, Colledge was named to The Sporting News Freshman All-America Third Team in 2002. He has registered a 2.78 in the 20-yard dash. College has sensational speed, great technique, a strong leg drive and is a role model for his work ethic and determination. College Football News included Colledge in its list of 15 rising stars among the nation's lineman. Colburn epitomizes effort--great speed and determination; a super blocker who often will block two guys on the line and then run downfield for more.

Ryan Keating (6-3, 306, #71) and newcomer Micah Kormylo (6-5, 305) are expected to challenge for playing time. Keating redshirted in 2002. If Ryan or Micah move into the starting lineup at tackle, Colburn could also play guard. Freshmen Kevin Worack (6-6, 292, #77) and Tony Volponi (6-4, 299, #72) are big and talented tackles that give the Broncos excellent strength in reserve. Worack's potential is unlimited, being named the top lineman at summer camps at Oregon, Colorado, Colorado State, Wyoming and Kansas in high school. Volponi also is a tackle for whom the Broncos have high expectations.

 At center, expect Joe Weigand (6-1, 279, #50) and Michael Ansel (6-3, 299, #70) to battle for the starting nod. Weigand redshirted in 2002 and was slated to be the starter last season until a serious traffic accident kept him out all of 2003. Ansel has good leg strength, quick feet and great determination. he redshirted in 2000, and was a reserve in 2001 and 2002 before starting last season.

Ryan Keating and Michael Ansel

Newcomer Andrew Woodruff (6-3, 300) is a strong contender for Left Guard for the Broncos. Woodruff was named outstanding lineman at the Stanford Nike camp before coming to Boise State. The Cavender twins (Jeff (6-2, 295, #79) and Pete (6-2, 300, #76)), meanwhile, have waited their turns and are raring to make their presence felt on the Blue Turf of Bronco Stadium. Both have a perfect football mentality in addition to being honor roll students. Freshman Tad Miller (6-4, 300, #62) is yet another underclassman being talked about as a possible starter. Miller, from Boise's Bishop Kelly High School, has great strength and quickness. Junior Klayton Adams (5-10, 288, #65) started for the Broncos in the Fort Worth Bowl and will also be vying for playing time.  Juniors Derek (6-3, 258, #64) and Drew Kishpaugh (6-3, 259, #63) and Freshman Kellen Wright (6-2, 285, #59) provide depth.

According to Coach Strausser, this will be the most competitive spring in the offensive line since he's been at Boise State.  "There are a lot of inexperienced and unproven guys in our group and we are looking to see who is going to separate himself from the crowd," Strausser said. While not showing his hand, Strausser said "I can tell you that Andrew Woodruff and Micah Kormylo have been very positive additions to our group this spring and I look for them to make their impact sooner rather than later."

With so many deserving players and only 5 positions available, it is a safe bet that competition will be fierce. Many of the linemen can play multiple positions, and although the above groupings can serve as a guideline, Boise State will use that versatility to their advantage and will no doubt send the 5 best linemen on the field next season. The 2004 Broncos offensive line will include 5 seniors, 1 junior, 5 sophomores and 5 freshmen. Given the depth and young talent, whoever is selected as the Bronco signal-caller of the future can rest assured: Boise State will have one of the biggest and best offensive lines in the nation for years to come.

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