Spring Ball Preview: RB/FB's

Boise State has a rich tradition of outstanding running backs. In just the past 2 seasons, Brock Forsey has rushed for over 1600 yards, and David Mikell rushed for just shy of 1200.<br><br>Now, both of them are gone. Brock to the Chicago Bears, and DMike is preparing to enter the NFL. With those credentials, the next running back to start for the Broncos will have a lot to live up to. The Broncos have some horses, but is there any one player that has the lead at this point?<br><br>Well...

There are a number of words that could be used to describe the current situation at RB for the Broncos: "Tumultuous", after losing its top 2 rushers last season. Promising, with a number of young studs in the wings. "Opportunistic", as in this could allow one of the youngsters to step in before even they thought. Whatever word you want to use, the one word you have to use is "Talented." Here's a look at the players in the hunt.

Running Backs:

Donny takes a swing pass against OSU

Donny Heck, Sr. (5'10, 205lbs) - Heck has experience and will see an expanded role next season, provided that he is on the team.  He is not currently attending Boise State because of academic problems, but he is working to overcome that problem and the coaches have said that they expect him to be back. He rushed for 450  yards and 8 scores last year.  If he is academically eligible, count on him to get the early nod to start.  Whether he can keep it.. will depend on 2 things, his production, and how hard he is pushed by the very talented players behind him.  Donny has shown steady improvement over the past 3 seasons.. going from a smash-mouth type runner to a player that makes people miss as well as being able to run over them.  Whereas with QB's the spot is open, if Donny makes it back, it will be very hard to unseat him.

Antwaun, Pre- Boise State

Antwaun Carter, Jr. (5'8.5, 215lbs) - It may seem odd to consider a 5'8 RB 'big', but that is exactly what Carter is.  The JUCO transfer is a big back with speed. The 215 pounder was the South Carolina high school state champion in the 100 meters clocking in at 10.51, and was the State shot put champion, throwing 60 feet 11 inches.  He has been clocked at sub a 4.4 in the 40yds.  He came to Boise State  from Sacramento City College where he was a first-team All-NorCal Football Conference selection. As a sophomore, he gained 576 yards and scored six touchdowns on 95 carries. He also had 16 receptions for 189 yards and two touchdowns, and returned 21 kickoffs for 414 yards. . In HS, as a Sr. he ran for 1,856 yards on 262 carries.  The term 'bowling ball' comes to mind when one thinks of Antwaun Carter.. a bowling ball that smashes the defenders in his way, or else just runs by them so fast they can't react.  Antwaun took some time getting used to things, using his RS season to learn the system, and get even stronger, (if such is possible.)  Expect him to figure into the rotation early, and if Donny has problems, look for Antwaun to make the most of his chance.

 

Carpenter, all he does is produce

Jeff Carpenter, Jr (5'9, 205lbs) - The former walk-on from Kuna has steadily improved and impressed.. to the point of being awarded a scholarship and being in serious consideration for the starting spot.  Jeff had the highest YPC average amongst the RB's at an incredible 7.6 ypc.  Granted, most of that came against the other teams 2nd team defense, but he still tore them up like a starter would.  Carpenter has shown his versatility and value as a receiver out of the backfield in games against Nevada and TCU.  Carpenter isn't the biggest RB, nor is he the fastest, or the flashiest.  (Sounds eerily similar to Brock), but he just produces.  When given the chance, he has always shown flashes of brilliance.  Regardless of where Jeff ends up on the depth chart, count on him getting numerous looks throughout the season, if not on a weekly basis.  At this point, I woudn't be overly surprised to see Jeff even get a couple starts during the season.. his heart, and his production really remind me of Brock.. something that should scare the pants off the rest of the WAC!

 

Lee Marks goes for a TD at Hawaii

Lee Marks, Jr (5'7, 175lbs) - Marks, a former top 75 High School CB recruit moved to RB this past season when QJones went down with what essentially ended up being a season-ending injury just 2 games into the season.  All Lee did was show break-away speed and a nimbleness not seen on the Blue for quite some time.  Not an 'everydown' back, Marks is the change of pace RB that will be stopped for no gain 3 times in a row, and then break one off 30+ yards for a TD, (Like he did against Hawaii.)  Lee had the 2nd highest YPC average amongst Bronco RB's with a very respectable 6.1 ypc average.  On the season, he had 181 yards on 26 carries.  Marks gives the Broncos that quick strike capability that everybody thought would be lost when QJones went down.  Now, with his impressive showing last season, how do you count him out of the hunt for playing time next season?  In short.. you don't.  Marks showed how good he can be when used in the right situations, and he has become one of the Coaches favorite players because of his attitude and work ethic.. that's a good combination for seeing significant minutes throughout the season.

 

QJones.. The weapon.

Quinton Jones, Soph.(5'9 165lbs) - A combination receiver/running back, Jones adds a speed burst to the mix.  QJones is the true big play threat in the Broncos arsenal.  The fastest Bronco last season, clocking a 4.3 40.  Quinton is a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses no matter where he lines up, but that is the dilemma for the  Bronco Coaches, where do they put Q to get him the ball the most times?  Line him up at WR and then put him in motion?  Put him in the backfield and give him the ball straight up the gut?  Q needs space to put his speed to use, which means that he is best utilized in a handful of situations... but his talent is such that he needs to touch the ball many more times than that.  Now you begin to understand the problem.  Do you go with a steady, yardage producing back who will get 3-4 yards each touch, or do you go with the guy that could break it all the way on every play?  Decisions.. decisions.. but that's why the coaches make the big bucks.   


 

Denton during last Spring Ball

Brett Denton, Soph. (5'10, 180lbs) - A walk-on from Alaska, Denton played on special teams last season.  Usually a little known walk-on would be destined to practice squad and Special Teams play for his career, but the Broncos have had great success with walk-ons, and Denton has shown, (In spring ball last year), that he has some definite skills.  He could get a few looks this next year, but in all honesty, with the talent that he's looking up at, he'll have to make the most of each of his limited chances to garner much more at this point.

 


 

Jon signs his LOI with BSU. (Statesman)

Jon Helmandollar RSFR, (5'11, 210lbs) - 'Dollar', the 01 Idaho Gatorade POTY, greyshirted, so this will be his second go-round with Spring ball.  Dollar has gotten rave reviews, and is said to be the most likely of the dark horses to sneak into a starting spot.  Strong as an ox, Dollar has set the record for Bronco Running backs in the back squat, with an incredible 600 pound lift.. and that was a year ago.  He averaged over 8 yards a carry in HS, and rushed for nearly 2000 yards his Senior season, along with 32 TD's.  Blessed with very good but not great speed, Dollar will not be a breakaway runner ala QJones, but he will consistently get 4-5 yards up the gut, (and hurt some defenders in the process), and is the kind of runner that will make opposing DLinemen and LB'rs bite on the play-action part of a play-action-pass.  Add Dollar's strength and speed behind what could be the strongest, and largest OLine ever at Boise State, (Analysis coming soon),, and a Fullback named Brad Lau, (below)..  and you could have the makings of a serious Big-10'esque smash-mouth football team.  If you thought the Broncos went for it on 4th and short in the past.. just wait!  I won't go so far to say that Jon will be starting come September.. but just in case, you might wanna stock up on your cash.. because this season could prove very popular for 'The Dollar'.

Calvin, Pre Boise State

Calvin McCarty RSFR, (5'9 215lbs) - McCarty walked on the Bronco squad this past September from Surrey, BC.  While in HS up north, McCarty was quite simply phenomenal.  While Dollar rushed to almost 2000 yards, McCarty rushed for just 9 yards short of 2500 yards.  As a senior, during one stretch, he ran for an astonishing 1,659 yards in just seven games, and ended up averaging 12.4 ypc.  While the talent level of his competition is unknown.. 12.4 ypc is nearly incomprehensible!  McCarty is another Strong as an Ox runner with very good speed, but unlike Helmandollar, who is rumored to be more of a north/south runner, McCarty is known to have a little swivel in his hips.  He at one time was close to being offered by Washington State, Iowa State, UCLA, Kansas, Marshall and Central Florida.. but for one reason or another, (most likely because of the questionable competition), they all backed off, leaving him searching for a home.. which the Broncos eagerly offered.  I said it in his BC bio, and I'll say it again, getting an athlete of McCarty's caliber to walk-on is almost unheard of.. and he may end up being the Steal of the century!  The only thing standing in his way is a mountain of talent that he's gotta shine through.  Don't be surprised in the least if you hear the phrase "Touchdown McCarty" often next season... and for the next 4 seasons for that matter.


Ian Johnson
(HS) (5'11, 185lbs) - Will join the Broncos after finishing HS.  Not a factor in spring ball.

David Shields
(HS) (6'2, 205lbs) - Will join the Broncos after finishing HS.  Not a factor in spring ball.

The last thing regarding RB's.. there is a wealth of talent and potential awaiting Bronco fans, but one of the most telling things about the position may be found in the fact that Helmandollar, a RSFR, could be considered the favorite for the starting spot, (With Donny's status unknown presently), and also Coach Hawkins has stated that one of Ian Johnson and David Shields could see playing time immediately.  With the talent that is already at the position, that says something about the caliber of recruits that the Broncos are now able to get on campus.  It would appear that the legacy of successful RB's at Boise State is very safe.

 

Fullbacks:

Brad Lau engulfs a Bengal

Brad Lau Soph, (5'11, 240lbs) - Brad Lau will be back for the Broncos next season as a Sophomore.  Bad news for the rest of the WAC and anyone that plays the Broncos.  Lau, simply put, is a FREAK!  After returning from his mission, some thought that a couple years away from organized sports and a weight-lifting regimen might detract from his strength.  Au contraire... Mr. Lau, (as you would be smart to call him), Proved to be one of the strongest Broncos in the weight room, power cleaning a team-best 373 pounds and bench pressing a team-best 420 pounds.  That's not 'Running Back best'.. but a TEAM best.  That's like lining up your strongest Lineman each play in the backfield and saying.. get a good running start BEFORE you hit that guy!  Brad is also a special teams player, and, in case you haven't guessed by now, has the ability to, (Slight understatement alert..), hit people very hard.  Look for Lau to become much more of a factor this year as the Broncos look to utilize a very talented OLine by going 2 TE's + a FB and playing some good ole' fashioned smash-mouth Football.  If you had a player like Mr. Lau.. wouldn't you?  Look for Brad to start at FB, and to also be on the Punt Team, the Kickoff team, the Punt return team, the kickoff return team, the All Conference-team, the Olympic Team, the Dream-Team, and the A-Team!  "I pity the fool that get in Mr. Lau's way!!

Michael Lose RSFR (5'9 230lbs) - Lose is a walk-on FB, but don't make the mistake of thinking that he is a just a normal walk-on.  Mike Lose is one of those guys that you can gauge a football program by.  Players of this caliber don't walk onto teams that aren't successful and aren't going places.  Lose was an all-Metro League and all-Capital Athletic League player as a linebacker at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, CA.  He finished his senior season with 80 tackles and 500 yards rushing.  He lettered in football three times, and also earned honors as an all-star rugby player.  Lose was named the Scout Team Special Teams Player of the Year, an honor that usually goes to somebody who will make an impact the next year.  Lose is nearly as big and strong as Lau.. which just really makes it fun to imagine them both in the backfield together behind the Bronco OLine!  (heh heh heh)

Brian Decker Jr (5'8, 220lbs) - Anybody notice a trend with the Bronco FB's?  Short, stocky guys of the world.. rejoice!!.. your niche has been found!!  OK, maybe it's not that wide-open, but the Broncos do seem to like the bowling ball FB's.  Decker is a walk-on JC Transfer from Merced CC.  He was honorable mention all-conference, despite only rushing for 68 yards.. so that tells you that he must be one helluva blocker!  With Lau and Lose in front of him, and both younger than him.. look for Decker to see playing time on special teams.


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