Spring Ball Preview: Quarterbacks

<p>Any discussion about the Boise State Bronco offensive attack begins with the last letter of the alphabet, Z.</p><p>When you talk to any Bronco coach, they tell you that the quarterback probably receives too much credit when things go well and too much grief when things go not so well. We offer that thought as a caveat to keep in mind when reviewing the following stat line for the accomplishments of the Bronco's rookie QB last year, Jared Zabransky...</p>

Jared Zabransky

Jared Zabransky, one of the best Sophomore season's in Boise State hirtory.. expectations will be high for his Junior year.Here is Zabransky's resume – as a SOPHOMORE:

  • Named honorable mention All-America by Sports Illustrated & College Football News
  • Named second-team All-WAC
  • Named the WAC Player of the Year by Collegefootballnews.com
  • Named Boise State's offensive player of the year
  • Earned WAC Offensive Player of the Week honors twice
  • Finished first in the WAC and 12th in the country in passing efficiency
  • Finished second in the WAC and 15th in the country in total offense
  • Finished second in the WAC in passing and sixth in scoring touchdowns
  • Tied for 13th in the country in points responsible for averaging 14.73 per game
  • Ranks sixth in single season total offense, seventh in single season passing yards, fifth in single season completions, ninth in career 200-yard passing games, fifth in career 300-yard passing games, and sixth in single season rushing touchdowns
  • Set a school record for longest run from scrimmage when he scored on an 85-yard touchdown against Hawaii
  • Tied a school record with four touchdown runs against Hawaii
  • Completed 192-of-298 passes for 2,728 yards and 15 touchdowns
  • Finished with a 150.55 quarterback rating, eighth best in school history
  • Boise State's second leading rusher with 322 yards on 116 carries and 12 touchdowns
  • Named WAC Offensive Player of the week after leading Boise State to its first win over a Pac-10 team in school history
  • Had a season-best 392 passing yards while completing 26-of-37 passes and two touchdowns at UTEP
  • Threw a potato ¼ mile on ESPN – just kidding.

Those are the individual stats. An examination of the Bronco team stats provides a more comprehensive evaluation of Zabransky's effectiveness:

  • Finished fourth in the nation in total offense
  • Finished second in the nation in scoring offense
  • Finished 14th in the nation in rushing offense
  • Finished 20th in the nation in passing offense
  • Finished 11th in the nation in pass efficiency
  • Finished 5th in the nation in positive turnover margin

Jared effectively nuked any preseason jitters about who would step up and take the place of the NCAA's all-time pass efficiency leader (Ryan Dinwiddie). The Hermiston, Oregon native shattered expectations and led a balanced Bronco team to a third consecutive top 15 finish in the AP and Coaches end of the season poll. Z showed composure in running Coach Petersen's complex offense right off the bat hanging two 50+-point performances against a rival (Idaho) and a PAC-10 bowl bound team.

Next season will provide even more challenges for the 6'2, 203-pound junior as he faces the tough task of breaking in a number of new receivers and facing huge tests at Georgia, at Oregon State, and then Bowling Green at home. The Falcon game will offer the Zabransky the chance to highlight his skills on the same field as the nation's other top junior signal caller, Omar Jacobs. This game may very well feature a duel of future NFL quarterbacks not seen before in Bronco Stadium.

Bronco Back-Ups

While Zabransky has the starting QB spot nailed down and will use his junior year to assault the WAC and Bronco record books, the back-up position is clearly up in the air. The two QB's battling for this position are both highly regarded for their intelligence on the field as well as their commitment in the weight room and film room. Spring ball will be telling and it will be interesting to read the sub-plots during the Blue-Orange game to see which one of the two gets to work with the first team the most.

Taylor Tharp 6'2, 205, Sophomore, Boulder, Colorado

A backup quarterback for the Broncos who played in one game, against SMU. He was a record-setting high school QB in the state of Colorado completing 297 of 485 passes for 3,973 yards as a senior. A good-sized player with growing knowledge of the offense. Bronco players note that he throws the best looking ball in practice and may have the best touch of any of the QB's presently on the roster. He red-shirted for the Broncos in 2003 and completed 3-of-4 passes for 82 yards in the annual Blue-Orange Spring Game.



Bush Hamdan QB, 6'1, 187 RSFR., Gaithersburg, Md

First-team all-conference selection in both football and baseball, as well as a first-team all-county selection in both sports. A member of the "Super 44 Prep Team" and the all-metro team in Washington D.C. who as a senior passed for 2,075 yards and 23 touchdowns while completing 50 percent of his passes. Coach Hawk and Petersen went across the continent to nab this highly efficient high school quarterback star. Hamdan has impressed most since arriving on campus. He did a great job on the scout teams this past fall and has a great work ethic. Some have suggested that his skills are such that he will push Z for playing time sooner than later. This is a great problem to have as we all know how important it is to have depth at the qb position. Hamdan's slight frame will bring back memories of RD when the Bronco fans see him line up behind center this spring.


Cade Woolstenhume 6'5, 218 RSFR., Nampa, Idaho

COLLEGE — (2004) Red-shirted during the season for the Broncos…Joined the Boise State program in January 2004 and took part in spring drills. Local walk-on with great size continues to improve. Another very bright player who graduated from high school with a 3.86 GPA. While it is unlikely that he will force his way into the backup slot, the Bronco coaches have made no bones about the fact that they will put the best players on the field. If Cade pushes himself and either Tharp or Hamdan struggle, he could see the field in 2005.


Redshirt/Greyshirt Candidates

Nick Lomax, QB, 6-6, 210, Fr., Tualatin, Oregon

A two-year letterman at Lake Oswego High School in both football and basketball. Named first-team all-state and first-team all-league after throwing for 2,800 yards, 30 touchdowns and just four interceptions while leading team to a 10-2 record and a runner-up finish in the state championships. Yes, his Dad is Neil Lomax and yes he wisely chose to play at Boise State over offers from Oregon State, Idaho, Portland State, and Hawaii among others. We know he is smart. We also know that the upside with this young man is as huge as his wing-span. Lomax's progress his senior year took him all the way from under the radar screen to a scholarship at the nation's premier quarterback university. No question coach Pitt and Lomax will get to know each other really well this year. Lomax is an intriguing prospect with tremendous upside.  A likely redshirt .

Kyle Seevers, QB, 6-6, 190, Fr., Pioche, Nevada

Many have suggested that Seevers is the Broncos' first blue-chip football recruit. A shoulder injury his senior year kept the hype down for Seevers and the Broncos so he is entering the program under the radar screen. All indications though are that the shoulder is recovering fine and that he will be 100% by the time he hits campus in January of 06. Seevers has the potential to be a record setting qb at Boise State following in the footsepts of Hilde, Hendricks, Dinwiddie, and Zabransky. A three-year member of the National Honor Society, first-team academic all-state in football and basketball as a junior, and academic all-state in basketball as a junior. He is planning on majoring in Sport Medicine. The question with Seevers is not ability, it is the status of the shoulder. Fortunately, Seevers will have time the strengthen the shoulder. Two of the best people in Seevers corner will be Dr. Lewis and Dr. Wade. Sometimes we forget what a tremendous advantage our student athletes have through the Idaho Sports Medicine Institute (ISMI). Very, very few schools in the nation can offer more than Boise State and the ISMI in the way of sports medicine resources.  Kyle will greyshirt giving us one of the best qb's in the Nation already in our pocket for next years class.


Graduation and Position Shifts

Legedu Naane, WR, 6-2. 230, Jr., Portland, Oregon

Backup quarterback for the Broncos who spent time at tight end and wide receiver late in the season to take advantage of his athletic ability. Naane is moving to the wide receiver position fulltime for the 2005 season. He caught three passes for 28 yards, while rushing four times for 79 yards in 2004 in addition to being a key special teams player. Naane is one of the most athletic players to ever walk on the blue and will be an instant impact player as a receiver. He holds the quarterback records in the weight room in the power clean (327 pounds in spring 2003), hang clean (356 pounds in spring 2004), back squat (520 pounds in spring 2003), bench press (305 pounds in spring 2003), and vertical jump (36 inches in spring 2004).

Bronco fans everywhere wanted to see him on the field more often given his athleticism and the shift to receiver will strike fear in the hearts of all defensive coordinators. Naane's combination of speed, power, and knowledge of the offense will make him a unique offensive weapon whether spread out as a receiver or as a flanker in the fly-sweep. Naane chose Boise State over offers from the Oregon schools as he wanted to play quarterback. Naane's shift to receiver essentially gives the Broncos a four-star receiver recruit who can play immediately. Not a bad way at all to fill out an already deep receiving corps.

Mike Sanford (Boise State QB – 2000-2004)

Boise State is becoming something of a cradle of coaches, at least if you are a back-up qb. Sanford joins the list of past Bronco signal callers to become a football coach. Sanford is joining the staff at UNLV as a graduate assistant for the 2005 season. Sanford will be remembered as the prototypical team player for the Boise State Broncos as he nearly had the starting job in 2004. Sanford finished the 2004 season going 21-11-1 in passing and wrapping up with a 112.06 qb rating. While Zabransky ended up with the starting role on the field after a very competitive selection process, he would be the first to admit that he would not have been successful without the teamwork and support of Sanford in practice and on game days. Sanford's knowledge of the offense and mentorship under Coach Hawkins and Petersen will benefit him tremendously as a coach in the future.

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