Special Delivering

Losing an kicker is always a difficult transition. Make that kicker a Lou Graza Finalist and an All-American, and you understand part of the difficulty facing Boise State. Then.. throw in losing a punt returner that is currently earning his pay in the NFL at that position while while becoming a media darling and becoming the the talk of the team, and you begin to fathom the situation facing Boise State.

Gone is Tyler Jones and his booming kickoffs and laser-sighted FG's.  In his stead the Broncos have 3 candidates vying to be the next big thing.  Kyle Stringer is the interim punter, and just so happens to be one of the Nations best at that position.  If he had the reps during gametime, he'd be top-10 in the Nation in both hangtime and distance.. however when you're a punter on the Nation's #1 Offense over the past 5 seasons, our punting opportunities are limited. Stringer was known more for his kicking in HS, and has the leg strength to hit from almost anywhere.  His #1 priority this off-season has been accuracy, and the added work has begun to pay off.  Stringer has had a couple of his kicks blocked in practice, which has been a concern, but luckily the Broncos have another option should Kyle not nail down the position.

Kyle was joined by Freshman Jameson Davis in the Spring, however Davis decided to serve and LDS Mission, meaning the Broncos needed depth in a hurry.  Enter 2 kickers, JC-Transfer Anthony Montgomery and walkon Chris Chalmers.  Montgomery was a steal considering how late he came to Boise.  A left-footed kicker, he has great accuracy, and although his stats don't show it from his JC, he has a very active leg that can hit from 50.  Montgomery was All conference and All State region 2 in California as a Freshman at Reedley. As a Sophomore, he was State Special Teams player of the week for breaking a school record with 5 field goals in one game. He was also selected 1st Team All Conference and was once again All State Region 2 in California, and was Also All American Honorable mention.  Described as a "strong, fluent and accomplished left footer", he was rated as one of the top 5 JC Kickers by the Paul Assad website.

Chalmers' list of exploits in High School is impressive.  He was one of 7 finalists for the "Best kicker in LA" award given annually and, he was a 2005 finalist at the National Kicking Contest in Las Vegas.  Chalmers came in as a walkon, but could very likely earn a scholarship given his credentials and potential.  Chalmers will most likely redshirt this year, but his presence alone should alleviate any depth concerns at the position.

Again, an area where Boise State has excelled, Tyler Jones ability to drive the ball through the endzone will be missed, but both Stringer and Montgomery have the ability to get both depth and height on their kicks.  The Idaho Statesman puts Montgomery as the kickoff specialist, but the reality is that either could line up and have the type of success Boise State is accustomed to.

As was mentioned above, there is really no reason to discuss this position.  Kyle Stringer owns the punting duties at Boise State.  He is one of those special players that comes to a team once every few decades.  While it might sound like I'm exaggerating a little in saying that, how many other Top-25 teams has a Punter as a Team Captain.. let alone a Junior Punter?  Kyle is easily the class of the WAC, and, if he gets the reps to prove it, is likely one of the top-3 punters in the Nation.

Boise State coaches like combo kickers/punters, and both Stringer and Montgomery fit that bill.  Montgomery is an adequate punter, not in Stringer's league, but able to take over the chores should he be called.

Once again, the loss of a Bronco senior will be felt deeply.  Gone is Chris Carr and his electrifying punt returns.  He had 2 returns for TD's last year, despite missing over half the season with a broken collarbone.  Carr is currently "wowing" the Oakland Raiders of the NFL and making analysts shake their heads at how this smallish CB from the Blue Turf can have such success so quickly at the highest level. 

In his stead the Broncos have 2 experienced returners in Austin Smith, (who took over for the Broncos during Carr's injury), and Cole Clasen, who handled the punt return duties for Oregon State before transferring to Boise State.  Right now either could take the reigns, but it appears that Cole Clasen will get the first crack at it. 

Clasen is a lot like Carr in stature, but what Bronco fans all await is to see if he can match some of what Carr brought to the position.  While at Oregon State, Clasen was described as "confident", and  "reliable... rarely drops a ball", the knock on him was his lack of break-away speed, but that hasn't seemed to be the case when Clasen has lined up at WR.  Austin Smith will undoubtedly get some chances throughout the season, and given how successful he was as a Freshman last season, his future is bright at the position.

Blessed with a number of more than capable returners, Boise State will undoubtedly turn to more than just two throughout the season.  Quinton Jones showed last year that he is capable of big things in a big hurry with his 100+ yard return for a TD against Oregon State that was called back by a phantom penalty.  Lee Marks has also been back deep during the fall practices.  At other schools, they might consier their #1 RB too valuable to chance on Special Teams, but Boise State has a great tradition of success with RB's as kick returners.  From Brock Forsey to David Mikell, Lee Marks might be the next name mentioned along with them.

Other players to consider, Cole Clasen has taken some reps back deep, along with Jerard Rabb, and Vinnie Perretta.

While he might be a Defensive End who specializes in pass-rushing, Mike Dominguez has excelled as the long-snapper since stepping on the Boise State campus.  Dominguez will be counted on for both kicking and punting long-snapping duties once again.. hopefully his emerging role on Defense doesn't tire him out because as often as the Broncos score, he will need to be fresh at any moment.

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