Interest in the
Head Coach Chris Petersen and Offensive Coordinator Bryan Harsin have the enviable task of selecting a starter from four talented signal callers. Senior Taylor Tharp, junior Bush Hamdan, sophomore Nick Lomax and freshman Mike Coughlin collectively are as talented as any group in college football. All have looked good this spring and the timing with the bevy of Bronco receivers has been excellent. Make no mistake—any of the four could lead the Broncos to a successful season this fall. The Bronco philosophy has always been that every player counts. That should be visibly evident to the other three as the backups were given credit on national television for calling the Statue Left play that won the Fiesta Bowl.
Boise State Heisman Trophy candidate Ian Johnson broke Brock Forsey's school rushing record last fall and led the nation in scoring. With the punishment that he took last year, Johnson hopes to add about 10 pounds to his 5-11, 195-pound frame for the 2007 season. Johnson played through several injuries last year, including a partially collapsed lung. Johnson also wants to work on his conditioning with Coach Tim Socha. "I don't want myself to ever get tired," he said. "If I get tired, then I'm not working hard enough."
With Ian Johnson
preserving his body for the hits of the fall, running backs coach Jeff Choate
is getting an extra long look at five freshmen vying for playing time. With the graduation of Brad Lau and Brett Denton, the likely starting job for Vinny Perretta at wide receiver, and the
slow return of senior Jon Helmandollar, these youngsters have the very real
opportunity that few players fresh out of high school can claim. With hard work, attention to details and the
ability to learn the complicated
Many high school football players dream such dreams, but for these five, it is a goal within their grasp. Jeremy Avery, Stew Tracy and Jarvis Hodge are already learning what it takes to be a Bronco in the vigorous workouts of spring. New recruits Doug Martin and D.J. Harper join them on campus this fall. Matt Kaiserman of Skyview High is expected to grayshirt.
The 5-9, 161-pound
Avery, who strength coach Tim Socha nicknamed "Peanut" is the strongest of the
group and one of the fastest players on the team. He has considerable athletic ability and will
remind Bronco fans of Lee Marks.
Martin rushed for 1,234 yards and 14 touchdowns for Saint Mary's High in Stockton, California while Harper ran for 1,570 yards and 21 touchdowns at Cypress (Texas) High. Both earned team MVP honors.
four receivers to the pro ranks, Boise State welcomes a
new group of starters this fall. Perretta,
Jeremy Childs and Aiona Key bring tremendous athletic ability and lead the bevy
of talented receivers. Junior Toshi Franklin has shown great improvement so far and figures to play a prominent
role in the high-octane Bronco offense this fall as well.
"There is some talent out there, which we feel really good about," Coach Petersen said. "As long as these guys stay healthy and these guys keep working, we'll be fine at the wide receiver position."
In a system that simply reloads each year, there are countless others that will do the job for
Many close observers of
The goal of the spring, however, is to build the offensive line of the future, for soon the talented group of the present will be gone. To make the transition a smooth one, the Bronco starters will need to serve as mentors for the younger players. Cohesion is critical.
Sophomore Paul Lucariello has been particularly impressive thus far at center. If Pete Cavender can return to his form
following last year's injury, that gives line coach Scott Huff options every
Meanwhile, those same
Bronco coaches and fans are hoping to bid farewell to tackle Ryan Clady on
Senior Day 2008. There is speculation
that the talented Clady will test the waters of the National Football League
following this season. Say it isn't
so. Clady was recently named to the
preliminary Watch List for the Lombardi Trophy, awarded annually to the
nation's top lineman. Andrew Woodruff's
progression has been nothing short of amazing and Woody will likely be the
starter opposite Clady. There are no
better set of tackles in the
Chasing that group are
senior Dan Gore, freshman Nate Potter from
Joining Schlekeway on
the outside will be junior Mike T. Williams, who is ready to explode onto the
You don't replace the
best linebacking duo in the history of
Freshman Derrell Acrey and senior Josh Bean are locked in a battle for the starting middle linebacker job. Bean is a hard-hitter who Bronco fans have had high hopes for ever since he signed his letter of intent—it is time for Bean to shine. He will have to hold off the energetic Acrey, who will be one of the top players in the nation by the time he is a senior. Acrey already has an impressive interception to his credit this spring.
Tuivai will award
playing time to others linebackers in certain situations, as is the Bronco
way. Among those vying for action this
fall are Tim Brady, Dallas Dobbs, Garrett Tuggle and converted safety Ellis Powers. Dobbs made a nice hit earlier
this week on Hodge. Freshman Ben Chandler has great potential and Hunter White was a prized recruit for
developed his raw talent into NFL excitement last year with a phenomenal senior
season. He followed former Bronco greats
Shaunard Harts and Quintin Mikell into the pros. Who will be the next NFL player at safety for
Senior Marty Tadman certainly
has all the tools that were on full display in the Fiesta Bowl. The ability, effort and attitude don't get
better than #20. The contenders for the other
position include senior Austin Smith, freshmen Jeron Johnson and Jason Robinson
and junior-college transfer Garcia Day.
Smith started as a sophomore before moving to cornerback last year. He's a big-hitter and has played with the
first-team defense thus far. It will be
difficult to keep Robinson out of the lineup, however, after an incredible year
on the scout team and coaches are high on Day as well. "That will be a pretty wide-open deal
there," Defensive Coordinator Justin Wilcox said. Cedric Febis (6-foot-3, 188 pounds) and Day
(6-foot-2, 190) bring size and power never seen before in the
Kyle Wilson emerged as a star at cornerback last year, with big plays
Brad Elkin will be
Several walk-ons did not return to the team this spring, including safety John Barry Van Hoogen, defensive back Darrell Wilson, punter Bryon Brotzman, linebacker Bryan Anderson and defensive back Seth Anderson.
New walk-ons include
wide receiver Michael Choate, defensive lineman Drew Tavares of
"I think our attitude is good and our work ethic is good and I'm really seeing some improvement in some young guys that we really want to see," Petersen said going into Friday's scrimmage.
Come out and get an early look at the 2007 Boise State Broncos!