The Boise State offensive line can be talked about in the same sentence as the top offensive lines in the country. They have been the backbone of the Bronco offense that has allowed the Boise State juggernaut to become a high-octane unit. What's in store for 2007? In Day One of the Bronco Football Preview, we look at the hogs up front.
One of the trademarks of the recent run of success for the
Bronco football team is the tremendous talent and stability of the offensive
line. As this group goes, so goes the
team. They have paved the way for Brock
Forsey, David Mikell, Lee Marks and now Ian Johnson. They have put up a wall to protect
quarterbacks Bart Hendricks, Ryan Dinwiddie and Jared Zabransky.
The o-line has been a tight unit that has sent Matt Hill and
Daryn Colledge to the National Football League in the last five years and is poised
to give the pros yet another star in Ryan Clady. Clady, an imposing 6-6, 317-pound junior, has
started all but two games in his Boise
State career and is already ringing
up the honors. In his sophomore year, he
was named Freshman All-America and was a second-team All-America choice last
season. Clady has already been tabbed as
a preseason All-American by two publications and is on the Outland Trophy and
Rotary Lombardi Watch Lists.
Clady anchors a line that not only was among the best in the
nation last season but returns virtually intact for this fall. Guard Tad Miller (6-4, 296, senior) has
started all 38 games of his Bronco career; his dependable play makes Boise
State nearly unstoppable on the
left side of the line. Miller is a major
reason why the Broncos have ranked in the top 20 nationally in rushing in each
of the past three seasons. In Tad's
freshman year, he helped Boise State
set a school record with 49 rushing touchdowns and finish second in the nation
in scoring (48.9), fourth in total offense (492.7), 14th in rushing
(229.8) and 20th in passing (262.8).
The following year, the Broncos were fifth in rushing touchdowns (36),
ninth in scoring (36.08) and 19th in rushing (202.46). Last season, Miller and Boise
State was second in the nation in
scoring (39.69), second in rushing touchdowns (39), sixth in rushing (214.15)
and 10th in total offense (420.62).
Despite that consistent play, Miller has not earned the respect of
Western Athletic Conference opponents, who have yet to name him to the All-WAC
As if that wasn't enough to make opposing defensive
coordinators cringe, add in another 38-game starter for Boise
State—Jeff Cavender. Cavender (6-2, 287, senior) is slated to
start at center again after a year at right guard. Jeff also started all 13 games at center in
2005, showing the amazing flexibility that Boise
State has. Cavender shows the kind of effort that
coaches love—he's often 10-15 yards downfield looking for another opponent to
mow down like the one that's laying on the ground at the line of
scrimmage. Like Miller, the three
consecutive years of running up nationally-competitive numbers have yet to
impress fellow WAC schools enough to vote Cavender all-league.
Talk about a big hoss.
Andrew Woodruff (6-3, 328, junior)started the second half of the
Louisiana Tech game in 2005 and hasn't let up since. Simply put, he was playing far too well in
practice to keep him on the bench. Woodruff
is a tenacious blocker big enough to occupy all of a big defensive tackle's time
and frustrating him in the process.
Woody also has a legitimate shot at the NFL if he can finish with two
The fifth starter will likely be Dan Gore, who finally has
found a home after moving over from the defensive side of the ball. Gore (6-5, 296, senior) is thriving in his
new position and enters the final two weeks of fall ball as the starter at
Pete Cavender (6-2, 293, senior) started the majority of
games as a freshman and sophomore, only to miss all of last season with an
injury suffered in the summer. Pete
gives Boise State
tremendous depth, entering the 2007 season #2 at guard behind Woodruff. Former
Timberline High School
star Nate Potter (6-6, 273, freshman) has a promising career ahead of him. He is good enough to play right now and would
certainly figure into the lineup should something happen to one of the starting
five. Senior Jeff Biedermann (6-3, 293)
has been a backup at guard for the Broncos and is more than ready should
something happen to one of the starters.
Jon Gott (6-3, 286, junior) also has plenty of experience in the program
and is the backup to Miller at left guard.
Freshman Mitch Rudder (6-2, 281) out of Skyview
High School in Nampa
will back up Jeff Cavender at center.
Matt Slater (6-5, 269, freshman) is also on the two-deep at right
Who is waiting in the wings to grab attention on the
offensive line? Ben Iannacchione (6-3,
284, junior) came to Boise State
in 2005 after transferring from West Virginia. In high school, Iannacchione was named the #1
offensive lineman in Pennsylvania
by the Pittsburgh Tribune, but has yet to crack the starting lineup at Boise
State. Garrett Pendergast (6-3, 275, freshman) was
named All-Orange County
second team as a senior in high school.
Pendergast will likely redshirt this year. Big things are expected from Cory Yriarte
(6-1, 290, freshman), who was rated as the 12th best center in the
nation by Scout.com for his play at Oaks Christian High School in Westlake,
California. Yriarte was the Ventura
County Offensive Lineman of the Year after helping oaks Christian rush for over
3,500 yards and 91 touchdowns and pass for over 3,600 yards and 51
touchdowns. Yriarte also will likely
redshirt but is definitely a name for the future. Kevin Sapien (6-4, 267) was credited with 61
pancake blocks as a senior at West Torrance
High School and is ready to go
after redshirting last season. Thomas Byrd (6-0, 290, freshman) was named to
the All-East Bay Team as a starter in San Pablo, California and also earned
offensive Most Valuable Player, a rare honor for a lineman. Byrds' team gained 244 yards on the ground
last year and featured four 1,000-yard rushers the past two seasons. Byrd too will redshirt, giving Bronco fans
great hope for the future. Joey Chavez
(5-11, 249, freshman) and Sam Doulhit (5-11, 244, freshman) from Eagle
High School provide depth. Zach Waller (6-5, 280, freshman) was part of
the great 2007 recruiting class and will redshirt.
Paul Lucariello (6-4, 273, sophomore) was injured in the
preseason and will not be able to play this year.
likes to go with a "gang of eight" that can start at several positions, giving
the coaching staff flexibility. They
will always go with the five most talented linemen and then fit them into the
starting lineup. As scary as it will be
for opposing teams, this line will be better than the one last year that paved
the way for Heisman Trophy candidate Ian Johnson, scored 39.69 points a game (2nd
in the nation) and won the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.