Zag's Frags.. Week 7

BroncoCountry.com is proud to bring you Zag's Frags.. musings and WAC football predictions from the irrepressible, irreverent and sometimes irrational Zagco. From Honolulu to Ruston, Moscow to Las Cruces and beyond, Zagco tells you exactly what you need to know about what is happening this week in the WAC.

ZAG'S FRAGS:  2007 WEEK 7

Copyright Zagco

A WEEKLY LOOK AT WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE FOOTBALL

Zagco's 36-6 on the year.

Wow.  WOW!  At some point on Sunday night, Zagco begin imagining the hauntingly inspiring and soul-baring melodies of Lisa Gerrard above the roar of the crowd in Bronco Stadium, and he could have sworn before Taylor Tharp exited the game that he tore off his helmet and yelled to the crowd:  "Are you not entertained?  Are you not entertained?  Is this not why you are here?"

Zagco did not think the crowd noise was nearly as loud as it can get, and he believes the reason is because so many of us sat in stunned amazement at what we were seeing.  Zagco tried yelling, and he tried to get others around him to yell louder, but then he began giving the "thumbs up" sign instead.

For those of you who were blessed to have been watching a certain team play in a certain Sunday night college football game televised on a certain network on the Lord's Day—you know who you are—all Zagco can say is that the Lord works in many strange and wonderful ways.  Boise State , a team that plays on Blue Turf so that the Lord can more easily locate it when He gazes upon all the Earth, played a spectacular game!  Yes, mistakes were made and things can be cleaned up, as Saint Pete explained après game, but we mere sinners stand in utter awe—we are not worthy.  Whether New Mexico State can be considered the ancient Egyptian army or a ragtag band of disorganized, Stone Age ruffians is beside the point.  Whoever and whatever they are or were, we smote them, and we smote them good.  Meat's back on the menu, boys!

Anyhoo, in the process of bringing down fire and brimstone upon our adversaries, our Broncos gave us a few things that we've been anxiously awaiting, to wit:

1.                  A quarterback.  The Bronco Nation woke up Sunday night to realize that the Taylor Tharp Era is here and now.  Until Sunday night, there was a vibe among the fans of discomfort, not about him so much as it was about a lingering uncertainty with all four of our active signal callers.  Everyone has a favorite, and everyone has an opinion.  Totally natural, albeit frustrating.  The Bronco Nation was waiting for someone to bust out, and as the Seventies band Orleans told us in one of their biggest hit singles, "Love takes time, and it's hard to find."  Right now, Zagco feels a lot of love from the Bronco Nation for Taylor Tharp.

2.                  Concomitantly, in the post-game stories from the prior week (when we saw Mike Coughlin inserted into the Southern Miss game), we learned that Taylor Tharp wanted to be the quarterback and wasn't afraid to say it:  ""All I have to say about that is I want to play. I want to be the guy that takes every snap, but it's not my decision," Tharp said. "It can (get a guy out of rhythm). It definitely can. Luckily when I got back in there, after things got shaken up a little, we started clicking again."  Idaho Statesman Article.  Mr. Tharp stepped up—he "talked the talk" and "walked the walk," for you Jimmy Johnson devotees.  The whole thing reminds Zagco of a deleted portion of a scene from Zagco's favorite movie about gladiators (Gladiator), which should have been kept in the movie.  In the scene, which is a slight tweak to an existing scene shown in the released movie, Emperor Commodus is shown asking two Praetorians who are about to be executed their names (incidentally, Commodus' sister, Lucilla, is just a smokin' hot Roman hottie—a gold dust woman—who always makes Zagco think of that Heart song about being left stranded—crap, who wouldn't want to take Lucilla to "the place where lovers go!"—when she comforts Maximus on the floor of the Coliseum after he suffered fatal wounds in his final, epic, victorious showdown with Commodus).  When he walks back to his new general, Quintus, he tells him that they must have known of General Maximus's escape from his execution after the battle in Germania .  Quintus attempts to defend the men, saying they did not know.  Maximus replies that as general, Quintus should have known, because a general is "in control, always in command, isn't he."  Quintus agrees.  At this point, the Roman archers are told to raise their bows, and the drums begin beating.  Commodus pauses, as the archers strain and shake, awaiting the order to release the arrows.  After an exceedingly uncomfortable pause, Commodus glibly says to Quintus, "Then give the command, say it."  After a slight moment to consider, Quintus obliges:  "Fire."  Like Quintus, Taylor Tharp seized the job in a defining moment; he did what he had to do.

3.                  Our defense is so solid.  One of Zagco's biggest questions coming into the year was how we would respond to the New Mexico State passing game, which embarrassed us last year after we very nearly blew the game as wide open as last week's game.  Question answered.  Zagco sees pressure being applied, the run is being stuffed, and our DB's locking people down.  O and Kyle "Fright Night" Wilson are just sick out there, and Marty Tadman—a man who does post-game interviews with his lovely wife standing beside him—is laying down the wood on people like he thinks he's Kenny Easley.  Our fleet of defensive linemen and linebackers is just doing great, and Zagco really does think we're bringing a lot more heat than at any time in recent memory.

4.                  Our young players are really stepping up.  Zagco's a big fan of Titus Young, primarily because he goes deep, and Zagco's the kind of guy who's always swingin' for the fences.  Zagco likes the long bomb.  If you ever hear anyone in the stands yelling "GO UP TOP," that'd be Zagco.  However, many other freshmen are also making solid contributions.  Frankly, Zagco just doesn't have a lot of nervousness about our young players.  They look very, very good.

5.                  We are really starting to see what Ian Johnson has been implying for awhile about a slightly different philosophy.  His role this year is more diverse and, thus, harder to predict—it's almost like Marshall Faulk or Priest Holmes; he's become an "all purpose" back.  He's being used in many different ways, including in ways that probably cause confusion for the defense.  It's working very well, and Harper and Peanut are adding even more diversity of style into the running game.  It's almost dizzying to see how the three of them differ in style—it's like one, big target that is moving and changing shapes all the time.  Not since Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick, and Mercury Morris has Zagco seen a three-headed beast of this nature.

At any rate, enough about Boise State !  The last thing Zagco would want to do is go on and on and on about something.  Let's shift gears for a moment!  Zagco would like to give a very quick and dirty overview of his feelings about the other WAC teams to date:

1.                  Hawaii .  The receiving group and Colt Brennan are as good as expected.  They are serious threats to anyone.  That said, Zagco has some concerns about Hawaii:  (1) Colt Brennan has been getting banged up, and Hawaii's running game is a far cry from last year, which leads Zagco to believe that the offensive line has not been able to duplicate last year's line; (2) the defense does not look real good, when you look at the three WAC teams they've played, La Tech, Idaho, and Utah State; and (3) it's hard to really know where they stand, because their competition to date has been poor—their most impressive win to date was a thrashing of UNLV in Vega$, which isn't saying much.  We'll find out more this week when they come back to the mainland.

2.                  Fresno .  Hard to know for sure, but Zagco thought they looked pretty good against Reno .  Zagco did not think they'd win that game.  They looked pretty fast, and their offense seemed to have a purpose, which is something that Fresno often seems to lack.  Zagco thinks this is a team on the rise.  They should be respected.

3.                  Reno .  Last week's loss to Fresno lowered Reno a couple notches on Zagco's WAC-o-meter.  Zagco still does not get "the pistol offense," and he just thinks Reno looks sorta slow, uninspired, and beaten down, wike a fwightened, wittle bunny wabbit.  There's just not much to like about them at this point.

4.                  San Jose Can You See.  Zagco was starting to feel the love for the Bay Area Spartans, after they finished strong against Utah State and then opened strong against Idaho .  But, then they broke down, giving Idaho a shot at coming back in a game that should have been over long before it was.  With Yonus Davis out and/or ineffective with whatever lingering injuries he has, and with the mistakes San Jose made against Idaho , the jury is still out.  Dick Tomey—a totally decent guy—will no doubt keep them focused, but it seems like he's being tested by this group, and they might be a little young and thin at some positions.  Zagco still respects them, but they are one bad performance away from being discarded into the pile of woulda's, coulda's, and shouda's.

5.                  Idaho .  Satan's army is about where Zagco expected them to be, and it frightens and confuses Zagco to see more and more of Coach Akey running around and jumping about on the sidelines, jawboning his players, slapping everyone around, and just generally acting like Nick Holt.  Zagco sorta liked their freshman quarterback, Nathan Enderle, although having moxie does not make up for issues like completion percentage, interceptions, and some needless sacks.  The freshman running back, Deonte Jackson, is also notably talented, although apparently still somewhat dinged up.  Zagco is also confused by Idaho 's playcalling.  At this point, Zagco thinks Idaho is fighting a battle of attrition, starting to pay the price for a lack of depth at all positions, grappling with the realization that another year has come and almost gone without a winning season, and a fan base that seems distinctly demoralized.  However, given Idaho 's 100+ year history of consistently losing football (except for the years they were in I-AA), it makes no sense for fans to abandon them now.

6.                  Utah State .  They've tried to limit Leon Jackson's mistakes, but he is still just a talented athlete who should not be playing quarterback.  They have a couple very talented players (Leon Jackson could probably be a great player at another position), but overall they just look completely overmatched.  That Kevin Robinson kid they have is NFL talent, but he's mainly a returner.  Overall, however, Zagco sees no hope for the Aggies.

7.                  New Mexico State .  We saw them last Sunday night.  Clearly, Hal Mumme has no idea what defense is, and his offensive scheme is pretty clearly so dependent on the quarterback that it cannot function without him.  That's not good.  You cannot allow a system to determine the fate of a team.  New Mexico State might have a talented collection of players, but Zagco thinks the system has determined their fate.  The Gaggies might throw up some numbers a couple more times, but they're finished.  Stick a pin in them.

8.                  La Tech.  While Zagco predicted La Tech would lose to Ole' Miss, he was sorta impressed with how they lost.  They limited Ole' Miss to 232 yards, including only 65 rushing yards.  They gained 301, with 150 coming on the run and 151 through the air.  Very balanced.  They only gave up two defensive touchdowns.  La Tech is playing what appears to be a tough-nosed and balanced type of football.  Coach Dooley has done a good job with them.  Watch out for these guys.  They nearly knocked off Hawaii .  Zagco thinks they are a dangerous team.  Looking ahead, Zagco considers La Tech to be the "trap game" of the year.

Finally, Zagco is so sorry about last week's whole situation with the abbreviated Frags.  Chaka-kan sort of explained it to you.  It all started when Rizzo was complaining about how England Dan and John Ford Coley keep wanting to add some covers of other Seventies songs to their comeback album, songs such as Cat Stevens' "Two Fine People" and Peaches and Herb's "Shake Your Groove Thing."  This set Rizzo off, because it's just totally like stealing a page out of Barry Manilow's playbook.  Rizzo tried to explain the advantages of growing your market by covering some newer songs instead of mining from the same old fan base.  They nearly agreed to do Snoop's "Gin and Juice," which would have been mind-blowing, but the whole thing broke down when England Dan demanded that he be the one to say the "laid back" part (he thinks his voice is deeper).  Rizzo has them now trying to put together a cover of Nickelback's "Rock Star," but they're fighting over who gets to be the guy that sings the background parts, like "I'll have the quesadilla, ha, ha!"  Anyhoo, we then flew over to the Black Sea to meet the financiers of the whole project because they were hearing some stuff.  That was a total trip!  After a couple nights hanging out in swanky resorts poolside with these Russian gangsters eating caviar all day long, we took Rizzo's Lear jet up to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun.  The weird part was that we ran into Juice Newton!  Plus, Denise Richards was calling Rizzo the whole time, and he won't talk to her because of the stuff he reads about her on the Perez Hilton gossip blog.  He just hands the phone to Zagco, and Zagco has NO IDEA what to say to her!  Frankly, Zagco's worried about the whole project—these Russian financiers are not going to be easy to please, and England Dan and John Ford Coley really need to get with the program.

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors v. San Jose Can You See Spartans
Where:  San Jose , Cali
When:  Friday, October 12, 2007 at 6:00 p.m. MT (ESPN)

The Rainbow Warriors bring their Haka dance to the mainland, giving all the fans in San Jose a chance to see young men dance in unison, like the chorus line in an off-Broadway production of West Side Story.  One of these days, when Hawaii does that dance on the road, someone smart in the home team booth with access to the public address system will start playing Michael Jackson's song "Bad" when they're grooving.  That would be worth watching.

Hawaii 's second string quarterback, Tyler Graunke, will play in this game.  He's second in the WAC in passing efficiency, behind Hawaii 's first team quarterback.  San Jose has a decent passing defense (3rd in the WAC), and Dick Tomey is a wily old gridiron master, especially on defense.  Hawaii has NO running game—77.2 yards per game.  However, San Jose is even worse at 65.3 yards per game.  San Jose 's passing attack is in the upper half of the WAC, and Adam Tafralis can be a good quarterback, but they've had some real issues this year on offense.

Zagco thinks San Jose could throw a scare into Hawaii , but he can't see them winning this game.  Hawaii is vulnerable, and Zagco would have been very tempted to pick San Jose if they'd not stunk it up in the fourth quarter against Idaho .  Alas, no dice.  The Rainbow Warriors will roll in their 2007 ESPN debut.

Hawaii will defeat San Jose Can You See.

Fresno State Bulldogs v. Idaho Vandals
Where:  Moscow , Idaho
When:  Saturday, October 13, 2007 at 3:00 p.m. MT (BSN, ALT)

Pat Hill brings his Bulldogs north to get it on with the Vandals in the Kibbie Dome, a 1970's engineering masterpiece that is on a par with polyester clothing, leisure suits, platform shoes, and the Ford Pinto.

Idaho has a real problem at quarterback.  When Enderle was playing, he was the lowest rated quarterback in the WAC.  With Nooy, they've gotten worse.  But Zagco does not blame it all on them, because he's puzzled by the playcalling going on.  Idaho 's main weapon is Deonte Jackson.  He's been banged up, but he's played well through the pain.  He needs to be used more, and Idaho needs to go with some quick and shorter passes, because the bombs are just not working.  Whatever it is, the Vandal playcalling just seems wrong.

Fresno has some trouble stopping the run on defense.  Idaho could possibly exploit Fresno 's run-stopping problems, unless they start trying to run Bird on wide sweeps.  Fresno 's team numbers are fair to solid in other respects—nothing spectacular really jumps out.  Idaho 's horrible when you look at their numbers, other than Jackson .

The thing to consider, however, is that Fresno gave up 702 yards to Reno last week, which includes a late breakdown in the second half of the fourth quarter, after they were ahead 49-20.  The Bulldogs gave up 3 late touchdowns.  But, seriously—702 yards of offense!!!!  Offensively, the Bulldogs put up good numbers, but the thing that really pops out is the 307 rushing yards.  Idaho 's better than Reno against the run, but not THAT much better.  Plus, overall, Idaho 's defense is about the same as Reno 's.

Idaho is going to make Fresno work for the win, but Zagco suspects Fresno will feed off the mojo it picked up last week.

Fresno will defeat Idaho .

New Mexico State Gaggies v. La Tech Bulldogs
Where:  Ruston , La
When:  Saturday, October 6, 2007 at 5:00 p.m. MT (ERT)

Hal Mumme and his troops barely have time to lick their wounds before they find themselves down South in the Bayou, speaking Cajun and eating gumbo.

La Tech is a disciplined football team.  They also obviously know how to scheme up gimmick offenses, as evidenced by their near defeat of Hawaii .  Running back Patrick Jackson leads a balanced attack in Ruston , and Zac Champion, while not a Colt Brennan, seems to play very nicely within himself and the system.  The Aggies looked very disheveled.  The only Aggie player that impressed Zagco last week was receiver Chris Williams, who held onto the ball after a crushing hit by Marty Tadman.  Zagco thinks La Tech will discipline and coach itself to a win in this important home game for them.

La Tech will defeat New Mexico State .

Reno Wolf Pack v. Boise State Broncos
Where:  The Blue
When:  Sunday, October 14, 2007 at 6:00 p.m. MT (ESPN)

Once again, Boise State is featured on ESPN's Sunday night college football game, this time against our old foes from the Biggest Little City in the World.  While Zagco was initially skeptical about how the Lord might look upon Boise State playing on His day, it now seems apparent that perhaps the Lord likes to kick back a bit and watch a little gridiron on Sunday.

At any rate, whatever the Lord may or may not think, Reno comes sauntering into Boise a far cry from where they were last year, when the Broncos met up with them down Nevada way.  This year, Reno looks disheveled, outmanned, and a wee bit slow.  They're snakebitten.  Their schedule has not been friendly, but losing last week at home to Fresno, even though Fresno appears to be a much-improved team, is just not something one can do in the course of trying to establish a new, consistent, winning image with the fans.  You must defend your home turf.

No one defends their home turf better than the Broncos, and when we're playing so far out on the performance curve, we're probably close to unbeatable on the Blue.

The Broncos are at or near the top of almost all statistical categories in the WAC.  Reno gives up almost 35 points per game (1 ½ points from the worst in the WAC and FAR below Boise State's leading 12.2 ppg), and they are last in the WAC in rushing defense, giving up 268 yards per game on the ground.  Reno 's second in total offense, but who wouldn't be after just putting up 702 yards (in a losing effort!)?  Reno 's overall defense is the second worst in the WAC.  If anything, pass defense is probably Reno 's strongest card.

Boise State fans expect a rout after last week.  They might get it.  However, it's entirely conceivable that the Broncos play into Reno 's weakness by pounding the ball, running time off the clock and keeping the score lower than some might expect.  Reno will try to get receivers Marko Mitchell and Mike McCoy into the game, and while they are decent receivers, they've not been super effective this year with the new Wolf Pack quarterback, Nick Graziano.  Running back Luke Lippincott is at 72.8 yards per game, and he's not an all-purpose threat.  Defensively, linebacker Joshua Mauga ("Mr. Magoo") is second in the WAC in tackles with 11.6 per game.  Overall, however, Reno 's system—the "pistol offense"—has never been effective against Boise State 's defense, and there's no reason to think it will suddenly find its way.  The bottom line is that Zagco has just not seen anything from Reno that gets him real excited.

Frankly, unless Reno can improve the quality of its players, Zagco sees no sense in continuing this rivalry.

Boise State will defeat Reno .

All content ©2007 BroncoCountry.com/Scout.com.


Bronco Country Top Stories

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ZAG'S FRAGS: \r\n2007 WEEK 7\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Copyright Zagco\r\n\r\n

\r\n

A WEEKLY LOOK AT WESTERN ATHLETIC\r\nCONFERENCE FOOTBALL\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\nZagco's 36-6 on the year.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Wow. \r\nWOW!  At some point on Sunday\r\nnight, Zagco begin imagining the hauntingly inspiring and soul-baring melodies\r\nof Lisa Gerrard above the roar of the crowd in Bronco Stadium, and he could have\r\nsworn before Taylor Tharp exited the game that he tore off his helmet and yelled\r\nto the crowd:  \"Are you not\r\nentertained?  Are you not\r\nentertained?  Is this not why you are\r\nhere?\"\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\nZagco did not think the crowd noise was nearly as loud as it can get, and he\r\nbelieves the reason is because so many of us sat in stunned amazement at what we\r\nwere seeing.  Zagco tried yelling,\r\nand he tried to get others around him to yell louder, but then he began giving\r\nthe \"thumbs up\" sign instead.\r\n\r\n

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For\r\nthose of you who were blessed to have been watching a certain team play in a\r\ncertain Sunday night college football game televised on a certain network on the\r\nLord's Day—you know who you are—all Zagco can say is that the Lord works\r\nin many strange and wonderful ways.  \r\n\r\nBoise\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n, a team that plays on Blue Turf so that the Lord can more easily locate it when\r\nHe gazes upon all the Earth, played a spectacular game! \r\nYes, mistakes were made and things can be cleaned up, as Saint Pete\r\nexplained après game, but we mere sinners stand in utter awe—we are not\r\nworthy.  Whether \r\n\r\nNew Mexico\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n can be considered the ancient Egyptian army or a ragtag band of disorganized,\r\nStone Age ruffians is beside the point.  Whoever\r\nand whatever they are or were, we smote them, and we smote them good. \r\nMeat's back on the menu, boys!\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Anyhoo,\r\nin the process of bringing down fire and brimstone upon our adversaries, our\r\nBroncos gave us a few things that we've been anxiously awaiting, to wit:\r\n\r\n

\r\n

1.                 \r\nA quarterback. \r\nThe Bronco Nation woke up Sunday night to realize that the Taylor Tharp\r\nEra is here and now.  Until Sunday\r\nnight, there was a vibe among the fans of discomfort, not about him so much as\r\nit was about a lingering uncertainty with all four of our active signal callers. \r\nEveryone has a favorite, and everyone has an opinion. \r\nTotally natural, albeit frustrating. \r\nThe Bronco Nation was waiting for someone to bust out, and as the\r\nSeventies band \r\n\r\nOrleans\r\n\r\n told us in one of their biggest hit singles, \"Love takes time, and it's\r\nhard to find.\"  Right now, Zagco\r\nfeels a lot of love from the Bronco Nation for Taylor Tharp.\r\n\r\n

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2.                 \r\nConcomitantly, in the post-game\r\nstories from the prior week (when we saw Mike Coughlin inserted into the\r\nSouthern Miss game), we learned that Taylor Tharp wanted to be the quarterback\r\nand wasn't afraid to say it:  \"\"All\r\nI have to say about that is I want to play. I want to be the guy that takes\r\nevery snap, but it's not my decision,\" Tharp said. \"It can (get a guy out\r\nof rhythm). It definitely can. Luckily when I got back in there, after things\r\ngot shaken up a little, we started clicking again.\" \r\nIdaho\r\nStatesman Article.  Mr. Tharp\r\nstepped up—he \"talked the talk\" and \"walked the walk,\" for you Jimmy\r\nJohnson devotees.  The whole thing\r\nreminds Zagco of a deleted portion of a scene from Zagco's favorite movie\r\nabout gladiators (Gladiator), which should have been kept in the movie. \r\nIn the scene, which is a slight tweak to an existing scene shown in the\r\nreleased movie, Emperor Commodus is shown asking two Praetorians who are about\r\nto be executed their names (incidentally, Commodus' sister, Lucilla, is just a\r\nsmokin' hot Roman hottie—a gold dust woman—who always makes Zagco think of\r\nthat Heart song about being left stranded—crap, who wouldn't want to take\r\nLucilla to \"the place where lovers go!\"—when she comforts Maximus on the\r\nfloor of the Coliseum after he suffered fatal wounds in his final, epic,\r\nvictorious showdown with Commodus).  When\r\nhe walks back to his new general, Quintus, he tells him that they must have\r\nknown of General Maximus's escape from his execution after the battle in \r\nGermania\r\n.  Quintus attempts to defend the\r\nmen, saying they did not know.  Maximus\r\nreplies that as general, Quintus should have known, because a general is \"in\r\ncontrol, always in command, isn't he.\"  Quintus\r\nagrees.  At this point, the Roman\r\narchers are told to raise their bows, and the drums begin beating. \r\nCommodus pauses, as the archers strain and shake, awaiting the order to\r\nrelease the arrows.  After an\r\nexceedingly uncomfortable pause, Commodus glibly says to Quintus, \"Then give\r\nthe command, say it.\"  After a\r\nslight moment to consider, Quintus obliges: \r\n\"Fire.\"  Like Quintus,\r\nTaylor Tharp seized the job in a defining moment; he did what he had to do.\r\n\r\n

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3.                 \r\nOur defense is so solid. \r\nOne of Zagco's biggest questions coming into the year was how we would\r\nrespond to the New Mexico State passing game, which embarrassed us last year\r\nafter we very nearly blew the game as wide open as last week's game. \r\nQuestion answered.  Zagco sees\r\npressure being applied, the run is being stuffed, and our DB's locking people\r\ndown.  O and Kyle \"Fright Night\"\r\nWilson are just sick out there, and Marty Tadman—a man who does post-game\r\ninterviews with his lovely wife standing beside him—is laying down the wood on\r\npeople like he thinks he's Kenny Easley.  Our\r\nfleet of defensive linemen and linebackers is just doing great, and Zagco really\r\ndoes think we're bringing a lot more heat than at any time in recent memory.\r\n\r\n

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4.                 \r\nOur young players are really\r\nstepping up.  Zagco's a big fan of\r\nTitus Young, primarily because he goes deep, and Zagco's the kind of guy\r\nwho's always swingin' for the fences.  Zagco\r\nlikes the long bomb.  If you ever\r\nhear anyone in the stands yelling \"GO UP TOP,\" that'd be Zagco. \r\nHowever, many other freshmen are also making solid contributions. \r\nFrankly, Zagco just doesn't have a lot of nervousness about our young\r\nplayers.  They look very, very good. \r\n\r\n

\r\n

5.                 \r\nWe are really starting to see what\r\nIan Johnson has been implying for awhile about a slightly different philosophy. \r\nHis role this year is more diverse and, thus, harder to predict—it's\r\nalmost like Marshall Faulk or Priest Holmes; he's become an \"all purpose\"\r\nback.  He's being used in many\r\ndifferent ways, including in ways that probably cause confusion for the defense. \r\nIt's working very well, and Harper and Peanut are adding even more\r\ndiversity of style into the running game.  It's\r\nalmost dizzying to see how the three of them differ in style—it's like one,\r\nbig target that is moving and changing shapes all the time. \r\nNot since Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick, and Mercury Morris has Zagco seen a\r\nthree-headed beast of this nature.\r\n\r\n

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At\r\nany rate, enough about \r\n\r\nBoise\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n!  The last thing Zagco would want to\r\ndo is go on and on and on about something.  Let's\r\nshift gears for a moment!  Zagco\r\nwould like to give a very quick and dirty overview of his feelings about the\r\nother WAC teams to date:\r\n\r\n

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1.                 \r\n\r\n\r\nHawaii\r\n\r\n. \r\nThe receiving group and Colt Brennan are as good as expected. \r\nThey are serious threats to anyone.  That\r\nsaid, Zagco has some concerns about Hawaii: \r\n(1) Colt Brennan has been getting banged up, and Hawaii's running game\r\nis a far cry from last year, which leads Zagco to believe that the offensive\r\nline has not been able to duplicate last year's line; (2) the defense does not\r\nlook real good, when you look at the three WAC teams they've played, La Tech,\r\nIdaho, and Utah State; and (3) it's hard to really know where they stand,\r\nbecause their competition to date has been poor—their most impressive win to\r\ndate was a thrashing of UNLV in Vega$, which isn't saying much. \r\nWe'll find out more this week when they come back to the mainland.\r\n\r\n

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2.                 \r\n\r\n\r\nFresno\r\n\r\n. \r\nHard to know for sure, but Zagco thought they looked pretty good against \r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n.  Zagco did not think they'd win\r\nthat game.  They looked pretty fast,\r\nand their offense seemed to have a purpose, which is something that \r\n\r\nFresno\r\n\r\n often seems to lack.  Zagco thinks\r\nthis is a team on the rise.  They\r\nshould be respected.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

3.                 \r\n\r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n.  Last\r\nweek's loss to \r\nFresno\r\n lowered \r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n a couple notches on Zagco's WAC-o-meter. \r\nZagco still does not get \"the pistol offense,\" and he just thinks \r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n looks sorta slow, uninspired, and beaten down, wike a fwightened, wittle bunny\r\nwabbit.  There's just not much to\r\nlike about them at this point.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

4.                 \r\nSan Jose Can You See. \r\nZagco was starting to feel the love for the Bay Area Spartans, after they\r\nfinished strong against \r\nUtah\r\n \r\nState\r\n and then opened strong against \r\n\r\nIdaho\r\n\r\n.  But, then they broke down, giving \r\n\r\nIdaho\r\n\r\n a shot at coming back in a game that should have been over long before it was. \r\nWith Yonus Davis out and/or ineffective with whatever lingering injuries\r\nhe has, and with the mistakes \r\nSan Jose\r\n made against \r\n\r\nIdaho\r\n\r\n, the jury is still out.  Dick Tomey—a\r\ntotally decent guy—will no doubt keep them focused, but it seems like he's\r\nbeing tested by this group, and they might be a little young and thin at some\r\npositions.  Zagco still respects\r\nthem, but they are one bad performance away from being discarded into the pile\r\nof woulda's, coulda's, and shouda's.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

5.                 \r\n\r\n\r\nIdaho\r\n\r\n.  Satan's\r\narmy is about where Zagco expected them to be, and it frightens and confuses\r\nZagco to see more and more of Coach Akey running around and jumping about on the\r\nsidelines, jawboning his players, slapping everyone around, and just generally\r\nacting like Nick Holt.  Zagco sorta\r\nliked their freshman quarterback, Nathan Enderle, although having moxie does not\r\nmake up for issues like completion percentage, interceptions, and some needless\r\nsacks.  The freshman running back,\r\nDeonte Jackson, is also notably talented, although apparently still somewhat\r\ndinged up.  Zagco is also confused by\r\n\r\n\r\nIdaho\r\n\r\n's playcalling.  At this point,\r\nZagco thinks \r\n\r\nIdaho\r\n\r\n is fighting a battle of attrition, starting to pay the price for a lack of\r\ndepth at all positions, grappling with the realization that another year has\r\ncome and almost gone without a winning season, and a fan base that seems\r\ndistinctly demoralized.  However,\r\ngiven \r\n\r\nIdaho\r\n\r\n's 100+ year history of consistently losing football (except for the years\r\nthey were in I-AA), it makes no sense for fans to abandon them now.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

6.                 \r\n\r\n\r\nUtah\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n.  They've\r\ntried to limit Leon Jackson's mistakes, but he is still just a talented\r\nathlete who should not be playing quarterback. \r\nThey have a couple very talented players (Leon Jackson could probably be\r\na great player at another position), but overall they just look completely\r\novermatched.  That Kevin Robinson kid\r\nthey have is NFL talent, but he's mainly a returner. \r\nOverall, however, Zagco sees no hope for the Aggies.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

7.                 \r\n\r\n\r\nNew Mexico\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n.  We\r\nsaw them last Sunday night.  Clearly,\r\nHal Mumme has no idea what defense is, and his offensive scheme is pretty\r\nclearly so dependent on the quarterback that it cannot function without him. \r\nThat's not good.  You cannot\r\nallow a system to determine the fate of a team. \r\n\r\n\r\nNew Mexico\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n might have a talented collection of players, but Zagco thinks the system has\r\ndetermined their fate.  The Gaggies\r\nmight throw up some numbers a couple more times, but they're finished. \r\nStick a pin in them.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

8.                 \r\nLa Tech. \r\nWhile Zagco predicted La Tech would lose to Ole' Miss, he was sorta\r\nimpressed with how they lost.  They\r\nlimited Ole' Miss to 232 yards, including only 65 rushing yards. \r\nThey gained 301, with 150 coming on the run and 151 through the air. \r\nVery balanced.  They only gave\r\nup two defensive touchdowns.  La Tech\r\nis playing what appears to be a tough-nosed and balanced type of football. \r\nCoach Dooley has done a good job with them. \r\nWatch out for these guys.  They\r\nnearly knocked off \r\n\r\nHawaii\r\n\r\n.  Zagco thinks they are a dangerous\r\nteam.  Looking ahead, Zagco considers\r\nLa Tech to be the \"trap game\" of the year.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Finally,\r\nZagco is so sorry about last week's whole situation with the abbreviated Frags. \r\nChaka-kan sort of explained it to you. \r\nIt all started when Rizzo was complaining about how England Dan and John\r\nFord Coley keep wanting to add some covers of other Seventies songs to their\r\ncomeback album, songs such as Cat Stevens' \"Two Fine People\" and Peaches\r\nand Herb's \"Shake Your Groove Thing.\" \r\nThis set Rizzo off, because it's just totally like stealing a page out\r\nof Barry Manilow's playbook.  Rizzo\r\ntried to explain the advantages of growing your market by covering some newer\r\nsongs instead of mining from the same old fan base. \r\nThey nearly agreed to do Snoop's \"Gin and Juice,\" which would have\r\nbeen mind-blowing, but the whole thing broke down when England Dan demanded that\r\nhe be the one to say the \"laid back\" part (he thinks his voice is deeper). \r\nRizzo has them now trying to put together a cover of Nickelback's\r\n\"Rock Star,\" but they're fighting over who gets to be the guy that sings\r\nthe background parts, like \"I'll have the quesadilla, ha, ha!\" \r\nAnyhoo, we then flew over to the \r\nBlack Sea\r\n to meet the financiers of the whole project because they were hearing some\r\nstuff.  That was a total trip! \r\nAfter a couple nights hanging out in swanky resorts poolside with these\r\nRussian gangsters eating caviar all day long, we took Rizzo's Lear jet up to \r\n\r\nNova Scotia\r\n\r\n to see the total eclipse of the sun.  The\r\nweird part was that we ran into Juice Newton! \r\nPlus, Denise Richards was calling Rizzo the whole time, and he won't\r\ntalk to her because of the stuff he reads about her on the Perez Hilton gossip\r\nblog.  He just hands the phone to\r\nZagco, and Zagco has NO IDEA what to say to her! \r\nFrankly, Zagco's worried about the whole project—these Russian\r\nfinanciers are not going to be easy to please, and England Dan and John Ford\r\nColey really need to get with the program.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\nHawaii\r\n\r\nRainbow Warriors v. \r\n\r\nSan Jose\r\n\r\n Can You See Spartans
\r\nWhere:  \r\nSan Jose\r\n, \r\n\r\nCali
\r\nWhen:  Friday, October 12, 2007 at\r\n6:00 p.m. MT (ESPN)\r\n\r\n

\r\n

The\r\nRainbow Warriors bring their Haka dance to the mainland, giving all the fans in \r\n\r\nSan Jose\r\n\r\n a chance to see young men dance in unison, like the chorus line in an\r\noff-Broadway production of West Side Story. \r\nOne of these days, when \r\n\r\nHawaii\r\n\r\n does that dance on the road, someone smart in the home team booth with access\r\nto the public address system will start playing Michael Jackson's song\r\n\"Bad\" when they're grooving.  That\r\nwould be worth watching.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\n\r\nHawaii\r\n\r\n's second string quarterback, Tyler Graunke,\r\nwill play in this game.  He's\r\nsecond in the WAC in passing efficiency, behind \r\n\r\nHawaii\r\n\r\n's first team quarterback.  \r\n\r\nSan Jose\r\n\r\n has a decent passing defense (3rd in the WAC), and Dick Tomey is a\r\nwily old gridiron master, especially on defense. \r\n\r\n\r\nHawaii\r\n\r\n has NO running game—77.2 yards per game. \r\nHowever, \r\n\r\nSan Jose\r\n\r\n is even worse at 65.3 yards per game.  \r\n\r\nSan Jose\r\n\r\n's passing attack is in the upper half of the WAC, and Adam Tafralis can be a\r\ngood quarterback, but they've had some real issues this year on offense.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Zagco\r\nthinks \r\nSan Jose\r\n could throw a scare into \r\n\r\nHawaii\r\n\r\n, but he can't see them winning this game. \r\n\r\nHawaii\r\n is vulnerable, and Zagco would have been very tempted to pick \r\nSan Jose\r\n if they'd not stunk it up in the fourth quarter against \r\n\r\nIdaho\r\n\r\n.  Alas, no dice. \r\nThe Rainbow Warriors will roll in their 2007 ESPN debut.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\n\r\nHawaii\r\n\r\n will defeat San Jose Can You See.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\nFresno\r\n \r\nState\r\n Bulldogs v. \r\n\r\nIdaho\r\n\r\n Vandals
\r\nWhere:  \r\n\r\nMoscow\r\n, \r\nIdaho
\r\nWhen:  Saturday, October 13, 2007 at\r\n3:00 p.m. MT (BSN, ALT)\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Pat\r\nHill brings his Bulldogs north to get it on with the Vandals in the Kibbie Dome,\r\na 1970's engineering masterpiece that is on a par with polyester clothing,\r\nleisure suits, platform shoes, and the Ford Pinto.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\n\r\nIdaho\r\n\r\n has a real problem at quarterback. \r\nWhen Enderle was playing, he was the lowest rated quarterback in the WAC. \r\nWith Nooy, they've gotten worse.  But\r\nZagco does not blame it all on them, because he's puzzled by the playcalling\r\ngoing on.  \r\n\r\nIdaho\r\n\r\n's main weapon is Deonte Jackson.  He's\r\nbeen banged up, but he's played well through the pain. \r\nHe needs to be used more, and \r\n\r\nIdaho\r\n\r\n needs to go with some quick and shorter passes, because the bombs are just not\r\nworking.  Whatever it is, the Vandal\r\nplaycalling just seems wrong.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\n\r\nFresno\r\n\r\n has some trouble stopping the run on defense. \r\n\r\nIdaho\r\n could possibly exploit \r\n\r\nFresno\r\n\r\n's run-stopping problems, unless they start trying to run Bird on wide sweeps. \r\n\r\n\r\nFresno\r\n\r\n's team numbers are fair to solid in other respects—nothing spectacular\r\nreally jumps out.  \r\nIdaho\r\n's horrible when you look at their numbers, other than \r\n\r\nJackson\r\n\r\n.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

The\r\nthing to consider, however, is that \r\nFresno\r\n gave up 702 yards to \r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n last week, which includes a late breakdown in the second half of the fourth\r\nquarter, after they were ahead 49-20.  The\r\nBulldogs gave up 3 late touchdowns.  But,\r\nseriously—702 yards of offense!!!!  Offensively,\r\nthe Bulldogs put up good numbers, but the thing that really pops out is the 307\r\nrushing yards.  \r\nIdaho\r\n's better than \r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n against the run, but not THAT much better. \r\nPlus, overall, \r\nIdaho\r\n's defense is about the same as \r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n's.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\nIdaho\r\n is going to make \r\nFresno\r\n work for the win, but Zagco suspects \r\n\r\nFresno\r\n\r\n will feed off the mojo it picked up last week.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\nFresno\r\n will defeat \r\n\r\nIdaho\r\n\r\n.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\n\r\nNew Mexico\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n\r\nGaggies v. La Tech Bulldogs
\r\nWhere:  \r\n\r\nRuston\r\n\r\n, La
\r\nWhen:  Saturday, October 6, 2007 at\r\n5:00 p.m. MT (ERT)\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Hal\r\nMumme and his troops barely have time to lick their wounds before they find\r\nthemselves down South in the Bayou, speaking Cajun and eating gumbo.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

La\r\nTech is a disciplined football team.  They\r\nalso obviously know how to scheme up gimmick offenses, as evidenced by their\r\nnear defeat of \r\n\r\nHawaii\r\n\r\n.  Running back Patrick Jackson leads\r\na balanced attack in \r\n\r\nRuston\r\n\r\n, and Zac Champion, while not a Colt Brennan, seems to play very nicely within\r\nhimself and the system.  The Aggies\r\nlooked very disheveled.  The only\r\nAggie player that impressed Zagco last week was receiver Chris Williams, who\r\nheld onto the ball after a crushing hit by Marty Tadman. \r\nZagco thinks La Tech will discipline and coach itself to a win in this\r\nimportant home game for them.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

La\r\nTech will defeat \r\n\r\nNew Mexico\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\nReno\r\n Wolf\r\nPack v. \r\n\r\nBoise\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n Broncos
\r\nWhere:  The Blue
\r\nWhen:  Sunday, October 14, 2007 at\r\n6:00 p.m. MT (ESPN)\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Once\r\nagain, \r\n\r\nBoise\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n is featured on ESPN's Sunday night college football game, this time against\r\nour old foes from the Biggest Little City in the World. \r\nWhile Zagco was initially skeptical about how the Lord might look upon \r\n\r\nBoise\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n playing on His day, it now seems apparent that perhaps the Lord likes to kick\r\nback a bit and watch a little gridiron on Sunday.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

At\r\nany rate, whatever the Lord may or may not think, Reno comes sauntering into\r\nBoise a far cry from where they were last year, when the Broncos met up with\r\nthem down Nevada way.  This year, \r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n looks disheveled, outmanned, and a wee bit slow. \r\nThey're snakebitten.  Their\r\nschedule has not been friendly, but losing last week at home to Fresno, even\r\nthough Fresno appears to be a much-improved team, is just not something one can\r\ndo in the course of trying to establish a new, consistent, winning image with\r\nthe fans.  You must defend your home\r\nturf.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

No\r\none defends their home turf better than the Broncos, and when we're playing so\r\nfar out on the performance curve, we're probably close to unbeatable on the\r\nBlue.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

The\r\nBroncos are at or near the top of almost all statistical categories in the WAC. \r\nReno gives up almost 35 points per game (1 ½ points from the worst in\r\nthe WAC and FAR below Boise State's leading 12.2 ppg), and they are last in\r\nthe WAC in rushing defense, giving up 268 yards per game on the ground. \r\n\r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n's second in total offense, but who wouldn't be after just putting up 702\r\nyards (in a losing effort!)?  \r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n's overall defense is the second worst in the WAC. \r\nIf anything, pass defense is probably \r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n's strongest card.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\n\r\nBoise\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n fans expect a rout after last week. \r\nThey might get it.  However,\r\nit's entirely conceivable that the Broncos play into \r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n's weakness by pounding the ball, running time off the clock and keeping the\r\nscore lower than some might expect.  \r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n will try to get receivers Marko Mitchell and Mike McCoy into the game, and\r\nwhile they are decent receivers, they've not been super effective this year\r\nwith the new Wolf Pack quarterback, Nick Graziano. \r\nRunning back Luke Lippincott is at 72.8 yards per game, and he's not an\r\nall-purpose threat.  Defensively,\r\nlinebacker Joshua Mauga (\"Mr. Magoo\") is second in the WAC in tackles with\r\n11.6 per game.  Overall, however, \r\nReno\r\n's system—the \"pistol offense\"—has never been effective against \r\n\r\nBoise\r\n \r\nState\r\n\r\n's defense, and there's no reason to think it will suddenly find its way. \r\nThe bottom line is that Zagco has just not seen anything from \r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n that gets him real excited.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

Frankly,\r\nunless \r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n can improve the quality of its players, Zagco sees no sense in continuing this\r\nrivalry.\r\n\r\n

\r\n

\r\nBoise\r\n \r\nState\r\n will defeat \r\n\r\nReno\r\n\r\n.\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n

All content ©2007 BroncoCountry.com/Scout.com.\r\n

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