Blue Collar. Work Ethic. Teamwork.
The 2007 Bronco football senior class will be known for at
least one thing—perseverance and tenacity.
Many of them never started a game for the Broncos prior to this season,
watching from the sideline as upperclassmen started the Broncos on the way to
elite status. It must be said that when
they got their chance this year, they took full advantage and the
Ten players from last year were either drafted by National Football League teams or signed as free agents, names like Zabransky, Naanee, James, Rabb, Schouman, Alexander, and Hall. How does a team lose guys like that and go 9-1 to this point of the season? Answer: 18 seniors that make every Bronco fan proud.
Discussion of the Bronco seniors has to begin with the fifth-year senior who took over for three-year starting quarterback Jared Zabransky. Zabransky owned the best record of any starter in Bronco history, and Taylor Tharp saw little playing time behind him.
Tharp has sizzled at quarterback for the Broncos this
season, especially the last two weeks when he has completed 54-of-64
passes. Overall this year, he is 215-312
for an incredible 68.9% completion percentage.
He has topped the 2500-yard mark with 2,557 with 23 touchdown passes
against only eight interceptions. Tharp
has a 157 pass efficiency rating.
Tharp already has the 10th highest passing total
To give you an idea of the season Tharp is having, he is not
even in the top 10 in passing attempts, yet he already ranks second in Bronco
history with his 215 completions (he passed Bart Hendricks last week.) Tharp is now 61 completions away from record
holder Ryan Dinwiddie.
In 2006, Tharp was 11-13 for 88 yards with one touchdown and
If Tharp has been a pleasant surprise this season on offense, Marty Tadman has been Mr. Dependable on defense for the last four. From the moment he set foot on the blue turf, Bronco fans knew #20 was something special—a sure tackler with incredible natural instincts and a nose for the football. His intelligence—he excels in the classroom—has helped the Broncos on many a play.
Who will ever forget the
Tadman came into this season a first-team Preseason
All-America of Sports Illustrated. He
was named to the preseason watch list for the Chuck Bednarik and Jim Thorpe
Awards. He came into 2007 as the
national leader in career interceptions with 12, interception returns for
touchdowns with three and second in career interception yards with 269. Tadman has two more picks this season to
bring his career total to 14 heading into his final three games. Marty is tied with Ken Johnson for sixth on
the all-time list and can tie Darrin Lyle and Joe Larkin with one more
Tadman leads the Broncos with 70 tackles this season, including 2.5 for loss, and also has six pass breakups. He is far and away the solo tackles leader with 41. Marty has been the man for Boise State retuning punts this season, with 28 for an 11.2 average.
Tadman, bizarre enough, has never been named to the All-WAC team; he was just a second-team member last season. He was named defensive Most Valuable Player of that Fiesta Bowl and finished the season third in the WAC in interceptions with six and 29th in tackles with 67. Marty was named as the 10th-best free safety in the country by The Sporting News. He also returned 16 punts for an 8.9 yards-per-return average.
In 2005, Marty had a stellar year in his first full season as a starter with 101 tackles including 48 solo. He led the Broncos with five interceptions and also had 1.5 tackles for loss, one sack and seven pass breakups. He also returned seven punts for 53 yards. All that and just a second team WAC player.
Tadman played as a true freshman due to injuries in the secondary and finished with 14 tackles, .5 tackles for loss, two pass breakups and an interception.
Tadman has 252 career tackles and is just 33 tackles from 15th place on the all-time list.
The hogs up front may not get the press of the playmakers,
but it's the offensive line that has built
This season, this immensely talented group has
Yet another highly
intelligent Bronco, Cavender has had the privilege of being a Bronco starter on
the offensive line the past four years on some of the greatest lines in
Jeff was named a preseason All-WAC by both The Sporting News and CollegeFootballNews.com. In 2006, he was named to the WAC's second team after starting all 13 games at right guard. Cavender also started every game as a freshman at right tackle and the entire season at center as a sophomore. His consecutive games as a starter will reach 48 in today's game.
In 2005, Cavender
helped pave the way for the Broncos to finish ninth in scoring (36.08), 19th
in rushing (202.46) and fifth in rushing touchdowns (36). In his freshman year, Cavender and the
Broncos were ranked second in the nation in scoring (48.9 ppg), fourth in total
offense (492.7), 14th in rushing (229.8) and 20th in
scholar-athlete, Pete started at right guard for part of the 2004 season,
helping the Broncos to their first perfect regular season in 46 years.
One of the hardest working Broncos, Miller's strength is a fierce competitive spirit that has burned for five years. He has been a standout on the best Bronco offensive line in history, yet the WAC coaches have never named him to the first team. The Sporting News recognized his ability when he was named to the Preseason team last season, an honor he won again this summer from Blue Ribbon Magazine.
Miller has now started
48 consecutive games at guard, a fixture in the Bronco line that says to
opponents "you're not going to mess things up on my watch." In 2006, Miller helped
In 2005, Tad was the starter at left guard as the Broncos finished ninth in scoring (36.08), 19th in rushing (202.46) and fifth in rushing touchdowns with 36. Miller was a starter his entire freshman season, helping Boise State 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 Broncos set a school record with 49 rushing touchdowns.
Gore has been a key cog in moving into the starting unit on the offensive line after playing defensive line for most of his Bronco career. Dan has not only found a home but has starred on the o-line. He had six tackles while playing spot duty on defense during his career.
Four years go by so
fast. Nick was one of two true freshmen
to play in 2004 and his leadership as the Defensive Captain has been key for
the Broncos. He came to
Nick has been credited with 26 tackles this season, 3.5 for loss, and two sacks.
Last season, Schlekeway was named to ESPN the Magazine's Academic All-District 8 team for the second time. He started all 12 games at left defensive end and finished sixth on the team in tackles with 42. "Schlek" also had four tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, one pass breakup and two fumble recoveries. Nick started at defensive end and also played tackle, finishing with 33 tackles, two for loss, 1.5 sacks, one pass breakup and a forced fumble. In his freshman year, Schlekeway had 15 tackles, one for loss, .5 sacks and two pass breakups.
Another likeable Bronco
is the hard-working, intelligent Austin Smith.
Playing primarily in nickel packages, Smith has 24 tackles, an
interception that he returned for 27 yards, a pass breakup and a forced
Last season, Smith
played in nickel situations and on special teams and finished with 13 tackles,
one pass breakup, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. In 2005, Smith started all 13 games at safety
and finished fifth on the team with 51 tackles.
He also had four tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, five pass breakups and two
fumble recoveries. His biggest play came
when he scooped up a fumble and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown against
In 2004, Smith was a part-time starter and took over punt return duties after Chris Carr was injured. He finished with 36 tackles (10th on the team) and was credited with three sacks, four tackles for loss and one pass breakup. He was third in the WAC and 25th in the nation in punt returns with a nice 12.2 yard average.
Putnam has caught eight passes for 133 yards and three scores this season, all career highs. Many of those catches have been crucial first down grabs or touchdowns.
Last year, Putnam finished with six catches for 77 yards and one touchdown. He played a backup role in 2005 and caught four passes for 41 yards and a touchdown.
Blaser has been a key
ingredient for the
Blaser also caught four passes for 49 yards and a touchdown in 2005 and had four receptions for 65 yards his sophomore year. Sherm also had a catch for five yards playing as a true freshman in 2003.
Scott has been a backup defensive back and sensational kickoff returner this year for the Broncos. Rashaun has 15 tackles, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery on defense and has returned 22 kickoffs this year for a 24.3 average.
Last season, he returned six kicks for 117 yards, including a
game-changing 42-yard return against
Smart has been part of a four-man rotation at defensive tackle this fall and has helped solidify the line with his steady play. Smart has 21 tackles, three for loss, with two sacks and a blocked kick.
In 2006, Ian had three tackles and forced a
quarterback hurry against
Tavake has blossomed of
late in the Broncos' four-man defensive tackle rotation. He came to
The hard-hitting Bean has served as a backup defensive end this season after playing as a backup linebacker and special teams star the last few seasons. He is the only Bronco with a certain professional career. Bean was selected in the second round of the Canadian Football League draft, the 16th overall pick, by the British Columbia Lions.
Bean has 14 tackles this season with 1.5 tackles for loss, half a sack and a pass breakup.
In 2006, Bean finished
with 18 tackles and one fumble recovery.
He was named Special Teams Ironman for
If you play hard,
there's a place for you at
Falo is yet another
example of a player that went from walk-on to star at
another class guy well-liked by all. The
Communications Major gave Bronco fans some of the best quotes on the
documentary "Out Of The Blue" as well as the 2006 Bronco Highlights
Biedermann has been a solid backup offensive guard for the Broncos after moving over from the defensive line. In 2003, Biedermann played in his first five games before a season-ending injury that also forced him to redshirt in 2004.
a special teams player and backup linebacker in his freshman year, finishing
with one tackle. He responded the
following season to finish with 11 stops, including seven solo and a tackle for
loss. He suffered a season-ending injury