A Deep Stable of Slashers and Burners

BroncoCountry previewed the offensive line yesterday. If all goes well with that group, the next unit in our series should explode this fall. Valrie examines each one of one of the deepest collections of backs Boise State has ever featured at one time.

Depth in major college football is kind of a funny thing; you're either a little heavy or a little thin at a position--there just doesn't seem to be much of a happy medium.  Boise State enters the 2008 football season with an unprecedented amount of talent at running back. The challenge is evident; one football, five studs with amazing ability. It will be interesting to say the least to see how it all plays out--too bad Boise State couldn't trade one of them for a dominant defensive tackle or offensive lineman! 

The Broncos enter the 2008 season with a smaller more agile o-line which would seem, at least on paper to favor a scheme more geared toward getting the backs outside where they can make plays as opposed to three yards and a cloud of dust. With this collection of athletes, if Coach Chris Petersen can get them in space opposing defense are going to be in big, big trouble. The five-headed tailback monster will include:

A.  IAN "Hollywood" JOHNSON (6-0, 196,  Sr.) --Ian enters 08' as the closest thing Boise State has ever had to a household name nationally. If he can regain the form he showed in 06' he will unquestionably be the main workhorse. However, if he starts dancing around like he did last year at times, he could quickly find himself riding the pine. Overall though, everything that I'm observing and hearing is that the guy's got his chip back and should be back to his vintage self, pre-Fiesta Bowl.  I look for Ian to wind up with around 1,300 yards on the ground and another 3-400 thru the air, with an average yards-per-carry back up around 6 to 6.5, more like his sophomore campaign!

B.  JEREMY "don't call me peanut" AVERY (5-9, 168, So.)--In my mind the most explosive guy ever at Boise State.  Great speed, great shake, guy's just a baller--what else can you say; he probably would have been at USC if he hadn't been a late qualifier.  Jeremy is just far, far too talented to not get the rock a minimum 10-12 times a game this fall.  I look for Jeremy's rushing numbers to be similar to last year but don't be surprised if he does some damage as a slot receiver and or kick return man.  Bottom line--when this guy has the ball, good things happen.   I look for him to play a prominent role.

C.  D.J. "he hate me" HARPER (5-9, 192, So.)--Another one or our recent gems out of the great state of Texas.  Harper is the complete package:  mixes great power with 4.4 speed.  His time is definitely coming; however he may still be a year away from playing a prominent role.  I look for D.J to put up similar numbers to last year, with 09' being his breakout year. This guy will do some things though especially as kickoff return man and in spot duty for IJ and Avery.

D.  DOUG "angry motha''" MARTIN (5-10, 200, Fr.)--I'm told that when the coaches saw this guy's high school film they were literally shocked that he didn't have a half dozen Pac-10 offers.  Martin posses a bowling ball type build, with great speed and power.  The reigning offensive scout team player of the year, Martin quickly gained ooohhs and aahhhs from teammates with his reckless running style; it seems as if Doug's time is definitely coming albeit a year or two down the road!  Look for this guy to show us all flashes of his future brilliance in a somewhat limited role this year.

E.  JARVIS "don't forget me now" HODGE (5-9, 199, So.)--In the past this guy would have been talented enough to be the main man in the backfield, but things have definitely changed, The Broncos recent prowess on the recruiting trail has buried Jarvis on the depth chart.  This guy will make his mark as a special teams demon as he does possess great athleticism.  Hodge is a good solid player and hopefully all goes well and the Broncos kick some butt so that he can get some touches late in games.

 F.  CARLO "who is that!" Audagnotti (5-9, 185, Jr.)—The newest running back to "wow" Bronco fans is this dynamo from South Africa.  He rushed for over 1,400 yards and 11 touchdowns en route to becoming league Most Valuable Player.  It's difficult to assess his role in this hugely-talented backfield but special things will happen when he touches the ball. 

When Boise State utilizes a fullback in their offense, Richie Brockel will take that position and will serve as both a blocker and a receiver.  Brockel snared 12 passes last season for 104 yards and is a factor to be on pass patterns out of the backfield.  Chris O'Neill and the other tight ends may line up in this position occasionally as well.

Whewww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Enough speculation, I'm ready for some football--is it time yet?  In closing, running back should be the least of our concerns folks because the Broncos are loooaaaded!  When the undersized, underrated, overachieving o-line comes together look out, it's going to be absolute carnage for opposing defenses.  If opposing defenses want to stack the box, they are going to have to wave bye-bye to wide receivers Titus Young and Jeremy Childs on a post pattern.  Boise State is going to run all over some people and I can't wait to see it!


Join us tomorrow as we examine the Boise State receivers!



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