Fans' Corner: Southern Mississippi Game

We review BroncoCountry posters' comments prior to the Southern Mississippi game. There was great pre-game analysis from Bronco fans and we discuss how well Boise State delivered.

In BroncoCountry's continuing series featuring fan expectations, we look at what fans were hoping for in the Southern Mississippi game.  Did the Broncos deliver?


Prior to each Boise State football game, we ask BroncoCountry members on the Blue Turf board specifically what areas they would like to see improve and what the Broncos can do to signify that improvement.  Here is what we found out:


Nearly all Bronco fans were looking for improvement in the running game.  As 8ntmuch pointed out, "It is about the only part of Boise State's game that hasn't shown up yet."  BroncoFan78 was looking for Ian Johnson to step up as was Blue Tundra:  "I'd like to see IJ get at least 18 carries and start breaking open some long runs."   Jojo felt that "having Martin in the backfield with IJ will change some of the dynamics—especially since Southern Miss's defensive coordinator will not have a clue what Coach Harsin may do with this."


Upbronco set a high goal for Johnson:  "125 yards, two touchdowns" and Moore "300 yards passing, two touchdowns, 0 interceptions."


Bsu96 wanted D.J. Harper to get more playing time and Dasreich75 agreed:  "It's sort of annoying that Boise State's best back seems like an afterthought!"  Dasreich wanted "DJ to get at least 15 carries and see what he can do."


I believe the Broncos began to make progress in the running game.  Perhaps the shifting of the offensive line had something to do with it.  IJ didn't get 18 carries, 125 yards or two touchdowns.  He did, however, have a nice run after catching a pass over the middle and his incredible hustle on a muffed punt allowed him to recover the fumble.  Martin only had two carries—probably not what Jojo was looking for.  He did well on those two carries and then was never heard from again!


Moore didn't reach the 300-yard mark, but he did have the two nice touchdown passes, albeit mixed with the one interception.


The offensive line has been much maligned and was completely revamped for this one.  Brad999 was hoping they could "keep their blocking assignments crisp and solid, no bad drive-killing penalties, with some holes for the backs."


Too often the blocks weren't held, and the line didn't drive their men far downfield.  They began to open some nice holes that Avery in particular took advantage of, but numerous holding calls did indeed kill drives.


Droo31, meanwhile, wanted Moore to go back to the deep ball with Childs.  Broncoguy200 wanted "just for fun, throw the darn ball 50 times with Kellen going 40 out of 50."


Childs was definitely the go-to guy in the game, but Coach Harsin didn't test the Golden Eagle secondary deep—at least I can't remember more than perhaps once.


Bruce49 called on the coaches to "open up the playbook!  Use more no-huddle, more hurry up, more four and five receiver sets and get IJ, DJ, Avery and Martin the ball more."  Droo31 called for "no 3-and-outs due to offensive miscues and penalties."


I think by and large the play-calling was pretty basic in this one.  The running game, as noted above, did improve but the penalties and turnovers really kept the Broncos from putting the game away.


8ntmuch was looking for the defense to dominate.  Earwig wanted the Broncos to control Fletcher.  Bruce49 was hoping the Broncos would continue with their physical style of play, hold Fletcher to less than 90 yards and limit the Golden Eagles to 14 points or less.  Upbronco wanted the USM running game held to 99 yards.  BroncoFan78 was hoping for a pick from a linebacker, noting the Broncos hadn't had one lately.  HoustonBronco wanted "containment and pressure without stacking the box."  Houston was also hoping the secondary would step up and not give away yardage late in the game as they did against Oregon.  Jojobro wanted "a defensive beat down of the Southern Miss running game—and no big plays!"  Specifically, jojo was counting on Boise State's defense to maintain assignments.   


Dasreich75 loves the swarming defense of the Broncos, but also wanted to see them making one-on-one tackles as well.


8ntmuch—you got your wish for the most part.  This was a sterling performance by the Bronco defense.  They did hold Fletcher to less than 90 yards and limited the high-flying Eagle attack to just 7 points.  The Bronco linebackers again went "pick-less" but the defensive line allowed Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis to scramble out of reach numerous times and pick up several first downs, forcing the Bronco secondary to come up and make the play. 


I felt Boise State limited the big play and maintained their assignments for the most part.  There were a couple of times a man was out of position, and overpursuit by the defensive ends allowed Davis to evade the rush.  Dasreich got the one-on-one tackles from the secondary and to a lesser extent the linebackers, but the defensive line really didn't "put the hurt" on the Golden Eagles.


Seastheday had very good analysis—he was looking for "the coaches to come up with a better game plan while pointing out that they are pretty good already."  Seas wanted the Broncos to run the ball "if it is there" and "throw when it is not".  He wanted to see crossing patterns as well as an early throw to Gallarda to show that Chris O'Neill was not the only tight end the Broncos had.  (O'Neill of course was injured in the Louisiana Tech game and may or may not return this year.)


Seas would have to comment on the game plan but they seemed to be mixing it up—just not enough deep throws, as was pointed out earlier.  The Broncos went to Kyle Efaw early but the ball fell incomplete.


Seastheday was hoping Brotzman could nail a normal punt early to keep Southern Miss from overloading the right side of the formation to keep him from doing the rugby punt. Jojobro admitted "Coach (Jeff) Choate clearly knows he has to do some recalibration with the returners and blocking schemes."


Unfortunately, Brotzman's first punt was not a good one.  He did recover nicely and got off some beauties later in the game.  The Broncos only had two chances for punt returns and Kyle Wilson had a nice 11.0 average on those.  There was only one kickoff return (by Doug Martin and returned it for 11).  There was not a lot of progress on that front although only one kick to judge it by.


On a more general note, Bsu95 was just hoping for a blowout with no turnovers.  Jojobro was looking for a strong finish on the road, similar to the comment of HoustonBronco. 


I suspect the Bronco players got an earful from Head Coach Chris Petersen both on the flight home and in practice this week about putting people away.  It was a nice win, to be sure, but the two turnovers, holding calls and numerous other mental mistakes kept Boise State from playing up to its potential.  The road finish was much better than the one at Oregon in that it was a draw.  Not really what the Broncos want.


Thanks to everyone who participated.  We saw some very thoughtful analysis and specific areas of attention brought forth by BroncoCountry posters.  Great job!

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