Bronco Ball Carriers Look To Bust Out In '09

Jeremy Avery and D.J. "The Texas Tornado" Harper get their chance to shine this fall in the backfield for Boise State. They have been working extremely hard in practice and in the weight room and it is showing. There's plenty of talent behind them.

 At first glance the 2008 Boise State football season was a resounding success.  With 12 wins, a conference title, top 15 final ranking, and a budding superstar at quarterback there was very little room for any criticism.  

A deeper look into the 2008 season reveals one major issue:  the inability to run the football against the stiffer competition which led to the inability to sustain drives which led to a tired defense and way too much pressure on a freshman quarterback.  Plain and simple, had Boise State been able to run the football they would have beaten TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl.  The defense that played so gamely that December night would not have been on the field for 40 minutes and would not have given up 475 yards and 30 first downs.  

As the 2009 season comes upon us, one would think that a lot of this season's failures and successes will depend greatly upon a young undersized yet athletic offensive line and a stable of extremely talented running backs. If this line can so much as be a slightly above average (not great) unit we could be looking at the most dynamic offense in the history of Boise State .  The Broncos have a few young studs that can't wait to burst upon the scene!

 

Jeremy Avery (5-9, 173, Jr.)- Avery is a high level Bowl Championship Series school talent.  About the only thing you wish were different is maybe that he was a little bigger.  Had Jeremy not received qualifying ACT scores late in the game he would most definitely be playing in the Pac10 Conference, he's that good!  The '09 season is Avery's chance to shine; he finally gets to be the featured back as a redshirt junior.  This will be an upgrade for Boise State from 2008 (sorry IJ).  I look for Jeremy to wind up with about 1,200 yards and 12-15 touchdowns.  Also look for him to have a coming out party of sorts against Oregon ! (120 yards and two TD's)  

D.J. Harper (5-9, 198, Jr.)- Five years ago Boise State would not have dreamed of having a guy this talented as a backup.  In 2006 Johnson's backup was Brett Denton, who was a solid player but certainly not the breakaway threat that Harper is.  So to say that the talent level has increased at the running back position is an understatement!  Harper is a cat quick scat back who spurned several schools including Texas Tech to bring his game from the great state of Texas to the Blue.  He like Avery is a home run threat every time he touches the ball.  I look forward to seeing D.J gain 450 yards or so and score six-eight TD's in relief of "Peanut!  Also, watch this guy as a kick returner and out of the backfield as a receiver (4.4 speed!) Wow)  

Matt Kaiserman (6-0, 188, Fr.)-(the wildcard)  Kaiserman is a local kid out of Skyview High School that has drawn rave reviews from those within the program.  I'm told he's Brock Forsey-esque, which to me means the guys a baller, flat out.  Not a kid that is going to wow you with his athleticism or anything--just tough as nails and knows how to make things happen.  Look for him to play a somewhat limited role this year but to make some big plays at key moments ala Derek Schouman when Derek was a freshman.  That year, Schouman caught 17 passes but it seemed like they were all huge (i.e. the game-winner in the Fort Worth Bowl).  Another thing you like about a guy like Kaiserman is the fact that he is blue-collar all the way and will push the guys in front of him to be better.

 

Honorable Mention:  

Jarvis Hodge (5-9, 203, Jr.)-I hope this guy plays a lot because if he's in there it means the Broncos are winning big.  Hodge has been the ultimate team player since he came here as a lightly recruited guy out of Arizona .  His niche this year is going to be laying some hat on special teams. Great role player, never whines about playing time, just comes to work. THANK YOU JARVIS!  

Unknown Factor:  

Malcolm Johnson (5-10, 181, Fr.)—when a guy rushed for 6,975 total yards in his high school career, one has to sit up and take notice.  As a senior, Johnson averaged 204 yards per game, rushing for 2,635 yards on 287 carries with 25 touchdowns.  MaxPreps.com named Johnson the Best Player in the State of Oregon . He was All-League three years and was the Mt. Hood Conference Player of the Year twice.  He was named ESPN's high school player of the week, he appeared in Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd and he dominated in the Oregon high school all-star game.  He has all the attributes of a great running back according to his coach Terry Summerfield.  "He has speed (11.0 seconds in the 100-yard dash), power, toughness, vision, receiving ability and — most notably — tremendous balance.  

Still, he has no yards in college yet and he has to prove himself and most importantly learn the complex Bronco offense.  It is not known at this time if Johnson will redshirt or play as a true freshman.  

(and there's always Doug Martin...)  

If Boise State gets the running game going, how good can Kellen Moore be?  Scary thought!  Oregon and other opponents would have much, much more to prepare for.  That really is the only question mark going into the 2009 season. 


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