The Time Is Now For Bronco Offensive Line

Daryn Colledge. Ryan Clady. Matt Hill. Past Bronco linemen, who, if they were on the sidelines Saturday against Idaho, would yell for their successors to open holes big enough for a Bronco to drive through. Will the 2009 Boise State offensive linemen hear their cries?

Ah, what a thrill it is to be young, thrust onto the field as a freshman on one of the most exciting offenses in the country.  The thrill, the expectations, the national spotlight.  It's all there.  

The young members of the Boise State offensive line performed admirably last year and helped the team go unbeaten for the third time in five seasons—the Only Team in America to do that.   

However, they had to, as a group and together with the Boise State coaches, figure out a couple of things.  Such as how Ian Johnson could explode for 1,600 yards rushing the year before in a Heisman-like performance that had a storybook ending in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma and then only be able to churn out 766 behind this line.  There is no doubt to anyone close to the Bronco program that the members of the offensive line are gifted athletes and quality people.  

But when the team needed it most last year, an inability to run the football cost Boise State a 13-0 lead and eventually resulted in a one-point loss to TCU, this year's darlings of the college football world.   

Those kinds of things can happen to a group mostly fresh out of high school.  

Fast forward to this season.  Again Boise State is unbeaten and making yet another BCS (Bowl Championship Series) run.  And make no mistake about it—the Broncos are one of the most talented teams in the land and very much deserve a spot in a major bowl game.  But sooner or later, they are going to come up against a BCS -caliber team that can not only stop the run but stop Kellen Moore and his talented band of receivers.  A team that can light up the scoreboard and force Boise State to make the tough inside yards to win the game.  

The difficulties of the running game are easy to explain away last season.  The offensive line had little experience.  Not any more.  The unit has nearly two full years together.  They cannot use the excuses of youth and inexperience any longer.  

It is time the members of this unit grew into the shoes of those before them.  They need to play like the veterans they are.  In the early part of this decade, when the Boise State offensive line was making a name as one of the top units in the nation, what I noticed was their fierce attitude—the ability to finish each and every single block, to drive their opponent 10 yards downfield, showing no mercy.  They were aggressive and determined and opened holes for anyone and everyone who carried the ball.  

Again, and I say this with humility and not one ounce of meanness in my entire body:  this group needs to kick butt and take names and the time is now.  Too many times this season, an opposing defender has wrapped up a Bronco ball carrier in the backfield with an offensive lineman standing nearby as if they were an innocent bystander to a crime.  What I have noticed is that the Bronco players will wait until after the snap to see what their defender is going to do and then react.  This observation has been confirmed by people with much more experience than this writer.  Rather, it seems to me, they should be charging out from their stances as if shot from a gun—blasting their way downfield and knocking their men on their cans!  (and then looking for another to mow down!)  It's the aggressor that always wins the battle in football.  

I know the Bronco coaches are working on the problem and no fan has even close to the same knowledge as the great group of Bronco coaches.   

What I am doing is calling out the offensive line to start playing nasty, beginning Saturday afternoon.  No more this season do I want to see them standing over a fallen Bronco running back while their man is celebrating a tackle.  Or going to the sidelines after their teammate couldn't get a one-yard touchdown against UC-Davis.  They are far too talented for that.  

And far too old.


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