(Returning starters: 3 | Offense: Multiple)
Sophomore Jared Zabransky (6-1, 197) was efficient in his first collegiate start against Idaho on Saturday completing 11 of 16 passes for 234 yards and one interception. Zabransky did most of the damage on the ground running for a game high three touchdowns, two on quarterback sneaks and one on a broken play. Once again the Beavers face an inexperienced mobile quarterback.
|Zabransky has lots to prove against Oregon State.|
Zabransky is a natural leader and has been compared to Ryan Dinwiddie who threw for over 300 yards against the Beavers last year. Few question his ability to move the ball on the ground, but he has yet to prove he can move the ball effectively through the air, although he does have a strong arm. The Oregon native will receive his first big test of the season against Oregon State on Friday as he will be throwing against one of the best secondarys in the nation.
Backup gunslinger Mike Sanford (6-4, 211) competed throughout fall camp with Zabransky for the starting job and could see game action if Zabransky struggles against OSU. Sanford is the quickest quarterback on the team despite being one of the largest. He is also smart with his decisions. Sanford saw some action during Boise State’s 65-7 blowout win over the Vandals in Bronco Stadium completing 5 of 6 passes for 84 yards.
The future of Boise State quarterbacks rests with sophomore Legedu Naanee (6-2, 235) who has NFL size and strength and redshirt freshman Taylor Tharp (6-1, 200) who most Bronco fans fell will be next year’s starter.
Running Backs/Full Backs
Just like Oregon State the Broncos have had very talented running backs the past several seasons. Brock Forsey rushed for over 1,600 yards in 2002 and is now in the NFL while David Mikell just missed the 1,200 mark in 2003.
Junior Lee Marks (5-7, 179) started his collegiate career at cornerback but was moved to running back after gaining 54 yards on two carries against Idaho State in the 2003 season opener. He continued his success on season openers rushing for team high 105 yards, including an electrifying 40 yard gain, on 14 carries last Saturday. It was the first 100-yard game of his career.
The coaches love him because of his positive attitude and great work ethic. The fans love him because his game breaking ability and his nimbleness in the open field.
|Marks gained 54 yards on two carries against Idaho.|
Junior Jeff Carpenter (5-9, 202) isn’t the biggest, fastest, or most talented running back on the team, but he has a great work ethic and is effective. He was recently awarded a scholarship after leading the BSU running backs in 2003 with a 7.6 ypc average. Carpenter is versatile with his legs and hands as he is equally effective on the ground or through the air. Some Bronco fans say his play reminds them of Brocks. He gained 23 yards on three carries against Idaho.
Splitting time with Carpenter as the Bronco’s backup running back is sophomore Quinton Jones (5-9, 184) who is coming off of knee surgery. Jones has blazing speed clocking a 4.3 40 last year. He looked close to 100-percent healed against Idaho running for 30 yards on three carries, including a 27-yard touchdown, while also handling kickoff duties.
The coaches love his athletic ability and like to use him as a running back and a wide receiver. He has the potential to break a big one every time he touches the ball and that is why the coaches want the ball in his hands often.
Sophomore Brad Lau (5-11, 240) returns after a two year break due to his Mormon mission. Lau is your prototypical fullback – strong and mean. He is the strongest player on the team and a special teams standout who has a reputation for making big hits. The blue collar worker is backed up by redshirt freshman Joe Helmandollar (5-11, 218) who was Idaho’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2001.
Helmandollar is also a strong and mean, but faster than Lau. Both can catch out of the backfield. He rushed for 20 yards on three carries for one touchdown against Idaho
Boise State has prided itself on the play of their offensive linemen the past three seasons en route to a 33-6 record. The Broncos require lineman that are skilled with their feet and aggressive with their blocking. This year they are young and inexperienced but Bronco fans are confident that, despite two freshman starters, the offensive line will be one of the best in the conference. The first signs are good as the unit helped rack up 572 total yards against Idaho.
|Colledge is one of the better offensive linemen in the WAC.|
Left tackle Daryn Colledge (6-5, 291) anchors the offensive line on as one of the more experienced players. Colledge earned second-team All-WAC honors last year after starting 14 games a sophomore. He possesses good speed, great leg strength and an aggressive attitude. CollegeFootballNews.com listed him as one of the 15 rising lineman stars because of his athletic prowess and his refined technique. He was named the top offensive lineman on the team by the staff at the conclusion of 2003.
To the left of Colledge sits freshman Tad Miller (6-4, 270) who hails from Boise’s Bishop Kelly High School. The coaches are excited about Miller’s development as he has a nice blend of speed and quickness. Senior Klayton Thomas (5-10, 293) beat out sophomore Joe Weigand (6-1, 192) for the starting center spot. Much like their counterparts they have a nice mix of quickness and strength.
Senior M.J. Ansel (6-3, 289) moved from center to right guard and is looking to rebound after a car accident kept him out for the most of the 2003 season. He has an aggressive attitude like Colledge and a motor that does not stop.
Rounding out the buffet busters is freshman right tackle Jeff Cavender (6-2, 275) who plays with his twin brother Pete Caveder (6-1, 286, backdup left guard). Sophomores Kevin Worack (6-6, 293), Tony Volponi (6-4, 302), and Ryan Keating (604, 318) are all in reserve roles, young, and expected to provide talented depth.
Sophomore Derek Schouman (6-2, 217) returns after a stellar freshman season catching 17 passes for 272 yards and four touchdowns. He got his sophomore campaign off on the right foot against Idaho catching four passes for a team high 120 yards. Schouman is big and athletic, just like Oregon State’s tight ends, and is normally used in short passing situations. But he has the speed and size to break big yard gains.
Senior Andy Weldon (6-3, 246) is primarily used for blocking, although he can catch passes. He will be used in short yardage situations with the fullback and running backs.
Senior T.J. Acree will be the main man with Tim Gilligan leaving. Acree had a team high seven touchdown receptions while catching 52 passes for 767 yards. He is small, fast and capable of having big games as he racked up over 100 yards three times last year. He is also a good blocker and one of the more knowledgeable receivers on the team. He had just one catch for 21 yards against Idaho.
|Acree will be the Broncos main receiver in 2004.|
Lining up with Acree is another senior Lawrence Bady (5-11, 189) who is the playmaker on the team. He is not afraid to make catches in traffic and has excellent speed. Bady was the Broncos third leading receiver in 2003 with 726 yards and four touchdowns on 29 catches. Bady sat out the Vandal game with an injury.
Sophomore Drisan James (5-11,187) sits behind Acree and is another speedster with a huge upside. He can stretch the defense and is getting better with every snap. Adams added two catches for 37 yards against Idaho. Backing up Bady is senior Mark Onibokun (6-0, 198) and junior Chris Christopher (5-11, 167). Onibokun is one of the larger receivers on the team and is labeled as another playmaker on the BSU roster. Christopher redshirted last year after transferring from Los Angeles Harbor City Junior College. He had good spring and fall camps and is expected to contribute in ’04.
Notes on the offense:
- The Broncos scored six straight touchdowns by six different players against Idaho.
- Five different running backs scored against the Vandals.
- Ten separate Broncos caught passes last Saturday.
- The Boise State offense has the led the nation in scoring three of the
last four seasons, including the past two years.