2004 RECORD: 11-1 overall, 9-0 in WAC play (WAC Champions)
HEAD COACH: Dan Hawkins, 44-7 overall in five seasons at Boise State
KEY ADDITIONS: WR Aiaona Key (6-4, 205), WR Jerard Rabb (6-3, 200)
OFFENSE: The elusive quarterback Jared Zabransky returns after throwing for nearly three thousand yards and 16 touchdowns. Boise State's tailback by committee will continue in 2005 as senior Lee Marks returns after rushing for 968 yards. The team's leading rushing touchdown leader sophomore Joe Helmandollar will not return do to family issues. As a result, fellow sophomore Jeff Carpenter and senior Antwaun Carer, who has was hobbled with injuries last year, will be asked to step up.
Tight end Derek Schouman and converted linebacker Jared Hunter handle the tight end duties. Boise State, much like Oregon State, is fielding perhaps its best receiving core in school history with an excellent blend of experience, size and speed. Junior Darsian James is the team's leading returning receiver and go to guy after hauling in 40 passes for 568 yards and one touchdown in route to honorable mention all-conference honors. A host of upperclassmen, including OSU transfer Cole Clasen, are battling for the other two starting spots.
Once again the Broncos will have a solid offensive line lead by All-America candidate and left tackle Daryn College. The line is young, but experienced with with three sophomores, two of which who started last year, holding down the guard and center positions. A redshirt freshman, Ryan Clady, grabbed the right tackle position after an impressive spring.
DEFENSE: Three starters return from a defensive line unit that ranked 10th in the nation in stopping the run. All-League players Andrew Browning and Alex Guerrero provide an experienced, versatile front but there is some concern about depth. The linebacking group lost two starters but return two starters, including first team all-league selection Korey Hall.
Injuries, arrests and graduation took three BSU starters in the backfield. Left corner Gerald Alexander is BSU's lone returning starter but he lead the Broncos in interceptions a year ago with five. Part time starter Austin Smith assumes full time duties as the rover and is joined by sophomore safety Marty Tadman. The fastest player on the team Quinton Jones switched from the offensive side to the defensive and won the right corner spot.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Junior Kyle Stringer enters his third year of punting after earning second team all-WAC honors after averaging 43.89 yards per pick.
Unfortunately for BSU the team is faced with the task of replacing the programs finest kicker in Tyler Jones who graduated. Stringer has a powerful leg and has taken over the kicking duties.
Quinton Jones and Lee Marks will handle the kick returning duties.
BY THE NUMBERS: The Broncos return 20 players who started at least one game last year.
PICKED TO FINISH: Boise State was picked to finish first in the conference by the WAC media. The Broncos are ranked #19 in the USAToday Coaches Poll and #18 in the AP.
QB Jared Zabransky (Getty Images)
RB Lee Marks (Getty Images)
LB Korey Hall (25, Getty Images)