Final pregame thoughts on Boise State vs. Louisiana Tech

With the Broncos and Bulldogs set to square off in a few hours, now is as good a time as any to vent. What concerns do you have for tonight's game in Ruston? What are your hopes? What are your fears?

I'll weigh in with a few final thoughts after the jump, including an Idaho Statesman flame war, a comparison to the Fresno game, and some comments on reader comments. Share your own pregame thoughts, too.

RB committees bring out the best (and worst) in Statesman commenters

When Chadd Cripe broke the news that Jeremy Avery, Doug Martin, and Matt Kaiserman would each have a role on offense this week, several Statesman commenters provided some thought-provoking commentary. The rest flamed on Oregon and the Broncos' schedule.

Something is afoot here in the running back situation at BSU. Does anyone else find this story a bit fishy? I don't think Martin was injured and i also think Kaiserman is more productive on the field than Avery. Jeremy gets big plays but Kaiserman moves the chains....just sayin.

Pass route running/catching, blitz pickup, etc. are also part of being a running back and in those areas, Avery is still ahead of Kaiserman because of his experience. That's why he's the starter - oh, and because he averages 5.7 yards a carry.

So far this year, we've been terrible on 3rd downs and on the goal line and am a bit surprised that we've yet to see any of our backs step up and become our 3rd down, short yardage specialist, which based on what I've seen so far, I'd go with Kaiserman over Martin or Avery

Nick Saban says that he doesn’t formulate pre-game plans to juggle his tailbacks, instead he prefers to go by a "gut feeling" depending on how the game is going because it allows him to get a feel for who's hot and who's not not that day.

Agreed. On this subject, I feel most times the coaches are too repetitive with Avery when it is obvious it is not working. They did the same thing the last two years with Ian Johnson, and when Avery or Harper was tossed in the mix, more times than not the new guy made a big gain. They do well mixing recievers, do the same on the ground.

And then the whole thing devolved into nonsense and flaming.

When I first heard the news about Boise State's new RB system, I was a bit torn. Earlier in the year, the Broncos swore that they would avoid the platoon style of 2008 that proved to be largely ineffective. Wasn't that why Martin was moved to defense? Now, if Cripe is accurate in saying that "Boise State expects to have a three-tailback rotation," it would appear that the Broncos are going back to exactly what they hoped to avoid. And that concerns me a little.

I'm thinking Cripe worded the story funny and that a three-tailback rotation is not really accurate. I expect the Broncos to stick with Avery in the first quarter and then alternate drives with Avery and Martin for the remainder of the game, much like they had done prior to Martin's injury. Kaiserman's role could very well be as the short yardage back as he has shown signs that he can handle that duty (although his best showing was against the sieve defense of Hawaii). We'll see how it all shakes out tonight. I'm hoping things tend toward two RBs and not toward three.

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The last time Boise State played on a Friday night ...

The Broncos have four Friday night games on the schedule this season, and here's hoping that the next three go a lot better than the first one. For the record, the similarities between tonight's game against Louisiana Tech and Boise State's first Friday night affair against Fresno are eerie.

  1. Both teams are named the Bulldogs.
  2. Both teams feature an All-WAC running back.
  3. Both games are on the road.
  4. Both teams have an overrated coach.

I guess that's where the similarities end. But still, anyone find this all a bit odd?

Allow me to bogart some comments

If I were to take a general temperature of Bronco Nation prior to this game, that temperature would be ambivalent, bordering on confident. No one really expects this game to be a nailbiter.

From the OBNUG Intern:

Lots of rushing yards. It must be the Louisiana air that helps the running backs! AP & TY should have a good night as well! There is potential for this game to get a little out of hand.

The last time the Broncos were in Louisiana was Jeremy Avery's coming out party with over 110 yards rushing, 79 receiving, and two scores. Likewise, times were good for Taylor Tharp as he threw for 328 yards and five scores, including one each to Austin Pettis and Titus Young. Offense is rarely the issue when the Broncos head east to Ruston. Intern's right; there could be some big numbers put up tonight.

From TitoRay:

I’m not expecting much from the Bulldogs, but I’m usually wrong.

Here's what I don't get: the Louisiana Tech road game was viewed as one of Boise State's toughest tests of the year coming into the season. Now, it's just another patsy opponent on a cupcake-lined road to possible BCS exclusion.

What happened? TitoRay is not alone in thinking that the Bulldogs won't bring much to the table tonight, which mean that something has gone drastically wrong for LaTech between September 5 and today. Injuries? Yes. Overrated? More likely. The Bulldogs might be case in point why you never put too much stock in a WAC team until the season is at least a couple weeks old. Right, 2008 version of Fresno State?

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From drofdarb23:

I think the Broncos play well on the road, they’re just not as dominant as they are on the Blue.

I’m just hoping we can get off to a quick start. We haven’t had a dominant 1st quarter yet this year. It would be nice to see us put a team away in the 1st quarter.. I guess we’ll see.

Drofdarb makes a couple interesting points. First, the perception of the Boise State football team is that it struggles on the road. But is that true? It is easy to see where the perception originated, considering close calls at San Jose State and Wyoming during The Greatest Season Of Our Lives and three road losses in the 2007 season. So I guess the question is whether or not road woes transfer over from season to season?

This year's Bronco team has shown some ups and downs both at home and on the road. There were close away games at Tulsa and Fresno, and there were close home games with Oregon and UC Davis. Then there's Drofdarb's point to consider: It's all relative. Boise State's road struggles might only appear like struggles because of how easily they handle teams at home. I'd be curious to see what everyone else thinks.

Second, getting off to a quick start would be a nice change of pace for this Bronco team, but there is a lot that goes into that happening. OBNUG's Nick and I were talking about that very fact a few days ago. To blow out a team, there have to be several aspects of the game that need to work in your favor.

  • Takeaways early in opponent drives that lead to a short field.
  • Three-and-outs by the opponent, preferably with incomplete passes.
  • Quick scoring drives by the offense.
  • Big plays on offense or special teams.
  • Few penalties.
  • No giveaways.
  • No field goals.

If Boise State is going to jump out to a big lead early, they will have to have at least three or four of these things working in their favor. Boise State has shown a knack for long, sustained drives, but you can only fit so many of those in over the course of a game. Eventually, Boise State would blow out an opponent, but for big leads in the first quarter, there will need to be turnovers, big plays, and TDs instead of FGs.

What would need to happen for you to consider the Broncos getting off to a good start? For some, it could be as simple as not going three-and-out on their first possession. But others, like me I guess, are kind of hoping for a 21-0 lead and the opponent being down to its third-string QB.

From finloopio:

Boise State wins 24-14 and we drop to 23rd in the BCS

The most talked about part of the game when all is said and done could be how the outcome affects Boise State's standing in the polls. With a Friday night showcase, the Broncos will have another chance to impress voters and make an impact before the regular slate of college games kicks off tomorrow. While finloopio's prediction is in jest (I think/hope), a 24-14 win certainly would not help Boise State's BCS cause. Would it matter to Bronco fans, though? I'll take a 24-14 win if it means the Broncos keep their undefeated season in tact. As Coach Pete says, the rest will work itself out.

Your turn

What's on your mind heading into the game tonight? Any last-minute thoughts, observations, or worries? Feedback on the running back committee? Feel free to share in the comments.

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