It's May, which means it's almost June, which comes before July, which will turn quickly into August, and it will be September 3 before we know it. At least, this is the way my Power of Positive Thinking life coach has taught me to think about it.
With the regular season opener a mere 113 days away, now seems like as good a time as any to get presumptive about what will happen when the 2009 Broncos take the field in the fall. Consider this the first in what will be many chances throughout the offseason to talk through, speculate, and pine after our beloved Broncos and their season of destiny.
Today's topic: Boise State's 2009 season-opening football roster. Let's discuss.
Kevan: Here's my initial roster. It also happens to be my guess for the 2009 All-WAC team.
QB: Kellen Moore
Third WR: Kirby Moore/Shoemaker
DT: Billy Winn
Third LB: Aaron Tevis/Hunter White
Drew: Here's my best guess:
QB: Kellen Moore
Third WR: Kirby Moore/Chris Potter
DT: Billy Winn
Third LB: Aaron Tevis/Daron Mackey
I'll admit, Drew. Your offensive line is infinitely more exciting than mine is. Faraji Wright? The DT formerly known as Will Lawrence? I can get behind this, definitely.
Here's my thinking on the o-line: We had inexperienced guys last year, and it was not good times. What's the point of watching running backs run into the backs of offensive linemen for a year if we're not going to have anything to show for it the next year? Certainly, the experience of Potter, Slater, and (especially) Byrd will make a difference, but I demand greater reparations for last year's performance. That being said, if Wright is as monstrous as I picture him in my head, then I'll be okay.
Defensively, I am intrigued by Hunter White. I had him as the third linebacker, but he really came on strong last season - strong enough to get significant playing time in the P-Bowl and grab some ankles on TCU RBs. Is this his year? Certainly the old guys in the stadium who have been wondering where Korey Hall got off to will be happy.
Personally, I'm going to jump on Daron Mackey's bandwagon because there is just so much room on it. What can I say? I like to stretch my legs. But I also think that there will be a darkhorse contender for opening day somewhere on the defense (see, Tevis last year), and I think Mackey might fit the bell.
I love Aaron Tevis' build (and in the least creepy way possible). He is lanky and athletic, kinda like Colt Brooks Lite. I think that running the 4-2-5 will allow us to utilize the best two 'backers for the situation. I think that a wizened Derrell Acrey has to be the top contender for significant reps. I know that he hasn't come on as strong as some fans would have liked, but remember, he had a few games last year with double-digit tackles. Hunter White has the most "try" in him, and I think he sees a lot of PT.
The O-line needs a shake-up. I don't think any of the experienced uglies solidified a starting gig this year save for T-Byrd at center. Potter has the most Clady-esque body out there but seems to be made of porcelain and doesn't stay healthy too long. Some of the redshirts from last year (Faraji Wright, Tom Swanson) pass the behemoth test, and I don't see why either or both couldn't inject themselves into the mix. Don't count out BK product Spencer Gerke, either... I saw him at the spring game, and he looks like a young Tad Miller (he's been no stranger to Chuck-a-Rama, clearly).
Will Lawrence is my darkhorse...he has gotten massive and seems to have the athleticism coming from the defensive side of things to be a solid protectorate for our precious Kellsy (that's what I'm calling Kellen this season - hope it catches on).
We are seriously stacked at WR, and any number of dudes will get in the mix. I think we'll see a ton of Titus Young and Austin Pettis on first and third downs, but on second downs, my money is gonna be on Kellsy's lil bro. Kirby has yet to prove anything at a collegiate level obviously, but I think we might have finally gotten our own Mike Hass...he's gonna go up and grab anything "big" bro tosses his way.
Chris Potter is a slash type WR that I think we'll see fit into the Tanyon Bissell mold (except he won't drop the passes). JC's departure won't affect the offense as much as some are thinking/hoping (Vandals).
I will help you make Kellsy happen. It needs to happen. It's going to happen.
One final word on the o-line: I am so happy that you mentioned Tom Swanson. I have been excited about this kid since he came to Boise last fall, mostly because he is 6'6", 300 pounds. I like my linemen big. I will not be able to withhold my glee if he gets a starting spot this fall.
I skipped over the Tommy Gallarda/Kyle Efaw tight end competition because I was trying to think of a way that I could merge the two into one person. Would this person be Chandler Koch? Probably not this season, but I definitely just intrigued myself.
Boise State has so many different offensive sets that I'm sure Gallardfaw will see plenty of time on the field regardless. Speaking of formations, we've mentioned five Boise State wide receivers so far without even uttering the name of Tyler Shoemaker. Do we hate cobblers, or is he just lost in the sea of talent at the position? It seems like every season I (and maybe others like me) fall in love with loads of skill position players only to have one of the guys I overlooked end up being a key contributor. Maybe this year's is Shoemaker, although I refuse to admit as much since I have too many other Broncos to fawn over.
Fact: There is not a single Bronco on the defensive line who is a senior. Fact: There is only one junior (Winterswyk). Fact: I'm fairly confident that the rest are freshmen and sophomores. That being said, your clairevoyancy in picking Atkinson as a starter might very well come to fruition. In addition to Winn (who's a lock at this point, right?), the only other clear-cut candidates at DT right now are who? Chase Baker and Chuck Hayes? And the only other DT who can come within 25 pounds of the 320-bill Baconator is J.P. Nisby, who last I checked was still catching his wind from the spring game. Obviously, we're going to have some sort of massive D-line rotation, but Atkinson - given his spring performance - is the house leader for the second starting spot. I am not counting out Baker in August, but in May, I'm totally with you on Atkinson.
Is the Brad Elkin/Kyle Brotzman debate even worth having? Any true freshmen (other than Moore) worth a look?
Kyle Efaw is, I believe, the most athletic of the tight ends, but not the most physical blocker (the most physical = Richie Brockel, but he's not a full-time TE). Gallarda is our largest tight end, and I think he will make trouble for safeties this year. Chandler Koch is not much smaller. We'll see production out of our TEs this year but won't see another Derek Schouman type end until Trevor Peterson is ready for primetime. That kid is a Schouclone ... but a step faster.
The reason I glossed over Tyler Shoemaker is because I don't want opposing defenses to know he exists yet. Every time this kid has gotten significant reps, he absolutely kills it. Shoemaker isn't the most physically imposing or fastest WR we've got, but the coaches were wise to put him on scholly...he's going to be very productive this year - but with Kellsy (see how I'm just working it in?) slingin' it, everybody's gonna get love this year.
One word on Billy Winn (well, multiple words, really): the kid is a beast. If you watched his play last year as a freshman, you have to be excited about what the next three years will bring. Winn has the size and speed to play on Sundays, and I believe he will someday. He already reminds me a lot of Alex Guerrero ... except Alex Guerrero as a senior. He's got the speed to play defensive end and the size to plug the running lanes. If you saw Winn run down an Oregon running back last year behind the line of scrimmage and hop on his back, you might have reason to get all giggly. Winn will long be remembered as one of the greatest defensive tackles the Broncos have ever fielded. How's that for setting expectations?
The rest of the interior D-line is a blur. While I gave the nod to Atkinson, I've no doubt that we'll see a fresh DT rotation come through everythree or four plays. Chase Baker has impressed me, and J.P. Nisby is as strong as an ox (though admittedly not as well-conditioned). A Baker/Winn/Atkinson/Nisby rotation with a dash of Hayes is going to shut down any run game we face this year, and frankly, with the secondary we've got, I'm struggling to see how anyone is going to move the ball at all. Goosebumps, Kevan. Goosebumps.
Since you brought it up, I'll just say this about the Brotzman/Elkin sitch: Brotzman could handle the kicking load by his lonesome but probably shouldn't. Elkin has to get the consistency thing down.
True frosh? Wow...probably the best recruiting class we've ever had, but I don't know if any save Kirby will play this year. I honestly think that Justin Jungblut, Malcolm Johnson, Trevor Peterson, Charles Leno, Jonathan Brown, John Michael Davis or Quaylon Ewing could or would be thrust into starting roles in any other year. This year just has too many young guys with playing experience for this to happen.
If I had a gun to my head I would say that JMD, Johnson and Moore are the "most ready" or play at a position where burning a redshirt would be more likely, but my gut says only Kirby will see the field this year. That's a good thing.
Obviously, with the departure of Lomax and with Drew Hawkins, predictably, changing positions we WILL see a true frosh lock up the No. 3 QB slot behind Kellsy and Coughlin. Whether it is Joe Southwick or Mikey Tamburo remains to be seen. I think that Southwick is the better passer and is fairly mobile in his own right...Tamburo is the better all-around athlete. Will the coaches want a QB to bring in to run the spread option on occasion? Possibly. In that case, my money is on Tamburo. Though the roster will have one of these gents as the No. 3, I think we're all hoping that we won't "need" them in any real capacity. I think we'll see Southwick or Tamburo this year only if Harsin wants to get cute. Again, in a gun-to-head scenario I'll choose Mikey. Won't fall ball be fun?
We have got to stop talking about this soon because it is only May and I'm just about ready to run through a brick wall. I'm so excited. I'm so cold. I'm so excited.
Here's a thought on the freshman quarterback decision: do the Broncos think they have a mobile enough quarterback in Michael Coughlin? After all, he seems to run all the failed QB options and jump passes that typically are reserved for that more athletic type. Don't get me wrong; I think Tamburo would be a better fit. But I wouldn't be surprised if BSU is content with Coughlin doing his 1.0-yard average thang and having a better pure passer to back up Moore, er, Kellsy (very, very backup, but backup nonetheless).
Enough about third string quarterbacks, though. It seems to me that the positions most open for competition and debate are the No. 2 linebacker, the No. 2 defensive tackle, two or three spots on the O-line, TE, and maybe a third receiver.
Is a Hout-Winterswyk starting tandem a foregone conclusion? I say yes, and Jarrel Root's knee seconds my yes (Shea McClellin sits in the corner making hustle plays and nodding affirmatively).
Am I giving the starting S/LB job to Winston Venable without ever seeing him play the position in a real game? I am, but I'm keeping one eye open at night in case Doug Martin gets wind of my disloyalty.
Winn's a beast, Moore's a god, and the Bronco coaches will probably rotate players at such a sizzying clip that the starting lineup will be no more than a charade. Still, I love, love, love talking about it.
Anything else you need to get off your chest?
You don't have to have seen Venable play yet, cuz I have and my word is my bond - he will be the starting powerbacker/nickelbacker/guy-who-tackles-Colin-Kaepernick. Very impressed with that kid.
Don't recall a defensive end rotation as deep and talented as what we currently have. I pity the poor soul that becomes the lunchmeat on the Hout/Winterswyk sammie.
Me, too. Let's quit while we're ahead and before I start faxing our conversation to the Boise State athletics office. Oops. Too late.
Now it's your turn, OBNUG readers. What do you have to say about Boise State's 2009 Oregon game roster? Got any surprise starters you're wanting to declare?
Have at it in the comments.