Boise State has made several important roster announcements in the days leading up to the Fiesta Bowl (6:00pm, FOX). WR Austin Pettis will see the field, but how much of an impact will he have? OL Brenel Myers will start at right tackle, but how will he do against Jerry Hughes?
Join me after the jump for a look at the possible impact of Boise State's lineup heading into the Fiesta, and share your thoughts in the comments about what these moves may mean.
The news: Austin Pettis will play in Fiesta, depending on what your definition of "play" is
From the department of vague status updates comes the news that Bronco Nation has been patiently waiting for: Austin Pettis very well might play. Maybe. Or not.
"He’s still working through it," Petersen said. "But he’ll be a factor somehow, some way."
What it means
A "factor" could mean almost anything. Pettis could be in the starting lineup. He could show up on third down packages. He could see time in the red zone. He could be used as a decoy virtually anytime, anywhere.
One thing we all know for sure is that Pettis will not be 100 percent. Further down, you'll read that Coach Pete believes Tyler Shoemaker is further along than Pettis, so that means Pettis cannot be fully recovered yet. It could be that the Broncos do not know how healthy Pettis truly is until they see him on the field tomorrow night. Expect Pettis to get some looks early and for coaches to re-evaluate after that.
What can Pettis do with a bum ankle? He can still catch, thankfully. And he still knows how to use his body to put himself in a good position to make catches. However, coming out of breaks will be tough, and jumping for fades will be even tougher. Pettis can be a "factor" as Coach Pete says, but there are a lot fewer ways to do so when you are not 100 percent.
Boise State's coaches will be smart about it. If Pettis is a hindrance, I don't expect him to stay long. If he is effective, Bronco fans could be in store for one of the gutsiest Bronco performances in history.
The news: Brenel Myers, backup offensive guard, will start at right tackle
Myers officially beat out Michael Ames and Matt Slater for the start, according to Coach Pete. That means that the Broncos will go into the Fiesta Bowl with a first-time starter at RT, protecting Kellen Moore's blind side against TCU All-American Jerry Hughes.
Boise State has options in Ames and Slater if Myers doesn't work out, but you have to believe that the confidence the coaching staff showed in Myers by naming him the starter shows that they think he can do the job just fine by himself.
What it means
Well, it wouldn't be a Bronco bowl game without a controversial roster decision.
In the 2007 Hawaii Bowl, Boise State sat Ian Johnson despite Johnson's later claims that he was healthy enough to play. In last year's Poinsettia Bowl, Jeremy Avery saw very little action despite being the Broncos' best running back threat all season long. And now this. If you had asked me a month ago about Brenel Myers starting at right tackle in the Fiesta Bowl, I would have said it was virtually unfathomable.
However, that is not to say that it is the wrong decision. Boise State's coached know far more than we do about what goes on in practices and behind the scenes. Though the outside evidence looks curious, the inside evidence could be saying something else entirely. At the very least, Jerry Hughes did admit that he enjoys watching film of his offensive line opponent to get a feel for their style and to pick out any weaknesses. Good luck finding much film on Brenel Myers.
Myers is in a big spot, perhaps the biggest spot in the entire game. I, for one, am really excited to see how he does.
The news: Tyler Shoemaker a healthier "factor" than Pettis
Shoemaker's hernia injury back in November was not supposed to keep him out of the bowl game, and it shall not. However, with his recovery slower than anticipated, no one is sure how healthy Shoemaker will be tomorrow night.
Coach Pete maintains that Shoemaker will be a "factor," and that he is "probably further along than (Pettis)." Can someone get me a Coach-Pete-to-English dictionary of medical terminology?
What it means
A healthy Shoemaker lets Kirby Moore play in Pettis's spot if Pettis cannot go. An unhealthy Shoemaker means more Mitch Burroughs and Chris Potter. Shoemaker has a lot of qualities that the other Bronco receivers do not have (size, experience), so his playing would be a big boost for the Broncos. Still, you have to wonder how healthy Shoemaker is, considering we're still talking about him as a maybe even though he is supposed to be completely healed by now.
- LB rotation is anybody's guess. Coach Pete did not single out Derrell Acrey's health when speaking about linebackers, so it appears that the Broncos will have five healthy LBs for the Fiesta - Acrey, Aaron Tevis, Hunter White, J.C. Percy, and Tommy Smith.
- Michael Choate likely will not play. Choate is listed up and down the postseason depth chart, so his unavailability puts even more pressure on the thin number of healthy receivers and on the holder duties. Speaking of which ...
- Hunter White will hold. Will he also run the 2-point conversion swinging gate? Nobody's saying. He was chosen as holder because of Kyle Brotzman's familiarity with him in recent practices.
D.J. Harper will not play, unless you are listening to Mark Johnson's halftime coverage on KTVB.