Boise State visits Nevada with one of its healthiest lineups all season. Or do they? Only Max Corbet knows for sure, I guess.
Join me after the jump for a look at the Bronco roster and a debate on how fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on your perception) the Broncos have been with injuries. Plus, see who's vying for the tackle lead, why Shea McClellin should be WAC DPOY, and much more.
Boise State offense
Boise State defense
X - 1 Titus Young 5-11 175 Sr.
RT - 72 Matt Slater 6-4 267 Sr.
E - 98 Ryan Winterswyk 6-4 270 Sr.
CB 21 Jamar Taylor 5-11 191 So.
PK - 35 Kyle Brotzman 5-10 197 Sr.
14 Trevor Harman 6-2 197 Fr.
KO - 14 Trevor Harman 6-2 197 Fr.
HD - 2 Austin Pettis 6-3 203 Sr.
P - 35 Kyle Brotzman 5-10 197 Sr.
KR - 4 Titus Young 5-11 175 Sr.
PR - 3 Chris Potter 5-9 160 So.
Disclaimer: Depth charts mean as much as you want them to mean. Keep in mind that things change over the course of a game week and that game situations, injuries, and performance will render some of this depth chart moot. Still, it's fun to speculate ... with hyperbole! There might as well not even be receivers behind Titus Young and Austin Pettis! They're that good!
Note: Boise State's official depth chart has yet to be released to the public. What you see above is last week's with my best guesses at what this week's looks like.
Boise State is "fairly healthy," even though that doesn't sound right
I get a fair amount of enjoyment from USA Today's team notes pages prior to each Bronco game. Here's what I found this week:
The Broncos are fairly healthy going into one of the biggest games in school history.
OK, I'm going to ignore that part about "one of the biggest games in school history" because I do not have the time or the proper ergonomic keyboard to have that debate. Let's just say that I'm dubious about that claim.
The first part of the sentence is what made me think. Is Boise State really "fairly healthy"? I don't get that sense, but maybe I'm wrong. Let's look at who the Broncos have lost since their opening day roster:
- D.J. Harper is out with a season-ending knee injury
- Tommy Gallarda is out with a broken foot
- Byron Hout is out with a broken foot
- Michael Atkinson was suspended for the year
- Joe Kellogg is whatever Joe Kellogg is
And I guess that's it. So two starters are done for sure (Hout and Gallarda), one other is questionable (Kellogg), and two important subs are gone (Harper and Atkinson). The Broncos are far from injury-free, but at the same time, it's not the same walking wounded list that BSU had prior to last year's Fiesta Bowl.
USA Today 1, Kevan's irrational fears 0.
That's okay. My irrational fears are a second-half team. You better play them before they get their act together!
Kyle Brotzman is good to go, says his 50-yard field goal
The former (and present) Lou Groza watch lister, Brotzman appears to be as healthy as he has been all season. Not punting probably helps. So, too, does taking three or four weeks off. His 50-yard field goal - in cold, dead air - sailed well through the uprights. It would have been good from 55 if Brotzman would have just waited for J.P. Nisby to jump offside. Selfish.
We'll see how Brotzman fares in blizzard-like conditions down in Reno. Also, Reno smells.
Boise State's starting linebacker corps: I don't know, I was too busy watching men's college basketball I didn't want to watch
One of the greatest depth chart mysteries on Friday night was who exactly would get the start at linebacker now that Byron Hout has been lost for the regular season. Well, beats me. ESPN2 thought the end of a college basketball game between two teams I can't remember was more important than the first five minutes of Boise State - Fresno.
With that, I send out the call to the OBNUGgers. Who were the starting linebackers on Friday night?
I'll tell you this much: I didn't really notice Derrell Acrey until well into the second quarter. Of course, this could have been because no Fresno play really got past the defensive line. Or it could have been that J.C. Percy and Daron Mackey and Tommy Smith were more involved than expected.
Faraji Wright getting comfortable at guard, at the expense of Joe Kellogg
Kellogg, who was injured weeks ago against LaTech, was supposed to be healthy enough to play on Friday, but you'll have to be a lot more than healthy to bump Faraji Wright from the lineup. Wright was again a regular, which makes me wonder a) if Joe Kellogg is indeed healthy, b) if Wright is playing well enough to keep the stellar Kellogg at bay, or c) if I just happened to not see Kellogg when he was in, which is weird because he and Wright couldn't look more different.
Is Chris Potter or Mitch Burroughs the better punt returner? Yes.
I'm having trouble telling them apart now.
In praise of ... Matt Slater
This offseason, Matt Slater's name was the furthest from everyone's mind. In 2009, he was a solid starter for a good portion of the season before slipping into a backup role and losing to Brenel Myers in the all-important Fiesta Bowl start. In spring and fall camp, he bounced between tackle and guard, and not in a cool Nate Potter way. In an afterthought way. Brenel Myers was the next great Bronco lineman, and Matt Slater was not.
Well Bronco football has a funny way of surprising you. Slater has turned out to be one of the team's most solid players this year. He and Myers split time at tackle for awhile at the start of the season, but the job is very clearly Slater's alone at this point. And he's holding it down like a champ.
Boise State tackling lead anybody's game at this point (except Michael Atkinson's)
Jeron Johnson had visions of a 100-tackle season, but that was before he fully understood just how much of a destructive force this defense was. Plays don't make it all the way back to the secondary very often. Johnson doesn't play fourth quarters very often.
As such, the tackle lead has been anyone's game for much of the year. Johnson led early. George Iloka made a run. And J.C. Percy has slowly and steadily climbed the leaderboards. One of those three will wind up with the team lead in tackles. Vegas odds, please!
The fourth place player has 36 total tackles and would need Colin Kaepernick and Diondre Borel to purposefully run his direction and allow tackles (a la Brett Favre with Michael Strahan) to catch up. Can anyone name that player?
Answer is in the comments.
Stat update! Titus Young nears 1,000 yards, will totally get there versus Nevada
Young set Boise State's career receiving yardage record last Friday, and now he goes for a 1,000-yard season this Friday. Young has 988 yards receiving on the season, which means he is about 1/5th of a deep catch away from cracking the 1,000-yard barrier.
Here are your other Broncos near some pretty good stat totals:
- Doug Martin needs 63 yards to top 1,000 for the season.
- Kellen Moore needs 57 yards to reach 10,000 career passing yards.
- Kellen Moore needs to keep being awesome so that his 188.8 efficiency rating beats 2006 Hawaii Colt Brennan's 186.0 rating for the NCAA's single season best.
Shea McClellin looking more and more like WAC Defensive Player of the Year
And I say this having almost no idea how any other defenders in the WAC are doing. (Except Shiloh Keo. He's doing poorly.)
Here is McClellin's stat line on the season, boosted by a sack-fumble of Ryan Colburn last week.
McClellin: 24 tackles, 11.5 TFLs, 7.5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF, 2 FR, 2 TDs
This doesn't include the batted ball that Ryan Winterswyk intercepted or the two QB hurries that play-by-play credits him (BIFFF credits him with way more).
Second-teamers redeem themselves
Remember how poorly Joe Southwick and the second team Broncos played against Idaho? Yeah, neither do I.
Boise State likes these players, so I like these players
Boise State's internal players of the week against Fresno were wide receiver Titus Young (offense), defensive end Ryan Winterswyk (defense), kicker/punter Kyle Brotzman (special teams), defensive tackle Billy Winn (linemen), and safety Jeron Johnson (Hammer).
How do you think Boise State's roster looks prior to the Nevada game? Any idea who the starting linebackers were? Who do you think will win the tackles title? Share your thoughts in the comments.