Boise State spring scrimmage recap: Defense reigns, Burks impresses

The first scrimmage of the spring is in the books, and there are plenty of positives to take away for the Broncos. From the defense to the newcomers, there are bright spots galore. After the jump, take a comprehensive look at spring scrimmage, including play-by-play, injury reports, players to watch, and much more.

The non-participants

Not expected to participate:

Kyle Brotzman, Allen Mooney, Daron Mackey, Chase Baker, Thomas Byrd, Chuck Hayes, J.P. Nisby, Garrett Pendergast, Cory Yriarte, Matt Kaiserman, D.J. Harper, Kirby Moore, Mike Tamburo, Michael Atkinson, Ryan Winterswyk.

New non-participants

  • LB John Michael Davis. See on the sidelines with a brace/wrap on his right elbow.
  • WR Austin Pettis. Held for a couple FG attempts but did not participate on offense.
  • RB Malcolm Johnson.
  • WR Chris Potter.
  • CB Jerrell Gavins.

Numerical roster update

Titus Young looked pretty smooth in his new No. 1 jersey. Is it possible for TY to look faster? Not anymore unless we start going to decimals. Here are the rest of the newcomers with new jersey numbers.

Play by play of Boise State's first spring scrimmage

For all of you who could not make it, here is my best stab at play-by-play for the first scrimmage. I guarantee at least 85 percent accuracy, which is about 40 percent more than Colin Kaepernick could guarantee. Where's my WAC POY?

1st Series - Michael Coughlin at QB

  • Jarvis Hodge run.
  • Jarvis Hodge run.
  • Aaron Burks catch on a screen pass for a first down.
  • Jarvis Hodge run.
  • Jarvis Hodge run.
  • Michael Coughlin incomplete pass to Geraldo Hiwat. Cedric Febis with a pass defensed on a big hit that jarred the ball loose. Throw was slightly behind Hiwat.
  • Preston Minter catch on a screen pass.
  • Drew Wright catch on a screen pass.
  • Drew Wright run.
  • Michael Coughlin pass to Kyle Efaw. Cedric Febis with a big hit, but Efaw held on.
  • Chandler Koch drop.
  • Kharyee Marshall sack.
  • Jimmy Pavel 42-yard field goal from the left hash. Good. Austin Pettis holder.

2nd Series - Kellen Moore at QB, First-team defense

3rd Series - Kellen Moore at QB, First-team defense

4th Series - Kellen Moore at QB, First-team defense

  • Jeremy Avery run. A nice cutback for an 8-yard gain.
  • Tyler Shoemaker run. Speed sweep, Shoemaker dropped the ball, loss on the play.
  • Kellen Moore incomplete pass to Mitch Burroughs.

5th Series - Joe Southwick at QB

  • Joe Southwick pass to Carlo Audagnotti.
  • Joe Southwick incomplete pass to Aaron Burks.
  • Jonathan Brown sack.

6th Series - Joe Southwick at QB

  • Joe Southwick pass to Dave Wilson.
  • Joe Southwick incomplete pass to Geraldo Hiwat. Hiwat beat Quaylong Ewing deep, but pass was underthrown.
  • Byron Hout sack.

7th Series - Joe Southwick at QB

8th Series - Michael Coughlin at QB

  • Drew Wright run.
  • Drew Wright run.
  • Michael Coughlin pass to Aaron Burks. First down.
  • Geraldo Hiwat incomplete pass to Preston Minter. Hiwat got the ball on a reverse and woefully underthrew Minter. Quaylong Ewing almost got the pick.
  • Michael Coughlin pass to Aaron Burks. Screen.
  • Michael Coughlin incomplete pass to Aaron Burks. Shea McClellin with a QB hurry after pancaking Jake Broyles.

9th Series - Michael Coughlin at QB

  • Michael Coughlin pass to Geraldo Hiwat.
  • Michael Coughlin incomplete pass to Aaron Burks. Burks had beaten Quaylon Ewing deep, but Coughlin just overthrew him.
  • Mitch Burroughs drop. Burroughs hit hard after the drop.

10th Series - Joe Southwick at QB

  • Aaron Burks drop.
  • Joe Southwick pass to Chandler Koch. First down.
  • Joe Southwick deep pass to Aaron Burks. Burks beat Quaylon Ewing on the play. Gain of 50 yards-plus.
  • Joe Southwick pass to Geraldo Hiwat. Touchdown. Perfect fade pass from inside 10 yards.

11th Series - Kellen Moore at QB

  • Kellen Moore incomplete. Throwaway. J.C. Percy hurry.
  • Jarvis Hodge run. Loss of yards.
  • Kellen Moore incomplete pass to Titus Young. Young hit hard by Jamar Taylor. Screen pass broken up.

12th Series - Kellen Moore at QB

  • Jarvis Hodge run.
  • Jarvis Hodge run. Byron Hout TFL.
  • Kellen Moore incomplete. Greg Grimes tipped ball at line of scrimmage.

13th Series - Michael Coughlin at QB

  • Raphiel Lambert run.
  • Michael Coughlin pass to Aaron Burks. Screen. First down.
  • Aaron Burks run. Speed sweep.
  • Michael Coughlin pass to Mitch Burroughs. First down.
  • Michael Coughlin pass to Carlo Audagnotti. Screen. Big gain. First down.
  • Michael Coughlin pass to Tyler Jackson.
  • Carlo Audagnotti run. Matt Wilson TFL.
  • Ebo Makinde INT. Coughlin's pass deflected by defender in the end zone. Makinde INT.

14th Series - Joe Southwick at QB

  • Raphiel Lambert run.
  • Raphiel Lambert run.
  • Joe Southwick pass to Mitch Burroughs. First down.
  • Joe Southwick pass to Preston Minter.
  • Joe Southwick pass to Tyler Jackson. Screen. First down.
  • Nick Alexander sack.
  • Carlo Audagnotti run. Loss.
  • Joe Southwick incomplete. Kharyee Marshall hurry.
  • Trevor Harman 42-yard FG missed. Wide left. Pettis holder.

15th Series - Michael Coughlin at QB

  • Michael Coughlin pass to Preston Minter. First down.
  • Drew Wright run.
  • Drew Wright run.
  • Michael Coughlin pass to Jarvis Hodge. Screen. J.C. Percy TFL.
  • Michael Coughlin pass to Preston Minter. First down. Cedric Febis with a big hit.
  • Michael Coughlin pass incomplete. Hunter White PBU.
  • Aaron Burks run. Speed sweep.
  • Michael Coughlin pass to Kyle Efaw. First down.
  • Michael Coughlin pass to Mitch Burroughs. Touchdown. Burroughs beat Ebo Makinde for a 37-yard TD. Perfect pass by Coughlin.

16th Series - Joe Southwick at QB

  • Carlo Audagnotti run.
  • Tyler Jackson drop.
  • Joe Southwick scramble. Byron Hout hurry.

17th Series - Joe Southwick at QB

  • Joe Southwick pass to Raphiel Lambert. Screen. Justin Jungblut tackle for no gain.
  • Joe Southwick incomplete.
  • Tyler Jackson drop.

18th Series - Joe Southwick at QB

  • Raphiel Lambert run. 23-yard gain. First down.
  • Raphiel Lambert run.
  • Raphiel Lambert run. First down. 20-plus-yard gain.
  • Raphiel Lambert run. Nick Alexander TFL.
  • Raphiel Lambert run. Matt Wilson TFL. Wilson injured on the play, carted off with a left leg injury.
  • Joe Southwick pass to Raphiel Lambert. First down.
  • Joe Southwick pass to Raphiel Lambert. Screen. Billy Derome TFL with a big hit.
  • Joe Southwick incomplete. Jungblut hurry. Tommy Smith PBU.
  • Joe Southwick scramble.
  • Joe Southwick pass to Geraldo Hiwat. First down. Fourth down conversion from inside the red zone.
  • Joe Southwick pass to Chandler Koch. Touchdown.
  • Trevor Harman missed 43-yard FG. Joe Southwick holder.

Offensive line combinations

One of the most scrutinized positions of the team this spring has been the offensive line. Here are the groupings that the Broncos trotted out. Boise State started with Coughlin and the second team on offense. The first team listed below was the group that came out with Kellen Moore on his first series.

Players listed from left to right

Linebacker combinations

With only two starting spots to fill, the competition at LB will be fierce this spring and fall. Here are the pairings that appeared in the first scrimmage. Acrey and Tevis debuted with the first team defense.

  • Tommy Smith and J.C. Percy
  • Derrell Acrey and Aaron Tevis
  • Byron Hout and Matt Wilson
  • Tommy Smith and Aaron Tevis
  • Byron Hout and J.C. Percy
  • Dustin Kamper and Matt Wilson

Players of the scrimmage

First-team defense

The display from the first-teamers was breathtaking. They looked to be in midseason form in holding Kellen Moore's first-team offense to three consecutive three-and-outs. And the offense wasn't even close to getting a first down. If I could put those three series in a bottle and save them until Virginia Tech, I totally would.

 

Aaron Burks

Several catches in traffic. One great catch on a long bomb. Burks looked better than he did last fall, and he will be a serious candidate for playing time this fall.

Michael Coughlin and Joe Southwick

Both QBs had their moments - no INTs, more than enough TDs. And each had enough good plays to make the competition between the two very, very even. Up until Coughlin's TD pass to Burroughs, I would have given the edge to Southwick. Ultimately, it will take more than one scrimmage to separate these two.

Cedric Febis

George Iloka's backup was a hitting machine. He plays so infrequently, you tend to forget what a great nose for the ball he has.

Shea McClellin

McClellin was a beast, tearing it up from his DE position and from a blitzing MLB.

Raphiel Lambert

Lambert was the only RB able to get on track, and he looked good doing it. He is much bigger than I remember - closer to Jarvis Hodge size than Doug Martin size. But he seems to have the quicks of Jeremy Avery. He and Malcolm Johnson will make a good one-two punch some day.

If you are a fan of first-team skill players, this was not the scrimmage for you

The Bronco offensive stars - Kellen Moore, Austin Pettis, Titus Young, Jeremy Avery, and Doug Martin - did as close to nothing as is possible without actually being in street clothes. Martin and Avery combined for zero two carries. Young and Pettis combined for zero three catches. Kellen Moore resembled Michael Coughlin in wash-up duty last year.

No doubt the BSU coaches held them all back to get other players some work. Mission accomplished.

The Byron Hout experiment seems to be going swimmingly

Hout made a couple of big plays in the backfield, chasing down QBs on blitzes and stuffing the run on multiple occasions. The only disconcerting part of Hout's scrimmage was that he did not make an appearance until well after all of his fellow LBs had seen the field.

Strangely enough, Hout does not look like a defensive lineman playing linebacker. He very much looks the part of an LB and fits right in size-wise with the rest of the LB corps.

Nate Potter would make a good anything

He was great at tackle. He looks great at guard. Watch your back, Thomas Byrd.

Potter had little trouble fitting in at guard, helping keep the Bronco d-line at bay just like he did from the tackle position last year. The biggest learning curve for Potter has been staying low and getting underneath the pad level of the defensive line. On one play in particular, Potter was squatting so low it looked like he was preparing to sit at a kindergartner's desk. Scarier still, Potter may be even more effective than usual when he plays so low.

The Aaron Burks show is back in town

Burks picked right up where he left off at last year's fall camp with a spectacular spring scrimmage. He made a number of big catches, including the best catch of the day on a long bomb from Joe Southwick. Burks is tall, rangy, quick, and almost always open. Is that partly Quaylon Ewing's fault? Yes. Burks did not get any time against Jamar Taylor or Brandyn Thompson, so there's no telling how he would do against the 1's.

Kirby Moore better stop breaking his foot. Burks might be hard to keep off the field this fall.

Once a prodigious RB, always a prodigious RB, right Raphiel Lambert?

The Oregon HS RB star was back at his elusive best during a late series in the spring scrimmage. Lambert broke off a pair of long runs, eluding multiple tackles, cutting back against the grain, and tearing around the edge with his eyes to the sky, his head tilted back, and chugging along like David Augusto was chasing him. Remember Ian Johson's head tuck when he turned on the jets? Lambert apparently has the opposite.

Takek that, Kevan Lee. Mitch Burroughs has a decent day.

Burroughs had me eating my words from the scrimmage's first play when he returned a punt 100 yards for a TD, showing speed that he must have stolen from Titus Young. Later on, Burroughs beat Ebo Makinde clean on a go route and completed the play with a sweet over-the-shoulder catch for a touchdown. My apologies, Mitch Burroughs. You now have a free pass from me for the rest of the spring.

The 3-3-5 has not missed a beat

The blitzing, confusing 3-3-5 defense is most definitely around to stay. The Bronco D showed a slight variation to the scheme, shifting effortlessly from 4-2-5 to 3-3-5 before the snap. The Broncos drop a DE to MLB and bump out a DT to DE. How would you like Kharyee Marshall blitzing from MLB and Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe coming at you from DE? Joe Southwick did not like it very much.

Also, I saw Coach K calling the shots on the sideline. The defense looked very, very good.

Your meaningless punt return update

Titus Young and Mitch Burroughs were the main two returners when the team went to punt practice, and apart from Burroughs PR TD, the two played to a draw. No one fumbled. No one gaffed horribly. I sighed ambivalently a few times.

With Gavins on the bench, it is hard to tell exactly who will be the biggest competition to Young and Burroughs. Ebo Makinde was back for one return, and Josh Borgman made a cameo.

Jamar Taylor definitely in the running to start at CB

Again, with Gavins on the bench the depth chart is hard to decipher. But Taylor looked sharp and quick in his time with the first-team defense. His break-up of a Titus Young pass was a thing of beauty.

 

Miscellaneous

  • Toward the end of  the scrimmage, as Boise State players gathered near the goalline for some red zone plays, the crowd began applauding as if spring practice was over because quite frankly many people were ready for it to be over. It obviously wasn't. Boise State should know better than to interfere with fairweather fans' dinner plans at Applebee's. The 2 for $20 deal only goes until 5:00, Chris Petersen!
  • Kyle Wilson showed up halfway through the scrimmage, and the crowd gave him a big round of applause. Either that, or they gave Drew Wright's three-yard gain a big round of applause and Wilson being there was just a coincidence. I'm not sure.
  • The defense has developed a quacking, sing-song chant of "Sack!" every time a defensive player gets to the QB.
  • I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of OBNUGgers at the scrimmage. Thank you for not judging me for being a note-taking nerd.

Your turn

What did you think of the first spring scrimmage? Impressed with the defense? Excited about Aaron Burks? Anything stand out to you? Any question you wanted answered? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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