The Broncos are back in action on Saturday night against Wyoming with a group that looks pretty much the same as the one that beat Virginia Tech. Does that mean that there isn't some speculative presuming to do with the team's newly released depth chart? Of course not. Speculation knows no season.
After the jump, discuss what's happening along the offensive line, give your take on the Boise State wide receiver situation, and debate whether or not Doug Martin has a fumbling problem. Perish the thought! Let's discuss.
Boise State offense
Boise State defense
RT - 72 Matt Slater 6-4 267 Sr.
E - 98 Ryan Winterswyk 6-4 270 Sr.
T - 90 Billy Winn 6-4 288 Jr.
CB 21 Jamar Taylor 5-11 191 So.
PK - 35 Kyle Brotzman 5-10 197 Sr.
84 Jimmy Pavel 5-9 221 So.
HD - 2 Austin Pettis 6-3 203 Sr.
SNP - 94 Byron Hout 6-0 223 Jr.
PR - 20 Mitch Burroughs 5-9 188 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! Matt Slater is the second coming of Tad Miller!
Boise State now two-for-two with games and offensive line combinations
Not that fans should expect any different, but the Broncos are well on their way to continuing the trend of never having the same offensive line start consecutive games. Those poor fairweather fans aren't going to be able to keep up at this pace.
This week's change comes at right tackle with Matt Slater stepping in for Brenel Myers. I have no problem with Slater getting the start, especially after his smooth performance in relief of an injured Myers on Labor Day night. What concerns me is this: Wasn't Brenel Myers the next Ryan Clady?
The question might be irrelevant if the switch happened due to the lingering effects of Myers's injury against the Hokies. But media reports aren't spinning it that way. Myers is healthy, according to those in the know, so it would appear that Slater has passed him up on the depth chart based on effectiveness. Keep in mind, Slater was toiling at guard during spring and fall camp because there was no room for him at tackle. My how quickly things change.
Of course, if I'm wondering what has happened to people, I should probably be asking about Faraji Wright who was left off this week's depth chart entirely after finding himself as the starting tackle on the last version. Wright missed the Virginia Tech game with an injury, although not a serious one if I remember right. For someone who had passed Charles Leno by the end of Fall Camp, it is strange to see Leno's name as Nate Potter's first backup and Wright nowhere to be found. Let's hope it's injury-related and that Wright gets to have an impact before long.
Nate Potter with rare trifecta: Sack allowed, fumble forced, Boise State offensive lineman of the week award
Quick: Name the best Boise State lineman from the team's win over Virginia Tech. Would you have gone with Potter? Chances are that you are like me and distinctly remember Potter coming out of his stance like Dick Tomey when he allowed a first half sack to Virginia Tech's Steven Friday. Well, you and I are wrong because Boise State coaches thought so highly of Potter's play that they named him the lineman of the week. An award like that speaks to the great effort Potter had on the offense's other 60 plays. Because if it's mistakes that get you awards, then Thomas Byrd has an especially egregious fumbled snap planned for next week.
Not even poorly timed fumbles can keep Doug Martin from being Boise State's No. 1 running back
When Doug Martin put the ball on the turf against Virginia Tech, I thought to myself, "Oh, so this is why Martin hasn't been the team's starting running back until now." Fumbles are a ticket straight to mop-up duty, and this was Martin's second in as many games.
"Whatever," said the Broncos. Coaches obviously think highly enough of Martin's abilities to overlook his Adrian Peterson syndrome. If it happens for the third time in a row this weekend, though, I bet we start hearing some folks getting restless. Brian Murphy, perhaps?
Here's something to impress your friends with: The Big Four
If you think special teams are a big fat waste of time, then you probably won't like this new concept. It is called The Big Four, and it refers to Boise State's kickoff coverage, kickoff return, punt coverage, and punt return teams. When I re-watched the Virginia Tech game, I did my best to chart who showed up on what unit. I thought it might give us fans a little better taste of the Bronco players who go unsung on special teams.
Here is the list of players who were on three units of The Big Four.
A haiku to Tommy Smith
Special Teams demon
Linebacker of the future
I want to be you
Where does Boise State turn for its extra defensive back?
When Boise State needs an extra defensive back on obvious passing downs, where does it turn? You would think that the Broncos would call in Jerrell Gavins who was the team's nickel corner last year and competed with Jamar Taylor for the starting corner spot all fall. But did anyone see Gavins on the field on defense against the Hokies?
I saw more of Cedric Febis than I did Gavins, but I couldn't tell if Febis was on in relief of Jeron Johnson or if Febis was playing as a third safety to help against the pass. It could be that Febis was a better fit against the bigger receivers of the Hokies. It could be that Febis has passed Gavins on the secondary depth chart. It could be that I wasn't watching the game properly and am way off base on all of this.
So long, Kirby Moore. Hello, Mitch Burroughs?
The Broncos would like to redshirt Moore this season because the depth at wide receiver is about as deep as they come. Part of that depth: Mitch Burroughs, the one wide receiver whom fans have had the toughest time embracing. With Moore's departure, Burroughs steps in as the No. 2 receiver behind Tyler Shoemaker, the same position he holds behind Austin Pettis. Looks like we'll be seeing more of Burroughs in coming weeks.
Derrell Acrey is back, but Byron Hout is starting
The Hout-Acrey debate was answered soundly in the season opener when Acrey did not even step on the field due to an ankle injury. Byron Hout made the best of his opportunity with a solid performance (and Tommy Smith played pretty well, too), and he was rewarded with a spot in the starting lineup this week - a spot that I don't see him giving up any time soon.
Derrell Acrey will be back this week against the Cowboys, but how much of an impact will he have? How much playing time do you think he'll see? Boise State's linebackers looked pretty excellent against the Hokies, and it's hard to mess with a good thing. Then again, you have to assume that a full speed Acrey makes the linebacking corps even better. Scary thought, no?
Yes, Winston Venable still exists
Venable did nothing against the Hokies, and I mean that in a box score kind of way. He is still the starting nickelbacker this week, so that rules out any injury worries. Expect him to have more of an impact against Wyoming.
There isn't one. Thanks, local media.
What keeps special teams coach Jeff Choate up at night? Adrenaline and field goal protection
When you miss a gimme field goal and give a team second life with an unnecessary penalty, it is not hard to find stuff to work on the following week. Jeff Choate's thing? Field goal protection.
The Broncos had an extra point stuffed (seemingly by big guys up the middle, but it was hard to tell), which is not something you see every day. Hopefully, the fix is something simple, like sticking Michael Atkinson and Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe in the middle and having them stand there.
- Is Ryan Winterswyk 100 percent? Boise State's not saying. Winterswyk had a relatively quiet night against the Hokies, made even quieter by the rock concert of Shea McClellin at the other defensive end. His bright blue leg wrap made him appear to be not at full strength. We'll see if a couple weeks off has made the difference.
- Is Jeron Johnson 100 percent? He was the bigger worry prior to the game, but he looked solid all night and led the team in tackles. I'm sure he'll play against Wyoming. How much might be the better question.
Michael Ames is done for the year after having shoulder surgery. So go ahead and pencil him in for starting tackle in 2011 because that's how the Boise State O-line rolls.
- Kyle Brotzman did not come out for Boise State's final kickoff of the game against the Hokies. Jimmy Pavel did. Whether that was due to Brotzman's kickoffs getting shorter and shorter as the game went on or a potential injury that he suffered when he was steamrolled on the punt block prior to halftime, no one's saying. It will be interesting to see if Pavel takes the field for any kickoffs on Saturday.
- I'm not sure if this is the place for this, but I'll say it anyway. I expected the Broncos to come down harder on running backs coach Keith Bhonapha and his DUI. Bhonapha is back to normal duties already. Perhaps the school handled it harsher internally, but no one knows. DUI's are serious stuff, especially when you are a leader of young men.
Happy with the Broncos' offensive line group against Wyoming? Think Brenel Myers will win back his starting job eventually? Any worries about Doug Martin's fumble problems? Share your thoughts in the comments.