There will be no more D.J. Harper in 2010. So where do the Broncos turn?
I'll let you in on my theory after the jump, as well as answering some other questions about the Boise State depth chart. Will Brenel Myers and Matt Slater just fight to the death already so we have a permanent answer at right tackle? Continue reading for my thoughts and feel free to offer your feedback.
Boise State offense
Boise State defense
Z - 2 Austin Pettis 6-3 203 Sr.
X - 1 Titus Young 5-11 175 Sr.
H - 89 Tyler Shoemaker 6-1 215 Jr.
LT - Nate Potter 6-6 300 Jr.
LG - Joe Kellogg 6-2 299 So.
C - 66 Thomas Byrd 5-11 281 Jr.
RG - 59 Will Lawrence 6-2 291 Sr.
RT - 64 Brenel Myers 6-2 272 So.
TE - 85 Tommy Gallarda 6-5 259 Sr.
QB - 11 Kellen Moore 6-0 191 Jr.
RB - 22 Doug Martin 5-9 212 Jr.
FB - 47 Dan Paul 6-0 241 Jr.
E - 98 Ryan Winterswyk 6-4 270 Sr.
96 Jarrell Root 6-3 257 Jr.
T - 90 Billy Winn 6-4 288 Jr.
N - 97 Chase Baker 6-1 295 Jr.
SE - 92 Shea McClellin 6-3 254 Jr.
MIKE- 94 Byron Hout 6-0 223 Jr.
WILL- 36 Aaron Tevis 6-3 232 Jr.
S 23 Jeron Johnson 5-11 198 Sr.
S 8 George Iloka 6-3 209 Jr.
N 17 Winston Venable 5-11 220 Sr.
CB 21 Jamar Taylor 5-11 191 So.
CB 13 Brandyn Thompson 5-10 177 Sr.
PK - 35 Kyle Brotzman 5-10 197 Sr.
84 Jimmy Pavel 5-9 221 So.
KO - 35 Kyle Brotzman 5-10 197 Sr.
HD - 2 Austin Pettis 6-3 203 Sr.
P - 35 Kyle Brotzman 5-10 197 Sr.
SNP - 94 Byron Hout 6-0 223 Jr.
KR - 4 Titus Young 5-11 175 Sr.
PR - 1 Titus Young 5-11 175 Sr.
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! D.J. Harper will walk again!
God bless you, D.J. Harper
What happens to the Bronco ground game without Harper?
My theory: nothing.
Harper and Doug Martin have the most similar running styles out of any of the Bronco backs, so it makes sense that a lack of Harper simply means more carries for Martin. My guess is that Martin gets 15-20 carries per game, Jeremy Avery gets five, and Matt Kaiserman gets five.
I do not believe that you can replace Harper with Avery and expect to get the same results. Avery is a completely different back with completely different skills.
Therefore, handing Harper's carries to Avery simply won't work. Boise State has had workhorse backs in the past (good Ian Johnson, for instance), and while it may not be the coaching staff's preference, injuries sometimes force your hand. More carries for Doug Martin is the way I would go.
What about you?
Speaking of Jeremy Avery, Matt Kaiserman might be better than him
Wrap your brain around this one: Matt Kaiserman was used on offense before Jeremy Avery. Possible explanations:
- Kaiserman was in for Harper.
- Kaiserman was a better fit against Oregon State than Avery.
- Kaiserman has passed Avery on the depth chart.
Of those three options, Nos. 1 and 2 are most likely, but No. 3 is most interesting. Kaiserman over Avery? Whaaa?
I'll be honest with you. From what I saw of Kaiserman on Saturday night, specifically the three-yard loss on a toss sweep that took so long to develop I needed a haircut by the time it was over, I was not impressed. Kaiserman is better off as a grinder who gets tough yards up the middle, not as a threat to stretch the defense horizontally. Besides, Jeremy Avery holds a monopoly on east-west running.
Kaiserman's new role was not reflected in this week's depth chart, but whatever. Harper's injury has rendered this depth chart pretty obsolete. We probably won't know until BSU's third offensive series against NMSU whether or not Kaiserman still has an edge on Avery. And by the third offensive series it might be Jarvis Hodge time anyway (read: blowout).
Adventures in goalline playcalling: The Joe Southwick option
Boise State did some strange things at the goalline on Saturday night (end around WR pass from the six?), but perhaps none were stranger than Joe Southwick running the option on 3rd down from the 3. That play failed, as was its destiny. But it raised plenty of questions, like ...
- Is Boise State more confident with Joe Southwick running the option than Mike Coughlin?
- Was Southwick simply ahead of Coughlin on the depth chart?
- Is the option going to be a major part of the Bronco offense when Southwick is the starter?
- Would a Matt Kaiserman pitch out have been a better call in that situation?
I am joking about that last one. JOKING, Bryan Harsin!
Brenel Myers is your new starting left tackle, unless he isn't
Myers was the surprise starter over Matt Slater on Saturday night, and he turned the surprise start into a surprise move to No. 1 on the right tackle depth chart. Or not. Boise State named Slater its lineman of the week for the Oregon State game, so who knows what's going on at this position.
Jerrell Gavins is the first DB off the bench
When Boise State needs an extra DB, Gavins appears to be the team's first choice. He wasn't the first choice in the season opener, and he had a relatively rough go of things against Wyoming. But he was solid on Saturday night, allowing zero catches on two pass targets, and looking a lot like the player Bronco fans enjoyed seeing last season.
Swinging gate 2-point conversions return, WAC special teams coaches sigh disappointedly
The swinging gate formation, Boise State's 2-point conversion scheme where Austin Pettis either throws passes into the end zone or breaks his own leg bones, reared its confounding head on Saturday night for the Broncos' first PAT. Nothing came of it, Brotzman kicked the extra point, and life went on. But not for WAC special teams coaches. Enjoy spending five hours of your 40 hour weeks gameplanning against that.
Who handles kickoffs?
It was Trevor Harman for awhile on Saturday night, until he was no longer good at it and Brotzman took over. Presumably, Jimmy Pavel is also in the mix. This could be one of the hottest practice battles this week, although I'm probably not using the right word there. Important? Heated? Ignored? Yes, ignored. That's the one I was looking for.
Who returns punts?
Titus Young fumbled away his grasp on the starting PR job, and now he figures to be in a battle with Chris Potter to see who gets the honor of fielding one of NMSU's 18 punts on Saturday (18 may be an exaggeration, they'll probably turn the ball over at least 5 times).
Which one would you prefer to have back there? I'll go with a combination of Chris Potter fielding the punt and pitching back to Titus Young for the return.
Michael Atkinson lines up at fullback, is large
Mr. Canadian Bacon was in your backfield on Bronco goalline sets, so it is only a matter of time before a) a WAC linebacker dies or b) Atkinson scores his first collegiate touchdown. Or both a and b, I guess.
Jason Robinson returns, has nowhere to go
Yay, Jason Robinson is back!
/looks around the Bronco defense for an open spot
Uh ... this is awkward.
Bryan Hout left off depth chart
Brent Musburger is looking into this.
- Ryan Winterswyk Sack Watch continues for another week. Katie Couric is probably going to get involved at some point.
- What, if any, punishment will Tommy Smith get for slapping an Oregon State player in the head with his club arm?
- If Jeremy Avery does get pressed into more offensive snaps, he may be removed from kick and punt return duty. That's at least one fewer penalty per game that the Broncos can count on.
- Kudos to Jeron Johnson. Out of all the Bronco players who have received personal foul penalties this season, Johnson isn't one of them.
What do you think the Broncos will do to replace D.J. Harper? Who should be kicking off for BSU and who should be returning punts? Do you have a preference with Brenel Myers or Matt Slater? Share your thoughts in the comments.