The media and Bronco fandom are still split about which Spring position battle is the most intriguing. Many are scratching their heads and wondering just how the Broncos can replace Titus Young and Austin Pettis in one fell swoop and others are contemplating a defense without Jeron Johnson, Winston Venable, and Brandyn Thompson. Either way you go, it's a Spring full of questions—and with a rash of injuries—maybe few answers. One position that's oft overlooked, but that will get a brand new starter in 2011 is the pressure-cooker that is placekicker. Luckily for the Broncos, there's no shortage of warm bodies to attempt to fill the void.
Join me after the jump and we'll talk mountains of kickers and wonder together just what the local media is doing this Spring.
Here's the kicker...or has he not arrived yet?
Did someone order a flatbed truck full of kickers? It looks like Jeff Choate signed for it. The kicking position is wide open as we enter week two of Spring camp and there are enough legs in Bronco camp to make the Rockettes blush. The Statesman counted six specialists in camp thus far—walkons Dan Goodale, Jacob Hauter, Michael Frisina (JC transfer - preferred walk-on) and Jimmy Pavel are vying to fill Kyle Brotzman's boots at placekicker and Brad Elkin and Trevor Harman, last year's kickoff specialist) are looking to lock down punting duties. Of course the elephant in the room this Spring is the impending arrival of kicker über ales Jake Van Ginkel, who will more than likely take the placekicking job as a true frosh. But hey, it's nice to have options, right Jeff Choate?
"We’ve got a ton of legs in here," special teams coach Jeff Choate said. "Our big thing is going to be competition and consistency and I can see it already. These guys who were young guys were kind of sitting back letting Brotzman do his thing and now you can see their sense of urgency, their focus. The way they’re working is the way it should be."
Incidentally, "we've got a ton of legs in here" is what I said when I returned the Popeye's family bucket on Super Bowl Sunday.
Freshly shorn Gavins is on a mission
We've got a soft spot 'round these parts for Jerrell Gavins. He's short, quick, heavily dreadlocked, and hangs out at Crissie's house on weekends. By all accounts he's a great kid and is being willed by some in the local media to take over Brandyn Thompson's corner spot this Fall. Time will tell if Gavins is the front-runner...but sad news for fans of the Florida DB (at least those that didn't watch the Las Vegas Bowl closely)...the Predator dreads are history.
"They kept getting yanked out in practice, so the hair would all be gone eventually anyways," Gavins said. "It’s a big year for me, so I think it fits."
Gavins' cheering section has already acquired a HUGE pickup thus far this Spring—secondary coach Marcel Yates, who spoke of ideal post-Spring pecking orders to the Press-Tribune:
"Ideally, he’ll come out of the spring as a starting corner," Boise State defensive backs coach Marcel Yates said. "He’s got to take that next step in learning the defense better and becoming a leader because he’s seen quite a few snaps here."
Sarah Palin herself couldn't have given a more meaningful endorsement.
Chadd Cripe blockbuster the early leader for Pulitzer Prize
Although OBNUGers young and old would rather the Statesman use their considerable resources to tell us some actual details about Spring practice, it's become clear that they'd rather devote ledes, resources, and Brian Murphy's five o'clock shadow to stories of player impropriety, or overhyped controversy. Case in point—the Statesman falling all over themselves about Sports Illustrated's "crime" story to the point that they thought it best to remind SI that they'd forgotten a few misdemeanors. Then last week, knowing full well that Bronco Nation wants to know what players are shining in Spring Ball or what Jeremy Ioane ate for lunch, we got Brian Murphy lamenting that Boise State failed to respond to the Statesman's gotcha FOIA request.
Well, now in week two of practice, Chadd Cripe decides to spend roughly four times as much ink talking about how little the Broncos use recruiting services than he did telling us who's in the lead for backup QB (Hedrick and Southwick both looking good...film at eleven). Now we're forced to spend roughly four times as many lines wondering why our local news media covers Spring Ball like it has cooties (Press-Trib excluded...good job fellas). What site has two thumbs and intelligent readers and contributors (dear lord, if you ever read the Statesman's comment section your brain may literally 'splode), and passionate writers that live and breathe Bronco football and don't seem to have a vendetta against a program that literally keeps them employed? This site. Let the letter writing campaign commence.
More to come?
I'm not all gears and clockwork inside like Kevan so I don't get up at 3 AM to scour the interwebs for late-coming Spring camp news. If any actual details of day 5(?) are released as the day goes on, I will update accordingly.