The most important body part in Bronco Nation this week is Kellen Moore's right knee, a joint that has been discussed and analyzed ad nauseum. Was Moore limping Saturday night? Was he in pain? Was he as good on one leg as he is on two? We know the answer to the last question (a resounding yes). We're not so clear on the first two.
Join me after the jump for a look at Moore's sensational start to 2011 as well as other news and notes from the depth chart. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
Bold = Starter
Italics = Depth chart change
Wingdings = Secret Mayan decoder message
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!
Kellen Moore on pace for 50 touchdowns and world's bulkiest knee brace
The good news is that Kellen Moore is playing better than he's played in his entire career. He is carrying this Boise State offense, and he is on pace for one of the best seasons in Bronco football history. The bad news is that he has no right knee.
At least that's the speculation on the talk radio stations this week as fear rules the day. Is Kellen Moore hiding a torn ACL? Did he give Thomas Byrd a knee for a knee replacement? Is Moore's knee acting as a drug mule? I should probably point out that I don't listen to much talk radio, so I'm just assuming these are the theories.
But even with a bulky knee, Moore had a stellar game and his first in 2011 without an interception. He has nearly 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns through three weeks. That puts him on pace for a record year. Here are his stats, assuming Boise State makes a bowl and plays 13 games.
Kellen Moore 2011 season projections: 360-for-455, 4,312 yards, 52 touchdowns, 8 interceptions
For perspective, the Bronco record for passing yards in a season is Ryan Dinwiddie with 4,356 in 2003. Kellen Moore's best season (and the No. 2 all-time) was 3,845 yards last year. The single-season touchdown record is 39, set in Moore's 2009 season. He and Jared Zabransky share second place with 35 TD passes. At the rate he's going, Moore will have 35 touchdown passes by the November 12 game against TCU.
Not bad for a guy with no right knee.
But enough about Kellen Moore, let's talk about Joe Southwick
Note: I may be the first person ever to have typed the above sentence.
Southwick came on in relief of Moore last week, and his performance was unanimously ... praised? Seems so, judging by the consensus in the local media and in postgame interviews. If my reading comprehension is true, this would be the first time that a quarterback earned rave reviews during a game in which no one really wanted him on the field. Stick that in your BroncoSports bio, Joseph!
On a semi-related note ...
How do we all feel about Joe Southwick quarterbacking the team next year?
My personal opinion: I did not see anything from him on Saturday night that made me think this won't be a two-, three-, or four-man competition in 2012. But I see the world through Moore-colored glasses, so what do I know?
Dutch Watch 2011
There remain no updates about "ineligible" players Geraldo Boldewijn and Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe or the reason for their "ineligibility." Coach Pete is just as frustrated as you are.
This week's completely-made-up explanation: Idaho-area Dutch Brothers Coffee locations named drinks after Boldewijn and Tjong-A-Tjoe. The Geraldoughnut latte and Capa-Tjong-a-Tjoe were best sellers, which drew the ire of NCAA officials.
Defensive line depth under the microscope
Boise State was without three of its four starting defensive linemen for parts of Saturday's game. The Broncos survived, in part because they are used to running 8-deep on the line. But the medical trauma and drama in the trenches brought a harsh reality. If Chase Baker isn't healthy and Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe is ineligible, the depth at defensive tackle becomes awful shallow. You buy some healing candles, I'll consult the Dutch embassy, and let's get this fixed.
The injured list
- FB Dan Paul has a groin injury and is week-to-week, which I think has lost all its meaning at this point.
- C Thomas Byrd is old and is week-to-week. He is not listed on this week's depth chart, replaced by Matt Paradis and Cory Yriarte.
- TE/FB Chandler Koch got playing time last week against Tulsa. He may play a bigger role this week.
- WR Chris Potter was injured on a punt return last week and could be seen clutching his side after a play. He remains on the depth chart in the usual places (WR/PR/KR), so I guess it was just a side ache.
- C Matt Paradis and OG Jake Broyles both left Saturday's game with injuries, but neither are expected to miss any time.
As is their wont, several Boise State players are on the precipice of records. Here is the latest update on their pursuit of greatness:
- Kellen Moore needs five wins to pass Colt McCoy as college football's all-time winningest quarterback.
- Doug Martin is 600 yards away from passing Jeremy Avery for sixth on Boise State's all-time rushing list. He passed David Mikell for seventh place last week.
- Tyler Shoemaker is on pace for 26 touchdown catches (two per game for 13 games). The Boise State single-season record is held by Austin Pettis who caught 14 TD passes in 2009.
- Jerrell Gavins is on pace for 13 interceptions (one per game for 13 games). The Boise State single-season record is held by Steve Forrey who recorded 12 in 1968.
Boise State likes these players, so I like these players
Boise State's internal players of the week against Tulsa were wide receiver Tyler Shoemaker (offense), cornerback Jerrell Gavins (defense), kickoff specialist Trevor Harman (special teams), defensive end Shea McClellin (linemen), and safety Hazen Moss (Hammer).
- I have been impressed with the hustle of Mike Atkinson. He routinely makes tackles well downfield by chasing the play.
- Boise State did some shuffling in the secondary this week for the Nevada game. Quaylon Ewing-Burton is listed as a backup cornerback, replacing Bryan Douglas and Antwon Murray. Jeremy Ioane and Travis Stanaway moved to backup safety. I'm not sure if this is a sign of strategy for defending the Nevada offense or just the work of an intern getting his/her depth charts confused.
- I have no problem admitting when I'm wrong, and boy does it seem I was wrong about Mitch Burroughs. It has been fun watching him blossom into a valuable part of the Bronco offense. Mitch, your singing apology telegram is in the mail.
- Bold move by Jarrell Root to go with the single-eye eyeblack triangle on Saturday. I'm hoping he does raccoon eyes this week.
- Hunter White will remain the holder, so pay no attention to the depth chart. It lies!
- Speaking of Hunter White, I didn't notice him making plays at nickel as much as I noticed Jonathan Brown. It could be a shift in playing time or it could be my poor perception or it could be an optical illusion, like those magic eye posters (which would explain why I saw a dolphin in Brown's uniform).
- Dan Goodale went 4-for-5 on extra points, and I ever nearly picked him up and ran around the field with him on my shoulders.
What do you make of this week's depth chart? Worried about Kellen Moore's knee brace? Impressed by his passing stats? Glad he's not Dutch? Share your thoughts in the comments.