LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 22: Head coach Chris Petersen of the Boise State Broncos watches his team warm up before playing the Arizona State Sun Devils in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas at Sam Boyd Stadium December 22, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Boise State won 56-24. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
The new year is always an exciting time. It's a time to forget about the past (you're officially scrubbed from my memory, TCU game), make some well-needed life-adjustments (quit wearing your PajamaJeans® to work) and forge ahead into an unknown future. Of course, the really exciting thing about a new year is the unknown. This could be the year you finally land that big job or win the lottery—conversely, it could be the year that you're hit by falling space debris. The future has yet to be written, and that's both exhilarating and terrifying. The 2012 Bronco football season is sure to provide plenty of both—and frankly—that's why I haven't looked forward to a year like this one in quite some time.
After the jump, I'll discuss the exciting unknown that lies ahead for Bronco Nation and how the Mayans predicted the departure of Kellen Moore.
2012 will mark the first season since 2008 that we'll get the thrill* of witnessing a bonafide QB battle at Boise State. It seems like just yesterday that a doe-eyed mop-haired kid sat quietly next to Coach Pete and was announced starter for the '08 football season...and it was just yesterday that I saw that same doe-eyed mop-haired kid sitting quietly at Cafe Rio off of Franklin Rd. (Kellen loves him some tacos). The Moore era is over—and it was a great one—but change can be good (I'm told) and 2012 will usher in a new era under center...a new center at that. Whether you're riding the southbound Southwick train or are more indie and liking what Laughrea is laying down, you're in luck: both QBs will have a chance to become next year's starter and the offense will bend to accomodate the newer, possibly flashier driver. Heck, you can put me in the Nick Patti/Grant Hedrick camp for what it's worth. Option QBs can be terrifying to opposing defenses and I've kinda gotten used to terrifying offenses at Boise State. My guys will get a shot too, by the way...hooray for possibilites! Of course, the guy that eventually is picked to step into Kellen Moore's
shadow spot will get the full support of the Bronco faithful. It's a clean slate, everybody and we all know what cleanliness is next to.
Don't look now, but 2012 carries away the Bronco D-line. Y'know...the one with Billy Winn, Chase Baker, Shea McClellin, and Tyrone Crawford. This hurts...bad. But there are a bevvy of guys that are ready and willing to pick up that banner. No one knows what this next year will hold in that department—it could be a trainwreck of Vandal-esque proportions or it could *could* be that the next guys in line don't miss a step. On the interior we've got the girthy Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe and Mike Atkinson back for more and capable backups Greg Grimes and Darren Koontz with a wealth of experience. Then, we can look to promising newcomers like Jeff Worthy and Robert Ash...both highly regarded (and highly recruited) big men who could step right in and contribute. DE is a tougher sell...but I like our chances of finding some playmakers among the likes of Kharyee Marshall, Nick Alexander, Beau Martin (Defensive Scout Team POY), Tyler Horn, Sam Ukwuachu and JC-transfer Demarcus Lawrence. Remember, no one had ever heard of Ryan Winterswyk until he started his first game for the Broncos and Shea McClellin didn't get a second glance by recruiters not named Chris Petersen. The guys are there...the program is sound...2012 brings guaranteed new starters. Kinda cool, right?
See? The key is optimism. Doug Martin moves on, but DJ Harper is strong and fast too. Jack Fields is a Doug Martin clone. It's all good. Hightower could be better than Iloka...Renaud could better than Hout...QB-to-be-named later could be better than Kellen Moore (well, okay that one isn't happening, but he'll be great in an entirely different way). The days of waiting for a good year are gone...Pete will reload and reset people's expectations once again. It's a scary thing, but it's a good thing. They were one of the youngest teams in the country in 2008 and were 1-point from perfection. What will they do in 2012? Lord only knows, but gosh it's going to be fun to find out. New starters on the D-line, new starter at strong and free safety, new starters at running back, quarterback and linebacker—it's enough change to stay busy at the arcade for a while, but I'm telling you: change is good, if for no other reason than it's change. I'd be happy to see Doug Martin and Kellen Moore play for the Broncos until they start taking Centrum Silver, but their run is over and the bar has been set. Watching the next batch of Broncos become greats is going to be fun. Much more fun than you might expect. Consider this a pep talk.