We lost our starting QB, a great one. We return decent receivers, but who's going to throw to them?. Defense is questionable; some important spots to fill. D-line lacks depth, or at least experience. Secondary returners look to have something to prove. Depth an issue at RB too. O-line is quick, versatile, with some experience but not large nor overpowering. A lot of questions need to answered, the kind of questions fans don't like to have to even ask.
Sound familiar? Thought it would. Well, the year is 1972, and the QB is Eric Guthrie. 40 years ago I began cataloging the pre-season jitters of Bronco fans, not in a formal way but just a loose memory. I had to do a little research for '72, and I'll grant that going into the '72 season we had not last as many starters on D as now. But we did not substitute as now, our recruiting of young talent was no where near as high, and our coaching was very good, but now it's excellent. I had to piecemeal the running game from '72. No one knew who John Smith was; they learned he was "Super Needle", an amazing RB (and receiver out of the back field) but he hadn't had a down going into that season. We had won the Camellia Bowl in '71; we felt glum looking at '72.
My point? I have heard "what are we going to do?" for 40 years as a Bronco ('68-70 in high school didn't follow them hard; '71 at C of I I was an erstwhile opponent). I could think of dozens who were irreplaceable, like Jimmy Mac, Brock Forsey, but I really don't need to do. Because we've had very recently a year (or was it 2?) when we didn't replace ANYBODY and we still had short-stroking on a major scale and if that doesn't prove my point nothing will.
My point II? My point is that Boise State has emerged for reasons that as I have previously explained are somewhat mystical (I'll need to revisit that; feeling a tad more mystical these days) but also grounded in a very basic premise-this program has built solid teams since I arrived here in 1968. One of the consistent deals has been, through generations of staff, the coaches have looked at what they have and been able to decide, correctly, whether to make chili, goulash, beef stew, hash or chicken parmigiana with it. Just one small example: in last year's fall scrimmage (only one; c'mon Coach Pete) the best catches were made by Troy Ware IMO. One was the best I saw by Bronco ALL YEAR, and may have been the vest catch period but it was a long season. There is talent simmering here like the dishes I mentioned above.
The '72 team? It struggled. But it's nucleus went on to 3 consecutive Div II championship series appearances, two with the legendary Jimmy Mac who's '72 appearance was inauspicious. Faith to the faithful-go Broncos.