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The great thing about college sports is graduation, the bad thing about college sports (Verne Lundquist aside), is graduation. Join me as we discuss who needs to step up and carry the flag for next year's team.
For finishing 11-2 despite losing the amount of talent to graduation and the draft was a pretty good year. No need to go game by game and discuss what could have been. We lost two games, and will need to replace some pretty darn good players on the Boise State football team in order to keep the winning tradition alive.
Where Do We Start First?
This may be a dumb question, but for those who failed Football101, we know games are won and lost in the trenches. So we begin with the offensive line. We lost three starters: right guard Michael Ames, right tackle Brenel Myers, and left guard Joe Kellogg. While I love all Broncos, I am only losing sleep over one of those starters-Joe Kellogg. He was a solid fixture for 3 years, and fought off injuries pretty well for a lineman, and was very physical. I was never too high on Ames, I thought he needed an extra 20 lbs, and Myers seemed to never develop into the dominant lineman we projected after his freshman year Fiesta Bowl start.
What Do We Know?
Charles Leno has been a starter for the last two years, and has avoided injuries. Leno is solid. He is tall, long arms, proportioned in his weight, and is improving his technique. Leno last measured 6'4'' 294 lbs. I expect him to be a touch over 300 coming into next fall. Look for him to lock down the left tackle position. Matt Paradis started every game at center. Paradis will be a senior next year, as will Leno. Paradis was forced into the position when Cory Yriarte sustained another knee injury. Paradis stepped up and had to learn on the fly. With a year under his belt, he should have the lead at the center position this fall.
So far, there are alot of guys in the mix for the 3 open positions on the line. Spencer Gerke has played guard and has been limited the last two years with injury. With what I have seen, he appears very capable of being a starter, but injuries have prevented that. Gerke is 6'3'' 296 and will be a senior in the fall. My guess is he will play guard. Jake Broyles. Another player who has been sidelined with injuries. Broyles has shown great promise the last two years in fall camp but has been bitten by the injury bug as well. Broyles will be a Senior, and stands 6'5'' 290. He has played tackle and I assume he will play opposite of Leno. Rees Odhiambo, was a redshirt freshman this year. He was pressed into action for a play here, and a play there with the injuries we had on the line. Odhiambo is 6'4'' 297. Hopefully those bits of action helped him get a better feel for game speed and what is expected if he takes over.
We have some guys. Travis Averill, Greg Dohmen, Adam Sheffield, and Mario Yakoo are all in the mix for a position next year. Those guys have size, there are some others as well, but I think those guys are primed for some playing time.
"The Runningback y'allll." Luckily, this is one position where we may have too many mouths to feed. But, we know that sometimes a player does something stupid and lands on suspension, gets hurt, or worse, transfers to U of I. But, we have plenty of talent. We lost D.J. Harper, and will miss his leadership and knowledge of the offense.
Jay Ajayi. He played well at times, but he showed some vulnerability on pass blocking .He was a very valuable part of the running game as the season went on. Jack Fields. Fields got some carries when the game was on the line, but mainly made appearances when the game was already decided. Make no mistake, he played as a true freshman, and can bring the pain with a great burst of speed. I expect Fields and Ajayi to provide a very deadly 1-2 punch in our backfield next year.
Oh yeah. Where do we start? Well, for red shirts we had Deven Demas, Jamel Hart, and Charles Bertoli. Throw in some incoming recruits, and we have plenty in our pipeline.
We lost Mitch Burroughs, and Chris Potter. They were large parts of our offense and provided stability to that position and to the punt return position. But do not fear.
Lots of guys. We have a large rotation of guys at the wide receiver position. We know Matt Miller and Kirby Moore have two spots locked down. Throw in break out star Aaron Burks, Geraldo Boldewijn (who had a very good Vegas Bowl), Dallas Burroughs, and Shane Williams-Rhodes. We have no lack of experience at receiver.
Troy Ware. He's been here a while. Look for him to get some catches this fall. He is a tall receiver with very soft hands. He is 6'2'' 195. Jackson Reed, and converted quarterback Taylor Pope.
What Do We Know:
DeMarcus Lawrence may still be in the dog house. That aside, we know Sam Ukwuachu started, Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe isn't going anywhere, and Tyler Horn will factor in somewhere.
Kharyee Marhsall played well at times, but has had injury problems. When healthy he is good. Beau Martin had some great games last year, just needs a bit more size. Armand Nance has the size, could benefit from a step.
Yep, still lots to get excited about. Eliot Hoyte, from the United Kingdom has many excited about his talents. He redshirted this year, and was moved to tackle in the offseason. He is 6'4'' 275. Robert Ash is 6'3'' 280. I am not sure of the status of Jeff Worthy.
We lost J.C. Percy, Dextrell Simmons, and Tommy Smith. This is a position where guys need to step up. Between those three, we lost a lot of leadership, tackles, and stability.
What Do We Know?
Blake Renaud is not afraid to hit people. Renaud played more this year with our depth issues and improved his game. He also played well on special teams. I expect him to be the starting Middle line backer next year. Tyler Gray played at times last year. My biggest issue with Gray is he will need to get a bit faster. Other than that, I liked what I saw. Corey Bell and Jonathan Brown have great experience at nickel, but it is time to get someone primed for Brown's last year. Hilton Richardson could be next.
Renaud, Gray, Bell, and Brown.
Andrew Pint, Chris Santini, Ben Weaver, and anyone else must be ready to play.
What Do We Know?
We have plenty of experience at safety. We return Thompson and Ioane, but graduated two stellar corners in Gavins and Taylor, and we know Bryan Douglas may not be ready for fall camp with his ACL injury.
Douglas was a 3rd down player before injury, Donte Deayon had his redshirt pulled mid year to get guys in, and Deon'Te Florence had some time with the second string.Ebo Makinde has had times in the lineup, but hasn't been called on to be a steady contributor. My guess is that Deayon has the lead at one corner spot, but after that its wide open. Anyone with a Hightower update? I sure don't have one.
Trey Corta, Chaz Anderson, Eric Agbaroji, and others need to be ready to step in.
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