While many in Bronco Nation continue shaking their heads disappointingly at the Broncos' performance on Saturday, we at OBNUG prefer to nod approvingly. Things could be worse. We could be Nevada fans.
We should really be thankful that the Broncos didn't leave Hattiesburg with a loss, following a pretty lame performance by the Bronco offense for three quarters. Most teams lose when they don't play a full 60 minutes. The Broncos won playing, at the most, 23 or 24 minutes.
Yet here's something important to remember when you're standing around thieving time at the water cooler today: the Broncos didn't play badly. The Bronco offense played badly.
This axiom leads to a whole 'nother can of worms about Bronco fans and the way we view our team, and we're not entirely sure we want to get into this right now. OK, you talked us into it.
For the last decade or so (or longer, we're not really that old so we don't know), Boise State football has been all about the offense. Fans judge performance on the field by touchdowns and passing stats and long runs, and the efficiency of the offense is usually a direct indicator of Bronco Nation's feelings the morning after the game.
As such, when the Bronco offense struggles, people will say the Broncos struggled.
Now, we are not scolding Bronco fans for being offensive-minded. We are simply pointing out that the Bronco defense shouldn't be lumped into this "the Broncos haven't played to their potential" talk. In fact, the Bronco defense has played so far beyond its potential that they have reached the end of the potential scale and started over from the bottom. The Bronco defense deserves all the praise it is getting and none of the criticism.
There. We're glad we got that off our chests. Here are some less eviscerating observations from the Boise State - Southern Miss fallout.
We fully expect George Iloka to become the first early-entry true freshman with a Kid 'n Play haircut to carry "The Hammer" Friday night against Hawaii ... Jeremy Avery is who Bronco fans want Ian Johnson to be ... Welcome back to the offense, Austin Pettis ... If Kellen Moore's worst game as a college quarterback still includes three touchdown passes, then we must be pretty spoiled ... we've never felt so happy about a 24-yard punt return before ... more Doug Martin, please ... for awhile there, it looked like Southern Miss QB Austin Davis might outrush RB Damion Fletcher, which wouldn't have necessarily been a bad thing ... Are you there, God? It's me, Titus Young ...
Fourth down defense is sort of like regular down defense
Southern Miss was unable to convert on four fourth down attempts Saturday, which shouldn't have come as much of a surprise considering how they failed to convert on many first, second, or third downs either.
The most ill-fated of the fourth down attempts came early in the second quarter following the Broncos' first touchdown. Southern Miss drove inside BSU territory, came down to fourth-and-one, tried a hurry-up quarterback sneak, and got stuffed. Media would later credit Tim Brady with the stop, but some credit should also be handed to whoever decided not to give the ball to Damion Fletcher.
Reshuffling the offensive line only served to make things tougher on Bob Behler and not the Southern Miss run defense ... forget we ever had concerns about the defensive line ... the Ryan Winterswyk sack/fumble/safety/touchdown/recovery is proof that instant replay doesn't work, when WAC officials are involved ... Did Larry Fedora bother showing up? That was some uninspired play-calling ... Andrew Woodruff is not a prototypical left tackle ...
It's only a sloppy game because WAC officials say it is
There are plenty of negatives to point to when it comes to the play of the Bronco offense, and we're pretty sure the the pointing should begin with fumbled center-quarterback exchanges. But one area that will most certainly stick under everyone's craw this morning is the penalties.
In a sense, we cannot feel too bad about the nine flags for 89 yards because it was the WAC officials who threw them and WAC officials are undeniably awful. But these penalties are going to be something the Broncos will have to learn to live with, especially since WAC officials will more than likely be officiating the rest of BSU's WAC schedule. Penalties consistently kill Bronco drives, and they have to stop. The penalties, not the drives, that is.