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Countdown Schmountdown: #39

The atomic clock actually says that we have just 39 days until the Ducks hit the blue turf (hard).

So, today we'll continue our countdown by briefly highlighting the Bronco player with the jersey number that corresponds with the number of days remaining till the opener. Sorry there isn't a more clear and concise way to explain that.

And we're off.

#39 Winston Venable, S/LB

With a father that played 12 seasons in the Majors and a brother playing Triple-A ball in the Padres organization, Winston Venable was probably deemed more likely to be fielding grounders than terrorizing QBs—luckily for the Broncos, he was drawn to something a little more physical than the grand old game and chose the latter. Venable, a JC transfer, will be looking to fill the void that was left by the departure of All-WAC performer Ellis Powers in the newly minted full-time nickel backer slot—and after watching him closely in Spring Ball, I'd say the job is his to lose. Venable is a true ballhawk and seemed to be in on every play in the annual Blue and Orange game. He possesses 4.5 speed and looks to punish ball carriers. In short, we might have found in Venable an upgrade at the position rather than a replacement.

Venable, a compact 6'0" 210 pounder, comes to Boise State from Glendale Community College in Glendale, Arizona, where he was an All-American and first team All-Arizona performer at safety. All told, Venable racked up 191 tackles in his two seasons at Glendale CC—impressive stats, no doubt...but add to that the fact that he was an All-League punter as well and you start to grasp how special a player Venable really is. Frankly, I doubt that Kyle Brotzman or Brad Elkin's jobs are in jeopardy, but the thought of a 210 lb. punishing safety with speed fielding  fake punts has to be intriguing to the coaching staff. Venable will have 3 years to play 2 for the Broncos and in my mind is a lock be a starter right out of the gate. The proliferation of the spread offense has made Boise State's switch to the 4-2-5 a necessity, but having the right players in the right positions is vital—Venable, Iloka, and Jeron Johnson could make for a terrifying trio, and Kyle Wilson and Brandyn  Thompson at the corners will constitute a true damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't  scenario for opposing QBs. Whether running or throwing, their chances seem bleak.