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Bonus notes from Boise State's first spring scrimmage

Didn't get enough spring scrimmage coverage in my initial scrimmage recap last night? Good. Me neither. After the jump, I empty my notebook with a handful of bonus notes from the public's first look at the 2010 Broncos.

What was Matt Slater doing at guard? Who is Winston Venable's backup? What did Coach Pete think of it all? Where was Malcolm Johnson? Check out the answers after the jump, and share your thoughts in the comments.

Scrimmage statistics

Courtesy of the Bronco athletic department:

Scoring Summary

Passing Stats

Comp Att Pct TD INT Rating
Joe Southwick 14 23 61% 2 0 139.6
Michael Coughlin 16 22 73% 1 1 143.54
Kellen Moore 5 12 42% 0 0 52.17
Geraldo Hiwat 0 1 0% 0 0 0

Receiving Stats

Rec Yds TD
Aaron Burks 6 92 0
Preston Minter 4 30 0
Mitch Burroughs 3 62 1
Geraldo Hiwat 3 25 1
Kyle Efaw 3 18 0
Titus Young 3 9 0
Carlo Audagnotti 2 35 0
Tyler Jackson 2 24 0
Drew Wright 2 10 0
Raphiel Lambert 2 -9 0
Chandler Koch 1 17 1
Jake Johnston 1 10 0
Dave Wilson 1 6 0
Jarvis Hodge 1 -4 0

Rushing Stats

Att Yds Avg
Raphiel Lambert 8 51 6.4
Jarvis Hodge 6 22 3.7
Drew Wright 5 14 2.8
Carlo Audagnottie 3 0 0.0
Joe Southwick 2 13 6.5
Aaron Burks 2 7 3.5
Jeremy Avery 1 8 8.0
Doug Martin 1 -1 -1.0
Tyler Shoemaker 1 -4 -4.0

Coach Pete's take on the first spring scrimmage

Courtesy of Bronco Beat:

"We just told the guys, we've got a long time — Sept. 6 — so this is going to be a long process. If they can keep focused, keep grinding and keep getting better, then I think we're going to have some young guys that will step up that we haven't seen yet. ... I think we're making progress on offense, as well, even though it didn't maybe show so well today. I think when you're in spring ball and fall camp, there's a lot of individuals you're looking at and you'll piece the whole thing together when you get close to a game."

Coach Pete went on to say that he limited players like Austin Pettis, Jeremy Avery, and Doug Martin because he prefers to be careful with them and - let's be honest - they don't really need the practice.

Tackle is the new guard

Not only was All-WAC tackle Nate Potter plying his trade at guard in Wednesday's scrimmage, fellow tackle Matt Slater was also guarding it up on the inside. Which begs the question: Does Boise State exclusively recruit offensive tackles for all offensive line positions?

Oddly enough, two of the major guard contributors last fall - Joe Kellogg and Brenel Myers - are now a center and tackle. Will Lawrence, last year's fixture at left guard, and Michael Ames, the season opening starter at tackle, seem to be the only players still playing the same positions.

Whatever the reason for the changes, the new line combinations seem to be working. Though the defense dominated on Wednesday, the offensive line was nowhere near horrible. A couple of newbie linemen got pushed around, but for the most part, the experiment with player shuffling seems to be working.

Nickel depth chart

Winston Venable appears to be the clear-cut starter at nickelback, not only because he was working with the first-teamers all scrimmage long but also because he plays like he is repeatedly being shot out of a cannon.

If I were to peg his backups it would go like this:

  1. Jonathan Brown
  2. Hunter White

In fact, the comparison between Brown and White might be similar to the comparison between Venable and Jason Robinson last year. Brown seems to have the better cover skills. White, thanks to his years at LB, may have an edge in run support. Each player has the same stocky build on the field, and each stood out in his own way - White with a black long sleeve undershirt and Brown with frosted dreadlocks. Finding them on the field is not the problem, especially when each is making plays left and right. Telling which one is the better player is much more difficult.

The depth chart might put Brown and White at OR this early, but I would give a slight edge to Brown thanks to his sack of Joe Southwick and his steady play against pass and run. It should also be noted that I am rarely right about these things.

Boise State's blitzing defense

Many fans have wondered how the Boise State defense might change under new defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski. And much to the chagrin of WAC teams, it appears the BSU D is more aggressive than ever.

Whether or not the playcalling dictated it or the porous blocking did, it sure felt like the Broncos were dialing up more pressure than usual. For sure, the 3-3-5 defense brought heat with the blitzing five-man rush. But it also seemed that the Broncos sent nickelbacks and linebackers at a fairly steady pace. Is Bob Gregory's influence a factor? Probably not since his Cal defenses were not exactly uber-aggressive. It appears that the Bronco defense has Coach K's signature all over it, and that signature is very heavy on pressure.

Jimmy Pavel versus Trevor Harman

Pavel and Harman took their kicks for Brotzman's backup job at the spring scrimmage, and the winner in a Kellen Moore - Nick Lomax landslide was Pavel.

Pavel was perfect on the day, splitting the uprights on every attempt not necessarily with leg to boot but with enough room to spare that I never felt uncomfortable. Harman was the opposite, going 1-for-5 and missing wide on every errant kick. Power does not appear to be Harman's weakness. Each of his kicks would have had the distance of 50-plus. He is the Large Hadron Collider of Boise State kickers.

Winston Venable's new role on special teams: Destroyer

Venable made an appearance as the personal protector on the punt team. Do not try to block that punt, Ryan Colburn!

Extra notes

  • Kellen Moore had very few opportunities to showcase his new and improved deep ball. I did notice during practice drills prior to the start of the scrimmage that he came up short on a go route to Titus Young. Of course, if Young is 20 yards behind the last defender - which he will be - then I don't see this being a problem.
  • I credited Burroughs with a punt return touchdown on the opening kick of the scrimmage, but alert reader hoopsbill reminded me that punt return coverage is not a forte of spring scrimmages. Still, Burroughs didn't fall down, so ... Burroughs win?
  • The holding duties were split between Austin Pettis, Hunter White, and Joe Southwick. Southwick had the only bobble from three holders.
  • Kharyee Marshall is as skinny as advertised.
  • Where was Malcolm Johnson? It's possible that I missed him, but I didn't even see him standing on the sideline in a jersey.
  • I was disappointed beyond words that John Michael Davis was elbow-wrapped and in street clothes on the sidelines. There was a moment when he and Allen Mooney - the twin LB terrors who entered in the 2009 recruiting class - were standing side-by-side on the sideline, watching their teammates practice. It was heartbreaking in a Where the Red Fern Grows for the first time.

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  • Chris Potter better hope he heals very quickly. There may be no stopping the Aaron Burks/Geraldo Hiwat express.
  • I swear that Jarvis Hodge is two of Jeremy Avery.
  • Ebo Makinde surprised me a little bit. He is Travis Stanaway size, which is not exactly prototypical corner. In fact, if you were to view Makinde, Taylor, and Thompson side-by-side-by-side, they make almost a perfect slope from shortest to tallest. That is to say, Taylor is bigger than Makinde, but neither player looks like Thompson.
  • Speaking of Jamar Taylor, his playing time was limited what with the first-team defense dominating the way it did. Still, he very much looked like he could handle CB2 duties.
  • I believe that Shea McClellin is still growing. He may be 7 feet tall and 400 pounds by his senior season.
  • Doug Martin's day: 1 carry, -1 yards, 1 giant hit from Winston Venable. I would call it a day, too.
  • I sure hope that the Tyler Shoemaker speed sweep does not become the new Mitch Burroughs screen pass.
  • Brad Elkin was mostly-hit and sometimes-miss with punting duties at the scrimmage.
  • Dave Wilson had a couple of good looks at fullback on Team Backups. He could be a possibility for a Dan Paul sub if need be.
  • No complaints from me on new OTs Faraji Wright and Charles Leno. Nate Potter can stay at guard if he wants.
  • There were no fumbles from combo-centers Bronson Durrant and Joe Kellogg.
  • I am pretty sure that Quaylon Ewing had nightmares about Aaron Burks last night.
  • No carries for Doug Harper. Very disappointing.
  • Billy Winn was having too much fun on the sideline. The defense took the sideline nearest to the crowd, and Winn spent his non-playing time propped up on the bench, cracking jokes with teammates. Oh to be 300 pounds and affable.
  • Preston Minter may be worth keeping an eye on. He has certain Vinny Perretta qualities that make him dangerous. Plus, he got lots of time in the scrimmage and showed some spark.