So, since we're now less than a month from the start of Spring Ball and just 2 months away from the Spring Game (April 13th, everyone), I thought this weekend we could mull over the key Spring battles and what you'd like to see out of them. Boise State has a lot of guys returning, but there's a lot of work to do to get into championship shape. Here are my thoughts.
Key position battle - defense
The obvious one here is cornerback. Jamar Taylor and Jerrell Gavins have moved on and there are two vacant starting spots in the secondary. Bryan Douglas was thought to be a lock for one of the spots, but then his knee decided to get all bendy at Wyoming and he'll still be rehabbing this Spring. That means the Broncos will rely on youngsters and mid-year JC transfers to duke it out next month. Donte Deayon, who played last season as a true frosh, should be one of the Spring starters, but the other is anyone's guess. Since the Broncos will lack warm bodies at that position till the Fall, it looks like '12 JC-transfer Deontae Florence, '13 JC-transfer Cleshawn Page, and '12 redshirt Chaz Anderson will be the only other guys battling in the Spring. Ebo Makinde appears to have moved to safety and safety-to-CB switches don't often take place...so I don't see anyone from the safety ranks jumping into the discussion either. Yeah...this might be a battle best waged in the Fall, but the guys that are here can give themselves a leg up on the competition starting on March 11th.
What I'd like to see
Donte Deayon put on about 15 lbs and emerge as a lockdown corner. The rest of the race will go deep into the Fall.
Key position battle - offense
Yeah, last year's offensive position battle was more compelling...but this year's will still be important. Southwick did enough last year to gain the trust of the coaches and the support of...well...most of Bronco Nation. This Spring, the QBs just need to improve and continue to pressure the front-runner. The real position battle being waged this Spring is on the O-line—specifically, at both guard spots and at right tackle. Rees Odhiambo and Travis Averill will probably battle it out next month to try to gain leverage at right tackle, but grayshirt Archie Lewis could also be a factor there. Of course, any of these guys could shift to left tackle and give Charles Leno a push or simply provide depth there if the whole RT thing doesn't work out. The guard spots are pretty wide open with both Michael Ames and Joe Kellogg departing, so look for incumbent backups/sometimes starters Jake Broyles and Spencer Gerke to lead the charge, but have constant pressure from a host of other hopefuls. Marcus Henry is the one that could make the most noise. I can see Gerke holding down his spot relatively easily, but Jake Broyles right guard spot might be ripe for Henry to come in and establish himself, given Broyles' propensity to injure himself.
What I'd like to see
Henry and Averill to really start to pull away at their respective positions. Both were highly sought-after recruits and I hope both can bring a dominant rush block mentality back to the line.
What position battle are you most intrigued by this Spring? Who do you think needs to step up their game? Is it too early to be wearing cutoffs?