I've spent my fair share of time in the stands for the fall scrimmage, squealing with excitement and delight at the thought of football starting again. IT'S BACK!!! The wait is over and our lives can begin again, filled with churros and Blizzards galore!
But this year is different. This year I wasn't in the stands, huddled next to another blue blood, drooling at the thought of the Broncos destroying MW teams again. No, I was down on the sidelines, right next to them. I want to touch on a few points.
- The players are absolutely massive. it's one thing to see them from the stands and think, "Yeah, those guys are pretty big." It's a totally other experience to be right next to them, hoping that Yakoo doesn't mistake you for ham sandwich or a corn dog. Even SWR was a big guy. Yeah, he's only 5'6" and 173lbs, but he can squat like 3 of me. I have a hard enough time squatting one of me, and the only time I really do that, I'm getting into bed, so I can just kind of fall over. But standing next to Matt Pistone, a true freshman, a 17 or 18 year old red shirt freshman, and seeing him tower over me at 6'3" and 242 lbs is a bit like watching those space videos where they keep zooming out and showing the various enormous celestial bodies. Yeah, it's very much like that.
- This team is solid. The quarterback play was great. While Finley was named the starter yesterday, I honestly would feel pretty comfortable having any one of these guys start for us. Finley was 13 of 17 for 111 yards and 1 TD. Rypien was 10 of 19 for 94 yards and 2 TDs. He had an interception that wasn't all that great, but those happen. Ogle was 11 of 16 for 108 yards and Stuart was 4 of 8 for 25 yards and 2 INTs. Even based on these stats, Stuart still looked like he could run the offense. He wouldn't be my first choice, but if it came down to it, he could do it.
- The running back battle will go well into the season, and that is exactly what we want. While McWeapon has always been thought to be the starter, and he most likely will be, Young was no slouch out there. Our D-line is absurd, so none of the stats on the ground were great. Fortunately, every one of the RBs can catch out of the backfield. Kelsey was limited by injury, as I understand it, but it was more precautionary than anything. He is a veteran running back and does not need the touches that some of the other players do. This season will be valuable experience for McNichols, Cory and Demas specifically, as Fields and Kelsey will both graduate this year. I have been impressed with Wolpin through both scrimmages this year, and while I think he will see the field plenty this year, I'm not sure if he will start. I expect contributions from all of them, and that makes me very happy.
- As I'm sure you are all aware, our wide receivers will be pretty good this year. Led by Sperbeck, SWR and Anderson, we have a bevy of talent, ready and waiting, behind them. AJ Richardson, Sean Modster, Austin Cottell, Brock Barr, DJ Dean, Rick Smith, Terrell Johnson, Taylor Pope, David McKinzie, Bryan Jefferson and Akilian Butler, all at our disposal. That is A LOT of talent. How about our tight ends? I already mentioned Pistone being a behemoth, but they are all like that. Hardee, Huff, Dhaenens, Blakley Roh, Lucero and Knight, all massive. I liken Finley to a really rich guy trying to decide which car to drive. "Should I take the Ferrari today? No, maybe the Lambo? Naw, ooo maybe the Maserati. OH WAIT, should I take the Vanquish S? Decisions, decisions..." Yeah, it's probably something like that. We have a lot of offensive weapons to throw to and I do not envy any opposing defenses. I predict many much scorings.
- So our defense. Yeah. OMGDIDYOUGUYSSEETHEM??!!?!?! I'm insanely excited for our defense this year. A little, itty, bitty part of me is bummed because of the glut of talent we have on the d-line that there will be some guys we might not get to see as much as we like. We will see heaps of Correa, which pleases me. But on the interior, there will be a lot of switching out. Don't get me wrong, I love having starters 3 deep on the line, but it definitely makes me wish we had some of these guys for a few more years. Fortunately, we still have them for THIS year. And speaking of this year, I have a hard time thinking anyone will have a fun time trying to run on us this year.
- Our line is absolutely beastly and I would not want to run against them, that is for sure. Fortunately, I don't. If they do happen to sneak past our line, they'll have a welcoming party, lead by Tanner Vallejo. The linebackers will be absurd this year as well, with Vallejo, Weaver, Gray and Martarano all fixing to see the field, not to mention the likes of Lee, Vander Esch, Hendrix and Berger, waiting in the wings. Blair Ewers, Joe Provenzano, and Will Heffner round out the backers.
- If they happen to get past the LBs, they have the secondary to deal with. Whoa nelly do we have some talent there. Darian Thompson, Dylan Sumner-Gardner and Chance James, all on the field at the same time? Yup, it could happen. Add in Moxey and Deayon and that is a recipe for disaster for opposing QBs looking to air it out. Want to mix it up? Let's throw in Kam Miles, Mercy Maston, Ca, Hartsfield, Ray Ford, and Tyler Horton. Yeah quarterbacks will fare no better. To put it bluntly, our secondary will be lethal this year and I love it.
- Some comments made during the interviews were interesting. One comment that stood out was the defense not being physical enough. Not physical enough? I thought I saw a guy die out there. If we didn't play physical enough, I'm honestly concerned for the welfare of other Mountain West Teams. Not so concerned that I don't want to see some helmets flying, but you get what I'm saying.
- Players who stood out to me personally, outside of the known names, were Akilian Butler and Tyler Horton. Akilian could very well see the field this year. I imagine he still has plenty to learn as far as the offense goes, but he seems like a player that you need to get the ball to. He'll make things happen. Tyler Horton as a great interception late in the scrimmage, and I definitely think he sees the field this year, most likely on the two deep.
This article is getting a little long winded, and I want to save some discussion for you guys. Did anyone stand out to you? Was there anything concerning to you? Any predictions for the season after watching the scrimmage? Comment away and GO BRONCOS!