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One step forward, one step back

NCAA Football: Mountain West Championship-Fresno State at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

We haven’t covered much of spring ball thus far and the reasons are threefold. One (fold), our “man on campus” Michael Johnson is currently embroiled in the world of international espionage and intrigue as an intern in Washington D.C. Two, the rest of the sometimes-intrepid writing staff has been as they say “swamped”, and three—you all deserve more than ill-conceived fluff pieces about Boise State athletics. What am I saying? This site is almost entirely devoted to fluff pieces about Boise State athletics. Where are my manners?

So...spring ball—it’s a thing, and a thing we’ve largely ignored this year...but no more, while the players finish up their Spring Break in Lake Havasu or wherever the youths are breaking nowadays, let’s talk about something spring ball might tell us (until we catch a practice this is largely speculative).

Boise State was pretty good last season—winning the Mountain West title and their bowl game and return a lot of those title-winning pieces to the roster, but there were certainly areas for improvement. Spring is sure to provide a springboard for that improvement in 2018, while other areas of strength in 2017 may end up being liabilities in the new season. So, with that long-winded intro, just where are the areas where the Broncos are most likely to take a step forward and what area is most likely to get a Bronco moonwalk? Let’s discuss.

The step forward

The running game. Boise State somehow was able to salvage their streak of 1,000 yard rushers last season after a slow start when Alexander Mattison got his groove back and with Drake Beasley joining the stable this spring, it should set the stage for a dominant ground attack in 2018. Also, Mattison won’t be participating fully this spring which means that Beasley, Mahone, and newly-minted RB Skyler Seibold will get a lot of snaps, which should pay dividends once we arrive in the fall. Whether the coaching staff decides to go with the every-other-snap rushing attack this fall will be telling—4-star recruit Andrew Van Buren will join the stable as well as Danny Smith—and both are built more like traditional Boise State linebackers. Could be fun.

The step back

The receiving game (and that includes tight ends). Boise State lost a LOT of production to graduation by losing their top receiver—Ced Wilson, and their top tight end—Jake Roh. Wilson had over 1,500 receiving yards in 2017 (#2 in the country) and Roh was a touchdown machine, with 9 scores on just 39 receptions...there’s going to be a void that needs fillin’ and they’re going to have to get started while there’s still snow in the foothills. Luckily, there is help arriving in the fall that should provide plenty of depth, but you don’t just insert a Wilson or a Roh...these guys must be built. Sophomores CT Thomas and Octavius Evans are the most likely to make a spring jump as they soak up more reps and targets at wide receiver, and Coach Harsin has raved about at least one tight end’s effort in camp (and it’s not the one you’s Matt Pistone), so the cupboard isn’t bare. At present, however, it’s hard to imagine another Ced Wilson arriving as early as 2018. Receiving in 2017 might’ve been more of a small group project...2018 promises to be a platoon.

Your turn

Basketball is over and the draft isn’t quite here yet...guess we should start talking football again, right? What areas do you see the Broncos taking a step forward and/or backward in 2018? Who needs to make the biggest leap in camp?