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OBNUG Roundtable: Fall Camp edition

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 02 Boise State at San Jose State Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Fall camp began in earnest today. Of course, we’ve got to take their word for it as media was banned from practices at the 11th hour due to some COVID positives (not those kind of positives) in the athletics department. We’ve been assured that practices are still taking place though, so hey...a POSITIVE after all. Anyway, as we limp out of the gate, the OBNUG crew was posited the question(s): Which units on the Boise State football team WILL be better in 2021, which SHOULD be better in 2021, and which BETTER be better in 2021?

Here’s where we landed

Damien

Which unit WILL be better in 2021?

I think the OL will be better. While not everything is the o-line’s fault, there seemed to be a common thread through the last couple of years that made the o-line’s quality recede. That common thread has now moved on. There is simply too much talent on the line to have as many issues as the Broncos had. This will get better.

SHOULD be better?

Safeties. Not that the safeties group was necessarily bad last year. But with JL Skinner emerging as a reliable leader, Tyreque Jones heading into his final year, and Andy Avalos being the defensive genius he is, the swagger of the safeties is going to naturally rise up.

BETTER be better?

QB. It’s going to be a long season if the QB talent can’t match up to the production. With some new energy powering the o-line, there should be a chance that the QB situation should really have the opportunity to get the team where they need to be.

Michael

Which unit WILL be better in 2021?

Quarterbacks. 2020 was a bit of a hell season, for a number of reasons. However, we’ve seen enough out of the top two quarterbacks to know there is a lot of talent there. I also can’t stress enough not to sleep on Taylen Green. The primary problem last year was health. And not just with COVID, but also just injuries. Even with the depth taking a hit from Fennegan’s defection to “U Who Shall Not Be Named”, I’m still confident in the talent we have in the QB room. Bachmeier and Sears being in competition should bring out the best in both of them and I’m honestly very excited to see what they can do in Plough’s offense. It sounds like the way it’s structured, it might actually help Hank get rid of the ball quicker. Which, as we’ve come to learn, is the best way to protect his health. Sears has a small sample size to draw from, but that basically flawless game against Air Force last year was pretty impressive! However it ends up shaking out, I expect our QBs WILL be better in 2021.

SHOULD be better?

Defensive Line. It wasn’t even that they were bad last year. I just think they can make the leap to being GREAT this year. Demetri Washington showed a ton of promise, but when he got hurt, Shane Irwin stepped up to be quite a force as well. With both healthy, Washington bulked up, and a slimmed down Scale Igehion—not to mention some younger guys with serious talent (looking at you Bagnah and Herbert Gums)—I think the defensive line could really be a special position group this year.

BETTER be better?

Running backs. Again, the health of the players played a gigantic role in that unit not living up to their potential last season. A healthy George Holani, Andrew Van Buren not being asked to carry the whole run game by himself, and the addition of Cyrus Habibi-Likio (who Boise State went after hard before he ultimately committed to Oregon and eventually transferred to here), I think they have a resurgent year. The offensive line loses one starter, so the chemistry should be there. With quarterbacks being better and wide receivers that will make defenses extremely reticent to stack the box, I see the running backs having a bounceback year. At least, they BETTER.

Drew

Which unit WILL be better in 2021?

Defensive line. The pieces are there, dudes are healthy (for now) and Frank Maile will have these dudes spitting fire. We’ve got serious depth on the interior that we haven’t had in a minute (Igiehon, Cravens, Matlock, Obichere, Gums, etc) and the DE rotation will be more robust. This unit is a lock for some major improvement.

SHOULD be better?

Linebackers. Big influx of new, young, talent. Senior leadership returns with Noa and Whimpey, and the biggest reason to be bullish on this unit? Andrew F. Avalos. As a former LB himself, Avalos is going to take a special interest in the molding of these young minds and stout hearts.

BETTER be better?

O-line. I mean COME ON! That unit has been frightful since Scott Huff left and despite some individual standouts; as a unit, they’ve allowed way too many sacks and turned some 1,300 yard rushers into barely 1,000 yard rushers. The rubber meets the road this year. We can only keep blaming Brad Bedell so long...if this unit isn’t better this season, perhaps we’ve been cursed by a witch.

Your turn

Let your voice be heard. The best comment will receive a one year supply of hubris.