I have a confession to make: I hate sparkling water. I’m not sure how this drink came into favor, but to me it tastes like poison. This “spicy water” is not refreshing, nor does it taste good but people gleefully lap it up by the case full. Bubly, La Croix, Spindrift…it doesn’t matter, it’s all bad. Now, I know some within the sound of my voice are going to take exception to this declaration—I’m not sorry.
The main problem with these sparkling drinks is that they overpromise and underdeliver. If a drink has a picture of a raspberry on it, it should taste like raspberries, bur La Croix tastes like it was in the vicinity of raspberries. Like when your mom would pack a banana in your sack lunch and then by noon you Oreos were soft and tasted faintly of banana. If I wanted to imbibe the essence of something, I’d go inhale deeply in the produce section.
Which brings me to Boise State’s offense—or lack thereof. You know it’s the offense…I mean, we have the ball—but it lacks flavor. There’s a hint of something familiar…is it guava? Whatever it is, the notes are barely recognizable and it’s anything but refreshing. For years, Boise State’s offense was one of the most innovative in all of college football. “They just pulled a Boise State”, they’d say when some halfback pulled off a double-reversed forward pass. Now, “pulling a Boise State” seems to mean running a 3 yard screen on 3rd and 11…why is it always 3rd and 11?
Yeah, I know defense wins championships and Boise State’s is pretty good at the moment (if they can cut out the big plays), but this offense is not going to cut it if we want to aim higher than another MWC title (and we should). The bigger problem though: if it doesn’t show signs of life soon, we ain’t even getting another one of those. Right now, Boise State is ranked 111th in passing offense and 88th in rushing offense and they are coming off one of their worst years of points/game in the modern era if not THE worst. The oft-maligned Robert Prince offenses of ’12 and ’13 scored 50 TDs and 63 TDs, respectively. In 2021, the Broncos scored 39. In 2013, the Broncos had a 1,400 yard rusher (Ajayi)—in 2021, the TEAM rushed for roughly the same amount. The year is young, but is this a Boise State offense or one that sat close to one in your gym bag?
I know the O-line gets a lot of negative pub…and honestly, they probably should…but the 2019 team had an 1,100 yard rusher (Holani) and kicked off Hank Bachmeier’s Bronco career with a bang. Through 2 games in ’22, Boise State’s top rusher is Taylen Green—he didn’t play against New Mexico—and Hank has 200 yards passing through two games, no that’s not his average. It’s 2022 and gaining a single yard has never seemed a more baffling ordeal. Boise State has a 4-star QB under center and a 4-star RB in the backfield—not to mention the 2019 MWC freshman of the year. The defense is gonna give this offense opportunities—but unless we see signs of life soon, I”m afraid his offense is the La Croix of Mountain West Football…or even worse for a sparkling water drink, one that’s gone flat.
I wish I had a solution rather than having just isolated the problem…and that problem is something whispered, implied, and intimated but often not said aloud. The most extreme solution to said problem is where angels fear to tread, but right now we’re stuck with something that is a Boise State offense in the most technical terms only. The faint flavor of the past drowned out by an unsavory aftertaste. Players come and go, coaches too…but the brand remains until you smother it to death. With brand more important than ever, the Broncos need to figure out how to work with this off-label product or figure out why they changed the recipe in the first place.