5 Keys – 1 Prediction: Boise State vs UConn

Boise State v Mississippi

Image Courtesy of GettyImages.

1.) WAKE UP!

I am not kidding when I say my biggest concern is the team sleeping through the 1st half. (See us vs San Jose back in the day) The first 2 games of the season have carried a lot of emotion, big game vs an SEC opponent, and the home-opener. Now Boise State walks into a sleepy game in the east. Everything about this game screams blowout by the time it enters the 4th quarter. However, Boise State has to come out and find a way to get the blood pumping early and take the momentum. If not the game could be close longer than many hope. For UConn this game takes place at lunch-time, for Boise State, it takes place during breakfast. The Broncos can’t let the Huskies get a jump on them and build some confidence.

2.) Jay “Blue Beast” Ajayi

Yeah I am riding the “blue beast” nickname, why? Because I still haven’t heard a better one. That being said, I feel like this is probably going to be a key for the rest of the season and I could just copy and paste whatever I have written in previous weeks. Jay Ajayi is a machine and when it comes to facing inferior competition Jay will have massive games. I am hoping for a short day for Ajayi, but even if it is only 3 quarters I expect big numbers. As long as Boise State is handing the ball to Jay, the Broncos are in good hands and will be competitive.

3.) Get out Healthy

Boise State can’t under any circumstance afford more injuries in the secondary. Reports from B.J. Rains seem to indicate Donte Deayon will play. That is good, but BSU can’t have any more injuries in this game. With Bryan Douglass doubtful, Maston out, and Page out. Boise State will need people to step up even against a backup QB in an anemic offense. The secondary will need to communicate well in this game, if not the play-action could catch them a couple of times down the field. UConn does have a very talented and dangerous WR in Geremy Davis. And from their (UConn) perspective it would look like everything is lining up for him to have a potentially MAJOR day. Boise State must find a way to stop him regardless of depth.

4.) Grant Hedrick Needs to Keep it Up

We saw a lot of growth from Grant vs CSU. No matter how you feel about Hedrick you have to admit he is at the least tough as nails. Hedrick’s ability to run was at times very impressive against CSU and fans can hope for that to continue minus the big hits. UConn presents an opportunity for Hedrick to continue to improve on his game. I fully expect Grant to have a big game, with both his arm and legs. If he does, Boise State will roll like expected. However, nothing keeps a team in a game like turnovers. Grant can’t forget that.

5.) Find Depth

This is a cocky, assuming key, that doesn’t really apply to this game. But it is important to the season and this game provides the perfect opportunity for it. Boise State should roll in this game, which means a chance for backups to play. If this does happen Boise State needs to start to identify some depth for the rest of the season. We are still looking for another legit threat on offense. I stand by, and will maintain, that 3 main play-makers will not win us conference championship. Hopefully in the 4th quarter of this game Boise State will get a chance to find the “next guy up” if needed.

1 Prediction

Last week I get an A- only because I didn’t take it far enough. Yes I was dead on saying CSU would not rush for 155 yards on us. But even that prediction was high so I get docked down. This week, I am going to our side of the ball and saying Boise State breaks 50 points on offense for the first time this season. My official prediction as seen here, states we score 52. I am sticking with that and hoping I am conservative again. A huge statement win here even against the Huskies would be a great confidence boost moving forward.

Go Broncos!

3 Things – 1 Question: Boise State vs. Colorado State

bluebeast

3 Things – 1 Question

1.) He needs a nickname!

It seems like we live in a world now where everybody has a nickname. We had the muscle hamster, “Johnny Football” and we also  have “swerve” etc… But what about Jay Ajayi? To me, when he runs, he reminds me of Marshawn Lynch, never taken down on the first hit, he is just a flat-out beast. Problem is, “Beast Mode” is taken, so last season on our Twitter, I asked about starting “Blue Beast”. Get it, cause you know “The Blue”, etc… Ok so yes, some of you might find it cheesy, but until I hear something better Jay Ajayi will be known as “Blue Beast”. It is the least he gets after the insane start to the season he has had.

2.) Students, is that really you?

It is easy to bash our student section, especially after the last couple seasons. However, I thought our student section showed up really well against Colorado State. The section was packed topped to bottom and was very active. Yes, they left around the 4th quarter, but to be fair, so did the rest of the stadium. I really enjoyed some new things they are trying to get done this season. At first, the “Jaws Theme” at kickoffs at least to me, was sort of blah. But, after I saw the student section locking arms and creating a wave-like motion I changed my mind. We don’t have a ton that is our own, maybe this can become one of them?

(Above you can see my cellphone video of the students locking arms and swaying back and forth. The video is not great and I apologize for the screeching noise at the start.)

3.) Mixed Reactions

c9X6nAfter the game, people reacted a couple of ways, some were pleased, others were shocked at the ending. I myself expected a tough game, but not another 4th quarter collapse, but still I was pretty happy. I guess I would be the guy in the .gif in this instance. This team is still learning, and ultimately I think has shown tons of potential. Our defense for 6 out of 8 quarters has looked incredible. Our offense has shown signs of being very, very good. If Boise State can put it together for entire games the rest of the season, the MWC is going to be in big trouble.

1 Question

boyraisinghandMy question this week revolves around the new awesome video board we have. What is the point of having this awesome, HD, super screen, if I can’t see the replays? Why is that I have to pull my phone out and load a vine of a guy recording the game on his TV, from his phone, to see what happened to Hedrick? In this specific instance, I am sure it is to make sure the fans don’t go all crazy and get riled up. But it was more than that, multiple penalties, and plays went unseen. Now, I get you have to fit in your insane, yet impressive amount of ads each game. But it seems as though the fans are missing a lot of the game this way. So, Boise State why is that? Why is it that fans in the stands don’t get to see what the rest of the world does? This just seems like a huge missed chance for the fan who paid to go to Albertsons Stadium.

5 Keys – 1 Prediction: Colorado State Rams

5Keys

 

1.) Start Fast

A nice quick TD would go wonders in making everyone forget about Ole Miss. I have to imagine this goes for both the fans and the players. Scoring quickly would get the crowd involved and get the players excited. It would also go a long way in re-establishing some confidence in the new/old offensive scheme. The hidden factor here as well could be what it would do the Colorado State Rams psychologically. Boise State is known as the dominant team in the Mountain West. Even more than that, they are known for being almost unbeatable on “The Blue”. If Boise State jumps on a team at home chances are, that team knows they are going to lose.

2.) Hedrick Must Be Better

I don’t think there is a ton of debate or analysis needed here. Hedrick did not play well against Ole Miss. You won’t win games against good teams turning the ball over 4 times. Hedrick had a monster game against CSU last season racking up 6 TD’s. Perhaps the Rams are exactly what the doctor ordered to get Grant back on track and ready for a huge rest of the year. If that does not happen, one has to wonder how long the leash is for Hedrick under the new regime.

3.) New Weapons

We all love Jay Ajayi, Shane Williams-Rhodes, and Matt Miller. But if this team is going to succeed, somebody else has to step up. The candidates are there, Dallas Burroughs, Chaz Anderson, Devin Demas, or Jack Fields. I don’t care which one of these guys become a factor, somebody just has to become one. Boise State has never been a team that wins because of a limited amount of players making plays. Boise State’s success has always created by putting multiple people in a position to succeed. This team should be no different, yes, Miller, SWR, and Ajayi are going to carry the load but somebody else needs to be a threat for this team to contend for a Mountain West title.

4.) 3 Quarters Becomes 4

Boise State’s defense looked good, like really good for 3 quarters. They showed the flying to the ball mentality with gang tackles, they got pressure on the QB, stuffed the run, and forced turnovers. Colorado State is a team that has an offense built on running the ball. And frankly, in the 2nd half against Colorado, they looked great doing it. They bring in 2 very physical talented RB’s(Jarrells & Hart) who both rushed for over 100 yards in their debut. For Boise State to win this game they are going to have to show up for all 4 quarters on defense. Colorado State is going to look to keep this game close late. Then, they will depend on their physical style of play to wear down Boise State so they can start running the ball at will. Boise State can’t afford to let that happen, and the can’t let another repeat of the 4th quarter to happen in this game.

5.) Don’t go anywhere Jay

Jay Ajayi is looking poised to have a record-setting type of year. With that, until Boise State can find multiple weapons on offense Jay Ajayi can’t go anywhere. Yes, Jay needs less carries to make it through this season. But unfortunately right now that might not be an option. Boise State showed they are limited on play-makers an until that changes Jay can probably expect to see the ball 25+ times a game. This  means, the production of this offense, at least for now, depends on Jay Ajayi. The good news is if Jay can have a great game against one of the most talented defenses in the country in Ole Miss. Then chances are the Mountain West is going to have a really tough time trying to keep Jay in check.

1 Prediction

Last week my prediction was right, and wrong all at once. We certainly saw some stuff BSU ran against Georgia, but we also saw some stuff that was not exactly retro BSU. So I am going say I get a C+ on that one. This week, I am going to take it to the defensive side of the ball. I believe in Marcel Yates, perhaps more than anything I believe in the mentality he brings to the team. So because of that, my prediction is going to be that Colorado State will not rush for over 150 yards. Last week against Colorado they ran for 266 yards and 3 touchdowns. This week, I believe Boise State will keep them under 150 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. We have shown we have a crew that can stuff the run, and this week, it will be no different!

3 Things & a Question (Post Game)

3 Things

1.) Grant Hedrick might have an issue when it comes to playing upper level talent.

HDStat123

Courtesy of espn.com

You can decipher this information anyway you would like. For me, the biggest concern is not even the turnovers (and that is a concern). The concern for me is the inability to get the ball in the endzone. When playing top-level teams, especially in the offense driven world we live in now, the QB must get the ball in the endzone period. Grant has played against 4 top-level teams and he has scored 5 total touchdowns through the air. That is not going to cut it period.

2.) Jay Ajayi is the real deal.

JayAjayi

Courtesy of espn.com

Jay did everything in his power to keep Boise State in this game. He ran the ball very well, and he led the team in receptions. Many took to Twitter last night to look for the positive in the game. Jay Ajayi was the most positive thing you can take away. He never quit, he never stopped playing at 100%. Jay Ajayi is going to destroy the Mountain West Conference if he keeps up that attitude. Touching the ball 32 times in a game worries me a little bit, but if anybody is built for that, it is Jay Ajayi.

3.) The defense is going to be very good

OleMiss

courtesy of espn.com

All you have to do is look at those numbers and you understand what I am saying. Despite the team getting beat late in the 4th. The defense showed up and kept Boise State in this game. They did their best to match turnover-4-turnover, and dominated the run game. Marcel Yates style was very clear – they go hard, and they are very aggressive. The ball-hawking mentality of the secondary and linebackers was a sight to be seen. Not to mention the huge upgrade in tackling we saw in this game compared to every game last season. If I walked away from anything else last night positively it was that we have a defense that resembles the “glory days”.

1 Question?

yes-wait-wtfIf you were like me last night you started on a big high. “Yes we are back!” you saw the shifts, the motions, the trick-plays, and you felt like we are here to stay. Then, time went on and you walked away going…”What just happened?” So much of last night was confusing, are we that bad? Or are we actually better? Was the game really what the score said? Why didn’t Finley play during cleanup duty? The biggest question for me though remains what are we on offense? We started looking like the traditional shifts & motions offense, and we ended looking like the Robert Prince offense. So what are we going to be? I asked Ian Johnson last night on Twitter about he felt about the offense and seemed encouraged.

But even with Ian Johnson giving it a positive outlook, I am still just not sure. I still cringe when I watch us fall into a rhythm of bubble screens and read-option plays. However, maybe that is what we are? Maybe we are just a mixture of everything. It does keep Boise State hard to prepare for and it makes the team more dynamic in theory. I guess only time will tell, but for now, we still walk away questioning what are we really?

 

5 Keys & 1 Prediction: Boise State vs. Ole Miss

Logo_zps624b2167The season is here, and so are “5 Keys”. Except this season I am adding a little more to the fun. This year I will be giving the 5 keys to the game as well as 1 prediction I will make each week.

5 Keys to the game Boise State vs Ole Miss

1.) If you have been reading any of the preseason publications then one name is repeated when Boise State is talked about. That name is Jay Ajayi, and for all the right reasons. Jay is perhaps the most physically gifted RB to have ever played for Boise State. He has the size and speed of an “SEC” tailback. And that size and speed will be needed against Ole Miss. With Jay, I fully expect Boise State to get back to the “run the ball first” mentality.  Now Jay Ajayi doesn’t have to go all Ian Johnson vs Oregon State on Ole Miss for us to win (though that would be great). He does though need to keep the defense honest. 20+ carries for 80 yards and a touchdown would be a great start to the season. If Jay can have a steady game like that Boise State should be able to compete from start to finish.

2.) Grant Hedrick has to be more than just a serviceable QB. Last season Grant had solid numbers and managed the game. This year, he has to take a major step and be a play maker. Grant has the athleticism and the talent to be a star his senior year. His first step to doing that would be getting a huge win against Ole Miss. For this to happen, Grant has to make plays on 3rd down passing situations. It is easy to make the check down pass and punt. But as we have seen in the past, it takes a QB who can make the throw down the field in those situations to win the early tests to start the season. If Grant can start this season off converting on 3rd down, Boise State will win this game.

3.) Can we start fast might be the most important key/question of them all. I feel like this game, if nothing else gives us a strong advantage to start fast. We know Ole Miss has no idea what we are bringing to the table. Because of this we should have the opportunity to score some points and build momentum in our favor early. If this happens, I fully expect Ole Miss to fight back into the game. But putting the Rebels up against the wall early could go a long way for the Broncos on their way to a win.

4.) Boise State has to get pressure on the QB. If this does not happen, I can’t stress enough how ugly this game could get. I believe Yates will bring pressure with blitzes, specifically, I expect to see some corner-blitzes. But the pressure that is more important here is coming from the defensive line. With Demarcus Lawrence gone to the NFL the question is going to be who is our new premier pass-rusher? The first game of the season would not be a bad time for somebody to step into that role. If Boise State can get pressure on Wallace, it will go a long way in helping our secondary deal with threats like Laquon Treadwell.

5.) Here I am going with the X-factor, SWR, Shane Williams-Rhodes. Nobody on Boise State, or perhaps college football has a skill-set quite like SWR. Yes he is small, but he is also impossible to prepare for. The best part about this prediction, is Bryan Harsin loves to have unique weapons like Rhodes. I imagine we will see Rhodes in some fly-sweep situations, some slot-routes, and maybe even some old school Vinny Peretta like run/pass option stuff. Rhodes might not make or break this game, but he has to play a vital role for the Broncos to win. I said it last year plenty, Rhodes wasn’t used to his full skill-set. This year with Harsin back in town, I have no doubt Rhodes will be put into positions to make plays.

1 Prediction

If you follow me on Twitter you might have already seen me call my shot on this. But my prediction is on what we can expect to see from our offense. Now, I could be completely wrong on this, and I admit it is 100% a somewhat educated guess. But based on what we have heard, and seen in bits and pieces. I am starting to think the offense we see vs Ole Miss resembles what we saw against Georgia in 2011, a lot. We will see shifts, and motions, pistol reads, and power formations. However, we will also see a hybrid no-huddle/huddle offense. When the momentum is on our side, I can see us rushing to the line and calling plays. When the game needs to be slowed down and talked about, I can see us huddling. Staying unpredictable and dictating the way the game is played seems to fit this staff well.