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?

 

BTN Predictions, Week 1: Ole Miss Rebels

Predictions LogoCollege football is here! It’s game week, time for some homerish/somewhat realistic predictions from the BTN staff. Feel free to post your prediction below in the comments section.

Jeremy

I’m a Boise State alum, therefore I’m obligated to predict a victory. I will also take the typical “head/heart” approach to predicting, because I’m just like that.

I’ve made it clear this off-season, I’m suffering from fan PTSD after last year’s debacle of an opener in Seattle. Like most Bronco fans, I honest to God expected a close game, and instead was proven to be terribly wrong. That nightmare has left me cautious about this game in Atlanta. I’ll go on record with dreaming of a Boise State 23-20 win with Hedrick leading a late 4th quarter drive for the win, but my head says the Rebels win 33-14, this task being too much too soon for Harsin and his young team. Please 2014 Boise State Broncos, make my dream come true.

Tami

Let’s hope for more VT and less UW, Jeremy. Both teams have weaknesses that are offset by strengths on the other side of the ball. It’s going to come down to the basics – turnovers. time of possession, and execution. Hate boiling it down to those almost cliches, but it’s the truth. If Ole Miss starts completing rapid fire passes in the middle of the field and gets their tempo going as planned, it’s going to be a long night for Boise. If the Broncos defense can help eat up some clock for the offense without allowing points, the boys in blue (orange?) have a chance. The wildcard is going to be energy. The Rebels are apparently prepping by watching last season’s game film and feel like this should be a good day for them. The Broncos aren’t going to look much like last season’s game film and have been chomping at the bit for months to go hit somebody. The tiny homer in my heart believes that the ol’ Bronco Magic might be back with this team, and thus the guys are going to escape Atlanta with our miracle mojo intact, courtesy of Dead Center Dan Goodale’s foot:  Broncos 27 – Rebels 24.

(Editors Note:  Tami also asked a local psychic what might happen in this game.  You can read about that here.)

Noel

I’ll get right to the point: THE BRONCOS WIN 28-24. The key to victory will be the aggressiveness of the defensive backfield.  I predict 2 interceptions with at least one going for 6 in the game. I have this gut feeling that the boys will have what was missing the last 2 years. They’ll have the spark and motivation that they had in Atlanta 3 years ago.  I expect a heavy dose of Jay, Matt Miller catches at least 8 passes and Shane Williams-Rhodes will break a long touchdown.  I expect the future to be excessively attacked on both sides of the ball.

I know what you’re thinking.  That’s a total homer pick. Yep. I’m a homer!

Heath

I am a lot like Jeremy here, the whole diehard alum thing makes the pick tricky. The more I work on my “5 Keys & 1 Prediction” article the more trouble I have with this. My heart says Boise State jumps on them early and holds on late. My head says we come out and struggle and fight to make it close. So here is my prediction – I am going Boise State 31 – Ole Miss 28. I am just gonna go with my heart and my belief this coaching staff is better this year, than what we had last year. I am not saying that statement discrediting anything Petersen was or is. I just think last year the entire team was in a funk, the coaches had checked out and the players fed off that. This year, our guys are motivated, and they have tons to prove. Hopefully, it all starts here.

Derek

This game all comes down to the offensive line play in my opinion.  We have a young group there, and our two returning starters are playing at different positions. If these youngsters have gelled in fall camp and can both protect Grant and make holes for Jay, we will be in good shape.  If they struggle, Jay will have a bad day and Grant will be pressured and more likely to turn the ball over.  Unfortunately, I think our O-line struggles in this game, but I think their’s does as well, making for a low scoring affair.  However the Boise D shows that they are back to the Marcel Yates way, and gives our team a chance.  Dan Goodale hits the game winner as time expires for a 20-17 Boise State win.

Gage:

Before I can get to my prediction, I feel as these 3 questions will provide insight on what outcome to expect (based on the answers) in the Georgia Dome: Can Boise State’s inexperienced offensive live create enough holes for Jay Ajayi and the rushing attack to set up the passing game? Will Boise State’s defense be able to match Ole Miss’s speed and force turnovers. Is Grant Hedrick able to make the big play when needed? Those are the 3 things I’ll be using as an indicator for when gauging my in game confidence-you should too.

I’m hard pressed to not pick Ole Miss, they are the manifest-solid SEC team. They will be stout on defense as most SEC teams are, and put VERY LARGE men in the trenches to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball; another staple of a SEC team. Conversely, it is presumed the Broncos biggest weakness this year will be their O-line and D-line.

But….. You didn’t think I could really pick Ole Miss did you…. Call it what you want, Homer-ism most suitably, but I believe in the luster that has been shining out of Boise, Idaho since the Broncos rallied the former troops led by Brian Harsin (could be the new helmets though). Furthermore, I think Harsin, Sanford, and Yates have prepared a strong concoction of Boise State’s previous playbook and combined it with the new material they learned coaching elsewhere. Or just simply, It’ll be them using this motto “Embrace the Past but Attack the Future”.

 Boise State 31 – Ole Miss 27

 

There you have it Bronco Nation!  What do you think will be the outcome?  Post in our comments or hit us up on Twitter @TheBTN.

 

Attack The Opponent: Ole Miss Rebels

Researching Ole’ Miss is a bit like observing a distant planet. 1562 miles, two time zones, a bunch of humidity, almost zero history, and a complete lifestyle difference are between Boise and Oxford. get some!

The old (probably) drunk guy dancing though, that is universal.

The year that Idaho became a state, Ole’ Miss was just forming their first athletic department. Boise wouldn’t field a football team for another 39 years after Mississippi boys first touched toe to grass in 1893. A storied program for sure, but the game coming up next Thursday has nothing to do with pedigree, conference affiliation, tenure, recruiting rankings, political leanings, or anything else outside of the 2014 Broncos and Rebels. The only people who know exactly who that is are with the programs, and the rest of us are left to wonder, wait, and fret. The Rebels are counting on tempo and speed to win this game. They love to throw nice little short passes, and a whole lot of them. Here’s their returning QB Bo Wallace’s stats from last season:

Set school records for total offense (3,701 yards) and completions (283) in a season … Completed 283 of 437 passes for 3,346 yards (third-most in school history) with 18 TDs and 10 INTs … Ranked third in the SEC and 26th nationally in both total offense (284.7 ypg) and passing (257.4 ypg) …

Yanno, just setting school records for total offense and completions, completing a good-but-not-that-good 65% of his passes for 18 TD’s. This is 7 yd per attempt though. They also scored 30 ppg last season. So, Boise’s D must be ready to defend the corner and not be afraid to hit somebody or fight for position coming over the middle to be able to intercept a few of those passes. The Rebel’s defense could be ridiculous, or it could be overblown SEC hype. There are 5 Rebel’s defenders on the All SEC watch-lists, the most notable being Pre-Season 2nd team All American Robert Nkemdiche. Or, as Broncos fans have seen before, this could be a bunch of SEC bluster and hype and the boys in orange could run them ragged and confused before halftime.

All of this remains to be seen, and exactly what we’ve all been waiting an entire off-season for. Rebels fans are apparently excited for the match-up, but talking a great big game as well. Both teams have pros and cons. Ole Miss has had strong recruiting classes recently and is coming off a reasonable performance last season, and Boise’s team is an unproven commodity with all the uncertainty in the program. Everything changed for the Broncos in December, and while those inside the program are telling us all the correct things it’s scary to not know what to expect. On the other hand,  Ole Miss has some questions in their run game – the guy listed at the top of the depth chart, I’Tavius Mathers, started exactly one game for the Rebels last season. Boise State will likely be deepest on defense, with a ton of experience in the secondary and a whole bunch of big, strong defensive linemen who are learning from what might be the best combo of knowledge, personality, and moustache on the coaching staff, Steve Caldwell. Boise State is of course going to live and die on the legs and ball control of Jay Ajayi and Grant Hedrick, but with the return of a fast paced, extend the field throwing game, this whole thing is going to be about which team can exploit the other’s weaknesses and really control the time of possession. Both teams can score prolifically in the correct defensive conditions, and both defenses look like they could be tough, at least on paper. Dead Center Dan Goodale needs to be as accurate as ever, and special teams had better be ready to go right off the bat. We might have a track meet on our hands next Thursday. We might also have a defensive battle.

I don’t doubt that Boise can put at least 28 points on the board, but can the guys hold the Rebels under that total? Vegas has Boise as ten point dogs, and while there are a few outlets calling for a return to the kind of winning everyone remembers out of Boise, most of the national consensus is that Boise is going to fall back to obscurity very quickly due to a whole bevy of excuses that Boise State fans are dutifully slicing and frying into Bronco Nation Brand Shoulder Chips. Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 7.59.24 PM

Now available in Dill Pickle flavor.

There are a few things I need to see out of this game to be happy. First, I need to know that the Boise offense is unpredictable, prolific, and accurate. I would like to see a working, nasty blitz. Would love to see lots of tight end participation in the offense, and just one nice deep ball to a flying orange blur of Dallas Burroughs. I need Matt Miller to make a one handed catch in the back corner of the end zone. I need interceptions from the safeties and jarring hits from Jeremy Ioane. Antoine Turner needs to get a sack so I can be irrationally happy for him for a while.

This game could be the return of the sense of balance in the universe that Bronco Nation has been missing, or a tipping point where the bandwagon gets much lighter. Ole Miss has a lot to prove too. Recruiting rankings and conference affiliation can only carry a team so far, eventually the wins have to come or Coach Freeze is going to have to answer some questions. Their team seems like the type that could have discipline issues and leave a mass of flags and fan’s broken dreams in their wake. While this may not be the marquee game of the night, it certainly is the most intriguing. Hotty Toddy indeed, Rebels. Put on your blazers, ties, and sundresses, sip your bourbon, and get ready to watch that cute little team out of the Mountain West give you the fight of your team’s figurative lives opening weekend. Oh, and if Ole Miss happens to lose? It would be nice if they wouldn’t turn around and lose horribly to Vandy the week after. Strength of Schedule and all that.

Isn’t football great? I missed football. Let’s never have an off-season like that again. Attack_hug