5 Keys – 1 Prediction

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1.) Keep Finding New Targets: No Matt Miller, no problem right? If Boise State can keep up the Nevada trend of getting everybody involved that might be the case. Matt Miller is an exceptional talent, that will be deeply missed. But if Boise State can spread the ball around then this could become addition by subtraction. Hedrick seemed to lock on to Matt early and often and the offense seemed to be built around 3 guys. Now with Miller gone it looks to be forcing BSU to become more diverse and in someways more dangerous. If BSU keeps up the new, more diverse offense, Boise State could give the Fresno defense fits all night long on “The Blue”.

2.) Jay Ajayi Keeps up Home Success: Jay Ajayi is a beast, but he is an absolute freak at home this season. So far in 2 games he has 369 yards and is averaging over 6 yards per carry. If Jay keeps this up, nobody will beat Boise State at home. If Jay even comes close to this kind of production against Fresno State, they should win the game. Fresno’s defense has struggled this season, and they haven given up a tons of yards per carry this season against solid opponents. Mix this with Jay Ajayi at home and Fresno State could be in for another embarrassing trip to Boise.
3:) Defend the Bubble-Screen: If you hated Robert Prince and the bubble-screen passes then you will really enjoy rooting against Fresno State. Just like last season Fresno is going to try and get the ball on the edge and win in space. One of the ways they do this is getting their best player Josh Harper the ball on bubble-screens and letting him work. For Boise State to win this game they will need to continue their success defending and often times blowing this play up. Cleshawn Page against Ole Miss and before he got injured showed he can be a monster on this particular play. If he can show that again against Fresno it could lead to some big hits and turnovers. More importantly if Boise State as a whole can defend this play, they will win the game.

4.) Remember Last Season: No sport is more emotional in my opinion than football. Boise State does not like Fresno, Fresno does not like Boise State. Add to that mix a little revenge and then sprinkle in some blue turf and Boise State has a recipe for a beat down. Many of the guys on this team now know what it felt like last season to lose to Fresno on national TV. They need to use this emotion and payback factor to teach Fresno who owns this rivalry.

5.) No Big Plays: When you look Fresno the biggest stat that stands out to me is their lack of big-plays. Specifically when you look at their first 3 beat downs they were averaging around 4.5 yards per PASS.  Once again, Jay Ajayi at home this year is averaging more per carry than Fresno was in some of their games in the passing game. With this, Boise State can’t allow Fresno to get any confidence with any big plays down the field. If they can keep Fresno in front of them all game long, I fully expect Fresno to struggle to score points.

1 Prediction: My prediction for this game is that a new star will rise for Boise State. Who that is, I am not sure. Right now though,  I would put my money on McNichols if he gets the chances. Few players have looked as good as McNichols did in his first game against Nevada. If he gets touches against Fresno I expect that trend to continue. If it is not him however, somebody else will step up big not named Rhodes or Ajayi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

BTN Predictions – Week 6: At Nevada

Derek

After the Louisiana game a couple of weeks ago, it appeared that Boise State was starting to put it all together.  The defense continued to dominate, Grant Hedrick had a solid game, and we were seeing signs of the ball being spread around to more than just the “Big Three”.  There were definitely reasons to be optimistic heading into the Air Force game.  I expected a tough, close game – especially considering how the Broncos have fared on the road recently – but was not expecting to be dominated like we were by the Falcons.  Many people used the word “debacle”, and it truly was.  The results of the past two games truly make it hard to predict this one.  Was the Air Force game an anomaly? Was it just some growing pains of a new staff and the players continuing to learn together?  Or was that what this team is – average at best – going to win some and lose some?  If you know me, read my writings, or follow me on Twitter, you know that I am an optimist – to a fault maybe – and that will not change.   I see no reason to think negatively or doubt what myself, others, or this football team are capable of.  I am concerned about going on the road still, however this game typically has more Bronco fans attending than any other road trip.  I also think the Air Force game was a wake up call to both the coaches and the team.  I am not going to go into specifics about what players are key, which sides of the ball have the advantage, or how this game goes.  This game will be an emotional one, both because of who and where we are playing, and what happened last week, so this is a purely emotional pick.  Boise State bounces back, and continues to grow under Harsin and staff.  Boise State 31 – Nevada 21.

Tami

Nevada is a pretty good team. The Wolf Pack’s only loss so far came at the hands of Arizona, the team that beat Oregon at Autzen on Thursday night. Boise is a very talented team who is still trying to find consistency. The performance last week at Air Force makes this game quite hard to predict – I know what I want to see out of the Broncos, but a big run game, some nice deep throws to open up the field for Jay, and a shut-down defense may be more than we can hope for. The X factor is the fact that Nevada is the closest thing we have to a rivalry, and the hate is palpable. Losing to them would be a tremendous blow. So, assuming that Grant has his confidence back, the coaches are on and have everybody ready, and that some of the guys that have been out injured are able to come back (hi there defense), Boise should be able to make this a game. I’m homering it up and calling for a win for the good guys: Boise State 28 – Nevada 24. 

Dan Goodale, please be ready. We’re going to need Dead Center Dan to go to Reno and kick a ball just to watch a man and his middle fingers die.

Noel

I’m on the fence about this one. Last week was a horrid week on the field for Grant Hedrick and, if he paid any attention to the fan base, he didn’t have a good time post-game either.  His mindset is one of the keys to the game.  If his head is on straight, the offense will be sufficient. The other key is the defense. Coach Harsin and CoachYates can take some cues from Arizona’s defense on gap-integrity. and how to contain a “running” quarterback. Fajardo can eat teams up on the ground. Here’s how I see it – Broncos offense performs and the defense destroys the Nevada running game.  Broncos win 35-20 and I lob double-birds at Nevada fan on the TV.

Gage

This game might be a defining point in an already up and down season. As Derek pointed out – after beating the Ragin’ Cajuns – Boise State fans felt like the Broncos might have their mojo back, potentially leading to a chain of W’s. I felt this way myself. Short lived serenity to say the least. Air Force kindly provided a needle to Boise State’s balloon of confidence and the Broncos offense inserted it for them; with not 1.. not 2.. not 3.. but 7 turnovers.

I’ve tossed and turned all week about this game. My stabbing paranoia has me thinking the Broncos will under perform again and Nevada will win – allowing their egotistical fans to boast it in the Broncos face 2010 style. Then, on the other hand, my usual homerism has me thinking the Broncos will storm into Reno with a “F this” mentality – F last week, F the season opener, and F you Nevada. Checks to make sure I’m not a 13-year-old girl. 

I’m so atrocious at predicting final scores or even coming close (check out my previous predictions) therefore I’m going to plead the 5th on guessing this weeks final score and do so because of my superstitious nature. I will predict a close game though. Maybe even OT? Yikes. I don’t know if my heart can handle OT. But… if there are more than three “wtf Grant?” moments, prepare for another sad week in Bronco land.

Heath

I am not sure what to even say here honestly. I look at the Air Force game and then I look at the this game and I get worried. When you watch the turnovers of Hedrick my concern was a lot of throws were just inaccurate. Going into Reno the pressure on him is going to be a lot, can he handle it? I guess we will find out, but I don’t have a great feeling about it. Even with all that though, I have to remind myself I trust Harsin when it comes to the QB position and this can be no different. My other major concern going into Reno is looking at Jay Ajayi’s stat line on the road this year. If you follow me on Twitter you might have seen it, but if not here is what you need to know.

Jay Ajayi at home averages 6.1 yards per carry this season – on the road this season, 3.4.

So for us to win, Jay has to break this bad start to the road this season, and Hedrick has to be a completely different QB. Oh and I can’t forget the defense has to continue to dominate at an incredible level… Yeah, I think you guys know where I am going with this…And that is despite all this, Boise State thrives in positions like this, this is what makes BSU great. Broncos win 34 – 17.

 

This Week at the Diggity’s – Week 5 (Respect Their Service, Expect Our Win!)

Another week, another fun-filled version of TWatD’s. It’s full of angry happiness, personal insight, and just a bit of #HamPlanet amazingness. Besides learning the fact that our cat, Mojo, doesn’t like hash browns (I dropped some on the ground.), it’s been a great week here in Bronco Nation West.  We hope you had a great week too!

Credit - Boise State

Credit – Boise State

I was watching the Indiana/Missouri game and they brought up the total yardage stats. Both teams were at 387 yards. The commentator says “You can’t get any more equal than that”. Do you think so, genius?…Holy Moses! Wisconsin had 644 yards rushing against Bowling Green. That’s the most in the B1G since 1930. Did BGSU even have a defense on the field at all?…I love Boise State’s defense tonight. The offense is doing okay. Coach Harsin will have them doing up-downs and running sprints all Monday for being so sloppy. After the game, Hars looked shark-angry!I listened to the post-game presser and totally expected angry Coach. I’m sure the team gets Angry Coach Monday….Here’s my Saturday rundown for this week – Virginia Tech/Georgia Tech, Georgia/Troy, Texas A&M/SMU, Utah/Michigan, Alabama/Florida, BYU/Virginia, Indiana/Missouri, Miss St/LSU, Washington/Georgia St, Clemson/FSU, Vanderbilt/South Carolina, Nebraska/Miami, Boise State/Louisiana-Lafayette, & Oregon/Washington St. Not as much as last week but only because I was gone for 3 hours….I just saw a Southwest Airlines commercial where they claimed to “invent” low fares. If that’s the case, then you also “invented” crappy service and even worse boarding procedures. Good on you, Southwest….I hope no one gets offended but couples with combined Facebook profiles make me throw up in my mouth a little. Is there a trust issue there? Can you not do things on your own? Give me some insight here!…Congrats to Jay Ajayi for winning Mountain West Conference Player of the Week for the second time this season. He’s touched the ball enough to win it every week for the rest of the season….

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Credit – Boise State

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Really Stephen Tulloch? You tore your ACL celebrating a sack in the 3rd week of the season? You didn’t win the Super Bowl. It was a game in September….And then there’s the story about the 3-breasted woman. Jasmine Tridevil wants to be famous but got boob numero 3 so men wouldn’t be attracted to her anymore. Although that does make you really weird, guys won’t be attracted to you because you’re dumb…

This was only cool in the original "Total Recall". Right, Arnold?

This was only cool in the original “Total Recall”. Right, Arnold?

Arby’s is going the way of Carl’s Jr. to sell sandwiches. Please stop asking if “the meat scares me”, okay?….I’m not a big fan of horror movies. And “Annabelle” looks horrible. But the commercials scare the crap out of me. I’m a scaredy cat, I’ll admit it. That’s why it took almost until the third season was over to even watch “The Walking Dead”….What exactly is a top-shelf enchilada, Chili’s? You can’t steal alcohol’s thunder….We watched the series premiere of “Gotham” and I think I’m already hooked. I didn’t want it to end and now I’m stoked for the next episode. It was crazy good….We just passed the 20th Anniversary of me getting out of the U.S. Army. I’m flabbergasted about how fast two decades go by. Also, I’m ultra-appreciative of what current service members are doing now. I didn’t have to deal with any of the things that they have to….I drove past the county health department and the electronic reader board said, “Breast milk is….the best milk”. I don’t know why it made me laugh so much. Probably because there was no context preceding it….Oh silly CW. Trying to cash in on the superhero thing with “The Flash”. When are you going to do an Aquaman series? The Flash is about the least interesting superhero on the planet.  Great. You can run fast. So can Usain Bolt.

 

I know we’re playing Air Force and “Top Gun” is about Navy aviators but….

dangerzone

 

Maverick: Mustang, this is Maverick, requesting fly-by.

Air Boss Johnson: Negative, Ghost Rider. The Pattern is full.

Enjoy your week.  Stay happy!

BTN Predictions – Week 4: Louisiana-Lafayette

Okay, so maybe the BTN staff got a little carried away with our #BEATEMDOWN predictions last week. How were we supposed to know the game would be played on the worst surface Boise State has played on in recent memory? Oh well, on to Week 4. This week Boise State plays host to the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns, owners of one of college football’s coolest names. Boise State opened as a 16-point favorite over the Cajuns, a line that should fluctuate before game time. Last week, we questioned Vegas’ line of -17 Boise State, but the bookies turned out to be psychics when it came to Boise State/UConn (38-21 Broncos). Read below to see if the BTN staff sides with Vegas this time around, or if gambling is bad so we ignore their existence completely. As usual, comment below with your prediction or tweet it to @TheBTN.

Jeremy

UL-Lafayette was a popular pick in the off-season to be a trap game for Boise State. Recent weeks have been rough on the Cajuns, getting whipped at home by former Boise State conference mate Louisiana Tech 48-20, and losing 15-56 to Ole Miss. I watched that game, and Ole Miss frankly could have named the score. All of the Rebels starters were out of the game by midway of the 3rd quarter. I thought ULL did some good things on the ground, and their QB is good at improvising, but their defense gives up a lot of easy completions over the middle. I think Ajayi has a good day, but Hedrick is the player that goes off vs. the Ragin’ Cajun defense. I’ll stick my head out and disagree with Vegas this week. Give me Boise State 49-27 in yet another late game on The Blue™.

Noel

Hmmm….I’m pretty confident that the Broncos will get the “W” this week.  I’m just not sure of the final score.  After some alternating “Meh/That’s a bit better/Oh we won but not so pretty!” weeks, the boys have me teetering on the edge of uncertainty.  I think most everything comes together this week (it has to, right?).  The pass and run defense step up, Jay gets a moderate amount of touches but still shines, Grant throws for 3 TDs and runs for 1, and SWR finally breaks one. The Fighting Hot Peppers will go cold and the final score will be 45-20, the Good Guys!

Tami

The Ragin’ Cajuns just aren’t going to have enough oomph to overpower the Broncos at home. Their defense is Sunbelt Funbelt-tastic, and their offense just won’t be dynamic enough to confuse the Boise defense too much. ULL is ripe for the picking (sacking, whatever) and like Noel, I think it all comes together this week. I think that Boise will have blingy yardage numbers to match the chromey helmets, and the Broncos come away with the win, 32-10. 

Derek

I’m a glass over-flowing type of guy – always positive and always expecting the best. In my past two predictions I have placed my order for blowouts but have been served satisfying but not overly tasty wins of 13 and 17 points.  This week we get the full course meal.  The defensive line will continue their dominance, Grant Hedrick will pick up where he left off last week showing that he can be the leader the Broncos need, the secondary will finally get it together and smother the Cajun’s passing game, and Jay Ajayi will once again run free like a Heisman contending running back.  Time to eat.  Boise 59 Louisiana 10

Gage

After predicting a blow-out and Ryan Finley appearance last week, I had some time to self-reflect and let myself know i need to cool the jets. Therefore, I am not going to predict a blow-out this week. Thus meaning it will happen and the Broncos will run all over Ragin’ Cajuns. That’s how much faith I have in my score prediction skills. I think the Broncos will win by a slim margin and fail to cover the 16+ point spread. So, if you’re reading this, you should understand that means lay down big money on BSU to cover. Broncos 34 Cajuns 20

Can the Broncos Finish Perfect?

Three weeks into the season….

and coming off a win at UConn, I think a Boise State Football rendition of the Presidential State of the Union is somewhat suitable. Now, without mixing politics and football, it’s safe to say there is still uncertainty on how the Broncos will finish this year and many questions remain unanswered … e.g., is a one loss season possible? Can they win the Mountain West? Could they break into the new playoff format? The Broncos are currently 2-1 and a fourth of the way through their regular season (WHAT!? it just startedI KNOW). Following their first game loss to Ole Miss, the Broncos and their faithful shifted focus. Since true perfection is no longer obtainable, Boise State has their eyes set on a Perfect Finish.

Below, I will attempt to decipher what can be drawn from the Broncos first three games; I will provide three reasons why I believe a one-loss-season is possible, and three others as to why I don’t. Disclaimer: I will not touch on the schedule or the qualities of our future opponents. This is because, well, simply put…I don’t watch our upcoming opponents with regularity. Therefore, if I attempted to break-down each team; I would unfortunately sound like an ESPN Analyst trying to cover a team that they’ve only received a sheet of stats to go off of … horrendous. Right, Bronco fans? Instead, I will strictly focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the Broncos at this current state.

First, let’s briefly recap the first three games with a few pictures for summarization:

Ole Miss 35 – Boise State 13

 

boise-state-blasted-by-ole-miss

Well…shit…maybe a photo recap isn’t a good idea after all. This picture is depressing.

Boise State 37 – Colorado State 24

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 10.57.24 AM          (photo credit-Tami)

Don’t cry little Ram, CELEBRATE! After all, you did beat a cross-town rival and PAC 12 school. 

Boise State 38 – UConn 21

photo (1)

Too many great things in one picture, but an individual in particular stands out.

Redshirt- ‘uhhhh … wtf is going on here …?’

 

Three Reasons a One Loss Season is Possible

 1. Jay Ajayi

The most obvious reason of my 3 …

Jay Ajayi is undoubtedly the best pro-prospect on the Broncos. Although ‘best pro-prospect’ doesn’t always mean the best player on the team or biggest contributor; in this case, he’s all the above. We all know Jay’s story: chose football over fùtbol, nearly got kicked off the Broncos, tore his ACL; then bounced back in stellar fashion and has improved by leaps & bounds each year since. Jay’s most gaudy trait is his ability to maintain balance while dodging defenders and running through others. Anyone who has had the privilege to watch Jay when he is feeling it; will know what I mean when I say … he is special. Jay’s favorite move is his video-game-esq spin-move. He will use it consistently throughout a game to shed off wimpy tacklers as they approach from all angles. Jay has also relied on a special habit of his, and that is to quickly break his runs outside; he is very good at changing directions for his size and has an uncanny ability to turn what would be a short gain into a rather explosive one. Here, he encompasses both of the prior mentioned skills masterfully. To say he is an All-American talent and would be a Heisman candidate if playing for a “Major Conference” school—is an understatement.

The only fear with Jay despite the occasional fumble, is his exceeding workload. In 3 games he has had 71 carries and 18 receptions; very few if any other players in the NCAA have had more total touches. Scary. But for now, we’re all aboard—riding the Jay-train to victory.

2. Front 7

It’s been astonishing how impressive the Broncos front seven has been despite their youth and inexperience. Even further astonishing; it’s not just seven guys. Anyone who has rotated onto the field, seems to have made an impact at some point. Following Demarcus Lawrence’s departure for the draft, I was unsure if anyone could fill the massive void he left in the Bronco’s pass rush. I was somewhat correct in my assumption that not ONE particular guy could fill that void, but now it is more so a collective unit of interchangeable pieces that are all capable. It allows the players to stay fresh and provide a spark once they step back on the field. Highly successful. The Broncos defensive stats reflect that notion: Boise State currently rank 2nd in nation in rushing defense YPG (Yards per Game), 3rd in tackles for a loss, and 7th in sacks. Not bad. And mind you, nearly all the front 7 starters will be back next year (!!!).

Clearly, the Broncos have not only been phenomenal in getting to the quarterback, but, possibly even more stout in stopping the run. What is the direct factor? Getting to the QB/RB early is crucial but, if unable to wrap up; tackle, and finish the play—the pressure is useless. I contribute a lot of the Broncos front seven success to tackling. And I mean a lot. Whether it be new D-line Coach – Steve Caldwell or new Defensive Coordinator – Marcel Yates … the Broncos have shown a noticeable difference in their ability to tackle consistently compared to 2013.

The continued success of the front seven will a play a major role in completing a possible perfect finish. If the Broncos continue to tackle consistently we may be looking at an top-notch defense.

3. The 3 C’s

Complexity – Confusion – Cohesion

An added element to the Broncos this year is actually a staple of the past—complexity. Before Bryan Harsin roamed the sidelines as Boise State Head Coach, he was at one point the offensive mastermind during the Kellen Moore era. He spent 4 years as Boise State’s Offensive Coordinator throwing together wacky formations, unusual pre-snap motions/shifts, and trick-plays. The Broncos and Harsin consistently made an effort to confuse the defense pre-snap and force them to show their hand; therefore, making the ensuing play more successful. During that time, as we all know, BSU put up prolific offensive numbers. Casually ranking in the top-10 or top-5 each year for points per game.

Three games in, the complexity level is not to the extent it used to be, but with that being said; I believe we have only seen a snippet of the playbook and its expected creativity. With time, practice, and game experience … the play calls shall diversify. As the offensive unit gains cohesiveness—trick-plays and player motions will become more and more prevalent. In turn making an already potent offense even more dangerous.

Look out for the 3 C’s.

Three Reasons a One Loss Season is Not Possible

1. Grant Hedrick

Uh oh… he didn’t put Grant Hedrick as the number 1 reason why a one loss is not possible, did he? He did.

Usually I dislike breaking down QB play because as fans, we only give two ratings … HIGH praise or reckless condemnation. The ideas of ‘average’ or ‘mediocre’ are all but forgotten. When was the last time you heard two sports fans bantering back & forth and one say to the other Oh yeah, well, your quarterback… he’s… umm.. AVERAGE! ‘HA! got him’ … never? Me neither. Quarterbacks are the face of every football team, even the bad ones.(Everyone say hello, Tony Romo…. Hello Tony…). They receive the glory win their team wins, but the most resentment when they lose. Why? Because football is a Quarterback driven sport, we love them, we hate them, WE WANT TO BE THEM. Removing team allegiance, if you wouldn’t want to be Tom Brady, you’re lying to yourself.

Grant Hedrick fits the mold for the debate I laid out above. Grant is average … or slightly below. Prior to seasons start, and in the BTN’s QB preview, I mentioned my doubts of #9. Here’s a short synopsis of what I noticed from Grant’s 2013 season: Indecisive and questionable reads, inconsistent accuracy, decent arm, and under use of good mobility. The first two have been very visible through three games—almost glowing. And I will only analyze the first 2; his arm strength is not really something he can change with ease nor is it a major problem, and to be honest I’ve liked the way he’s used his mobility thus far (except for his god awful half-hearted slides. Get down Grant, get down). Nevertheless… in the QB preview, I went as far as to label him a “game-manager”. Knowing what I know now, I take back that statement. That title is given to quarterbacks who won’t necessarily win you a game, but won’t lose you one either. Grant has yet to show me option number one … hold your breath … and a little longer…covers eyes… option # two may have (most likely – probably – yes – yes it did) occurred vs. Ole Miss. Heading into the 4th Quarter of the season opener, Boise State was only down 7-6. Then the flood gates eventually opened, leading to lopsided the final score. The 7-6 score was directly correlated to the Broncos stellar defensive play and how well they performed; before they just ran out of gas. Grant on the other hand threw 4 interceptions from a culmination of inaccurate throws and awful reads. Ole Miss is a very good defense, but if BSU is going to win big games like that, as we are accustomed to—4 picks will never get the job done.

I’ve come to realize analysis failure is common when evaluating College Football QB’s. Let us look at a fake example—QB-A’s stats: Completed 22-30 passes, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception and 275 yards (single game). By all accounts that looks like a decent game; most would assume that QB must be good or at the least, very accurate. Nope. Why? The QB presented in the example happens to be product of a system (Giving a QB spoon-fed reads and throws). The system in place for QB-A was developed for quick underneath throws and short passes. Meaning QB-A had one or two reads, maybe, before throwing a pass and most of which were no longer than 5 to 10 yards. In fact, nearly half of the throws occurred at or behind the line of scrimmage; one touchdown was from a screen play and the other was from a check-down to the running-back. Thus, not requiring much difficulty; accuracy, or play reading ability.

In 5 starts and 13 total appearances in 2013, Grant’s stats were: completed 167-242 passes, 16 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, and 1,825 yards. His 69% percent completion ranked 4th in the Nation— HIGHLY misleading as it was for QB-A in the given example. If you string out QB-A’s stats over 7 to 8 games, and compared them to Grant’s 2013 stats, they would be very similar. An important piece: The play style described for QB-A is nearly identical to what system Grant was operating under last year and somewhat this year.

My point is, yes, Grant’s statistics (77of 106 passes, 72% completion percentage, 5 TD’s, 5 INT’s, and 850 yards) haven’t been poor with the exception of the inflated interception #’s vs.  Ole Miss; however, I would say his plays has. If able to go back and watch any of the three games, you’ll notice Grant has missed a lot of throws and made many reads that force you to cringe. He tries to use his arm strength to fit throws into places with tight-windows and he is for the most part, incapable of doing so. In numerous instances—if Grant set his feet, make a quick decision, and got rid of it earlier; a completion, first down, or big-play might have occurred. These are errors that can be made against the Colorado State’s of D-1 Football, but not against the likes of an Ole Miss defense or a top-caliber team. Interceptions against a great team are a definite NO-CAN-DO. And truth be told, underneath throws and behind the line of scrimmage tosses will not score enough points to win against most, if not all strong defenses. They are too athletic and too physical. Deep shots that are open, but commonly missed—have to be completed, no other way around it. Grant MUST be able to stretch the field and connect on designed deep passes to allow Boise State’s offense to turn the corner to become elite.

The Broncos will go as far as Hedrick takes them.

2. Cornerback Depth

In the first three weeks, Boise State corner-backs have been dropping like flies. It started with the Broncos #1 corner – Cleshawn Page – and has trickled all the way down on the depth-chart to 2nd stringers. The Broncos top 3 cornerbacks: Page, Donte Deayon, and Bryan Douglas; have each, already missed time. The Boise State cornerbacks behind them are few and far between. Mercy Maston who would be the Broncos No. 4 cornerback if the others were healthy; has played and will continue to play significant time while the others try to heal up. Other than Maston, there is not much left. The depth is so bad that Bryan Harsin has mentioned other players from their respective positions stepping in to fill the void for the time being. No bueno.

The silver-lining in this, if any, is that new Defensive Coordinator – Marcel Yates – was previously the Broncos Defensive-Back Coach and is known for being a defensive-back guru. He is the respected creator of the heavily popular Boise State phrase “DBU” constituted due to the plethora of Bronco DB’s who have successfully made it to the NFL (Wilson, Scandrick, Johnson, Iloka, Taylor, etc.)

Yates is already showing his impact, proven by the Broncos 7 interceptions in three games. So whoever is on the field at corner will be learning from a highly touted and successful coach. With that being said, the Broncos would obviously be at their best with their top guys on the field, and will need the defensive dominance that they are capable of when healthy; to finish the year without another loss.

3. Lack of Playmakers

Currently the Broncos rely on 3 players to make the offense go. Jay Ajayi, Matt Miller, and Shane-Williams-Rhodes. That’s it. Those 3 have combined for 61 of the 78 Broncos total receptions, that’s nearly % 80 (!!!).  I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know it was that bad. Hedrick constantly looks for SWR (Shane Williams-Rhodes), Miller, or Ajayi. If they aren’t there—might as well call the play dead.

The emergence of tight-ends have been noticed, but they are still used very seldom in the passing game. Or at least thrown to. Tight-end – Jake Roh- has 8 receptions and is looking like a very athletic with good ball skills, I anticipate him getting a lot of targets during his tenure at BSU. The next highest player in regards of total receptions is Dallas Burroughs (receiver) with 3. Quite bewildering. The rushing attack is even less of a committee. The one man who bears the burden of carrying the load is of course, Jay Ajayi; as mentioned above he has 71 carries in three games. Behind him, running a close second in total carries is Devan Demas with …. 4 (!!!) Holy shit, maybe we’re trying to demolish Jay that way he can’t declare for the draft next year & has to return… GENUIS.

It is clear or it should be, that giving the ball to 3 guys repeatedly is not a recipe for success. I don’t think those astronomical #’s are what is intended, certainly Harsin and Sanford would love to get their best playmakers the ball, but when is too much? And how long before they begin to break-down? Especially Williams-Rhodes—5’6 & 158 lbs. It would be understandable if SWR, Miller, and Ajayi consumed 50-60 % of the passing offense, but not 80 %. Same applies for Ajayi on the ground – 75-80 % of the carries would make sense, but in ballpark of 95 % doesn’t. One could conclude this shows how inferior the Broncos other options are and also confirms the trust that Hedrick has with the 3 main guys.

I fear if the Broncos are not able to find a core group of “other guys” that can contribute offensively; they will become too predictable and easy to prepare for. To be straightforward, if the Broncos have aspirations of a one loss season, other Broncos need to step up AND Grant has to find them.

 

Prediction

It all comes down to Grant. Plain & simple. The two other reasons I listed for why a one loss season is not possible happen to be easily rectifiable and will progress with time. The Broncos defense (if healthy) is skilled enough to compete with any team the Broncos have left to face. Jay is Jay and will do Jay like things for the remainder of the year; that will have us fans ooohing and awwing till it’s all over. I’m positive this team will contend for a Mountain West title, which, is ultimately the goal every year. I’m just not so certain a one-loss season is on the horizon. Baring anything out of the ordinary, I’m going to predict the Broncos finish 9-3 in the regular season and triumphantly revenge a team that beat them earlier in the year by giving them a smack down in that Mountain West Championship Game. The Broncos will be the 2014 Mountain West Champs­.

Mission accomplished—I think?