Attack The Opponent: University of Nevada – Reno Wolf Pack

Everybody okay after what happened last weekend at Air Force? I’m not sure I’ve ever been that wrong on a game prediction in my life. However, it’s time to act like we want our team to act, so now that the hangover is gone and Monday has arrived, it’s time to get back to work. Who better to take out our frustrations on than Reno?

Boise State and UNR have a long history together. The series started in 1971 with a Boise State win, but didn’t really become a year-in, year-out “rivalry” until 1979. As a whole, Boise is up in the series 26-13. It’s been all Boise State since 2001, with one exception in 2010. For some reason, I can’t at all remember what happened in that game. Hmm.

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No, Calculon. None of us remember what happened in Reno 4 years ago. At all. Ever.

Last season, the Wolfies were kind of terrible. Their D was suspect and their offense, while prolific against most opponents, just couldn’t get going. So what is this years incarnation of the Pack like? Apparently made of magic. Because despite the fact that opponents are out gaining them in passing yards, first downs, and total yardage, Reno is still winning. Their only loss thus far was a squeaker to Arizona two weeks ago. The Wolf Pack coaches are attributing it to their defense “wanting it” more but that’s the answer of a group that has done no data analysis. I think that their run defense is spectacular. That is the only part of the defensive game where the Wolfie’s are out performing their opponent. Prior to Saturday, I would have thought that Boise State would just focus on the pass game to try to open up the ground for Ajayi, but now I’m not so sure. Nevada does only have 4 picks so far this season, so if Boise can avoid turning the ball over a billion times again…

A lot more has to do with where Boise ends up. Seeing Matt Miller step back onto the sideline in street clothes and a walking boot last week was nauseating. That one man is a third of Boise State’s offense. Boise State’s offensive line got their butts kicked by an AFA D-line that just was not physically big enough to be doing such things. Coach Huff, maybe we can stop riding the lightning and maybe attempt to Seek and Destroy? It also doesn’t help that Boise’s defensive backfield has been pretty much decimated by injury. So how healthy can the guys get in the next week? We know that our coaches will watch tape and make adjustments, but just how effective are adjustments going to be when we’re playing third stringers at LB against the guy who is arguably the most dangerous QB in our conference?

So instead of focusing on the unknown, we’ve got a week to fill with the most justified hate to hate on since the last time Idaho was on the schedule – Reno Hate.

Um, good job avoiding syphilis, alcohol poisoning, and mining accidents guys!

This is the week we need to hold a grudge. Our best bet is a supremely pissed off Bronco squad, trying to get a fresh start vs. a team that is obnoxious in every way. First, they’re from freaking Nevada, which is the armpit of the west. Unless you like thousands of miles of sagebrush broken up by dirty casinos, then it’s cool I guess. Reno is basically trashy Boise, like the awful neighbors that leave their Christmas lights up and functioning year round and use their front yard as a junkyard/urinal. Their head coach, Brian Polian, seems to have an issue with how Boise State’s new staff recruited last year, and was quite vocal about it.

“And, frankly, they’re going to look at me and say, ‘Who cares what he says? They’ve beaten us once in 10 years. And that’s fact.'” – Brian Polian, UNR HC

Pretty much, Brian. Pretty much.

So, what this all comes down to is I have no idea what is going to transpire in Reno this weekend, but I do know that Nevada is obnoxious, probably better talent-wise than Boise St. fans are giving them credit for, and has a lot to prove. They probably think the Broncos are in a perfect position to lose this weekend. I’ve got more faith in our players and coaches than that though, and would love nothing more than to see the boys in ANYTHING BUT ORANGE HELMETS go down to their silly little campus and whip the Wolf pack just to shut them up for one more year and get the Bronco’s winning ways back on track.

5 Stages of Grief – The Process After Air Force

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Denial

A lot of fans might find themselves still in this stage, after all maybe today is Saturday? Maybe, the NCAA reviewed it and found something wrong and they need to replay the game? I mean, we couldn’t actually lose to a team like Air Force right? This is Boise State, this is the marquee “non-power 5″ team in the country. Nope, no way Boise State lost that game, I will just avoid the news and move on to next Saturday as if we won.

Unfortunately the reality of the situation is we lost, we lost badly. However, no matter how much I tell you this, it will be up to you the fan, to take the next step.


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Anger

I saw a lot of this step last night, I personally hit it around the end of the 1st quarter. “No f’n way, Hedrick is going to do this again!”. “How hard is it to hang on to the BALL!”. “Hey Harsin, your boy is embarrassing you!”. And much like the .gif above, “No, NO, NO!!!”. That one probably took place after the 2nd or 3rd turnover, at this point it is hard to recall. However I do know Hedrick was the target of most my anger and if we enter the game against Reno with the same QB…. Well, I just can’t really think about that without throwing something right now.


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Bargaining

If we just would have put in Finley sooner… Or maybe if we didn’t have so many injuries, then of course we win. None of this would have happened if we just would have (insert a bargaining chip here). Remember, it is only natural to think there is something Boise State could have done to prevent this. However, sometimes the world just doesn’t align the way we planned.


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Depression

“Will Boise State ever be great again?” “Now I know what if feels like to be a Vandal all the time.” These are pretty normal reactions & feelings to such a devastating defeat. Just remember, there is always another game, another season, and the future to look forward to. Until then however, we all understand if you need to spend some time with your best friend Jack Daniels for awhile.


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Acceptance

This is the step I am in at this point, I have come to accept it. After all, we or at least I expected some challenges this season. Was that challenge a lose to Air Force, no, not even close to that. But with a new staff come new challenges, new systems, and a new future. Boise State has a long climb back to the top but that doesn’t mean we can’t save this season. Making it to the Mountain West Championship certainly just got a lot harder. But the Mountain Division is not exactly full of deep, talented teams. If Boise State can find  a way to regroup vs Reno, anything is possible. The “access bowl” is gone, and playoffs were never really an option to begin with. So Bronco fans hopefully can rally with this team and find optimism in the little things. The future is still there to be attacked, let’s get together and support a team who obviously could use it.

Go Broncos, and remember….

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BTN Predictions Week – 5: At Air Force

Heath - I have sat here on my computer every week feeling comfortable about the game. Even against Ole Miss, I was comfortable knowing any outcome was possible. Before Air Force, I sit here with a feeling of confusion. This week has gone by and fans and media have basically enjoyed a nice vacation. Air Force just does not evoke emotion and predictions like other games. For me, I think this game will be a blowout, I am going 42-13. My better judgement says the score should be closer, like 33-21. But I am going to keep predicting we score over 40 points until it happens. This team has what it takes to be an offensive juggernaut, question just remains can they reach that potential?

Noel - It’s that time again.  You know, when the Broncos face the dreaded triple-option of Air Force.  It’s one of the games that I have a love/hate relationship with. It’s tough to prep for with only one week and it could be a trap game no matter what our record is. I was at the Air Force game last year and it was frustrating to watch.  That could have been a mix of the offensive funk the team seemed to be in and the complexity of defending the option though.  I am not as worried this year.  I feel like we have a decent linebacker corps this year and that makes a big difference.  Jay goes for 150, Grant throws for 250, and Demas gets close to 100 too.  Broncos win, 41-21.

Tami – Playing Air Force is nerve-wracking normally, let alone at a place BSU has never played before. The weather forecasts look clear and warm, the Broncos are probably as ready as they’re going to be for the option attack that is coming their way, and it feels like the offense is doing good things more consistently. AFA so far has played Wyoming as their only conference opponent, and managed to lose. Wyoming hasn’t put more than 20 points on anybody so far this season. I think Boise’s defense is going to shut down the Falcon RB with the most yards in the conference so far, and the Jay Train is going to show the flyboys exactly what shock and awe looks like. I think the Broncos beat both the Falcons and the spread (+13) this week, final score 38-14.

Derek – I am really not sure what to expect in this one. I am not too worried about our Defense stopping Air Force as It seems like Marcel Yates really wants to show what he can do against the triple-option.  The offense appears to be getting better every week and is getting close to putting it all together. There are two things that do concern me with this match-up:  playing in a new, unique environment, and the fact that going back to last year we rally have not performed well on the road.  I think our defense dominates again, but our offense takes a step a back on the road in a strange environment.  I am going Boise State 27-13

Gage From the simple fact that Air Force is very good at running the ball and BSU is equally good at stopping the run, there’s intrigue. If the Broncos defense can perform at a high level and continue to tackle sufficiently, I see us running away with it. I especially would expect a blow out if the Broncos are able to start fast. Air Force is not known for their prolific passing attack, therefore if the Broncos are able to manufacture quick points and put Air Force in early deficit the final score will be in the Broncos favor. Triple-option playbooks are tricky and highly deceptive though, so don’t be shocked if this is closer than some expect. Broncos 45 – Air Force 20

3 Things – 1 Question Ragin Cajuns

 

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Image courtesy of usatoday.com

1.) Devan Demas, that man is fast.

I couldn’t help but watch Demas break off that long run and think to myself, that guys is fast. Boise State has always had underrated speed, and Demas is another example. I remember awhile back a former BSU player tweeting out that every time they faced Oregon, Virgina Tech, Georgia, etc… They walked into that game feeling they were the fastest team on the field. Watching Demas and the guys this year I am getting that feeling again. Boise State has speed all over the field, and it could be our difference maker this season.

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image courtesy of fansided.com

2.) Grant Hedrick is getting better…Or is he?

My gut reaction is like everyone else I think, that is Grant is getting better. But then I think of last season, and I think wait isn’t this familiar? No doubt Grant threw his best pass of his BSU career on the deep ball to Miller vs ULL. I just get concerned that Grant is a big time player against small time competition. Last season Grant never struggled against mid to lower-level competition, it is when he faces the BYU’s of the world that he falls off the cliff. I want to say Grant is getting better, and he is now in position to have a monster year. But my better judgement is telling me to wait and see if Grant can win a couple big games this season first.

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Image courtesy: Boise State Public Radio

3.) Bryan Harsin is my kind of coach.

The more time goes on, the more I believe Harsin is and was the right guy for the job. They say players take on the personality of their coach. Well, Harsin is one of the most intense/emotional coaches I can remember at Boise State. I love the fact he is willing to show emotion to his players, the referees, and the fans. It gives us something new and different from the stoic Petersen era. Harsin is an intense guy, and his players have started to show that emotion on the field. It is that intensity we lacked last year that I am glad to see back. Harsin is a blue through and through, and he is not afraid to show his passion come game time. I personally have really enjoyed that change of pace. Looking back, it was just the right time for everything to happen that happened.

1 Question – Did the team get lost?

cookie_monster_waitingI really have a couple of questions here, first is what took the team so long to enter the stadium? It appeared for a minute that the Broncos had chosen to skip the game as “Seven Nation’s Army” continued to repeat as we all waited for the Broncos to enter.  It seemed as though somebody messed up, either they started pregame festivities too early, or somebody had to go to the bathroom before the team entered. Whatever it was, it was really odd as I tried to explain to my father’s Japanese guest’s that this normally doesn’t take this long. My second question also is pointed at the entrance, and that is, why do we have so many people by the tunnel? Few things kill an emotional team entrance like the players trying to dodge children and over zealous photographers. I get trying  to get the community involved, but it seems as though there is a better time and place. The entrance in college football can set the tone of the crowd. Why risk killing the vibe with the team being smothered by fans coming out of the tunnel?

Attack The Opponent: Air Force Academy Falcons

Air Force is Air Force, same as they ever were or ever shall be. This team of brave young men in Colorado is hosting Boise State for the first time in the history of the matchup. Saturday’s game has to be the epitome of a business trip for the Broncos, or else it could turn into an injury-ridden trap game. The boys in Blue have to be sharp to defend the triple option successfully, especially with the MWC’s second leading rusher calling Falcon Stadium home. Injuries have taken a toll on AFA’s offensive line, so Boise State has a real shot to shut down the run game and force Air Force to rely heavily on their passing game.

AFA’s QB, Kale Pearson is putting up some nice numbers so far this season, but this game is a barometer game for the cadets because their SOS isn’t exactly spectacular. Playing Wyoming closely but ultimately losing, then beating Georgia State and Nicholls State isn’t brag-worthy. Pretty sure Coach Yates will have the defense as ready to go as he can and we’re just going to have to hope we don’t end up in a battle against both the Falcons and injuries.


afamascotThis guy makes me nervous enough. Never seen a raptor with that level of swole before.

Air Force’s defense has also been stingy against their opponents, holding both Nicholls and Wyoming under 20 points. They have been successful holding on 3rd down, and their run defense has been far superior to their pass defense. This means a big night for Grant, and probably for Jay as well, because well, AFA hasn’t seen anything like him and probably won’t again. Pay attention, Colorado Springs. There will be greatness in your midst.

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CHOO, CHOO! HERE COMES THE J-TRAIN!

Playing a service academy always comes with mixed feelings for me. They’re an opponent so its natural to want to hate a little, but it’s difficult because America. On Saturday, we’ll see lots of patriotism, scores of clean cut looking young men and women cheering on their brothers on the football field. The AFA team will play with guts and heart and Boise State fans will feel lucky to have seen the spectacle and escape with the inevitable win. However, scratching the surface a little turns up issues that makes you wonder if athletics have any place in what amounts to a military officer training center. For example, the scandal earlier this year with players on the football team sexually assaulting women after dosing them with date rape drugs at a party. Or maybe that the Air Force Academy runs a prep school which is basically a publicly funded high school to churn out athletes who couldn’t normally meet the Academy’s admission requirements. The playing the Falcons package comes complete with politics, patriotism, gratefulness for these young men’s sacrifice, all tied up with an awkward looking, dirty pink bow over wrapping paper made of taxpayer dollars.

Boise State’s job this week is taking them to Colorado Springs, their objective is to make it home whole. Air Force is a tough team in real life, and is putting up some unreal numbers on paper. However, Boise State is coming together too well to take a loss this week. The question is going to be whether Boise State is also going to be able to stay healthy at the same time. We’ll find out at 5 PM on Saturday!

I’m sure the guys are doing a better job of focusing than I am, because all I want to see is Air Force taken care of successfully because RENO AWAITS.

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