Boise State Football: Why This Year Will Be the Toughest Yet for Chris Petersen

Ryan DavenportContributor IAugust 21, 2012

BOISE, ID - SEPTEMBER 24:  Joe Southwick #16 of the Boise State Broncos looks for a receiver against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Bronco Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

Nobody said it would be easy.

Replacing a star quarterback is rarely a walk in the park, but finding someone to fill the cleats of a legend like Kellen Moore is just about the most difficult task a college coach could ever dream of.

Unfortunately, that's precisely the challenge seventh-year head coach Chris Petersen is faced with heading into the 2012 season.

For Petersen, who has lead the Broncos to six consecutive seasons of at least 10 wins, the 2012 campaign represents an opportunity to prove that he can win without the two-time All-American behind center.

In addition to Moore, the Broncos lost six key players to the 2012 NFL Draft, which has made things all the more difficult for Petersen and his staff.

Instead of relying on one of the most decorated college football players in recent memory, Petersen will be handing the keys to the Bronco offense to an unproven and untested commodity, but it seems that not even he's sure of who that'll be.

Even after Saturday's fall scrimmage, in which junior Joe Southwick performed well, completing 16 of 24 passes for 141 yards, Petersen reportedly told the Idaho Press-Tribune that he hadn't made a decision on who his starting quarterback would be.

Though it's difficult to question a coach who has posted an incredible 73-6 record since taking over in 2006, heading into September without a starting quarterback is always a risky strategy.

Yes, Petersen had success prior to Moore's arrival, but it's not as if Jared Zabransky, Moore's predecessor, was any slouch either.

If Petersen intends on fielding a BCS Bowl-caliber team, he'll need to figure out who his starting quarterback is, and fast.

Unless he knows something we don't, it appears that Southwick is hands down the best candidate for the job—especially after sophomore Grant Hedrick's three-interception performance on Saturday.

Regardless of who he chooses, when Petersen's Broncos take the field on August 31st in East Lansing, Michigan for their season opener against Michigan State, they'll be doing so with a bevy of new faces at key positions, which could be a recipe for disaster.