The Boise State Broncos have struggled on the offensive side of the ball during the 2012 college football season, and this problem must be fixed as they continue their campaign.
The Broncos failed to score an offensive touchdown in their season-opening loss to Michigan State. The unit then had success against a weak Miami University team, but failed to get in the end zone again when it took on BYU.
The defense held strong to give Boise State a victory over the Cougars, but the offense needs to improve if the Broncos are going to avoid a disappointing season.
Here is what the offense must do to get better.
Score in the Red Zone
The Boise State kicking has been awful this season, and head coach Chris Petersen appears to have abandoned trust in his place kickers, opting to attempt for a first down instead of going for a field goal on three different occasions against BYU.
This places a significant amount of pressure on the offense to get into the end zone, but the unit must deliver if the Broncos are going to put points on the board.
As Brian Murphy of the Idaho Statesman notes, the team has just three touchdowns in 12 red-zone trips so far this season. All of those touchdowns came against Miami.
The offense has been frustratingly ineffectual against quality opponents when it gets near the goal line. If the team cannot finish off drives with field goals or touchdowns, it is in serious trouble going forward.
Convert Third Downs
The Broncos offense has failed to stay on the field and extend drives on third down during its two games against competitive opponents this season.
Against Michigan State, Boise State converted just 5-of-14 third downs and moved the chains on only 4-of-15 chances against BYU.
But in the team’s game against Miami, the offense converted 8-of-11 third downs. Quarterback Joe Southwick—who has been heavily criticized for his play this season—had more than 300 yards passing in that game.
The team must stay on the field to allow Southwick to get in a rhythm if he has any chance to succeed in the passing game against a decent defense.
It has been abundantly clear during these first three weeks that the offense is nowhere close to what it was with Kellen Moore as the signal-caller.
This unit will not be the driving force behind the Broncos' success this season, and it must accept its role. Boise State—strangely enough—is a defensive team this year. The offense must accept its identity as a team that runs the ball effectively with D.J. Harper and does not turn the ball over.
Southwick has thrown interceptions in the red zone in two of the team's three games, and this cannot continue. If the offense can control the clock and avoid mistakes, the defense will win games for the Broncos.