Boise State Football: 5 Lessons the Broncos Learned from Last Season
With spring practice in full swing for Boise State, it seems like no better time to look forward to the 2013 college football season. However, to look forward with any kind of effectiveness, it is, if nothing else, prudent to look back at the 2012 campaign.
It is in each preceding season that lessons are learned and road maps to success are created.
Last year the Broncos had an excellent year when many probably thought it would be a disappointment. It wasn't a perfect season, but 11-2, a share of a conference title and a bowl game victory are things many teams can only dream of.
Still, perfection seems to be the goal at Bronco U.
In the quest for the absolute best, you know that head coach Chris Petersen has methodically picked over game film, play calls, player performances and the like from last year's football season. No doubt he has formulated many opinions and ideas from his study.
So, let's look closely at what lessons he might have come away with and how those things learned might help the Boise State Broncos football team in 2013.
The Broncos Can Rebound from an Opening Game Loss
One of the biggest lessons Chris Petersen, his coaching staff, his team and the Boise State fanbase learned in 2012 was that Boise State can rebound from an opening game loss.
In recent years it had been smooth sailing with opening game statements against ranked opponents that saw the Broncos shine. However, in 2012, a 17-13 unimpressive loss to then No. 13 Michigan State broke many Bronco hearts.
But, even after such a game, Boise State rebounded to rattle off seven straight victories and prove that they weren't going to just fade away.
Now, just because the team and fans learned they can rebound from such a loss, it doesn't mean they want to repeat it.
You have to believe that coach Petersen will spend even more time preparing his team for the 2013 opener against Washington.
The Huskies will be a better team than the Spartans were in 2012, but then again, so will the Broncos.
Look for the painful lesson of an opening game loss to motivate Petersen and his bunch and if nothing else propel them to prepare like no other game in recent history.
Kellen Moore Is Impossible to Replace, but the Broncos Can Still Win
Boise State fans were quite vocal about their starting quarterback in 2012, and much of it wasn't pleasant—at least early on.
However, it wasn't all about the new guy under center. Much of the criticism came out of a Kellen Moore hangover. Seriously though, how in the world would anyone replace Moore? They can't; they didn't, and they probably never will.
Joe Southwick had a rough start, but he did just enough to help his team win. By midseason the Broncos were 5-1, in first place and moving up in the rankings.
Boise State fans should be excited about the fact that even in the absence of all-star quarterback play their team found a way to get the job done. Call it heart, talent, great coaching or sheer determination, whatever the main reason was, they made it happen.
It proved to many people out there that Boise State is well coached and a team of competitors. It has never been about one player for the Broncos, and it never will be.
Or, at least not as long as Chris Petersen is at the helm.
Petersen's team is a family, and that is why they persevere. The family members, called Broncos, didn't turn on their quarterback when he struggled. Instead they rallied behind their brother.
Petersen recruits a certain kind of player and for good reason. Good character trumps selfishness every time.
In the end, the Broncos miss Kellen Moore, but they learned that they can continue on with great success even after amazing talent moves on.
That lesson only helps bolster the 2013 Broncos as they lose players like D.J. Harper, Jamar Taylor, Jerrell Gavins and others. If they can win after losing Moore, they can certainly continue to succeed no matter what happens.
As long as they remain a family.
Winning Ugly Is Still Winning
Some of the 2012 Boise State games weren't 40-point blowouts, but the Broncos still managed 11 wins with only two losses.
Let's face it; the Boise State fanbase has been spoiled a bit.
Over the last decade, the Broncos have racked up serious points and destroyed much of their competition. However, in 2012, the orange and blue proved that they can win even if it means winning ugly.
Winning ugly is still winning, but for a fanbase used to domination, it had to be uncomfortable for some.
No uglier game was there than the BYU contest, the third game of the season. The game ended in a 7-6 win for Boise State, but the Broncos failed to score a single offensive touchdown.
Instead, it was Michael Atkinson, a big defensive lineman for Boise State, who intercepted a pass and literally rumbled in for the score.
The lack of offense was the talk of the town, and many fans were fearful of what it meant. However, what was overlooked in all of it was the amazing defense that was played that night by a nearly completely rebuilt unit.
Certainly coach Petersen wants his offense to perform better, but fans and coaches alike can take a lot of comfort in players that show as much heart as the Broncos did in 2012.
No matter what it took, in nearly every game, the players from Boise State dug down deep and proved that they could find a way to win.
That should only continue in 2013.
Boise State Is Getting a Reputation for Good Defense
It is no secret that Boise State had to rebuild nearly all of their defense in 2012. However, they did so with amazing success.
Over the years the Broncos have been known for their spectacular offense, but in recent years they are becoming known for some pretty tremendous defense as well.
They finished the season with a No. 8 ranking overall when it came to points against the defense. An incredible 15.8 points per contest is all the 2012 defense allowed.
Fast-forward to 2013. Boise State has lost two incredible cornerbacks. Jerrell Gavins and Jamar Taylor have moved onward and upward, but fans probably aren't worried all that much.
If history is any indication, the Broncos will replace those guys with some incredible talent.
Linebackers will be new as well, and replacing J.C. Percy and Tommy Smith will be quite the challenge. But, again, with Petersen's system, his coaches and his players, you can believe that 2013 will see someone step up in each of those roles.
Coach Petersen is not someone who seems to rest on his laurels, and complacency doesn't seem to be in his dictionary.
You can believe that he won't just take for granted the past success. Instead, he will no doubt continue to push his guys to achieve greatness.
Which is why Bronco fans can be confident in another stellar year from the defense and any and all players who step on to the field in 2013 for Boise State.
Step It Up in November
In 2010 it was Nevada. In 2011 it was TCU. In 2012 it was San Diego State. What do all of these three have in common?
Well, the obvious answer is that they were three close losses by three points or less. However, closer inspection reveals that every single one of those losses was in the month of November.
Three years in a row and three November let downs.
Coach Petersen has probably studied this fact in several directions. Several factors come into play such as injuries, position depth, fatigue etc. But, you know coach Pete won't let any of those be excuses.
In 2013 the Broncos will certainly want to step it up in November. It is a crucial month, and for all intents and purposes, that month has spoiled the BCS party for Boise State three years in a row.
Will 2013 be different?
With the talent coming back, the new talent in camp and the lessons learned, it seems like a good possibility.
Only time will tell, but if the renewed twinkle in coach Petersen's eye and the increased pep in his step this spring are any indication, the Broncos should not only have a good November but a very good 2013 season.