Boise State Football: 3 Biggest Challenges for Broncos' OC Robert Prince

Martin Sondermann@@GamedayreporterAnalyst IIJune 12, 2013

Boise State Football: 3 Biggest Challenges for Broncos' OC Robert Prince

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    Robert Prince was promoted to offensive coordinator for the Broncos last season after returning to Boise State in 2011 as the wide receivers coach.

    He was also a member of the Broncos coaching staff from 2001-2003 as the wide receivers coach when Chris Petersen was the offensive coordinator under Dan Hawkins.

    Prince then spent the following six years coaching in the NFL, and in 2010 he became the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach at the University of Colorado. 

    When it was announced that offensive coordinator Brent Pease was leaving for Florida last year, it didn't take head coach Chris Petersen long to name Prince his new OC.

    In 2012 it started a bit rough for Prince, but by the end of the season, the offense was looking much better. Of course, Prince had the daunting task of replacing quarterback Kellen Moore, running back Doug Martin and a hand full of other key players.

    All things considered, and with the huge challenges he faced in 2012, he did a very good job rebuilding an offense in the shadow of one of the best offenses Boise State has ever fielded.

    Fast forward to 2013, and Prince has fewer challenges on his plate. However, the ones he does face are still going to cause him some sleepless nights and long hours of planning and preparation.

    Let's look at three of the biggest challenges he may face in 2013.

Making Use of All That Talent at Wide Receiver

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    The first challenge for Robert Prince is one that most OCs would love to have.

    The Broncos have a huge stable of quality wide receivers. As offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach, Prince will have to do what he can to get the most out of all of his talent.

    Junior Matt Miller is the team's leading wide receiver, and he will be joined by senior Kirby Moore in a potent one-two combination. However, seniors Aaron Burks and Geraldo Boldewijn are very talented and no doubt looking for stellar senior seasons themselves.

    Both Burks and Boldewijn looked good in the spring, and you can expect them to compete for game time this fall.

    Troy Ware is a sophomore who has talent, but sophomore Shane Williams-Rhodes is a name that Bronco fans are more familiar with. SWR will probably be utilized in various ways, perhaps even on special teams, but his talent will certainly find its way into the offensive playbook.

    Prince has a few talented newcomers heading his way this fall, and junior speedster Dallas Burroughs is also on the roster. Burroughs may be a candidate for a redshirt with all the talent the Broncos have in 2013, but if not, his speed could be utilized in various ways.

    Overall, it should be a bit of a puzzle for Robert Prince. How do you use so many quality players and get the most out of each of them?

    It is a challenge Prince is probably happy to have.

Running Backs

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    The Broncos have seven running backs on the roster for 2013. However, none of them have true starting experience for Boise State.

    The new starter this fall is certainly Jay Ajayi. The sophomore is well known to Bronco fans, and as the backup in 2012, he did an incredible job proving his worth. He should be a potent starter in 2013.

    However, after him there is little certainty.

    JUCO transfer Derrick Thomas looks to be the backup, and he looked very good this spring. He is big, powerful and fast enough to be touchdown-dangerous.

    Redshirt freshman Charles Bertoli had a good spring as well. However, he hasn't had a carry at the college level yet, and it all changes when the hits are real. Still, he could be a weapon for the Broncos, but only game time will tell.

    Jack Fields is a true sophomore who was less than stellar in 2012 as a freshman. He seemed to struggle this spring, and you have to wonder if a redshirt would give him his best chance at future success. Still, he does have game-time experience, and with his talent potential, he could step up this season. 

    Redshirt freshmen Devan Demas and Jamel Hart will be looking for carries as will very talented true freshman Aaron Baltazar. However, Baltazar seems destined for a redshirt, and Hart struggled in the spring game.

    Demas, however, could be a hidden gem in 2013. He has the speed and the moves to be another weapon for Robert Prince. But, again, all of this is unknown at this point, and injuries could always be a factor.

    The Broncos' running backs could be a huge success this fall, or they could also struggle. It is an uncertainty that offensive coordinator Robert Prince will have to face going into the 2013 season.

Offensive Line

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    Perhaps the biggest challenge Boise State will face on offense this season is in the area of the offensive line.

    There is a lot of talent on the roster, just as in other areas, but of the 16 players on the roster, there are only two returning starters from last season's line and a third player with some starting experience. 

    Center Matt Paradis returns for his senior season after a very good 2012. Tackle Charles Leno Jr will also be back for his senior year as will part-time starter senior Spencer Gerke. Gerke started a hand full of games last season, but he will most likely see much more action in 2013.

    Another senior, Jake Broyles, will be back. However, injuries have really hindered him over the years. He will have to stay healthy to make an impact, but that hasn't been easy for him. 

    Rees Odhiambo is a sophomore who has a lot of potential, and he should be ready to start in 2013. Sophomore guard Marcus Henry is another potential contributor.

    Sophomore Robert Ash has been moved to offense, and he brings with him a reasonable amount of intrigue. It will be interesting to see what he has to offer this year.

    There will also be a hand full of very talented redshirt freshmen who could be quite impressive. Mario Yakoo, Travis Averill and Steven Baggett top that list.

    True freshmen Andrew Tercek and Eli McCullough will jump on board this fall, but unless one of them does something unreal and spectacular, redshirts are probably in their futures.

    Associate head coach and offensive line coach Chris Strausser has done an amazing job getting the offensive line for Boise State ready to play since 2010. He seems to get the most out of his players, and that probably doesn't stop in 2013.

    Still, as the season approaches, offensive coordinator Robert Prince has to be a little nervous about the unknown commodity that is his offensive line.

    The combination of an uncertain offensive line along with an unproven ground attack is a puzzle Boise State will have to solve before the season opener at Washington.


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    The Broncos are loaded with talent, and they look to be in much better shape on offense in 2013 than they were in 2012. There are challenges, of course, but there always are.

    If history is any indication, Boise State looks to be in great shape for another special season.

    The question marks on offense are quite a bit smaller this season compared to last, and in his second year as offensive coordinator, Robert Prince will most likely raise the bar.

    It should be an exciting season for Boise State fans.