Boise State Football 2012: Latest News, Updates and More from Spring Practice
The school everyone has paid attention to over the last few years has, of course, been Boise State. The Broncos have been the underdog that everyone seemed to either love or hate. Now, as they enter this season, they will truly be the underdog.
The Broncos only return a combined nine starters. Quarterback Kellen Moore, running back Doug Martin, wide receiver Tyler Shoemaker and seven starters on the defensive side of the ball are no longer on the team.
It's safe to say that Boise State has many questions to answer before the regular season kicks off.
The good news is that the Broncos have spring practices and the spring game that takes place on April 14 to try and provide some answers. It's not going to be an easy year for Boise State, but it's used to proving people wrong and making something out of nothing.
Stay tuned for all of your latest news, updates and more on your Boise State Broncos.
April 9 Updates
With the Broncos less than a week away from the sprig game kicking off, the quarterback position is something every Bronco fan will be paying attention to. While the quarterback race seems to be wide open and won't be settled until later in the year, there is one quarterback that has really impressed coaches so far.
“All the (quarterbacks) are progressing, starting with our new guy, Nick Patti, he’s doing a very nice job – there’s a lot of stuff being thrown at him and he’s hanging in there nice,” Head coach Chris Petersen said.
Patti is a true-freshman who is a 3-star recruit and is a dual-threat quarterback, who's capable of making plays. Petersen is also impressed with something that coaches simply can't teach.
“The thing about Nick that’s been the most impressive is that he’s always been the same, he’s very even-keeled,” Petersen said. “It doesn’t look like a whole lot rattles him. He’s been like that the whole time. It’s a great quality to have in a person, let alone your quarterback.”
While other quarterbacks such as Joe Southwick, Grant Hedrick and Jimmy Laughrea may have a advatnage over the true-freshman, all of these complements heading into the spring game make you wonder who really is winning this race.
On the defensive side of the ball, it appears that sophomore Jeremy Ioane is the favorite to earn a starting spot at the safety position.
“Jeremy is another guy who has done a nice job,” Petersen said. “We’ve definitely noticed him and he’s taken a step forward. There’s no question his game has improved.”
With Boise State only returning four starters on the defensive side of the ball, it's great to see some of the young guys stepping up throughout the spring.
Special Teams Changes Will Effect the Broncos
One of the rule changes that took place during the offseason was the kickoff moving from the 30-yard line to the 35, which should increase the possibility of touchbacks moving forward.
That's not something the Broncos special teams players wanted to hear.
“It’s going to be disappointing for me and our team, I think, because we put so much emphasis on special teams and scoring and stopping the other team and creating momentum,” said senior safety Hazen Moss in the Idaho Statesman. “It’s always a big deal for us and our whole team, and it’s just fun for me because that’s what I’ve done."
This change was installed by the NFL last season to try and prevent injuries. But for a team that takes pride in the underrated part of the game, it's a major disappointment.
Broncos Trying to Move on from the Kellen Moore Era
The Broncos continue their spring practices, but they just can't seem to move past the Kellen Moore era. Although he is preparing for the NFL draft and no longer on the roster, Boise State will spend most of the offseason trying to replace him.
"They can’t worry about that, that’s for sure,” head coach Chris Petersen, entering his seventh season with the Broncos, told the Associated Press via The Washington Post. “There’s going to be a Kellen cloud around here for a long time, and I’d like to phrase it a little more positively.
“He set the standard. So we’ve got to learn from that, try to build on that and celebrate on that,” Petersen said. “Those quarterbacks know what the standards and expectations are. But they need to go and play their game and not get hung up on what Kellen did.”
Moore did throw for over 14,000 yards in his career and 142 touchdowns, which is a good enough reason to see why this is one of the most monitored quarterback battles in the country. There will be a total of four quarterbacks competing for the starting job (which you can see here), but Petersen will take his time before making a decision.
“We just don’t know who it’s going to be right now,” said Petersen. “When you’ve got four guys, you know it’s just going to take some time.”
So while all of the college football world may be watching the Broncos closely this spring, we likely won't get a decision until late in the fall.
March 13 Updates
If there is any team in the country that could use spring practice, it's without question the Boise State Broncos, as they only return nine starters. They recently opened up spring practices, and defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski says players know just how many spots are available.
“Guys are always competing for time every year, but you look on the line, with five seniors gone, it’s a little more noticeable,” Kwiatkowski told the Idaho-Press Tribune.
From quarterback to wide receiver, all the way down to the safety position and the punter, positions are up for grabs this spring. It may be a bad thing, but when you think about it, coaches should be able to get more out of the practices with the competition being so wide open.
“Good energy, guys were flying around—you could tell a lot of the younger guys had put in some good work in the offseason,” Kwiatkowski said.
One of the things to watch out for is redshirt freshman Dillon Lukehart possibly playing the safety position. With three key safeties no longer on the roster, the position is up for grabs, and Kwiatkowski believes he may have one of the answers in Lukehart.
“He’s athletic, he can run—we figured instead of bulking him up to be a linebacker, see if we can do it at safety,” Kwiatkowski said. “He’s already fast, he’s at about the ideal weight there and we want to see what he can do.”
Lukehart was a 2-star recruit in 2010, who was a running back in high school. He's a speedster at 6'0", 201 pounds. It'll be interesting to see if he can hack it at safety, and that would possibly be one question answered for the Broncos.
This slideshow will continue to be updated with the latest news, quotes, position battles and more throughout spring practice. Stay tuned for everything involving your Boise State Broncos.