The spring season hasn’t even taken its full course and the Boise State Broncos can’t seem to stray from the spotlight. Five Broncos have been named preseason all-americans, with senior offensive lineman Nate Potter snagging a first-team honor. Senior defensive linemen Billy Winn and Shea McClellin and senior center Thomas Byrd took second or third-team postions. Senior quarterback Kellen Moore not only made the second-team, but was named Sporting News’ Top Collegiate Player for 2011.
Aside from those impressive accolades, the real focus for the Broncos is not preparing for Georgia Sept. 3, but fine tuning the squad itself in the upcoming Blue and Orange spring game this Saturday.
Already taken part in a scrimmage March 23, the Broncos are familiar with the idea of playing an inter-squad game. Within that game came some normal, surprising and disappointing occurrences.
Moore took complete control with a few long drives that led to touchdowns. The senior quarterback was a leading example for backups Joe Southwick and Grant Hedrick. On the topic of backups, it was Hedrick that had the edge over Southwick that afternoon. Hedrick’s control with the third team, including a late touchdown pass, outweighed Southwick’s unstable, two interception performance.
Junior wide receiver Geraldo Hiwat was able to thrive off Moore’s efficiency, standing out most amongst the receiving corps with his remarkable catches in traffic as well as two touchdown receptions.
The running backs took advantage of the penetrable BSU defense, and it wasn’t just senior starter Doug Martin. Junior Raphael Lambert was breaking tackles left and right while junior Carlo Audagnotti had some nice runs inside.
As far as Boise State’s defense goes, there wasn’t much to talk about it as the unit really didn’t play to its full abilities. The second-ranked defense of last season allowed multiple big plays and lacked the tenacity that we’re used to seeing from them.
A positive note for the defense were the defensive backs, led by corners Jerrel Gavins and Jamar Taylor, who each provided some hard-nosed tackling and cover presence.
To recap simply: the offense came, saw and conquered and if there was one person who was not ecstatic about it, it was defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski.
“There’s always room for improvement. I think our consistency with our intensity needs to be better. We can be better than we’ve been,” Kwiatowski said.
That scrimmage was not the defining image of what the Broncos are portrayed to be this up and coming season, but it set off an alarm amongst the coaching staff of what needs to be fixed.
First off, the defense needs to get back on its feet with the same rage and tenacity as it has in previous seasons. McClellin and senior defensive tackle Chase Baker need to vocalize their seniority amongst all the unfamiliar faces on the defensive corps.
The offense needs to consistently gel. It may have been a great day a few weeks ago, but with big name players like Austin Pettis and Titus Young gone, the newer guys need to continue to fight for their positions.
Last, the Broncos need to put last season behind them and strive for what they fell short of last season. Moving to the Mountain West Conference will not only shift their mentality but create a brand new opportunity at national glory.
As Moore stated perfectly, this Boise State team is now, “ Younger guys learning newer concepts.”
Boise State’s final spring scrimmage will be Saturday, April 16 at 5 p.m. from Bronco Stadium and will be open to the public.