With the 2011 Mountain West Conference football season still months way, the Boise State Broncos have been in the midst of spring practice, preparing for their debut in the MWC as its newest member. The Broncos open their season against the Georgia Bulldogs on September 3 and will play their first Mountain West Conference league game at Colorado State on Oct. 15.
The Broncos spring workout has been minus eight Boise State football players who will miss all of spring football because of injuries: tight end Chandler Koch, wide receiver Mitch Burroughs, nickel Jonathan Brown, safety Cedric Febis, linebacker Aaron Tevis, defensive end Kharyee Marshall, linebacker Byron Hout and running back D.J. Harper. That is a tough break for a team looking to replace 11 starters from last years squad and many of those replacements are expected to be filled by the existing backups. The vacant position of kicker won’t be settled until new recruit Jake Van Ginkel comes on board in August.
So, just how serious do the Bronco coaches take their football workouts? Boise State sent half the coaching staff to visit Alabama for three days last month to watch a Crimson Tide offseason workout and perhaps to trade a few ideas with HC Nick Sabin and his coaching staff. On the other hand, the Broncos played hosts of their own earlier this month, to Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and his defensive and co-offensive coordinators. The Sooner coaches spent two days visiting the Broncos and taking in several Bronco practice sessions.
Here's a quick synoposis of spring camp so far.
While there has been plenty of work directed at the O-line, it is the wide receivers who are of major concern for the Broncos this season with the loss of both Austin Pettis and Titus Young. Still, those players that have a chance to step up have looked fairly good in spite of a few dropped passes. Among them has been sophomore Kirby Moore, who has been impressive with some tough catches. Another impressive standout has been freshman wide receiver Troy Ware. Tight end Kyle Efaw is the only senior TE on the roster and is holding down a leadership position while seeking to improve his own game. But the players most of us are intently watching have been the quarterbacks behind expected starter Kellen Moore. With the announcement that redshirt sophmore Mike Tamburo will transfer to Georgia after spending last year at the botton of the depth chart and recovering from a torn ACL, the main focus has fallen on sophomore Joe Southwick and redshirt freshman Grant Hedrick. Both QB's have tossed the ball well and either could end up as Moore's backup. On the handoffs, tailback Doug Martin, who rushed for 1,260 yards last season, has looked crisp and polished with his workouts. All this should make Brent Pease, the Broncos new offensive coordinator, very happy.
The Broncos defensive side has revealed some good moves. Senior Hunter White has looked impressive in a bid to get the starting job at nickel, competing with junior-college transfer Dextrell Simmons. Simmons is the one who helped Blinn College win a junior college national title in 2009, with Cam Newton as quarterback. He adds more experience to the Broncos who expect to start four seniors on the defensive line this season: Chase Baker and Billy Winn at tackle, and Shea McClellin and Tyrone Crawford at end. Two others who could start are junior tackle Mike Atkinson and sophmore defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe.
Spring practice for the the Broncos will run for six weeks, culminating in the Spring Game scheduled for April 16 at Bronco Stadium.