Things are settling down on Boise State’s blue turf. Especially concerning the offense and the battle for quarterback, a decision which has been center stage since spring ball. Who is going to replace Kellen Moore, who threw for 3,800 yards and 43 touchdowns last season? The field has been crowded and four very good quarterbacks entered fall camp looking for that chance. If yesterday’s scrimmage at Bronco Stadium is any indication that question has been answered.
It was junior QB Joe Southwick, 6-1, 187 lbs., who lead the first team. Southwick was Moore’s backup and continues to prove on the field that he’s the lead stallion in the herd. Last season in limited action behind Kellen Moore, Southwick was 23 of 30 passing for 198 yards and only one interception. As if proving his consistency, in 2010, he was 17 of 24 for 202, no interceptions, and included a 78-yard bomb. But if he is the starter head coach Chris Petersen is still not saying just yet. "When we make the decision, we’ll tell everybody," he told the Idaho Statesman. "You guys know as much as I do how (Southwick) did. You saw what I saw. There’s some good stuff, but we’ve got to go put the tape on and analyze everything."And the other three quarterbacks? Grant Hedrick, 6-0, 192 lbs, looked to be leading the second team, but he had a lousy day. Hedrick tossed 3 interceptions and coughed up a fumble---not good for QB looking to start or at least secure the backup position. The other two QB’s in the mix were redshirt freshman Jimmy Laughrea, 6-1,200 lbs, and freshman Nick Patti, 5-10, 187 lbs, who both saw limited field action. Laughrea left the game after an apparent injury after only four plays and Patti, the much-anticipated QB out of Dr. Phillips in Orlando, struggled under center and was only 1 of 10 in passing.
So if Southwick is going to be the starter, the decision on his backup is far from settled. The other three quarterbacks are still in a heated battle for the backup position. Southwick might be the favorite horse in the race at this stage, sure, but taking the snaps behind the first team does not automatically give him the lock for starter according to Petersen. But with fall practice coming to an end you have to think the decision is being made soon.
There is still a window for that decision in the backroom of Coach Pete’s offices. New offensive coordinator Robert Prince will be huddling up with Petersen making those final calls and you have to know their plates are full. Besides the quarterback issue, Prince has been plugging holes in other critical offensive positions as well. For one thing, Doug Martin is gone, along with his 1,299 rushing yards and 16 scores. But there is a lot of talent back to work with, according to preseason All-MW offensive line selection Joe Kellogg. "D.J. Harper has been around for a long time now, and he's been getting the job done; he's a great running back.” Harper rushed for 557 yards a season ago.
Harper is just an example of the talent Prince has to work with that are stepping up to replace the losses from the 2011 squad. Yesterday’s scrimmage highlighted some of them. But with the season opener only weeks away, he needs to get the pieces in place and begin to solidify the quarterback and his backfield. You have to think those decisions are going to be made within the next few days and include all the Broncos' coaches.
Looming on the horizon is that huge opening game that is only 12 days away now: when the #24 ranked Boise State Broncos travel to Michigan to take on the #13 Michigan State Spartans of the Big 10 Conference.
And from the back offices and lockerroom to the fanbase around the Treasure Valley, the excitement is continuing to build in Bronco Nation.