Boise State tailback rotation explained; offensive line already has changed

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com
© 2010 Idaho Statesman

An update on the tailback job and offensive line:

— At tailback, Doug Martin will start and D.J. Harper essentially will serve as the second half of the 1-2 punch. Jeremy Avery will have a specialized role.

“Doug had a great camp,” offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin said. “All the other guys did, too. … We utilized (Martin) in different ways in camp and he did a nice job with it. ... Avery’s got his niche. He’s probably got some more things maybe specialized for him. D.J. can come in and do the same things that Doug is doing.”

— On the offensive line, Faraji Wright most likely will not be the left tackle this week. He has been battling an injury. That leaves offensive line coach Chris Strausser with two options, depending on the health of Joe Kellogg, who also is battling an injury.

The lineup will either be Matt Slater at left tackle, Nate Potter at left guard, Thomas Byrd at center, Will Lawrence at right guard and Brenel Myers at right tackle ...

... or it will be, from left to right, Potter-Kellogg-Byrd-Lawrence-Myers.

Stories on both of these items will be in Tuesday's newspaper.

•••

Boise State junior Doug Martin was named the Broncos’ starting tailback Monday when the team released its first depth chart of the season.

Martin rushed for 765 yards and tied for the team lead with 15 touchdowns last season. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry. He started last year on defense and moved back to tailback after three games, so he is expected to be much more complete and polished this year. He's a fast, powerful runner.

Senior Jeremy Avery, who rushed for 1,150 yards last year, and junior D.J. Harper are listed as the co-backups. Coaches have said that they likely will feature two tailbacks and play the third in a smaller role. Avery averaged 5.5 yards per carry last year; Harper averaged 6.5.

Harper said Monday that it’s understandable that coaches want to focus on two tailbacks.

“We saw in the past that three was too many when Ian (Johnson) was here,” Harper said. “Last year, throughout the season, that 1-2 punch was really beneficial because all those guys could get into a rhythm. I think it works well.”

The starting offensive line is listed as Faraji Wright at left tackle, Nate Potter at left guard, Thomas Byrd at center, Will Lawrence at right guard and Brenel Myers at right tackle. So it looks like Byrd, a two-year starter, won the competition with sophomore Joe Kellogg.

Senior Mike Coughlin and freshman Joe Southwick are listed as the co-backup quarterbacks.

Linebacker Byron Hout is listed as the starting long snapper, ahead of returning starter Chris Roberson.

Wide receivers Titus Young and Mitch Burroughs are listed as co-punt returners.

The full depth chart is available here.

•••

HeismanPundit.com, which might be the best Heisman-tracking website out there, released its preseason Heisman poll Monday.

Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore was a solid No. 3 — behind last year's winner, Alabama running back Mark Ingram, and Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

Boise State opponents Jacquizz Rodgers, the Oregon State running back, and Ryan Williams, the Virginia Tech running back, were Nos. 4 and 7, respectively.

•••

Finally, it’s game week for college football. The season fires up Thursday, hits its stride Saturday and reaches an early crescendo with next Monday’s highly anticipated showdown between No. 3 Boise State and No. 10 Virginia Tech.

So today also is the day that coaches around the country start talking in detail about their opponents. Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer held a conference call with reporters Monday morning. Here are the highlights:

On Boise State: “Every time (the Broncos) have had an opportunity, they’ve answered the bell and they certainly deserve the recognition they’ve gotten. For us, it’s the same kind of opening as when we played Alabama last year.”

On opening with a highly ranked opponent: “I think you become a better football team. When you play a high-ranked team, if you should lose, then you’re not necessarily out of the big picture.”

On quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s development: “Tyrod has really worked at it. He’s worked on improving his quarterback play. His throwing is very good. He knows where he’s going (with the ball) and sometimes that helps you be more accurate.”

•••

Boise State coach Chris Petersen was on the WAC coaches' teleconference. Here are a couple thoughts from him:

On game week: "We've got a little more urgency going around here this week than we've had in the past couple weeks."

On the conference shuffle: "Not one guy on the team has asked one thing about that."

•••

Boise State started school last week, which gave players a chance to get adjusted to their new classes without the pressure of preparing for a game.

“That is a transition," Petersen said last week. “… We felt it a little bit (in practice). Fortunately we don’t have a game.”

•••

Petersen, on Beamer’s staff continuity:

“How coach Beamer has kept those guys around is truly impressive. He must be a heck of a guy to work with. Blacksburg must be a heck of a place to live.”

•••

I’m hoping to run my offensive line preview in Tuesday’s paper, depending on how close the lineup above is to being finalized.

Here’s what Petersen said last week about the uncertainty there and possibility for changes in the lineup:

“It’s not a concern at all to me. We do it every year. I know it is to (offensive line coach Chris Strausser). I have real great confidence that we’ll get a good five out there and away we go. It’s always nice to have the same five out there, getting better together, but that just isn’t how it’s been around here. For us to have that situation would be abnormal.”

Boise State had good stability on the offensive line for several years until 2008. The past two years the lineup has changed frequently.

•••

Longtime Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster talked over the weekend about the challenge of defending Boise State. Here’s what he said:

“You’ve got a great quarterback. Their running game is completely underrated. And you’ve got two receivers that are as good as anybody in the country. And then a very, very good offensive line. … They try to keep you off-balance, throwing, running, different formations. They try to get you on the same plays but all out of different formations. They’re very efficient doing that. Then they’re good with the gadget plays and those things.

“They just make you defend the field, sideline to sideline, end zone to end zone.”

•••

Great line from Oregon State coach Mike Riley in an SI.com article on the Beavers playing TCU and Boise State in September:

"We'll either be tough, or we'll die," he said.

Read more here.

Here's to You BSU

Best of luck to the Broncos on their upcoming game with VT. This is the one you have been waiting for... do us proud! Stay Classy!I think it will be a great game.

Go Bronco's

Win - Lose or Draw with anybody: I'm proud of what this group of players has accomplished. They apply themselves to each and every game and every play. I've never for a moment been ashamed of anything they have done on the field of play. Good luck and best wishes.

I second that

Go Broncos

and I third that

the hustle and awareness that Titus Young displayed last season when he jumped on Avery's fumbled ball in the endzone is a shining example of the dediciation that these kids have for excellence - Go Broncos!

4th

I love these guys. I love the work ethic. I love the passion.

Stand on the 5th!

Right where I like it!

Show your support!!

Since this isn't a home game, we all need to display our Boise State car flags, etc. all week to let the players know that even though we may not be there in person, we're there in spirit!

Wear your colors and fly your flags--all week!!

Batgirl

Agreed girl! Great post!

Right on !

Not every person has the $$ to go to DC. Thanks for the post. This game is going to be great !

I'm ready

Got a shirt or sweatshirt for everyday till then but want a new one for "GAMEDAY". By the way, 24-10 Broncos.

mateo

Are you serious man? So you say we shut down their running game?

JLandon

Not totally but I think Williams is going to find himself in the same position as Blount a year ago. Evans I think will score because he won't be the focus. Their QB, sorry I don't remember the name off hand, had a great scrimage, 29 0f 30 or something like that for 300+ yds but he didn't have a determined D looking to take him apart. I'll stand with what I have right now JL. Tomorrow is a Blue shirt.

Mateo

I think wisdom said he went 16-17 or something like that. Keep Tyrod Taylor contained and I think the Bronco D steps up big. Now, if our offense can put up some points you might be right.

Never question the Wis

You're right JL, 16-17 for 319 yards. Not sure where I got the other but I was wrong. Didn't see anywhere on SI or the VT blogs if he was wearing the untouchable shirt but I'd bet he was. Seems to me that offenses don't really click to begin with but the Bronco D usually does. Even Sports Center has said Moore will be on his game. It'll be good...2 top tens...2 Heisman candidates and the opener.

Could Have Been a Sync Scrimmage.

When I played, that's what they were called. Full pads and contact, no hitting QB, and DB's let the pass be caught no matter the coverage. It's a sync and timing scrimmage, and also a confidence builder. Don't know if that's what it was, but could have been.

regalia

You heard da lady. Get your gear out! Or go buy some.

If I just watch and enjoy the games (as I've done for 40+ years), but haven't invested heavily in Bronco gear - the flags, the caps, the big blue foam fingers, the sweatshirts - does that make me a bad person? A half-hearted fan?

Half a heart would preclude getting very excited...

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"Say a prayer for the pretender..."-Jackson Browne

Amazing!

Well I am just speechless. #3 preseason ranking, and starting against VT, one of the really great programs. One would almost think I'm on the team, as keyed up as I am for this season. Coach Peterson is hands down the best coach in college football; I can't believe how truly fortunate we are to have him and his outstanding staff and of course such an outstanding group of young men. I'm going to see if I can get some Valium for the VT game lest I jump out of my skin! Ha! GO BRONCOS!!!

And it looks like Coach Rice has got the B-Ball program heading it the right direction too. It's good to be a Bronco!

Yes! I'll be wearing my Bronco gear all week!

Saw the last few minutes of the Neb/VA Tech game

from last season. Impressed by how much class their QB Taylor had after the game was over. There was pandemonium on the field as fans rushed in to celebrate such a key win, but instead of immediately joining in, Taylor ran down the NE QB, who was already leaving the field, to shake his hand and exchange a few comments.

Will be a great game, but I'm thinking (hoping) it will be BSU 31, VA Tech 24.

Hurricane

What are the chances that area will be affected by the hurricane? Maybe at least it will cool it down.

Go Broncos!

DOUGIE MARTIN!!!

I wouldnt say Chadd guessed wrong but everyone was predicting Doug would be the 3rd down back. This is great news, but also, all 3 backs are awesome and Im excited to see all 3 play.

Martin

Go ahead and say it — I was wrong. It was just a hunch but I'd heard raves about D.J. and I know they love Avery. Interested to see how they're going to use these guys in a game. Avery might get some of his snaps as a receiver.

Ummm JL....

I've been Dougie all the way...,any posts. He's a blend of the other 2, all in one, and the choice was obvious.

Wisdom

Yes you did want Dougie Martin. I love the kid but didnt think he had the receiving skills out of the back field. I love all the backs so Im happy no matter what.

I think it may make...

Avery better. Tackle timing is everything to LB's and Secondary positions, and those 2 backs take a different "timing" on the hit, if that makes sense to you.

Absolutely Wisdom

Makes perfect sense. Harper is a little bit of both too, and a burner. Cant wait.

Finally...

One week and counting to pay dirt!!!

Awesome

Lioke the call starting Martin at RB. 2 days until I am on a plane out east baby!!!!!

All Day Martin?

I know this guy is a stud but Martin over Avery and Harper? This seems like a big surprise to me. Did anyone else see this happening? Chad, any particular resons behind this line-up?

Martin

Haven't had a chance to ask anyone but there's only one real reason — they think he's the best guy. These coaches don't mess around. The one question on Doug was how complete he was. Last year, he was limited in some things like pass protection because of the late move. He must have mastered all of the other details to get this job. Obviously, everyone knew he had the talent. People said he was the best tailback on the team when he was on the scout team.

Saw this coming

Martin is such a strong runner that I'm sure the other skills needed for the starting job came pretty naturally.

Doug Martin is amazing!

I've been watching Martin since the first open scrimmages during his redshirt year. Yes, he is that good. I was shocked to see him move to defense last year and glad to see him back on the offensive side. He runs low, hits defenders hard and can break away after intial contact. He's a monster to bring down. Virginia Tech may have Williams and Evans, but the Boise State tailback rotation of Martin, Avery and Harper will be equally exciting to watch. Go Blue!!!

Why is Doug Martin the starter?

Cause Coach Pete says he is. Nuff said. Good luck Mr. Martin!!!

long snap

Good to see Hout as the new long snapper. Just reading the sentence gave me cold sweats remembering last year.

Johnson is an excellent lineman but a woeful long snapper.

Johnson?

There is no lineman named Johnson, Jeron is the only Johnson on the roster. Chris Roberson was the long snapper last year and he didn't have any problems. The problems on snaps last year were not on kicking downs, they were plays from scrimmage and Thomas Byrd was the culprit.

EBO MANKINDE

I had no idea that Ebo Mankinde is 5'1 :)

Ebo

BSU sent us a corrected depth chart. It had a couple typos.

I can't....

concentrate on work!!!!

Byrd at center

but one (another in a long, long list) fumbled snap and I hope we see Kellogg there the rest of the year.

RBs

Good to see Martin in the start. A little Earl Campbellish back from little old BSU knocking heads and stomping on VT players in their secondary will make the BCS talking heads suck their teeth just that much more. Bring it on!

Hurricane?

Anyone, Anyone, Buehler?

Hurricane track

Headed straight for North Carolina, Maryland for later in the week.

Rain

I think they should at least be preparing for rain. It will rain for days before the Hurricane and for days afterwards.

Landover MD Weather for This Week Through Labor Day

http://www.wunderground.com/US/MD/Landover.html

Not bad. Low 80's on game day - let's all hope for mid 70's.

But we all know how accurate these guys are.

Interesting Weather Info

Current Landover Data
Temp: 75 F
Relative Humidity: 79%
Dewpoint: 71 F

Current Boise Data
Temp: 65 F
Relative Humidity: 29%
Dewpoint: 35 F

What it all means -
It means that right now in Landover if your AC in your house is set to lower than 71 F (for long enough for everything in the house to reach that temp) you will see dew forming on hard surfaces. There's that much water in the air, about 0.018 lbs per lb of dry air. Meaning for every 6,160 cubic feet of air (about 462 lbs of air at sea level) there is a gallon of water in that volume of air. For a football field in Landover MD of dimensions 300 ft x 160 ft x 6 ft (height of average player) there is 46.75 gallons of water in the air occupying that space.

At Bronco Stadium, there is about 10.4 gallons of water in an equal volume of air above the field.

So there is about 4.5 x's as much water in the air (by volume) at Landover than in Boise right now.

The Heat Index (what it feels like) in Landover is roughly 85 F (10 F higher than recorded temp), while HI is about same as actual temp (69 F) in Boise.

So If Players Need a Drink of Water...

they just run with their mouth open? jusss kiddin man...Great post/info, thanks!

Great post

thanks

Sorry - I do these things when I get bored.

Labor Day can't come soon enough.

Don't be sorry...

I never thought of the impact other thans it's hot and you sweat. Seriously cool post..no pugn intended lol

That's what my mom said, oddly enough!

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"Say a prayer for the pretender..."-Jackson Browne