By Chadd Cripe
© 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.