By Chadd Cripe
© 2011 Idaho Statesman
I’m running a series of blog posts breaking down each position on the Boise State football team.
Today: Wide receivers
Returning starters (2 of 3): Matt Miller could challenge many career school records after a fantastic freshman year during which he tied for the team lead with 62 catches for 679 yards (second) and nine touchdowns (second). Senior Mitch Burroughs also returns after a career year — 49 catches for 500 yards and a TD.
Key losses: Slot receiver Tyler Shoemaker set the school record for TD catches in a season (16) while matching Miller with 62 catches and leading the team with 994 yards. He’s the only wide receiver who didn’t return.
Other key returners: Kirby Moore should replace Shoemaker as the slot receiver. He was productive as a role player in 2009 and 2011, with a redshirt year in between. He made 22 catches for 247 yards and a TD last year. Also returning: Geraldo Boldewijn (19 catches, 266 yards, two TDs), Chris Potter (11, 105, 0), Dallas Burroughs (9, 175, 1) and Aaron Burks (6, 57, 0).
Other players to watch: Troy Ware grayshirted and redshirted and should compete for a spot in the rotation this fall. He has great hands.
Projected starters: Miller, Mitch Burroughs and Moore
Joining in August: Shane Williams-Rhodes, a dynamic receiver/returner. D.J. Dean of Eagle is expected to grayshirt.
— Offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Robert Prince on Moore: “Kirby’s doing a great job. We’re expecting big things out of him this year. … I think it’s just a natural progression. Kirby’s a very smart player. We’re able to put him in different spots and he’ll know what to do. He’s very detailed. The thing about Kirby is he doesn’t have to be wide open to catch the ball. He has very good hands. The quarterbacks will have a lot of confidence in him, and that’s a good thing.”
— Prince on Miller: “The thing with Matt, if you know his personality, he’s not one to just rest on his laurels. He’s trying to get better. He plays close attention in meetings. He takes great notes. He knows he has a chance to become a better route-runner, and he’s working on it.”
— Prince has been moving the receivers to different positions than they normally play for the spring to improve their knowledge and versatility. “They’re doing a great job,” he said. “They’ve been great in meetings and really focusing on the details. … We’re having these guys understand the concepts of the plays instead of just their position.”
— Prince on the competition in his group: “As we’ve always done, we’re going to try to use everybody’s strengths. There are only so many guys who can play and we’ve done a good job of playing a lot of guys, but we do have a lot.”
Prince on the offense this spring: “Spring ball is always tough because we’re trying to put in a lot of our offense and against our defense with the different looks it’s hard to always prepare for everything. As spring ball goes, it gets a little tough with all the plays we have, but I’m very happy with our progress.”
Prince on the quarterbacks: “They’re all doing well.” (Setting a new record for not saying anything about the QBs.)
The Broncos practiced Saturday morning and ended the workout with 15-20 minutes of scrimmage. Safety Jeremy Ioane and nickel Dextrell Simmons each made a big hit, defensive end Demarcus Lawrence continued to look like an impact newcomer, tailback Drew Wright ran the ball well and Potter made a few nice plays. Safety Lee Hightower made a great break on a ball — he wasn’t covering the receiver but read the throw and jumped the route — but dropped what would have been a pick six. He told me the other day he’s working on his ball skills so that he doesn’t miss opportunities like that. The defense dominated for the most part, but the offense did have a touchdown drive. As usual, the quarterbacks involved shall remain nameless — but finally next Saturday we all get to watch, and write about, what they do — in the Spring Game.