By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
Here is the fifth installment in my position-by-position preview of the Boise State football team. At the bottom, I’ve posted links to the blog and newspaper preview for other positions.
TODAY: OFFENSIVE LINE
54 Michael Ames, 6-4, 293, R-Sr.
61 Joe Kellogg, 6-3, 305, R-Sr.
64 Brenel Myers, 6-3, 282, R-Sr.
75 Faraji Wright, 6-3, 300, R-Sr.
76 Jake Broyles, 6-5, 290, R-Jr.
77 Spencer Gerke, 6-3, 296, R-Jr.
78 Charles Leno Jr., 6-4, 294, R-Jr.
65 Matt Paradis, 6-3, 289, R-Jr.
62 Chris Tozer, 6-4, 311, R-Jr.
71 Greg Dohmen, 6-3, 291, R-So.
72 Marcus Henry, 6-3, 297, R-Fr.
67 Rees Odhiambo, 6-4, 297, R-Fr.
63 Adam Sheffield, 6-3, 326, R-Fr.
73 Travis Averill, 6-4, 278, Fr.
70 Steven Baggett, 6-3, 248, Fr.
66 Mario Yakoo, 6-4, 320, Fr.
57 Shane Wickes, 6-2, 243, Fr.
60 Kellen Buhr, 6-0, 264, Fr.
90 Avery Westendorf, 6-5, 270, Fr.
Storyline: The Broncos boast an experienced offensive line with four seniors and five juniors in the group. Of those nine players, eight have started at least one game — for a total of 50 returning starts.
Key to success: It’s all about health. There’s some depth here, but offensive linemen take a beating and the more the Broncos have to shuffle players to compensate for the injuries the less chance this will be a dominant group.
Reason for concern: There really isn’t one with this group. There’s talent, experience and depth.
Star player: Leno is the latest in a long line of excellent tackles for the Broncos. He started every game last season as a sophomore.
Breakout performer: All indications are that Paradis will be a home run at center, replacing the injured Cory Yriarte. He’s a fun story, too — a walk-on defensive lineman from Council High who was raised on a cattle ranch (see Wednesday’s newspaper).
Newcomer to watch: Henry, a redshirt freshman, likely will get some playing time at guard. Offensive line coach Chris Strausser said he had an “exceptional” camp.
— Offensive line coach Chris Strausser, on playing Leno at left tackle in the scrimmage: “We are just trying to take a look at a lot of guys at different spots. He is just one guy that has moved around a little bit. When he came in as a freshman we had him at left tackle, and we need to make sure that if we need him over there we can play him there. The only way to figure that out is to get him on the field. We played him there during the scrimmage and we played him there during practice, so we will see over the next couple of weeks how the rest of the picture shakes down. … The biggest issue is going to be where everyone fits into the picture, and he will fall into place where he needs to fall into place.”
— Strausser on Leno’s play on the left side: “It has gone OK. He has done it enough so he feels comfortable doing it. After the last three years on the right side it is a bit of a transition, which is why I am forcing the issue in practice and not doing it in a game.”
— Strausser on the scrimmage: “Matt Paradis played very solid at center for us. He has been our most consistent player so far in fall camp. Spencer Gerke has been playing very well, he has played both guard and center. Jake Broyles, we moved him out to tackle for the scrimmage, and he did some positive things out there. Then Faraji Wright had a good night for us.”
— Strausser on the depth chart for the Michigan State game: “I don’t plan on playing the game against Michigan State with just five guys. There will be six, seven, eight guys in the game, so there isn’t one necessarily set in stone. We’ve got some guys that are playing at a very comparable level, so I am not afraid to play both guys at that spot during the game.”
— Paradis, on stepping into the starting role: “I have to take advantage of everything that I can.”
Projected depth chart:
Left tackle: Leno* OR Wright
Left guard: Kellogg*, Henry
Center: Paradis, Kellogg
Right guard: Ames, Gerke
Right tackle: Leno* OR Broyles
(* indicates returning starters)
In Wednesday’s paper: Paradis brings ranch-hand toughness, smarts to center position.