Boise State football preview: Wide receivers

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com
© 2012 Idaho Statesman

Here is the sixth 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: WIDE RECEIVERS

Personnel:

20 Mitch Burroughs, 5-9, 193, R-Sr.
15 Tyler Jackson, 6-1, 195, R-Sr.
3 Chris Potter, 5-9, 159, R-Sr.
17 Geraldo Boldewijn, 6-4, 214, R-Jr.
18 Aaron Burks, 6-3, 200, R-Jr.
34 Kirby Moore, 6-3, 203, R-Jr.
2 Matt Miller, 6-3, 215, R-So.
81 Dallas Burroughs, 5-8, 173, So.
83 Troy Ware, 6-2, 195, R-Fr.
11 Shane Williams-Rhodes, 5-6, 154, Fr.
24 Jackson Reed, 6-4, 212, Fr.
29 Taylor Pope, 6-0, 163, Fr.

Storyline: The Broncos return all but one receiver, but the loss was a big one — slot receiver Tyler Shoemaker, who had 315 more yards than any other receiver and set a school record with 16 TD catches.

Key to success: The Broncos have a smart, sure-handed collection of receivers — particularly at the top, with starters Miller, Mitch Burroughs and Moore and top backup Potter. They have shown throughout fall camp that they can make tough catches in traffic and along the sideline.

Reason for concern: The Broncos still don’t have a reliable deep threat. Boldewijn is suspended for the first four games, Dallas Burroughs struggled with drops in fall camp and Burks is improved but untested. None of the top four wideouts averaged more than 11.2 yards per catch last year. Shoemaker averaged 16.0.

Star player: Miller tied for the team lead with 62 catches last year and was second with nine TD catches. He should be better this year, with more speed and a deeper understanding of the offense.

Breakout performer: Moore is another one of those guys on this team who have waited for a big-time opportunity. He was productive behind Shoemaker but should get a chance to make a big impact this year.

Newcomer to watch: True freshman Shane Williams-Rhodes and redshirt freshman Troy Ware showed playmaking ability in camp and could carve out niches in the rotation.

Quotes/notes:

— Prince on Miller and Mitch Burroughs: “Maybe the average person might look at them and not see them as a deep threat, but I wouldn’t count those guys out.”

— Prince on replacing Shoemaker: “Obviously Tyler Shoemaker had one of the greatest seasons in Boise State history as a wide receiver. We understand that the next guy has to step up. We’re definitely expecting a lot out of Kirby but also we have Chris Potter, who’s going to be playing in the slot. Not only those two guys, we have other guys you’ll get a chance to see this first game and we’ll go from there.”

— Dallas Burroughs on his camp: “I’ve done all right, but not as good as I planned. I’ve just had a couple drops. Other than that, I feel like I’ve worked on my releases and gotten that a ton better since spring.”

— Moore on producing more big plays at the receiver position: “Obviously last year we could all admit that we left some out there on the field. So over time we’ve learned a lot through spring ball and this fall camp.”

— Moore on replacing Shoemaker: “I hope to fill a lot of that void and just become a good player in the slot and have a good relationship with whoever the quarterback is and find the open holes in the defense.”

— Chris Petersen on the receivers: “We’ll make some big plays in there. Those guys have some talent. They’re a year older, a year more experienced. That crew has to take a step and help out whoever our quarterback is, but they will.”

Projected depth chart:

X receiver: Miller*, Burks/Boldewijn
Z receiver: Mitch Burroughs*, Ware/Williams-Rhodes
Slot receiver: Moore/Potter
(* indicates returning starters)

In Thursday’s paper: The Broncos say they’re more equipped to make the big play at wide receiver this year.

PREVIOUS PREVIEWS

Defensive line: Blog, Mike Atkinson story

Linebackers: Blog, J.C. Percy story

Defensive backs: Blog, DBs story

Special teams: Blog, Kickers story

Offensive line: Blog, Paradis story

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Φ Receiver corps is strong

Looking for Miller to step in where Tyler left off. Burks looked very solid in the fall scrimmage.

Shane W-R was electrifying on that flanker screen TD from Patti (negated by his perfect 10 forward flip into the endzone); hope to see plenty of him.

Always love seeing either of the Burroughs boys as a target. And the rest (don't have much on Reed or Pope) will all make contributions.

And, you haven't done your position breakdown on the TEs yet. They are going to be big this year, as well. No doubt you saw Plinke outrun Chancellor James (who was having a great scrimmage) on the long TD from Laughrea.

It's really quite a group. Now, if the QB(s) can deliver the ball.

Another great one. Thanks, Chadd.

Chadd

Anyone know what the attendance was at the scrimmage?

Attendance

They didn't count. Whatever the two lower sides and south bleachers hold combined, but I don't know what that number is.

Φ shane3eb

Would guess about 11k, maybe a bit more. The east lower had many more than the spring scrimmage and was probably 75% full. The west lower was pretty much packed except for its north end. They did open the west upper (maybe 700) and we sat up there in the 2nd half. New south bleachers were about 70%. When the folks there stomped in unison, you could feel it.

Really good turnout with plenty of anticipation, especially to observe the QBs. Lots of muttering with every INT or overthrow.

Very festive in the lot with quite a bit of tailgating.

Thanks

Thanks for the info, that's pretty exciting! I was curious about the attendance to see what kind of atmosphere the players got to play in and if that atmosphere would give them any type of preparation for a game day atmosphere, but I guess there's not going to be much that the coaches can do to prepare the players for an 80,000 seat stadium packed full of opposing fans!

I'm from Idaho, but live in Utah so don't get much of a chance to go to any off-season events, but my friend and I both have season tickets and make the drive up for the games! We have seats in the South Endzone and are really excited to see how the new bleachers look and feel.

Shane

When they practice in the stadium they often do so with a recording of crowd noice screaming outa the speakers, which can get pretty loud. It's not quite the same as a real crowd, but it does a pretty good job of giving practice somewhat of a game day atmosphere.

Φ shane3eb, again

One of our "crew" wound up in the new south bleachers and reported that it was good viewing. He's a former BSU player and would definitely say if it wasn't any good.

Hope it works out for you.

What a difference a year makes

Last year all of the talk was "kellen can throw the ball, but will there be anyone to catch the ball". Now the Broncos are loaded. I agree with razor, tight ends need to figure into any conversation about the passing game. There will be lots of options if anyone can find the open receiver.

Tight ends...

...coming tomorrow....and yes, they will be a big part of the pass game this year.

Im excited for the TEs

So many are unique in that it now it looks they can all mostly catch AND block, Derek Schumann style. When many of us got together at the Ram we really felt it was a solid group TE group all around. The scrimmage reinforced this. Can't wait to see Chadds write-up tomorrow.

Kellen is a little closer

to making the roster.

http://www.mlive.com/lions/index.ssf/2012/08/detroit_lions_release_qb_rj_ar.html

Φ How many

of the 32 teams go with just 2 QBs? Don't nearly all carry 3?

Recall reading or hearing something about the Lions' intent to carry only 2, but not positive. That article seems to imply 2.

3rd QB

Only 6 of 32 teams carried 2 QB's last year. That number is going to rise in the next few years because the 'Third Quarterback Rule' was abolished that gave a free roster spot for teams to carry a 3rd QB. Last year they just increased the active roster from 45 to 46, but seems like a few teams would rather use that extra roster spot elsewhere.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_quarterback_rule

Φ Good one

thanks

Fragile Kellen

I am genuinely worried about Kellen's ability to survive NFL hits. This kid is small and unaccustumed to getting hit. He is talented, but a bit on the delicate side.

I know Freddie

And there were all those games he missed in college..............

Um, sure

Interesting. You write that Kellen is "unaccustumed to getting hit" and "a bit on the delicate side".

Honestly, we really don't know how fragile he is. He just LOOKS fragile. Wanna know why we don't know? He rarely was taken down. He has a quick throw, and almost never was sacked. The two worst hits he took in his career were the non-call late hit by Hughes in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl (the play was a dead play because Hughes was already flagged for encroachment), and a late-hit he received after he'd stepped out-of-bounds. Other than that, he never received any big hits.

So, he's obviously learned how to get around his "fragile frame". If a guy is susceptible to injury, he plays to avoid injury. After 4 years at BSU, I think Kellen has mastered that art, and STILL became the winningest, most reliable QB in NCAA History.