Boise State RB D.J. Harper chases 1,000-yard mark; RBs coach says Doug Martin 'has not surprised me one bit' with NFL success

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

Boise State senior tailback D.J. Harper hopes to combine a personal milestone with some program history Saturday afternoon in Reno.

Harper needs 65 rushing yards to reach the 1,000-yard mark. It would be the fourth straight season that a Bronco accomplished that feat but a first for Harper.

“It’s kind of in the back of my mind,” Harper said. “I want to put the team first. … Hopefully we come out with the W, win the Mountain West and I can accomplish my own personal goal as well.”

Harper averages 5.0 yards per carry, slightly better than Doug Martin’s 4.9 last year as the featured back. He also has played every game after injuries cut into his last three seasons.

Harper has scored 15 touchdowns — 11 more than any other Bronco — and is tied for fourth on the team with 19 catches.

“My biggest thing was obviously playing a full season,” Harper said. “I haven’t been able to do that the past few years. I feel like personally I’ve played well, both in the run game as well as in pass protection. One of my goals was to increase my knowledge of the offense.”

Said running backs coach Keith Bhonapha: “D.J. has done everything we’ve asked him to do. He’s definitely run hard, he’s definitely made the plays we need him to make. I’m happy about his progress and what he’s been able to contribute this year.”

•••

I have a story tomorrow on the contributions the Broncos have received from first-year college football players this season. One of the best has been redshirt freshman tailback Jay Ajayi, who has rushed for 490 yards and four TDs at a 7.1-yards-per-carry clip.

“The biggest thing that’s impressed me with Jay is him being able to come in there and be a smart guy in pass protection,” Bhonapha said. “That’s one of the hard things when you’re dealing with a young running back. Jay is really a smart guy and has figured it out. When you talk about him running the ball, being able to use his vision and be physical and make guys miss has been very impressive. The guy has a bright future ahead of him.”

•••

Bhonapha has enjoyed seeing the success of former Boise State tailback Doug Martin, one of the most productive players in the NFL as a rookie with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Martin has rushed for 1,050 yards (4.8 yards per carry) and nine touchdowns and caught 29 passes for 332 yards (11.4 yards per catch) and one TD.

He has 1,382 yards from scrimmage, which trails only Adrian Peterson of the Vikings (1,421).

“Doug has not surprised me one bit,” Bhonapha said. “And I say that in a good way. We knew the potential that that guy had — the way he battled day after day, the way he would practice, the way he would play the game. Everybody, away from the football part of it, is so excited because of how good of a guy he is.”

Bhonapha checks Martin’s stats on the Internet every week when he isn’t able to watch the game and has spoken to Martin a handful of times.

“He’s having fun,” he said. “He’s getting everything that he’s worked for. A lot of people would look at his situation and say he’s lucky. That guy has worked for everything he’s got — and that’s good to see.”

•••

Redshirt freshman safety Dillon Lukehart has picked up more snaps with the defense over the past month and has emerged as another solid player in the freshman class.

He has played extensively on special teams all year.

“It’s been awesome,” he said. “It’s been an honor, growing up watching the Broncos and dreaming of playing on the blue turf.”

Lukehart plays the strong safety position, where Jeremy Ioane starts. Lukehart moved there late last year after starting his career as a linebacker.

“It’s a great position,” he said. “I love it. … I’m settling down. I feel a lot more comfortable the second half of the season than I did the first half. I feel like I’ve come a long way mentally.”

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Coach Bhonapha

is building a nice resume with the running backs being recognized as complete, all-around backs. Oops, let's keep this low-key.

Well now

http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/blog/jeremy-fowler/21190809/big-east-could-be-looking-west-for-next-team

Φ I'm thinking

Fresno State. They aren't going to mess with BYU any longer, unless BYU repents.

I think BYU is hoping the Pac 12 or Big 12 come calling

....in the next few years. BYU wants control over their tv rights but that wont work in those two conferences.

If its Fresno, does DeRuyter stay long enough to coach in the Big East? Hes done a remarkable job there and I would think he would be sought after pretty hard.

JL, I've read several

sources that have made it clear the PAC will not vote BYU in.

I can agree with that...

That means theres really only two options and only one I see viable long-term. Stay Indy and hope an invite from the Big 12 comes.

BYU is completely irrelevant.

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Apple users, run the Gig of RAM your PC needs to have and read the dumb tech white papers, wrinkle your forehead and buy more food and toilet paper with the difference. The internet is a piece of junk anyway and your cats know this.

Sure they are

Thats why ESPN pays them millions to broadcast games almost every week. They may not be national contenders but they have a solid program and a huge fan base.

ESPN hasn't been relevant since they showed caber throwing.

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Apple users, run the Gig of RAM your PC needs to have and read the dumb tech white papers, wrinkle your forehead and buy more food and toilet paper with the difference. The internet is a piece of junk anyway and your cats know this.

Doug Martin is the Real Deal and GOOD FOR HIM, all of us too!

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Nothing happened and what if it did?

Poll Questions for all

A. Are you going to travel to Bronco away games during the 2013 season?

B. If so, which ones/locations/cities?

C. Are you going to travel to a Big Bowl game at the end of the 2013 season?

D. If you are not traveling to Bronco away games, why?

1. Lack of disposable income,

2. Job/time constraints,

3. competing interests, with BSU Football being a Saturday TV event,

4. Other

Serious responses, please.

As we can all plainly see

there is not a lot of interest from Bronco or CFB Fans for actually travelling to Bronco away games during the 2013 season after BSU joins the Big East.

If there was a lot of interest then there would be more responses to the poll questions.

So far only 4 people have responded to the same poll questions (another thread, these blogs), 3 Vandals and 1 Bronco, all 4 of which have indicated they will not travel to Bronco away games when BSU joins the Big East conference due to economic/financial reasons (lack of discretionary cash)

It is very interesting the President Kustra believes Bronco Fans will 'travel well' to attend BSU's away games East of the Mississippi River after the Broncos join the Big East for the 2013 season.

Maybe President Kustra does not really understand how hollow Bronco Nation really is, in terms of members of Bronco Nation, actually having the discretionary cash to really attend Bronco games, either away or at Bronco Stadium.

The poor economy is having an impact on Bronco Nation and President Kustra needs to realize this and how fragile Bronco Nation really is, and how it is on the verge of implosion, any week now?

Go Broncos.

VNDL

BAA Member # 63799

I live on benefits and SLEEP IN WEEKENDS.

Did you ask this twice or was my last answer killed?

PS VNDL did drive one of those Mitsubishi-built SUVs Dodge sold, editor, and he often visited someone near the former foster home on SW 1st St I lived in in 1984.

Don't question me, I'm not babbling and THAT is becoming abundant around here lately.

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Nothing happened and what if it did?