We’re very fortunate to have the SB Nation network of team sites to work with during game weeks. This week we’re chatting with Russ Wood, a member over at One Bronco Nation Under God, SBN’s Boise State blog. We talk about the Broncos’ new quarterback, how they expect to bounce back from injuries and graduation last season, and statues.
TN: Brett Rypien is gone so, uhhh, who’s going to start at quarterback for the Broncos? In your opinion, who should be starting? It’s not gonna be Mellen Koore is it?
OBNUG: Well, it looks like you’re onto us, so we’ll let the Callas Dowboys have their Coffensive Ordinator back. But hey, you’re kinda in luck! There is some very recent, credible speculation that true freshman Hank Bachmeier is going to be the person behind center on opening night. I personally was thinking Chase Cord (who has some experience at this level) would get the nod, but I trust the coaches are going to pick the right person for the job.
TN: Boise State dealt with a ton of injuries last season, especially on defense, and yet somehow not only weathered the storm but were also still very good. It appears that the Broncos are going to deal with a different sort of challenge this season - how will they replace the offensive production from Mattison, Modster, and Richardson, and the defensive production of Frazier, Maeva, and Miles?
OBNUG: Injuries. Ugh. You’re right about that. It seems like anytime someone took the crown of “leading tackler” on the defense, they would be out for the season. Things like that just don’t happen, and I’m rapping frenetically on a tree right now.
As far as replacing our offensive stars, I’m not so worried about that. Mattison was only the latest in a string of running backs who had rushed over 1,000 yards for Boise State in the last 10 seasons (even in years where we had multiple running backs). Andrew Van Buren seems ready to stepmom up (and even though I could fix the autocorrect in that last sentence, I choose not to because somehow that sounds more intimidating). But the starter could also be Robert Mahone, who is a very talented back as well.
We have a number of talented receivers coming into their own, but I’d say the most exciting is John Hightower. Let your coaches know they totally don’t need to worry about him taking a handoff.
Defensively, we still have Curtis Weaver, who seems to find his way into the backfield a lot. Also, I expect linebackers Sam Whitney and Riley Whimpey to be a run-stopping force on the inside.
TN: If you could guarantee a win against anyone on Boise State’s schedule this year, who would it be and why?
OBNUG: Oh, you’re going to let me be the one to jinx our team? Well, then ‘d better play it safe and go with Portland State or San Jose State. These should be pretty easy games, but I believe the Broncos will prepare for them like every other team they play.
TN: Is blue really your favorite color? From way over here when we first heard about it the Blue Field seemed like a novelty. All this time later, now that Boise State is an established and respected factor in college football, is it still a novelty or more of a signature? If you had the chance to go back to a natural green, would you? And if you had to paint it any other color, which color would you choose?
OBNUG: We get asked about our turf a lot. Honestly, the turf bothers me about as much as watching a tennis match on blue courts or looking at a picture of the Caribbean. Some folks would have you believe our athletic director was personally pouring bleach into their eyes. Others complain that we put teams at a disadvantage when we wear blue uniforms and “blend in,” forgetting that the players see the field from an eye-level perspective (and you never seem to hear any complaints about Michigan State or Oregon wearing green). I don’t know...haters wanna hate?
Here’s an interesting fact, though: Boise State owns the patent on non-traditionally painted turf, so if anyone else wants to do it, they have to get Boise State’s permission first.
To answer your last question: I’d paint a bunch of blue-clad football players on the turf, so that we have even more camoflauge.
TN: Does Boise State have a statue of anyone on campus from the football program? If you were in charge of a new statue project, who would you choose to build a statue of and can you draw us a picture of what it would look like? It’s Ian Johnson proposing, right?
OBNUG: Legendary Boise State coach Lyle Smith was honored with a statue a few years ago. He had an incredible record of 156-25-6 as a coach and led the Broncos to two national championships (once as a Junior College and once as Division I-AA). If I were to put up another statue, it could only be this (see attached). When you walk through the rainbows, all your wishes come true.
TN: Same question you asked me back to you - on a scale of Snickers (great) to Skittles (awful), how do you feel about Boise State’s chances in this game? Give us a score prediction.
OBNUG: I’d have to say we have Butterfingers chances, and not just because our WR Akilian Butler is returning punts again (spoiler: he’s not). Butterfingers seems like a great candy bar to begin with, but then you realize afterward that the majority of it is stuck in your molars, giving you cavities as you sleep. So it’s an apprehensive optimism I have for this game, but there’s always a chance for regret after the fact. There are too many unknowns for me to say we’ll win for sure, but Coach Harsin usually gets his teams ready, so we’ll see. I’m going with the Broncos in a close, but error-filled opener: 17-14