Spring Position Previews: Backfield

    Boise State heads into the 2009 football season with the unique challenge of trying to improve upon its near perfection in 2008. The Broncos fell just two points shy of finishing last year undefeated after a 17-16 loss to TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl. The Broncos ended the year 12-1, 8-0 in Western Athletic Conference action. Most importantly, however, Boise State achieved its primary goal of reclaiming the WAC title and winning its sixth conference championship in seven years.
    Head Coach Chris Petersen will try and capture his third WAC championship since taking over the program in 2006. Petersen enters his fourth season as the Broncos’ head coach. He is 35-4 with a 23-1 record against WAC Opponents.
    Boise State returns a young but experienced team in 2009, with 14 returning starters and 39 remaining lettermen on the roster. The Broncos return six starters on offense, six on defense and two on special teams.  Of those 14 returning starters, seven are under classmen and only one is a senior.
     Today's Spring preview will feature an in-depth look at the backfield for the Broncos.


     Quarterback: For the first time in three years, Boise State will prepare for the upcoming season with a clear No. 1 signal caller. Kellen Moore (6-0, 187) enters the off season coming off the most successful freshman campaign of any quarterback in Boise State history.  
     Moore, who became the first freshman QB in school history to start a season opener, was named Second-Team All-WAC and WAC Freshman of the Year after starting all 13 games in 2008. He completed 281-of-405 passes with 25 touchdown throws and just 10 interceptions. Moore finished the season with a 69.4 completion percentage and a 157.12 efficiency rating, which ranked No. 12 nationally.
     The Broncos also return two backups from last season in junior Michael Coughlin (6-5, 213) and freshman Drew Hawkins (6-2, 175). Coughlin saw action in six games last year, completing 3-of-5 passes with one touchdown and no interceptions. Hawkins spent last season redshirting on the Boise State scout team.



     Tailback: Boise State will look to a stable of young running backs to fill the void left by the graduation of Ian Johnson, Boise State’s second all-time leading rusher. The Broncos will particularly need to replace Johnson’s scoring production if they are to keep a balanced offensive attack. Johnson finished his career with the most rushing touchdowns (58) in WAC and school history.
     The Broncos do return nearly half (49.7 percent) of their rushing output from 2008 with juniors Jeremy Avery (5-9, 168) and D.J. Harper (5-9, 192), and sophomore Doug Martin (5-10, 200).
     Avery was the team’s second leading rusher last season, playing in all 13 games and carrying the football 111 times for 614 yards. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry and 47.2 yards per game. Avery also scored four rushing touchdowns. He broke a school record for single-game yards per carry (14.2 ypc) in the Broncos’ win at Idaho. He has also proved to be a threat as a receiver, catching 16 passes out of the backfield last season for 226 yards.
     Harper finished 2008 as Boise State’s third leading rusher, tallying 265 yards on 55 carries. He played in all 13 games, averaging 20.4 rushing yards per game. Harper also scored four touchdowns on the year. He caught four passes for 37 yards.
Martin played the most sparing minutes of the three at running back, seeing most of his action on special teams. He did carry the football 24 times for 107 yards. Martin averaged 4.5 yards per carry on the season.
     The Broncos will also look for contributions from junior Jarvis Hodge (5-9, 199) and freshman Matt Kaiserman (6-0, 186). Hodge appeared in eight games last year, carrying the ball 12 times for 46 yards. Kaiserman redshirted last season for the Broncos.


   Fullback: For the third consecutive season Boise State’s running game will be anchored by senior Richie Brockel (6-2, 248), who has continued to provide versatility at the fullback position. Throughout his career Brockel has been utilized as both a fullback and tight end.
     Brockel scored four touchdowns last season (two rushing, two receiving) and caught 10 passes for 101 yards. He was also a key blocker in the Bronco rushing attack that was fourth in the WAC with 152.3 yards per game and scored 28 rushing touchdowns.
     Sophomore Dan Paul (6-0, 229) will serve as Brockel’s primary backup after appearing in 12 games last season. Paul saw most of his action on special teams and as a blocking back in 2008. He started his freshman season as a linebacker, but switched to fullback mid-year.


 Position Previews
 Receivers & Tight Ends
 Offensive Line
 March 30
 Defensive Line
 April 2
 Linebackers April 6
 Secondary April 13
 Special Teams
 April 16


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