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 receiving for the Broncos.
Wide Receiver: The Bronco receiving corps will face one of Boise State’s toughest offseason tasks: replacing four of their top five receivers from last year. Boise State lost 52.3 percent of their receptions and 40 percent of their receiving touchdowns from 2008. With the early departure of Jeremy Childs to the NFL, the Broncos also lose their 2008 leader in receptions (72), receiving yards (802) and yards per game (66.8).
Junior Austin Pettis (6-3, 202) is the Broncos’ top returning receiver and is coming off a sophomore season in which he was named Second Team All-WAC. Pettis caught 49 passes for 567 yards and nine touchdowns last year. His nine touchdowns tied for second most in a single season in Boise State history. On his career, Pettis has caught 90 passes for 1031 yards and 15 touchdowns.
The Broncos also return junior Titus Young (5-11, 167), who is expected to be one of Boise State’s most electric playmakers after playing in just three games last season. He caught 10 passes for 168 yards and one touchdown in 2008. As a freshman, Young caught 44 passes for 639 yards and five scores. He led the team in yards per catch (14.5) and caught at least one pass in all 13 games his freshman season.
Sophomore Tyler Shoemaker (6-1, 214) is also expected to be an impact player for the Broncos this season, after catching seven passes for 110 yards as a freshman. Shoemaker caught two touchdown passes, while averaging 15.7 yards per catch. His biggest game of the season came in the season opener against Idaho State when he had touchdown catches of 56 and 17 yards.
Adding depth at the receiver position will be redshirt players Mitch Burroughs (5-9, 190), Chris Potter (5-11, 170) and Tim Ruben (5-10, 209). Burroughs was named Boise State’s Offensive Scout Player of the Year in 2008.
Tight End: Boise State returns its top three tight ends from 2008 with Brockel, junior Tommy Gallarda (6-5, 249) and sophomore Kyle Efaw (6-4, 228). Both Gallarda and Efaw played in all 13 games last season for the Broncos, serving as blocking and receiving threats for the Boise State offense.
Gallarda finished the year with six receptions for 65 yards and two touchdowns. His longest reception of the season was a 16-yard touchdown catch against Fresno State. Efaw caught 17 passes in 2008, tallying 262 receiving yards. He averaged 15.4 yards per catch and 20.2 receiving yards per game. His longest reception of the season was for 34 yards and came in Boise State’s win at Oregon.
| Position Previews|
| Receivers & Tight Ends|
| Offensive Line|| March 30|
| Defensive Line|| April 2|
|Linebackers|| April 6|
|Secondary|| April 13|
| Special Teams|| April 16|