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 special teams for the Broncos.
Kickers: For the third consecutive season, kicking duties at Boise State will rest on the toe of junior Kyle Brotzman (5-10, 179). Brotzman was named Boise State’s co-Special Teams Player of the Year in 2008 after making all 50 of his point after attempts and 17-of-26 field goal tries (65.4 percent). He has never missed a PAT during his collegiate career (116) and has made 75 percent of his career field goal attempts.
Backing up Brotzman this season will be freshman Jimmy Pavel (5-9, 218), who redshirted for the Broncos last year.
Punters: Brotzman will be called upon to handle some of the punting duties as well this season, after averaging 45.3 yards per punt in 2008. He recorded 37 punts on the season for 1,673 yards. Brotzman downed 14 punts inside the opposition’s 20-yard line as well. His career long is 75 yards.
Competing for playing time will be junior Brad Elkin (6-2, 202), who punted 10 times in four games last year for the Broncos. Elkin averaged 40.2 yards per punt in 2008.
Snappers: Freshman James Crawford (6-1, 200) will be called upon to handle all of Boise State’s special teams snapping duties. Crawford redshirted during the 2008 season.
Kick Returners: Boise State returns its top two kick returners from 2008 in Avery and Martin. Avery averaged 23.9 yards per kick return last season with a long of 42 yards. Martin returned 10 kicks on the season for 223 yards. Taylor is also expected to return some kickoffs this season, although he didn’t record any kick returns for the Broncos last year.
Punt Returners: Wilson will try and duplicate the success he had last season as a big-play punt returner for the Broncos. He was named Second Team All-WAC after averaging 14.2 yards per return with three punt returns for touchdowns. Wilson finished the season with the most punt return touchdowns in the country, while also ranking 12th in the nation for punt return average.
Burroughs and Chris Potter are also expected to return punts for the Broncos this season.
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