Tailback - There aren’t many doubts about who will get the bulk of the work at tailback for the Broncos. All-America and Heisman Trophy candidate Ian Johnson returns for his junior season after one of the most productive seasons in school history. Johnson (5-1l, 195) led the country in scoring with 25 touchdowns and finished second in the nation averaging 142.8 yards per game. His 1,713 rushing yards set a new school record and he was named to a number of All-America teams and finished in the top 10 in Heisman voting.
Backing up Johnson could be a number of players. Vinny Perretta (5-9, 196) will continue to get carries in the backfield, but he should start at wide receiver. Bronco coaches expect to use the versatility that saw Perretta catch two touchdown passes, score three rushing touchdowns and pass for a touchdown (in overtime against Oklahoma) last season.
Redshirt freshman Jeremy Avery (5-9, 173) had a great spring and enters the spring as a solid number-two option behind Johnson. Avery showed explosiveness in spring drills and impressed coaches with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
Jarvis Hodge (5-9, 195) is the third tailback heading into the season after participating in spring drills.
Two true freshmen could make a run at playing time with coaches expecting at least one of them to play during the season. D.J. Harper (5-10, 185) and Doug Martin (5-10, 193) both had impressive high school careers. Harper, from Houston, Texas, rushed for 1,570 yards and 21 touchdowns, while catching 18 passes for 160 yards as a senior at Cypress High School. Martin, from Stockton, Calif., gained 1,234 yards and scored 14 touchdowns, while catching 10 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown at Saint Mary’s High School.
Fullback - The Broncos must replace bruising Brad Lau at fullback, but the Broncos boast experience at that position. A number of the Boise State tight ends can double as fullbacks, while Boise State has a pair of players who have experience at the position.
Senior Michael Lose (5-10, 229) heads into the fall at the number one spot on the depth chart. Lose has limited playing time in his four seasons with the Broncos.
Sophomore Andy Silsby (5-11, 206) will compete for playing time as well.
A pair of tough blocking tight ends could handle most of Boise State’s fullback play. Senior Ryan Putnam (6-2, 248) and sophomore Richie Brockel (6-2, 249) both have the ability to move off the line of scrimmage and into the backfield.