BOISE, Idaho The staple of every elite college football team is depth and although Boise State takes pride in having multiple players at each position, the one time the offensive line grew thin in 2006 it was a blessing in disguise.
The always-apparent concern with all football teams is the possibility of injury and for the 2006 Boise State football team it was no different. At the end of the 2006 Fall Camp the Boise State coaches realized the team lacked depth at the offensive tackle positions and would need to make a change to shore up this weakness on the team. The coaches’ solution was to move defensive lineman Dan Gore to the offensive line.
Gore, a 6’5”, 302 lbs. senior from Prosser, Wash., had been recruited out of high school to play offensive line by all interested colleges expect Boise State, who pursued Gore as a defensive lineman. Gore signed with Boise State, after a recruiting battle from a variety of northwest schools. He was a back up defensive tackle during his freshman and sophomore seasons in which he recorded three tackles per season. Then the change came.
On the last day of Fall Camp, Gore was summoned into the office of defensive line coach Pete Kwiatkowski office. Coach Kwiatkowski informed Gore that he would be moving to the offensive side of the ball. The move did not surprise Gore, who welcomed the change.
After only practicing at the right tackle position for two days, Gore was thrust into the 2006 Fall Scrimmage for his first collegiate experience on the offensive line. “I had to get a lot of help from the guards that play next to me, mostly Jeff Biedermann,” Gore said. “He really got me through last season.”
Gore remained at offensive tackle throughout the 2006 season making appearances in fourth quarters of multiple games as he continued to improve his footwork and other offensive line skills. Moving from the defensive side of the ball also aided in Gore in possessing skills not common to most offensive linemen.
“He is very, very good with his hands,” offensive line coach Scott Huff said. “Like most defensive linemen he is a natural striker which he does well in both the running and passing game.”
With a year of experience on the offensive line, Gore entered his first Fall Camp ready to establish himself as a key member of the line.
“He is getting better everyday and he will definitely be in the mix somewhere,” said Huff.
Gore is attempting to become the fifth member of a starting offensive line that returns four starters from the undefeated 2006 team.
Ryan Clady, a second-team SI.com All-American and first-team All-Western Athletic Conference performer, anchors the veteran group. The 6’6”, 317 lbs. junior left tackle, has started 24 of 26 career games at Boise State and is on numerous preseason watch lists including the ones for the Outland and Lombardi awards.
Tad Miller, 6’4”, 296 lbs. senior has started all 38 games in his career at left guard. He is the only member of the offensive line to start at the same position each game of his career. He was named to the preseason All-WAC team for the 2007 season.
Jeff Cavender, 6’2”, 287 lbs., is slated to take over at center for the departed Jadon Dailey. Cavender will be making the transition from right guard where he started all 13 games for the Broncos in 2006. In his career, Cavender has started 37 straight games between center, right guard and right tackle. The Sporting News has also named Cavender to the preseason All-WAC team.
Andrew Woodruff, 6’3”, 331 lbs., will also be making a position switch most likely to right guard. He started 12 of 13 games last season at the right tackles position for the Broncos in 2006.
Pete Cavender, 6’2”, 293 lbs., missed all of the 2006 season with an injury he suffered in summer conditioning, now the former starter returns to an offensive line already loaded with talent. He started nine games during the 2005 season and should provide Boise State with additional insurance.
Coach Huff expressed his opinion of the progress of the line during the first days of Fall Camp. “They need to start gelling. In the spring we didn’t have all five starters out there at one time. We are really close, the guys just have to start gelling and again we will be a productive unit, we have to be a productive unit.”
The Boise State offensive line will be a key factor for the Broncos as they seek their sixth straight WAC Championship.
“If you don’t have a good offensive line you won’t have a good football team,” coach Huff said. “These guys are taking pride in that and working to get better everyday.”