Youth doesn't always equal inexperience, which is exactly the case with the Bronco offensive line this season. Despite entering 2010 with six underclassmen expected to be in the mix for playing time, Boise State will also have at least six players competing for playing time that saw action in at least 10 games last fall.
The Broncos return almost the entire o-line unit from 2009 that led the nation's highest scoring offense (42.21 ppg). The offensive line also paved the way for an offensive attack that was 10th nationally in total offense (450.21); with passing and rushing games that both ranked in the top-30 in the country. Most impressively, however, the Boise State o-line allowed the fewest quarterback sacks (5) of any team in the nation.
This season there will be a great deal of competition for playing time on the offensive line, starting with a pair of underclassmen at left tackle. Sophomore Faraji Wright (6-3, 295) and freshman Charles Leno Jr. (6-3, 278) are expected to battle for the starting spot despite having the least amount of game experience on this year's offensive line. Wright played in just four games last year as a freshman, while Leno redshirted his first season at Boise State.
Helping to solidify the left side of the offensive line will be junior Nate Potter (6-6, 297), who was a first team All-WAC performer at offensive tackle as a sophomore. Potter played in 13 games last season but really started to come on strong late; starting the last nine games of the season. This spring Potter was moved to guard and is expected to stay there in the fall. He will likely be backed up by senior Matt Slater (6-4, 285), who also played in 13 games last year. Slater started the first five games of the 2009 season at guard.
At center Boise State is planning on much more depth than in years past as they return a pair of linemen that will be fighting for the starting center spot in the fall. The Broncos return junior Thomas Byrd (5-11, 279), who started every game at center for Boise State the past two seasons. Byrd will be battling with sophomore Joe Kellogg (6-2, 304) for the starting nod, however, after Kellogg showed an impressive transition from guard to center this offseason. Kellogg saw action in 10 games at guard as a freshman, but is being moved to focus solely on center this season.
The right side of the offensive line will also be balanced by a combination of youth and experience, starting with right guard. Senior Will Lawrence (6-2, 300) returns as the starter at right guard having started all 14 games for the Broncos as a junior. Sophomore Bronson Durrant (6-3, 279) is expected to provide depth at right guard as he saw limited action in five games as a reserve lineman in 2009.
Rounding out the group of o-lineman will be a pair of sophomores at right tackle in Brenel Myers (6-2, 266) and Michael Ames (6-4, 277). Ames returns the most starting experience, but Myers was extremely impressive late last season. Despite playing in just six games last year, he did earn his second start of the season in the Fiesta Bowl. Ames, meanwhile, played in 10 games with eight starts under his belt as a freshman.