Fall Camp Position Preview: Quarterbacks

BOISE, Idaho - As the Boise State University football team prepares for its first season under head coach Chris Petersen during Fall Camp, broncosports.com would like to take the time to preview each position. Today we will look at the quarterbacks.


Bryan Harsin is in his sixth year as a member of the Bronco football staff, after serving as tight ends coach from 2002-05 and as a graduate assistant in 2001. Harsin, who is serving as both the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach this season, is one of only two offensive coordinators in the country under the age of 30.


Starting at quarterback for the third-consecutive season is senior Jared Zabransky (6-2, 203). The Hermiston, Ore., native was named to the Maxwell Award Watch List this preseason, which is awarded to college football’s player of the year. Zabransky ranks fourth on the Bronco all-time lists in career total offense (6,335 yards), career passing yards (5,669 yards) and completions (419). He was also named 11th-best quarterback in the country by The Sporting News heading into this season.


In 2004 Zabransky was named honorable mention All-America by Sports Illustrated and Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year by Collegefootballnews.com. Based on what he has seen this preseason, Harsin believes Zabransky will show the same poise he has in past years as the signal caller for the Broncos.


“I expect just what Zabransky did this (last) scrimmage (Aug. 18) -- make good decisions and hang onto the football -- which he did,” Harsin said. “I expect him to throw the ball, and when its not there to pull it down; find that check-down and run it; get us yards but hang onto the ball -- exactly what he did in the scrimmage. His throws weren’t there, and he ran, got us good plays and made big plays with his legs. Just going out there, managing the game and making good decisions.”


Battling to back-up Zabransky are Taylor Tharp (6-2, 210), Bush Hamdan (6-1, 196), Nick Lomax (6-6, 220), and Mike Coughlin (6-5, 215).


Tharp, a junior, played in eight games last year for the Broncos. The Boulder, Colo., native completed 21-of-37 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown. As a senior in high school Tharp completed 297-of-485 passes (both state records) for 3,973 yards, which ranks second on the single-season all-time Colo. high school football record books.


Taylor has done a good job,” Harsin said. “He’s done well with making decisions, and he’s done well running the show out there -- the game management part of it.”


Hamdan, a sophomore from Gaithersburg, Md., served as a backup last season and completed 3-of-8 passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. In high school Hamdan was a first-team all-conference selection in both football and baseball, as well as first-team all-county in both sports. He was also a member of the Super 44 Prep Team and the all-metro team in Washington, D.C.


Bush Hamdan has really stepped up this fall,” Harsin said. “I’ve been very impressed with him. He’s really starting to figure out the system now and understanding where he needs to go with the ball; what the defense is giving him and taking it.”


Lomax, a four-year letterwinner at Lake Oswego high school in both football and basketball, was named the Boise State Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year last season as a true freshman. The Tualatin, Ore., native was named first-team all-state and first-team all-league after throwing for 2,800 yards with 30 touchdowns and only four interceptions.


Nick Lomax has done the same thing (as Hamdan) with limited opportunities,” Harsin said. “I think he’s really stepped up and made the most of his opportunities.”


The newcomer to the Bronco quarterback staff is Coughlin, a true freshman from San Diego, Calif.  He completed 119-of-195 passes with 25 touchdowns and only three interceptions his senior season, earning Union-Tribune All-CIF, Union-Tribune All-Eastern League Offensive Player of the Year and Union-Tribune All-Eastern League first team honors.


“Mike Coughlin has had very little reps, but I think that for the future, he is going to be very, very good,” Harsin said. “He’s very much into it. He’s a smart kid and a physical talent out there on the field. He has a strong, strong arm...and he’s a leader on the field. I think he makes good decisions. I am excited about him.”


Although Zabransky is the only one of the group with significant experience, Harsin likes what he sees at quarterback, both for now and in the future.


“All those guys are just getting better and better,” Harsin said. “If they keep going in that direction then were going to be just fine.”



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