QB Jared Zabransky

2004 Statistics

Coach: Dan Hawkins
44-7, 4 years
2004 Record: 11-1
at UTEP WON 47-31
SMU WON 38-20
at Tulsa WON 45-42
at San Jose State WON 56-49
at Nevada WON 58-21
vs. Louisville LOST 40-44

2004 Final Rankings
AP-12, Coaches-13, BCS-9

2005 Outlook

Head coach Dan Hawkins and OC Chris Petersen have used their weapons well enough to have won 39 of their last 42, and it is also a team that has gone undefeated in the W.A.C. for THREE straight years (24-0). OK, it is the WAC, but still…The numbers and superlatives could be listed til the potatoes are planted (our third reference to their proud regional product), but suffice to say that (maybe) one opponent per campaign has even challenge this team of late. Bowl selection committees have matched them up well enough the last two years such that the Broncos ran into true tests, meaning we know what they do if/when the foe is as good as them - they hit hard and compete at the highest of team levels. Character has therefore been established, but just how much will be pivotal when teams that are better than BSU invite the Broncos to their homes. Still, the classic arguments of why a strong 8-0 WAC squad isn't as good as other comparable major-conferenced teams fail to hold water when applied now to BSU.

The Bronco running game will again rank (as) high(er) as/than the aerial assault. This spells doom for opposing defenses, most of whom already had demoralized kids when just BSU's predictable (but unstoppable) passing team beat them. Offense is an afterthought, where as the defense will have their work cut out to overcome usual size issues. But what the defense lacks in size, they well make up for in group effort.

If you can even call it luck, Boise State plays their major opponents (except Fresno) in September - you see, they match up worse with larger teams when these opponents already have their conference-tested heads-of-steam going (Louisville). Boise State has gotten better each successive season (except in 2001), and with Utah already having broken the BCS cherry, this year's expectations, though still modest and realistic, are the biggest ever (Georgia and Bowling Green). Two losses cannot be looked upon poorly when State goes the "Bobby Bowden road" - scheduling seemingly insurmountable foes away from Boise so as to make a strong program even better. This is the first step to any "next steps", and elevating the program via this tough, longterm approach gets our respect.

Like other 18-22 year olds, this team really can only beat themselves this way. But the continuity of last season's momentum/confidence means this won't likely happen no matter what the outcomes. These kids know they are winners already. So, when you see blue-turfed Bronco Stadium as you flip through Saturday's late-night TV lineup(s), stop to watch what is now - excepting Southern Cal - the best program west of the Rockies.

Projected 2005 record: 10-2
QB - 4 DL - 4
RB - 3.5 LB - 4
WR - 2.5 DB - 2
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: Jared Zabranskyi, 327-206-12, 2927 yds., 16 TD

Rushing: Lee Marks, 189 att., 968 yds., 2 TD

Receiving: Drisan James, 40 rec., 568 yds., 1 TD

Scoring: Jon Helmandollar, 14 TD, 84 pts.

Punting: Kyle Stringer, 38 punts, 43.9 avg.

Kicking: None

Tackles: Korey Hall, 85 tot., 39 solo

Sacks: Korey Hall, 4 sacks

Interceptions: Gerald Alexander, 5 for 50 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Quinton Jones, 21 ret., 21.0 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Austin Smith, 20 ret., 12.2 avg., 0 TD


LB Korey Hall
OFFENSE: T.J. Acree-WR, Lawrence Bady-WR, Andy Weldon-TE, Klayton Adams-C, M.J. Ansel-OG, Tyler Jones-K
DEFENSE: Julius Roberts-DE, Andy Avalos-WLB, Gabe Franklin-CB, Chris Carr-ROV, Deshan Cabaong-FS

Jared Zabransky returns as the starting quarterback for his junior year. His ability to pass is decent, but his leadership and offensive management are the biggest reasons Zabransky took BSU to an undefeated regular season, something his predecessor couldn't do. Also Boise State's second leading rusher with 326 yards (including an 85 yard TD run), the approach with Zabransky brings the balance this offense lacked that makes it now unstoppable, not just a yardage-gainer (though under Zabransky, the offensive production went up, too). A QB like Zabransky can take BSU to that next national level - someone who manages a game well and breaks the "We have to throw first here in the WAC" mentality. Backing up Zabransky will be sophomore Taylor Tharp and RS freshman Bush Hamdan. Tharp is exactly what the Broncos require in a QB for passing needs (state record-setter in Boulder prep) and leadership. Hamdan is a dual threat and has an arm, but isn't as far along as Tharp. Tharp will be the first to come in of the two. Nick Lomax (son of NFL pro bowl QB Neil Lomax) will be red-shirted as a true freshman, so Legedu Naanee, who asked to be switched to the WR position midway through last season, could always play QB in an emergency.

Running Back
Boise State employed a "tailback by committee" approach last year with as many as eight different backs getting significant carries. This worked well, and the unknown variables each new RB brings when inserted is a compliment to the fresh legs supplied into the fourth. This trend should continue - "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", we say here. Only one guy for Boise State had three times more carries than the next RB, namely darting senior tailback Lee Marks. Marks' 5.1 yards per carry clip shows surprising resilience to go with such a small stature. Marks, a converted-CB, often gets lost behind his blockers and he uses that to his advantage. Boise State will almost certainly continue to run this way again with so many TBs returning. Backing Marks will be senior (former walk-on) Jeff Carpenter. Senior Antwuan Carter is the same compact, 5'9", 205lb type of back as Carpenter, changing the pace by punishing defenders in ways Marks doesn't. Carpenter seems to have the softer hands, so he's to see the more reps of the two. Scat-type Quinton Jones averaged a whopping 9.1 yards per his 30 tries. However, Jones has asked to (and will) play CB in addition to occasional carries and lining up as a wideout. Jon Helmandollar, a FB/TB match-up nightmare, had more rushing TDs than any back as he averaged 5.0 yards per clip (despite the fact that most of his 46 carries came in goal line situations). And there is quality depth at FB, too (Brad Lau often starts). What once was a WR's dream team now seems to have shifted to these players - and others we couldn't list due to space limitations.

The real question is - who will be the other starting WR opposite of junior Drisan James? One possibility is Jerard Rabb, an outstanding J.C.-transfer named first-team (J.C.) Gridwire all-American last fall. Rabb has the size so often lacking in the Potato Belt teams (speedy too). Also a large-bodied JUCO-transfer, former-prep 400 meter champ (senior) Chrisean Christopher will again impact the unit. Cole Clasen, a senior transfer from Oregon State (to be a starter last fall before transferring), will also figure in the mix. Vinnie Perretta, a walk-on last fall who earned himself an instant scholarship, exemplifies how deep this unit goes and its work ethic. Incoming Jeremy Childs is the cherry on top of BSU's most anticipated corps in years.

Tight End
Junior TE Derek Schouman earned the starting TE spot as a true freshman, and he has impressed ever since. Schouman was fourth in receptions (even though out for five games), but his 18.9 yards per catch is a warning to foes about just how far they are willing to throw (to) him downfield. Junior Sherm Blaser is also smallish and, too, will be sent out far to occupy LBs/safeties, and Sophomore Ryan Putnam represents the other eager TEs with his larger size and plow-ahead blocking abilities.

Offensive Line
This may just be their best line ever, and that's saying a lot with respect to the last three one-loss bunches. Leading the troupes is certain-NFL-prospect Daryn Colledge at LT, a monster who holds all BSU weight-room marks as well as the best-ever vertical leap for any lineman (35.5"). Sophs Tad Miller (LG) and Jeff Cavender (RT) represent the surge of svelte, mobile spud-munchers who fit this scheme perfectly (Jeff's twin brother Pete has also started). Coaches have brought in preseason Honorable Mention (J.C.) all-American center Jadon Daily at center. The quality that accompanies the youth means this unit's upside is nothing nice for foes hoping to find some (literal) gaps.

With seven starters back from the fourth-best offense in the nation, expect even more. Amusingly true, they will continue to rely on their running attack and throw the occasional pass (62% runs vs. 38% passes). The Boise State offense has led the nation in scoring in three of the last five seasons (and No.2 the other two), and their newfound balance makes for dimensions most foes never come close to stopping. The Liberty Bowl showed how they get the most out of their efforts, scoring 40 points with only 284 yards against the nation's 15th-best defense. There's no reason to expect any changes or different results. Boise State's offense will score quickly when needed, but is also now capable of grinding and chewing clock (+5:28 advantage per game). Listing all of the possible wrinkles BSU employs would waste space, so realizing the many ways the Broncos beat opponents can only be done by waiting to see just what Dan Hawkins and offensive coordinator Chris Petersen create this time around. This is college football at its finest - a team approach means unlimited potential.


OT Daryn Colledge


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Jared Zabransky-Jr (6-2, 203) Taylor Tharp-So (6-2, 205)
Bush Hamdan-Fr (6-1, 187)
FB Brad Lau-Jr (5-11, 255) Jon Helmandollar-So (5-11, 227)
TB Lee Marks-Sr (5-7, 181) Jeff Carpenter-Sr (5-9, 197)
Antwaun Carter-Sr (5-7, 214)
WR Cole Clasen-Sr (5-8, 190) Josh Smith-Sr (5-11, 182)
Jerard Rabb-So (6-2, 198)
WR Drisan James-Jr (5-11, 187) Legedu Naanee-Jr (6-2, 230)
Chrisean Christopher-Sr (6-0, 176)
TE Derek Schouman-Jr (6-2, 211) Sherm Blaser-Jr (6-3, 240)
OT Daryn Colledge-Sr (6-5, 298) Ryan Clady-Fr (6-6, 312)
OG Tad Miller-So (6-4, 303) Tony Volponi-Jr (6-4, 299)
C Joe Weigand-Jr (6-1, 286) Jadon Dailey-Jr (5-11, 288)
Jeff Biederman-So (6-3, 282)
OG Pete Cavender-So (6-2, 289) Andrew Woodruff-Fr (6-3, 324)
OT Jeff Cavender-So (6-2, 287) Ryan Keating-Jr (6-4, 318)
K Kyle Stringer-Jr (5-8, 190) Jameson Davis-Fr (5-9, 191)



Defensive Line
The line will once again concentrate primarily on stopping the run, rather than rushing the passer. Boise State spent much of '04 in the nation's top five for rushing defense (Louisville's 329 upped their average per game over 25 yards for a 10th-ranked effort by the end). The line is coached to plug the running lanes first and worry about the pass second (only 28 sacks, and only 27 in '03). However the addition of J.C.-transfers Dennis Ellis (4.65-sec 40, 18.5 sacks, first-team J.C. all-American) and savvy Tim Volk will change/improve/balance this approach. Three returning starters mean there is continuity and technique in this gelled, accomplished group. The line has been fairly small in the past, comparatively speaking to major I-A foes, but they accordingly well make up for such with quickness and team play. Georgia will test these principles right off.

The loss of Andy Avalos will be huge, but the return of two starters in all-WAC Korey Hall (MIKE) and former walk-on Colt Brooks (SAM) will equal a strong effort here. Both now juniors, their thorough approaches mean foes perceive no weaknesses. The question is who will replace Andy Avalos (WILL). Josh Bean (Calgary, Alberta) and weight room LB-champ Jared Hunter will vie for the starting spot with long time backup, senior Chris Barrios (50yd INT return for TD). Size issues here over 60 minutes will be a concern when taking on their first three foes. Otherwise, cutting their chops on this offense in practice means this corps is expecting (readily) the unexpected, so over-pursuit won't one of their traits.

Defensive Back
In 2004, Boise State was forced to use new DBs as injuries hit. Dividends earned through paying such dues are now evident - the Broncos have experience in an area they didn't expect to have coming into '05. Boise State does return two starters. Oft-injured senior free safety Cam Hall has the size and hitting skills needed to intimidate, as do his backups. Junior CB Gerald Alexander is solid in all phases (especially one-on-one), and his compliment, soph Austin Smith, plays much bigger than his 5'9" size suggests. All of the Bronco DBs like to play on "an island", and their keen ball-hawking senses mean they dare opposing QBs to beat them, and the results (23 INTs was second in the nation) reflect that this won't soon stop. In ranking 99th for pass defense, but 44th for efficiency, they show that shutting down the run to force opponents to the air doesn't equal them giving up huge plays and/or points here.

You've heard it many times - a "bend, but don't break" philosophy requires an exceptional team approach/performance to succeed. Ala the Liberty Bowl, this defense can give up lots of yards, yet still contain a foe as best they can for worthy, competitive results. The emphasis is to shut down the running attack first, to then force opponents to throw into daring schemes. This works extremely well for them, as you then see swarms of Broncos following a play wherever it goes, supporting each other and "over-tackling" (similar to FSU and Miami). They have to, a very apparent fact as the season starts with no room for error. With seven returning starters, the defense will be outstanding by WAC standards (though, Fresno will push them, too). But, after (the) last (three) year's showing, the nation will eagerly measure these guys through how they play the major non-cons.


Boise State Defense


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Mike Dominguez-Jr (6-2, 251) Tim Volk-Jr (6-3, 260)
DT Andrew Browning-Jr (6-0, 278) Dan Gore-So (6-5, 281)
DT Alex Guerrero-Sr (6-1, 296) Nick Schlekeway-So (6-4, 261)
DE Mike G. Williams-Jr (6-3, 245) Mike T. Williams-Fr (6-4, 240)
SLB Colt Brooks-Jr (6-1, 209) Ben Chuckovich-Sr (6-0, 217)
MLB Korey Hall-Jr (6-1, 231) Josh Bean-So (6-2, 229)
WLB Chris Barrios-Jr (5-11, 220) Jared Hunter-Jr (6-4, 225)
CB Quinton Jones-Jr (5-9, 186) Rashaun Scott-So (5-10, 186)
CB Gerald Alexander-Jr (6-0, 197) Chad McKibben-Jr (5-10, 182)
ROV Austin Smith-So (5-9, 170) Marty Tadman-So (5-11, 176)
FS Cam Hall-Sr (6-1, 200) (susp.) Marcosus Le Blanc-Jr (6-0, 200)
Ashlei Nyong-Dunham-So (5-10, 210)
P Kyle Stringer-Jr (5-8, 190) ..




Kyle Stringer will handle both the placekicking and the punting for the Broncos. A former walk-on who won a scholarship before his freshman classes even started, Stringer fortunately had only 38 punts last campaign, so his average of 43.9 yards per would have otherwise placed him eighth in the nation (not enough to qualify). Pushing Stringer will be grey-shirted local Jameson Davis, another combo guy. Net results also have been strong (reflecting the team defensive approach) in both coverage areas, so expect more of the same, more of the same…

Return Game
Like in the secondary, now-departed Chris Carr missed enough action (broken collar bone) so that the Broncos had to try several other players at both return positions. Quinton Jones and Austin Smith both held their own well. Jones seems to be the leading candidate now, with speed and moves that could equal six anytime.