RB Ian Johnson

2007 Statistics

Coach: Chris Petersen
23-3, 2 years
2007 Record: 10-3
at Washington LOST 10-24
NEVADA WON 69-67 (4OT)
at Louisiana Tech WON 45-31
at Fresno State WON 34-21
at Utah State WON 52-0
at Hawai'i LOST 27-39
East Carolina LOST 38-41

2007 Final Rankings
AP-30, Coaches-29, BCS-24

2008 Outlook

Reality set in last year for Chris Petersen in his sophomore season. Was it a 'slump'? Probably not, for there was really only one way to go after beating Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl in such dramatic fashion and then finishing No.5 in the polls, the highest a WAC team has ever been in the final AP poll. But Petersen’s 13-0 mark was critically due to ex-headman Dan Hawkins’s recruits and schemes…what first-year coach can prove otherwise. Regardless, only one coach in the country since 1900 has ever won 13 games in his first season in charge, and that man is still the coach here, now entering his third season. Petersen may not have put the team (or this version of the Broncos) fully into motion, but Hawkins’s former OC helped build the prototype (of the offense) and is more responsible for the recent successes than his old boss. Simply put, the continuity here over the past 12 years of FBS-level (formerly I-A) ball has seen Petersen at Boise State for all of them. Not a bad testimonial for the best program of this decade (.843 winning percentage) and overall for the past ten years (.809), as well as the top scoring school since 2000 (41.81 points per game). But anyone who doesn’t live under a rock knows of the high level of football coming out of the Gem State’s best program, so let’s move on to why they didn’t get it done last year and what they can do about it this year.

What was exposed in the Hawai’i Bowl when East Carolina won on a time-ending field goal was a porous defense that couldn’t handle the NCAA Bowl record set by Pirate Chris Johnson for all-purpose yards (408). Specifically, the back seven had its weak moments, first against Hawai’i and Heisman finalist Colt Brennan (495 passing yards) and the ECU…and, what a coincidence…both were losses. As 'game' as they were, the Bronco linebackers seemed overwhelmed in these games. They may have ruled the lesser WAC squads they faced, but Boise’s inconsistencies won’t stand here, a place where the bar is set higher every year. Spring practices stressed many more fundamentals than usual, a good place to start for a group that failed to finish many plays. The talent is there to make the little adjustments needed so consistency can be found. The trip to Oregon will tell us if the fundamentals paid off or not.

Don’t lose sleep thinking the QB change will affect the level of offense here. Kellen Moore has people excited for the future, but the present belongs to Bush Hamdan. Hamdan, a steady performer who may not have the raw talent of RS freshman Moore, has earned the right as a well-rehearsed reserve who has impressed enough this off-season to keep his place in line to run the Bronco offensive fun machine. Ian Johnson is a great back who just needs the same amount of touches he had that magic 2006 season to carry the team on his back as he makes a Heisman run. The receivers/tight ends look strong, but the real concern area on offense is the line being rebuilt at every starting post but one. No matter how good the new hurler may be, if he doesn’t have time – and if the backs cannot get a head of steam and/or make even their first cuts – it won’t be a fun year. Again, we’ve seen this coaching staff do more with less to work with than this deep (but young) group. The line will be lighter and more mobile. This should fit in well with the new no-huddle part of the offense. The no-huddle won’t define the team, but they will use it at times to keep teams from making necessary substitutions. The Broncos still will run it more than they pass. The track record here makes us think the coaching staff wouldn’t put this no-huddle thing in motion unless they thought their guys have the talent to pull it off.

The schedule takes them to Eugene to face the new-look Ducks, never an easy road destination. Looking past Bowling Green might happen, a real test of this team’s focus early on. Also traveling to Hattiesburg, Boise picked another mid-major stalwart, like themselves, that is another challenging road trip. Nevada is the other team that has enough offensive firepower to possibly out-score the Broncos if it became a shootout. Fresno State comes into Idaho with a good senior QB and 19 guys total who are returning starters for the season-ender to decide the conference king. Hawai’i will be reeling still from the changes they’ve endured, so it seems safe to predict BSU will win at least nine games and possibly all but the Oregon contest.

Boise’s Achilles has been BCS-level foes – they are 4-17 against them since 1996. Amid all of their successes, Boise State has only won all of its games versus BCS foes once, in 2006. Coach Petersen knows how good his guys must be to bring back BCS hardware…remember, he was the one with the guts to call the famous Hook-and Ladder to beat Oklahoma in overtime. It may not be this year, but Boise will be back in the BCS mix sometime real soon. And another double-digit win total won’t be a bad consolation while they get better.

Projected 2008 record: 10-2
QB - 3.5 DL - 3.5
RB - 4.5 LB - 4
WR - 4 DB - 3
OL - 2.5 ..
2007 Statistical Rankings
Total Off:
Sacks Allow:
Total Def:

Passing: Mike Coughlin, 6-14-1, 95 yds., 1 TD

Rushing: Ian Johnson, 207 att., 1041 yds., 16 TD

Receiving: Jeremy Childs, 82 rec., 1045 yds., 9 TD

Scoring: Kyle Brotzman, 16-18 FG, 66-66 PAT, 114 pts.

Punting: Kyle Brotzman, 21 punts, 44.5 avg.

Kicking: Kyle Brotzman, 16-18 FG, 66-66 PAT, 114 pts.

Tackles: Kyle Gingg, 94 tot., 47 solo

Sacks: Mike T. Williams, 6 sacks

Interceptions: Dallas Dobbs, 3 for 54 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Jeremy Avery, 3 ret., 19.0 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Kyle Wilson, 5 ret., 14.0 avg., 0 TD


CB Kyle Wilson
OFFENSE: Taylor Tharp-QB, Ryan Putnam-TE, Tad Miller-OG, Jeff Cavender-C, Pete Cavender-OG, Dan Gore-OT, Ryan Clady-OT (NFL)
DEFENSE: Nick Schlekeway-DE, Ian Smart-DT, Sione Tavake-DT, Austin Smith-S, Marty Tadman-S, Orlando Scandrick-CB (NFL)

Teams often lose as many players as Boise has on offense and can’t quite reach the same levels that next year. But trends here have been to reload, not just replace and then pray. Replacing most of the OL, though a challenge, won’t get the attention that the quarterback race here will. Coach Petersen will have to find his third starting QB in three off-seasons, with the legacy of guys like Dinwiddle, Zabransky and Tharpe promising another great hurler. The word from spring was how Bush Hamdan and Kellen Moore have separated themselves from Mike Coughlin and Nick Lomax. Moreover, Moore has been the most impressive, showing all of the traits that are needed to fit into the offensive style already established here. Where Hamdan has it over him is in experience, but the super-evaluative offensive minds here will possibly have Moore past Hamdan by summer. Moore, the Washington Gatorade Player of the Year (2006), set state prep records across the board and fits style-wise here with the way he plays already. Coughlin has progressed since looking pretty green as the supposed big-armed frosh sensation last year. But neither he nor Lomax, son of ex-St. Louis Cardinal QB legend Neil Lomax, has stood out with consistency to their flashes of superior skills (though, both are the largest in stature). It isn’t like any one of these candidates would let you down under center (maybe Lomax), but how much time it would take of real game reps to bring them up to the needed speed to run this offense at full throttle would be the difference between a decent season (Lomax and/or Coughlin) and a great one (Hamdan and/or Moore). We can see Hamdan winning the initial starts, but being placed on a short leash, at that.

The backfield will be busy again with Heisman hopeful Ian Johnson back for his senior season. Johnson was utilized much more during the Bronco’s perfect season, getting 25% less carries and >700 less yards in ’07 than in ’06. He averages 5.96 ypc for his illustrious career, so why not give it to the moneyman so he can pay off his maximum amount in his farewell campaign. One reason Johnson was pared down was so freshman Jeremy Avery could get more touches. A bit quicker than Johnson, both Avery and D.J. Harper were broken in at Johnson’s expense, so the rotation seems to work, just not as well as when it’s Johnson, Johnson, Johnson…like in ’06. The fullback/H-Back is a bulldozer named Richie Brockel, a smart player who will be an asset in many roles. The experience in the backfield will help the new QB adjust.

The wide receivers also know of the system here and will be in the right place in a play’s development so the new QB can confidently place the ball where only Broncos can get it. Titus Young killed as a freshman…making great catches and downfield blocks, but also fumbling more than an acceptable amount. Austin Pettis also made a huge impact in his true freshman year…but the knock on the 6’3 Anaheim product is he runs backwards upon catching the ball, ostensibly to then dart forward and make extra yards by giving himself space to read the incoming tacklers. Pettis needs to get the sure yards first and not miss key first-down pick ups like he did last year. Jeremy Childs is expected back (suspended for plagiarism prior to Hawai’i Bowl last year) by summer, but he is officially off of the roster (all links!) at this juncture, serving a one-semester penalty. The WR corps can live without him if incoming frosh Chris Potter is all that he seems. Hawkins is a big senior who lives underneath as an outlet option, so his numbers will go up when the new QBs panic early. Vinny Perretta is a true spread-type of player, running it and catching it equally well (look for a few throws again, too). A shoulder injury kept Perretta out of the bulk of ’07, but he is ready after a great spring. Chris O’Neill was oft used as a backup, flying up the depth chart at tight end to secure this year’s spot. Tom Gallarda and Kyle Efaw both have the chops to be great Bronco TEs, too, but all are snarlers much more than they are blockers, hence the importance of Brockel.

Then there’s the line…a sure sticking point for every offensive dimension to either work or not. The lone returning starter, Andrew Woodruff, was out for spring ball. Ok, he is a sure starter, which is nice to know so that the other new bigmen can see extra face time on the first string. Funny thing is, Woodruff is the last “bigman” on the horizon when purveying the soon-to-be two-deep (only guy over 290lbs). The newbies are leaner and faster, a good thing for the faster pace this offense will adapt. Thomas Byrd has impressed this spring, enough to have the inside track at center over RS freshman Cory Yriate, a converted guard. The experience of Jon Gott as a three-year reserve will pay off as he can step in at the other guard spot. Paul Lucariello is ready for his shot after proving himself, too, over the past few years while behind the five guys who just left. Lucariello’s knee injury kept him from being last year’s center, but with Byrd and new tackle Garrett Pendergast, the younger guys may supplant Paul’s starting wishes. The left tackle looks like local Nate Potter, a nationally recognized recruit who, at 6’6, didn’t allow a sack as a prep senior. Matt Slater is another name filling the early two-deeps, so capable bodies are there already to make a decent line. "We have to [kind of] puzzle that whole thing together," coach Petersen said. "It's going to be a work in progress all the way up to our first game."

The new facet of a no-huddle pace to the offense will demand a whole new focus as third-year coordinator Bryan Harsin tries to implement this strategic wrinkle. It has gone pretty well, but a new QB and a new dimension like this can take time. With Harsin also the QBs coach, it’s almost better to have a new QB when doing this, kinda like why it is easier to teach a foreign language to a young child rather than an adult who is more likely to be confused from what they are used to. BSU should be able to take this in stride and go back to being in the 200-200 club (200 yards per game of both rushing and passing), which they were members of since 2004 prior to last year.


OL Andrew Woodruff


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Kellen Moore-Fr (6-1, 174)
Bush Hamdan-Sr (6-1, 192)
Nick Lomax-Jr (6-6, 216)
Michael Coughlin-So (6-5, 216)
FB Richie Brockel-Jr (6-2, 249) (TE) Andy Silsby-Jr (5-11, 206)
RB Ian Johnson-Sr (5-11, 195) Jeremy Avery-So (5-9, 172)
D.J. Harper-So (5-10, 191)
WR Austin Pettis-So (6-3, 200) Vinny Perretta-Sr (5-9, 190)
WR Jeremy Childs-Jr (6-0, 184) (susp.) Titus Young-So (5-11, 170)
Julian Hawkins-Sr (6-3, 222)
TE Chris O'Neill-Sr (6-3, 237) Tommy Gallarda-So (6-6, 236)
OT Chris Potter-Fr (5-11, 170) Zach Waller-Fr (6-5, 280)
OG Jon Gott-Sr (6-3, 286) Ben Iannacchione-Sr (6-3, 265)
C Thomas Byrd-Fr (6-0, 290) Paul Lucariello-Jr (6-4, 249)
Cory Yriarte-Fr (6-1, 290)
OG Andrew Woodruff-Sr (6-3, 328) Will Lawrence-So (6-2, 268)
OT Matt Slater-So (6-5, 269) Garrett Pendergast-Fr (6-3, 275)
K Kyle Brotzman-So (5-10, 172) ..



The results on this side of the ball with only four returning starters were encouraging, giving promise to improvements since nine guys with significant starting time are back for ’08. The reason for concern was seeing the last two foes score 39 and then 41 points in those losses, the first two-game losing streak since 2005 and only the third one in the past 10 years. So it has been back to basics this off-season, teaching the simple stuff over again and stressing the finishing of plays. "It's got to be that attitude that I'm going to die before I let that guy beat me," DC Justin Wilcox said. " We just need more consistency that way and we need to challenge some guys that way. In order for us to be good, that's what we need to do." Still, this was the best defense in the WAC in ’07 for most statistical categories; it just wasn’t to the caliber needed to get back to the BCS, a realistic goal if focus and determination can be instilled once again. The biggest “slip” was in the run stopping; though, allowing 130 yards per game on the ground is respectable and a good harbinger of things to come.

As a freshman, Ryan Winterswyk led the Bronco linemen in tackles and the team in TFLs. Freshman All-American Winterswyk went from being a safety in prep to DE here…oh my! He will start on the strongside (best place since he is the top run stuffer), as will incumbent Mike Williams. Williams has steadily increased his numbers as he climbed the depth chart, so expecting a double-digit sack total isn’t out of the question from the Sacramento native. Sean Bingham and Jarrell Root look like decent depth. Inside, Joe Bozikovich is the steady contributor while Phillip Edwards excelled enough last year to outpace Bozikovich in TFLs. Edwards is 10lbs bigger and a step or two faster than most of the other candidates for the tackle slots, giving Boise the sizable, athletic tackle who will stand up in games versus bigger BCS-aligned foes (that is hard to find on a mid-major). Steven Reveles and incoming frosh Greg Grimes (rare three-star prospect here) are nice for depth, so the line looks like it can be all it was last year.

The LBs are the same starting three, which will provide the new blood up front a proverbial safety net of sorts for small mistakes not to become too costly. Together, the four seniors (all played on the 13-0 squad) will have to show more if BSU is to get back to the top of the conference, especially since they have to prove the 20 rushing TDs allowed last year weren’t indicative of their profile as a group. "We need to take a step forward at that position," Petersen said. Smarty Kyle Gingg has steadily improved his numbers to make the middle his lurking command post. He and weakside guy Dallas Dobbs are as good against the run as they are versus the pass. Like Winterswyk, the strongside LB is a run-stuffer, too. Local SLB product Tim Brady is an ex-QB who has nice instincts and will take another step up the ladder of playing quality. Shield is an ex-track guy, so we need to see more big plays when he’s covering TEs and extra WRs. Powers knows the scene, and he will bring Derrell Acrey’s run-stopping along (Acrey was WAC Defensive Newcomer of the Year – Preseason of ’07). JUCO transfer Daron Mackey will push all to their max. You just have to like it when finishing so highly ranked for most team stats still makes the Bronco coaches find holes in the LBs performances from ’07. Truly, if the LBs improve even a bit, they will take the entire team up with them.

All-WAC corner Kyle Wilson is great when left alone on the outside. Starting there since 2006, he makes the sure tackle if he doesn’t break up the pass. Brandyn Thompson was one of five true froshes to play last year, so he seems logical as the replacement for Orlando Scandrick (early to NFL). Marcel Yates confirmed this during spring ball, but also said guys like CC-transfer Garcia Day could challenge and will be given the chance through summer. Safety Jeron Johnson was good enough to finish fifth on the team in tackles despite missing a third of the games with a hip injury. Classmate Jason Robinson stepped in nicely for Johnson and others last year, but like many safeties who come out of this potato palace, he is undersized for stopping larger teams if/when he enters the box. The rest of the names are unknown, and unlike many areas on the BSU squad, this position isn’t always so easily replaced. Newbie George Iloka is one name we know will emerge from the Bronco roster.

Knowing how much the off-season regiment revolved around relearning the essentials makes us think that improvements will come…if not seen, Boise still may have the best WAC defense this year, but the bar is set for playing major opponents, not the conference foes who rarely/never make it to the top 25. The line has some size, but the back seven plays a swarming, quick-paced style that gets 11 guys to seem like more. It works when on, but bigger, faster teams obviously have the advantage, still.


LB Kyle Gingg


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Phillip Edwards-Sr (6-4, 283) Kapono Rawlins-Crivello-So (6-1, 249)
DT Sean Bingham-Sr (6-3, 265) Steven Reveles-Sr (6-1, 266)
DT Joe Bozikovich-Sr (6-1, 279) J.P. Nisby-Fr (6-2, 308)
Billy Winn-Fr (6-4, 260)
DE Mike T. Williams-Sr (6-4, 245) Ryan Winterswyk-So (6-4, 259)
SLB Tim Brady-Sr (6-1, 205) Aaron Tevis-Fr (6-3, 206)
MLB Kyle Gingg-Sr (5-11, 216) Derrell Acrey-So (6-2, 232)
WLB Dallas Dobbs-Sr (6-2, 220) David Shields-Sr (6-1, 220)
CB Brandyn Thompson-Fr (5-10, 166) Keith McGowen-So (5-10, 177)
CB Kyle Wilson-Jr (5-10, 190) ..
SS Jeron Johnson-So (5-11, 190) Jason Robinson-So (6-0, 190)
FS Garcia Day-Jr (6-2, 196) Ellis Powers-Sr (5-10, 206)
P Kyle Brotzman-So (5-10, 172) Brad Elkin-So (6-3, 191)




Kyle Brotzman took the squad by storm, hitting on 16 of his 18 FGAs and put up punting numbers that would have ranked him 11th had he punted enough times. The other punter, Brad Elkin, is a control punter with steady results, too. Both afforded coach Petersen the 20th-ranked net results, which will continue. Kyle Wilson and Jeremy Childs do the right thing on returns, so expect to see more of each as they look for the KR guy.