Rob Morgus gets back at us with a recap of the Boise State Football fall scrimmage, with a few observations and grades as the Broncos prepare for Georgia.
The only fall scrimmage of the Broncos season took place last night and there were several things to draw from it. I’ll start with some of the stuff I didn’t preview yesterday. Possibly the most exciting thing from last nights action took place off the field. Tanner Mangum (Verbally committed to BYU and Elite 11 QB Camp Co-MVP) was on the sideline. Let’s just say, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.
The most glaring issue I took from the game was the issue with the long snapper and the punting game. May seem like a little issue, but it’s a serious problem. Several punts were blocked, snaps muffed and just general miscues in the punting game. In close games, BSU cannot afford to concede field position or points on special teams. Need to tighten that up.
Finally, what can be said about first team defense? It seemed like they did not give up and inch all night. The first team offense couldn’t move on them. It was impressive. Hout was great, the front four of Mclellan, Winn, Atkinson and Crawford were dominant, and I didn’t notice the secondary, which is a good thing. Chase Baker, a normal at DT didn’t play. Atkinson took his place nicely. Lots of depth on the line.
Grant Hedrick, Joe Southwick and Jimmy Laughrea are not Kellen Moore. That being said, they are all very good D1 quarterbacks. Let’s start with Hedrick. If the Broncos run wildcat this year, I love you Chris Potter, but this is the guy to do it. He showed some spectacular burst and vision running as well as a good deep ball, though it was dropped by Dallas Burroughs. Sophomore Joe Southwick was outstanding, and maybe the most outstanding Bronco. He showed spectacular patience and hit Geraldo Boldewijn for 66 yd TD. When the play broke down he was outstanding making time with his feet and had two runs for 20 yds or more. The future is bright if Southwick takes the helm next year. He was nothing short of great tonight. Last, but not least is true freshman, Jimmy Laughrea. If I remember correctly from my friend who played High School baseball with him, this guy was also a pitcher who throws a baseball in the 90s. It shows in his throws. He has an absolute cannon. Strongest arm on the team hands down. There is almost no doubt in my mind that he’ll get a red shirt slapped on him, but he showed some flashes of brilliance.
#2 Matt Miller – At times Miller showed why he could be the best player on the field, and at others he looked just plain bad. Early on he looked soft and a fly route and was jammed way too easily on the line. It was so bad that it made Kellen Moore look bad, which is not easy. However, later on he showed flashes of why he is considered the best player out of Montana, possibly ever. He had a great showing on a WR screen where he scampered through the D for 15 yards before carrying two DBs another 5 yds. It was outstanding. With his physical traits, I would expect him to be able to get open more easily and often than he did, but with the ball in his hands he was excellent. It was a small sample size, but I generally liked what I saw from Miller. Grade: B
#17 Geraldo Boldewijn – Electric. His routes were crisp, and he blocked extremely well on some of Southwick’s scampers. He had the most exciting play of the night with an absolutely blazing 70 yd TD from Southwick. When the ball left Southwick’s hand, Goldewijn and Freshman Saftey Jeremy Ioane were stride for stride. By the time Boldewijn hauled in the bomb he had about 5 yds on the nearest defender. He seems to posses a second gear when the ball is in the air. He did go mostly against second teamers though. Grade: A
#34 Kirby Moore – Shoemaker didn’t play tonight, but if I didn’t know better, I could have easily mistaken Moore for the Shoey. His report with Kellen is outstanding, and he has the uncanny ability to get open and make catches in traffic. If he doesn’t see considerable time this year then something is wrong. Grade: A-
#82 Dallas Burroughs – Pure burner. No other way to say it. Burroughs found himself behind the defense numerous times. The only problem? He had 0 catches. He dropped a couple of deep balls, and he out ran the QBs on a few occasions. He’s a work in progress, but has the speed to be big time. Grade: B
Besides these guys, Mitch Burroughs and Gabe Linehan each had outstanding performances. Linehan had a TD with a beastly RAC breaking two tackles on his way to the endzone, and Burroughs had a 60 yd reception from Kellen Moore. Sophomore Aaron Burks was looking outstanding for the first half with clean routes and good hands, but left the game with what looked very much like a torn ACL.
Dougie and DJ got their reps in. They were their usual selves. Martin’s most exciting play was actually a 60-yard kick return that was one missed tackle from being a TD. Neither Harper not Martin had more than 8 touches.
#24 Malcolm Johnson – Looked good at times and terrible at times. He struggled mightily fielding kicks, and looked jittery in general. However, once he calmed down he showed why the Bronco coaches are high on him. He has outstanding burst and showed good vision on a ten-yard TD scamper. He has likely solidified himself as the Broncos’ number 3 HB. Grade: B
#27 Jay Ajayi – Like Miller, Ajayi showed flashes of why he will be great. Just not yet. He had a run where he looked like Reggie Bush with about 6 cut backs before he reached the line of scrimmage, but he also just doesn’t look polished enough as a runner to contribute enough to get playing time. Ajayi will be great. Mark my words, but with a couple of game breakers in front of him, there is no need to rush his development. Grade: B-
#6 Dextrell Simmons – Looked very average. He has a good nose for the ball and is always around the end of the play, but did not have any tackles by my count. I seriously question this guy. By the end of the game he was playing with the freshmen team. Not so good. Looks like Simmons will be waiting a year to get real playing time, if he plays at all. Grade C-
#25 Hunter White – Solid. Honestly, that’s all I’ve got. He was average, but never made any mistakes. He made a couple of tackles and looked good in coverage. Grade: B+
#38 Corey Bell – Complete non-factor. I didn’t even notice him even though I looked for him. I can’t grade him, but I do not expect to see him this year.
#13 Blake Renaud – When I said yesterday that Renaud is a prototypical Bronco LB, I meant dude is like no LB we’ve ever had, with the exception of course of number 94. Dude brought the hammer. Literally. He led the Broncos on to the field with the coveted sledgehammer. That in and of itself is a good sign. However, on his first play I made a point to watch him. He fell terribly for a play action fake and then chased the QB Joe Southwick from the inside out, losing contain and allowing a big play. I was upset to say the least. It looked like Renaud was a mess. However, once he composed himself, he blew up several running plays, took on blocks, had at least 4 tackles and generally brought the hammer. He did not look like a true freshman. He should get substantial playing time this year. Grade: A
#94 Byron Hout – I’m not even going to bother. He looked fine. The foot appears to be fully mended. He’ll be a force. May as well give him the Butkus now. Grade: 10 (that’s better than an A)
I’m not even going to bother with the CBs that I previewed. They were both massive disappointments. Neither showed any flashes of anything special. All I can hope for is that Darian Thompson is better in coverage than his older brother. CB is still a bit of a question for me.
#10 Jeremy Ioane – He got absolutely torched by Boldewijn. Other than that he looked solid. Made a few tackles and could potentially step in if needed. Grade: B-/C+
#16 Cedric Febis – Just a solid, solid strong safety. Looked really big out there compared to the lanky Iloka. Not once was he out of position. He looked generally good. Grade: A-
There were also a few changes to the stadium. For one, the TCU colored Mountain West logo is enormous and a blemish on the beautiful Blue. The scoreboard ditched the amber numbers and now has strong white ones. Very easy to see. There are also new LED boards that run the length of the bottom of the upper deck.