08/02/2006 — Boise State sophomore tailback Ian Johnson went into summer conditioning underweight and in the worst shape of my life.
He exited stronger than ever, with a 5-foot-11, 201-pound body he says is ready for the beating he will take this season as the Broncos featured back.
Johnson missed half of spring practice to have hernia surgery. He didnt work out again until the team began its summer program May 30.
Johnson was scheduled to take the field for the first time since the spring at 4 p.m. today as the Bronco veterans began fall camp.
I dont really get nervous so much, but Im very excited, Johnson said before practice. This is what I live for. This is what Ive trained so hard for. Its rewarding to get back out there and get what youve been practicing for this whole time.
Johnson is the lone returner from the Broncos four-main tailback rotation last year. He rushed for 663 yards.
IJ has been getting a lot of hype in the offseason, BSU running backs coach Jeff Choate said. Coming back healthy and strong, its time for him to prove it.
Read more about Johnsons return in Thursdays edition of the Idaho Statesman.
The Bronco veterans went through a spirited practiced late Wednesday afternoon. The players were in shorts and helmets, but they often looked like they were ready to start hitting.
The passing game turned in a few big plays, Johnson looked sharp and the defense made two big plays as Korey Hall and Quinton Jones grabbed interceptions that would be easy touchdowns in games.
BSU junior special-teamer Ia Falo, a former walk-on from Mountain Home, will appear in ESPN the Magazines college football preview. Falo was selected because hes a returning gunner on a quality team.
Falo was photographed Tuesday in Boise in full uniform on a snowboard for a photo illustration.
He made 13 tackles last year.
Senior tight end Sherm Blaser still hasnt recovered from a broken foot that sidelined him twice in the spring. He may redshirt.
Wednesday morning, Blaser was helping the video crew by running an end-zone camera during practice.
Blaser, an Eagle High product, has nine catches in three seasons. He played immediately after returning from his LDS mission, so he has a redshirt year to burn.
The Broncos made a late addition to the recruiting class in an area of need, safety.
Evan Surratt of Los Angeles attended College of the Canyons last year but did not play. He has four years to play four seasons. Surratt is 6-foot-2, 195 pounds. He was injured his senior year at Hart High.
We need a little help at safety, BSU coach Chris Petersen said. Hes got the body frame were looking for.
Walk-ons added to the roster for fall camp include: offensive lineman Kekula Victorino (6-1, 272, fr., Lake Tapps, Wash.), offensive lineman Mitch Rudder (6-2, 292, fr., Skyview High), defensive back Shane Henry (5-9, 185, fr., Anaheim, Calif.), defensive back Derrell Wilson (6-1, 200, fr., Ontario, Calif.), punter Bryon Brotzman (6-1, 170, fr., Meridian High), running back Stew Tracy (5-9, 177, fr., Bishop Kelly High), offensive lineman Chris Mackrill (6-4, 293, fr., Meridian High/Rocky Mountain College) and offensive lineman Matt Slater (6-5, 240, fr., River Falls, Wisc.).
The Bronco players and coaches gave 31 media interviews on the first day of camp. Johnson was the most requested player.
The Broncos opened fall practice at 9:30 a.m. today with a workout for newcomers and selected veterans.
It was the first look at a bunch of the Broncos new recruits. Its too early to say how theyll play, but several recruits certainly looked good.
Quarterback Mike Coughlin owns a strong arm. Linebacker Derrell Acrey (6-2, 235) has the size often missing from Bronco linebacker recruits. Defensive linemen Sione Tavake (6-1, 284) and Steven Reveles (6-1, 270), a pair of junior-college transfers, bring some bulk to the trenches. And at defensive back, where the Broncos lack depth, players like Jason Robinson (5-11, 186) and Surratt give the team more size at safety.
Most veterans begin their fall camp with a practice at 4 p.m. today. The squad is split into two pieces for four days, then players merge for the first day in pads Sunday.
The Broncos practiced at the Boas Tennis and Soccer Complex today while the track inside Bronco Stadium is refurbished.
The team had a full-sized football field, complete with yard lines every 5 yards, where the main soccer field usually is. PVC pipe was tied to the chain-link fence behind one end zone to create field-goal posts. A second field, 90 yards in total length, was set up beside the main field. Players bused from the locker room to the soccer complex.
By the way, welcome to the Idaho Statesmans new Boise State football Web site. This blog will provide twice-a-day updates on weekdays throughout the season, except the day before games when media access is cut off.
Among our Web sites new features will be a trivia contest within this blog (win game tickets, beginning the week of Aug. 28), video highlights with our player profiles (the first will appear Sunday), video of the top play from each game, soundbytes from columnist Brian Murphy, radio-style interviews with football players and coaches and links to coverage of all Bronco opponents.
Every day, Ill check the Internet for media coverage about the Broncos, their opponents or the Western Athletic Conference. If you spot something, e-mail me at email@example.com.
Here are todays links: Fresno State will rely on two running backs to overcome serious injuries this season: http://www.fresnobee.com/sports/bulldogs/story/12521953p-13236094c.html
Utah quarterback Brian Johnson might not be ready for the Boise State game Sept. 30 in Salt Lake City: http://www.sltrib.com/utahutes/ci_4116243