Chadd's Blog — Aug. 29, 2006

Idaho StatesmanAugust 29, 2006 

— Here’s a look at the Sacramento State special teams that Boise State will face Thursday. We previewed the offense Monday, and a look at the defense is later in this blog.

The Hornets were shaky last season on special teams, which could be a major problem against the usually stellar Broncos special teams.

Sacramento State kicker Juan Gamboa was 6-of-12 last season. He missed twice inside 30 yards and four times outside 40. He even missed a PAT.

Punter Mitch Lively averaged a respectable 39.5 yards per punt, but he allowed 12.5 yards per return. Opponents scored one touchdown on a punt return and blocked two punts last season. Lively led Division I-AA with 81 punts last year.

The Hornets also struggled in the return game. They averaged a measly 4.7 yards per punt return — three players tried, with no success — and 21.6 yards per kickoff return.

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In Wednesday’s edition of the Idaho Statesman, I’ll write about the leadership on this Broncos team. Many of the seniors are lead-by-example types, and coach Chris Petersen says that’s just what he likes.

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The Hornets’ defense is their strength. The team is picked to finish last in the Big Sky, but the buzz around the defense is that it could be one of the conference’s best.

The star is senior linebacker Tyson Butler, a preseason All-Big Sky selection. He made 59 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks last season. He moves from middle linebacker to the outside, replacing co-Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year Matt Logue.

Junior safety Brett Shelton also is a standout. He was named to the All-Big Sky second team last year. He has started every game of his career, with 83 tackles in each of his first two seasons. Fellow safety Brent Webber, also a junior, has started 19 games in his career.

The defensive line is led by junior tackle Dallas Mauga, a junior-college All-American in 2004. He’s 6-foot-1, 300 pounds.

In all, the defense returns five players who started every game last year.

“They’re not a Division I-AA defense,” BSU offensive lineman Jeff Cavender said. “They have a really strong defense — a defense that is comparable to some teams in the WAC. They play hard. They play fast.”

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A Hawaii high school offensive lineman says he has 13 scholarship offers from Division I-A schools so far, including one from Boise State.

The Broncos will have to beat out half the Pac-10 to get him.

Read more at: http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060829/SPORTS0301/608290319/1043/SPORTS

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Jeff Newton won the trivia contest for this week and two tickets to Thursday’s game. The answer: Idaho State was the only team to beat Boise State during the regular season in 1994.

Check back next week when we’ll give away two tickets to the Oregon State game. The trivia question will appear Monday or Tuesday, and you’ll have 6 hours or so to send your entry.

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Today’s links:

Read about Fresno State’s new quarterback: http://www.fresnobee.com/sports/bulldogs/story/12648855p-13351273c.html

Nevada may get Minnesota transfer at RB: http://news.rgj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060829/SPORTS06/608290363/1018/SPORTS

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