Boise State offense: Quick hits

ccripe@idahostatesman.comAugust 25, 2013 

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Wide receiver Aaron Burks averaged 18.8 yards a catch last year.

DARIN OSWALD — doswald@idahostatesman.com

1. Senior quarterback Joe Southwick tossed nine touchdowns and no interceptions in the final four games last season.

2. He looked just as sharp through the offseason, tossing three picks in fall camp.

3. “He’s got a tremendous command of what we’re doing,” coach Chris Petersen said.

4. The Broncos are 58-7 the past five times they’ve had a senior starting QB, dating to Bart Hendricks in 2000.

5. They’re 51-2 the past four times they’ve had a returning starter at QB, dating to Jared Zabransky in 2006.

6. The offensive line features three seniors and two sophomores — a mix of veteran savvy and young athleticism.

7. Senior center Matt Paradis was the only All-Mountain West first-teamer on the Broncos’ offense last year.

8. The Broncos ran for 200 yards six times last season.

9. But they topped out at 116 rushing yards against four stingy defenses — Michigan State (37), BYU (116), San Diego State (112) and Washington (109).

10. They were 2-2 in those games.

11. “We don’t have a goal of a number of yards per game,” Paradis said. “Last year, we had some games where we’d do really well, some games where it was not as good. Whenever we want, we want to be able to run the ball. That’s the main goal.”

12. Sophomore wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes could be the most exciting player on the team.

13. Williams-Rhodes has developed into a complete wide receiver after filling a specialty role last year.

14. He’ll catch passes as a slot receiver, probably carry the ball on sweeps, return punts and kickoffs.

15. He’s 5-6, 157 pounds — the shortest player on the team.

16. “The things he did last year,” Petersen said, “we’re expecting to really build on it.”

17. Junior wide receiver Matt Miller has 128 catches — tied for 12th most at the school.

18. The record is 229, by Austin Pettis.

19. Miller is on pace for 256.

20. Senior wide receiver Kirby Moore quietly has made 79 catches in his career, including a career-high 36 last year.

21. This is the last of seven straight years with a Moore brother on the roster. Kellen joined the team as a quarterback in 2007.

22. The X-factor for the offense is the senior wide receiver tandem of Geraldo Boldewijn and Aaron Burks.

23. They have combined for 77 career catches at an average of 13.7 yards per catch.

24. They might make that many catches this year alone.

25. Boldewijn ran the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds, flew 10 feet, 11 inches in the broad jump and hopped 38 inches in the vertical in spring testing.

26. Burks ran 4.28 (second on the team), matched Boldewijn’s team-best 10-11 in the broad and soared a team-best 43 inches in the vertical.

27. Boldewijn is 6-4, Burks is 6-3.

28. “The stage is set for those guys to take the next step,” Petersen said, “and if they do, it’ll take this pass game to the next level.”

29. The Broncos’ plethora of wide receiver options could disguise another threat.

30. Senior tight end Gabe Linehan caught five touchdown passes two years ago before missing most of last season with a hamstring injury.

31. Sophomore tight end Holden Huff caught two TD passes in the MAACO Bowl.

32. That’s a lot of options in the pass game.

33. But the Broncos should be able to run it, too.

34. Sophomore tailback Jay Ajayi averaged 6.7 yards per carry last season.

35. He has a bruising running style and surprising speed for a 220-pound back.

36. “He’s really going to be a nice workhorse for us,” Southwick said in the spring.

37. Robert Prince returns as the offensive coordinator.

38. Prince, Southwick and QB coach Jonathan Smith were in new roles last year.

39. Prince was the third offensive coordinator in three years. Smith was the third quarterbacks coach in three years.

40. “It’s been a revolving door the last couple years,” Southwick said. “This offseason has been spectacular.”

Chadd Cripe: 377-6398; Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat

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