When the Broncos have the ball
Another coordinator debut: Boise State will open the season with its fifth offensive coordinator in six years. Eliah Drinkwitz was the tight ends coach last year and the co-offensive coordinator at Arkansas State under Bryan Harsin the year before that. “I know what it’s going to look like Friday,” Drinkwitz said. “I feel very good about what we’re trying to accomplish. If it looks the way it looks in my mind, everybody will be excited.”
Receivers are ready: The Broncos’ QB race obscured one of the team’s strengths — all three starting wide receivers and two productive tight ends return from last season. They spent the past two weeks working with starting QB Ryan Finley. “The chemistry is there and that’s really something we’re excited to showcase,” junior wide receiver Chaz Anderson said.
Red-zone mania: The Broncos carry their red-zone scoring streak into 2015 — 47 straight trips with points, including 38 touchdowns.
When the Huskies have the ball
A QB shell game: Washington’s decision not to announce a starting quarterback before game day has thrown a wrinkle into Boise State’s preparations. “You look at everybody else,” defensive coordinator Marcel Yates said. “I’m looking at the running backs, the O-line, all the receivers. The thing that a lot of people don’t see is they’re very good at tight end.”
Not that similar: Yates spent much of his career working with Washington defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski, but their schemes differ, Drinkwitz said. “There’s noticeable differences,” he said. “Coach Yates definitely has his own twist on his defense.”
Runnin’ Huskies: Washington features a talented group of tailbacks. Junior Dwayne Washington was the program’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player last year, when he topped 100 rushing yards in each of the final three regular-season games. Dynamic true freshman Myles Gaskin and sophomore Lavon Coleman likely will get carries, too.
Head games: Every Boise State special teams coordinator since 2001 will be involved in this game — Boise State’s Kent Riddle (2001-05, 2014-15), Washington’s Jeff Choate (2006-11) and Boise State offensive line coach Scott Huff (2012-13). They’ve shared knowledge over the years and know all the tricks each likes to employ. Riddle is trying not to let all that history cloud his, and his players’, minds. “We have a pretty good general idea of what they’ve done for 10 years,” Riddle said.
Rausa debuts: Boise State returns its punter, holder, long snapper, kickoff returner and punt returner. The only question mark also is the most important specialist: kicker Tyler Rausa. He's in his third year in the program and coaches say he was ready to start if needed last year but he hasn't kicked a field goal in a game in nearly three years. "It's going to be a whole different feeling," Rausa said. "... I can't get too much in my head. I have to stick to what I know and everything should work out fine."