Boise State sophomore wide receiver Chaz Anderson — the converted cornerback — could be on the verge of a breakout.
Anderson made his first start last week against Louisiana and grabbed the first three receptions of his career. They covered just 12 yards, but they were important plays to the psyche of a guy who has been playing wide receiver at this level for less than two months.
“I’m more inclined to make a play now that I’m in the flow of things,” Anderson said. “I’m in the stat books. It’s not so nerve-racking.”
Anderson played wide receiver in high school but spent his first two years at Boise State on defense. He switched full time when fall camp began Aug. 1.
He flashed his speed in the opener against Ole Miss, running free on an underthrown, incomplete deep ball, but didn’t get many chances to make a catch before last week.
“Chaz, ever since day one of fall camp, has been going hard,” wide receivers coach Junior Adams said. “Every single day. Deservingly, he's earned some playing time. The first couple weeks of the season, I thought the playbook kind of got to him. The game kind of got to him. Especially because it's such a fresh, new position for him. But I saw his look in the UConn game and it's time for us to start feeding him."
Anderson’s first catch was a 4-yarder on a crossing route. It was the Broncos’ first pass play of the Louisiana game and second offensive snap.
When he returned to the sideline, the defensive backs in particular congratulated him.
He said he’s “gradually getting better” as a wide receiver and he hopes to get more involved.
“Try to be a starter, try to be the individual for people to have confidence in, just be consistent — that’s something we preach is consistency and that’s something I feel I’m lacking right now,” he said.
The short passes against Louisiana helped break the ice. Still, his best attribute is his speed and the Broncos likely will utilize that in the near future.
“One of the deep balls hasn’t clicked yet,” he said, “but I’m sure it’s coming soon.”
Coach Bryan Harsin said the plays made by Anderson and tailback Devan Demas (a lateral on a trick play, a TD run and a 73-yard run on three touches last week) were a sign of the offense’s growth.
“We kind of have down what we want to do,” Harsin said. “We just need to do it more consistently and we need to keep finding guys to fill in there, too — the Demases of the world. Chaz Anderson. That helps us. I feel like the variety is starting to get there and we’re starting to find those guys other than (tailback Jay Ajayi and wide receiver Matt Miller).”
Another emerging young player on offense is redshirt freshman left tackle Archie Lewis. He has started the past two games in place of injured junior Rees Odhiambo and may be there again Saturday at Air Force.
Lewis, who played left tackle in spring ball and right guard in fall camp, needs to perform better in key moments, offensive line coach Scott Huff said.
“His overall body of work has been good,” Huff said, “but what we’ve been talking about is a few plays here and there when he is really at the point of attack where it really matters, where we can be better and he has the ability to be better and be a difference-maker. If we could finish three, four, maybe five plays a game the way he’s capable of doing it, then I’d say he’s been playing really good for us.”
Boise State at Air Force
When: 5 p.m. Saturday
Where: Falcon Stadium (46,692, FieldTurf), U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo.
TV: CBS Sports Network (Carter Blackburn, Aaron Taylor, Jamie Erdahl)
Records: Boise State is 3-1 overall, 1-0 Mountain West; Air Force is 2-1, 0-1
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