College football never ends, and during the next few weeks teams will be getting ready for the 2013 season in their spring practice sessions. Here's a look at the Boise State Broncos and what they'll be working on this spring.
Spring practice begins: March 11
Spring game: April 15
2012 record: 11-2
Returning starters: 13 (six offense, seven defense)
Many people thought the Boise State Broncos would take a significant step backward after losing quarterback Kellen Moore and a host of other players to the NFL. But, as usual, coach Chris Petersen had his team ready to play, and 11 wins is what qualifies for a rebuilding year in Boise these days. While the Broncos were clearly not the team they were with Moore at the helm, they were still within six points of an undefeated season. This is a proud program that knows how to win, and this year should be no different.
The Least You Should Know about Boise State This Spring
-- Chris Petersen wants to shrink the playbook. The thought coming into spring is that the offense got too complicated the last couple of seasons. There were just too many packages to learn and that resulted in a somewhat anemic offensive year by Boise State standards (30.8 ppg). Petersen wants to get back to basics while still maintaining some of the trickery that has made the Broncos so unpredictable on offense over the years. Spring is the time to do this.
-- They need to find a starter at running back. D.J. Harper's 1,137 yards and 15 touchdowns are gone, so someone must step up to take his place. Jay Ajayi was productive as a freshman, rushing for 548 yards and four scores while averaging almost seven yards per carry. He's the front-runner to secure the job, but he'll need to show signs that he can carry the load.
-- The kicking situation must be stabilized. This area has been Boise State's bane over the years. Placekicker Michael Frisina has graduated, and now a new kicker must be found. Junior college transfer Tyler Rausa is in for spring and will compete with junior Dan Goodale.
-- Holes must be filled in the middle of the defense. Boise State was OK against the run last year, giving up 146 yards per game, but now the Broncos lose three of their top four defensive tackles and their top two linebackers. A host of young players will have to step up to try to replace them, although junior Blake Renaud (46 tackles) and sophomore Tyler Gray (27 tackles) have some experience at linebacker, and the move of Tyler Horn from end to tackle should also help.