WR T.J. Acree

2003 Statistics

Coach: Dan Hawkins
33-6, 3 years
2003 Record: 13-1
at Idaho WON 24-10
at Oregon State LOST 24-26
at Louisiana Tech WON 43-37
at Southern Methodist WON 45-3
at Brigham Young WON 50-12
UTEP WON 51-21
at Fresno State WON 31-17
at Hawaii WON 45-28
TCU WON 34-31

2003 Final Rankings
AP-16, Coaches-15, BCS-17

2004 Outlook

Miami, Ohio State, USC, Oklahoma… Boise State? Flawless execution is the best way to describe the Broncos and their surprisingly elite 24-2 record over the past two seasons. The athletes come and go, but the system installed on offense, defense and special teams by the coaches is the right formula needed to win games. Regardless of the play, all work as a unit to insure victory before personal glory, simple keys for success within today's selfish gridiron atmosphere.

This season the Broncos will have the type of schedule a mid-major team dreams for in making a magical run to the BCS. Oregon State, as well seemingly all of the key conference challengers, will be home dates for the Broncos. The schedule will help, but, with question marks at so many positions, the season's anticipated results can only lend themselves to some degree of marginal failure. Who will be the offensive leader? Who will step up when the team is having an off game and make the critical plays?

Viewing the players on this offense, no individual really stands out. As a result, this offense will finally start coming back down to reality. This will put more pressure on a defense that is built around support and risk aversion, versus going out and winning games. The '03 BSU squad was ahead so early and so often that opposing offenses usually played from behind, and, as a result, predictability helped the defense's success. But, with closer games more likely this time around, even all of these proven defenders may find '04 with much different results.

The Broncos will ultimately gel and perhaps again be that fine tuned machine by year's end. But, early on, this team will not produce at the high levels to which fans have become accustomed. If they (somehow) soar again, 2004 will further prove Hawkins' coaching brilliance and start establishing this program as a mid-major dynasty. Expect a few more losses, but a dangerous team none the less that will be a feared unit heading into '05.

Projected 2004 record: 9-2
QB - 3 DL - 3
RB - 2.5 LB - 3.5
WR - 3 DB - 2.5
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: Jared Zabranski, 23-11-1, 180 yds., 1 TD

Rushing: Donny Heck, 121 att., 426 yds., 8 TD

Receiving: T.J. Acree, 52 rec., 767 yds., 7 TD

Scoring: Tyler Jones, 17-23 FG, 71-72 PAT, 122 pts.

Punting: Kyle Stringer, 54 punts, 40.3 avg.

Kicking: Tyler Jones, 17-23 FG, 71-72 PAT, 52 long

Tackles: Andy Avalos, 99 tot., 41 solo, 8 TFL

Sacks: Brad Allen, 4 sacks. Julius Roberts, 4 sacks.

Interceptions: Chris Carr, 4 for 0 yds.

Kickoff Returns: Chris Carr, 24 ret., 26.1 avg.

Punt Returns: Brad Allen, 11 ret., 14.3 avg.


CB Gabe Franklin
OFFENSE: Tim Gilligan-WR, Jerry Smith-WR, Tyrone Tutogi-OG, Mike MacLeod-C, Jason Turner-OT, Kevin Louwsma-TE, Ryan Dinwiddie-QB, David Mikell-TB, Greg Swenson-FB, Donny Heck-TB
DEFENSE: Paul Allen-DT, Dane Oldham-DT, Travis Burgher-SLB, Wes Nurse-FS, Julius Brown-CB

With the departure of Ryan Dinwiddie, there is uncertainty over the starting quarterback job. Senior Mike Sanford seems the most likely candidate. He has more prototypical quarterback size, and plays smart and careful football. Except that Jared Zabransky is also waiting in the wings, and he is the one that keeps fans on the edge of their seats with his scrambling abilities and great deep ball. As if the decision was not difficult enough, throw in the fact that third-teamer Legedu Naanee is the most talented of all three. An exceptionally big and fast athlete, Naanee came to Boise State with the guarantee he would be given the shot to play quarterback. He has a huge arm and great natural instincts, but the knock on his game is the inability to accurately throw the mid-range pass that this passing offense relies upon so heavily. Hawkins has instilled the type of system to which quarterbacks will need to adapt, and not vice-versa. This gives Sanford the upper hand in this duel heading into the spring.

Running Back
As David Mikell did in replacing Brock Forsey before him, now is the time for senior Donny Heck to become the primary ball carrier. Heck only averaged 3.5 yards per carry, but scored eight touchdowns and does have breakaway speed. In fairness to Heck, he came in mostly in mop up duty against run-stacked defensive lines. Waiting in the wings is junior speedster Jeff Carpenter. Both players have similar size, speed and pass-catching abilities, but Carpenter, so far, has shown the greater ability to make big plays (27 yards per reception and nearly eight yards per carry). When fullback Brad Lau steps on the field, the coaches know he will protect whoever has the ball rather well, and that's all, besides his one carry per contest. (Expected starting tailback Donny Heck will not return for his senior season because of academics.) A committee of inexperienced backs, including 5'7 former cornerback Lee Marks and 5'9 former walk-on Jeff Carpenter, will have to carry the load.

Wide Receiver
For the third consecutive season Boise State will be replacing both starters on the outside. If past productivity improvement is any indication, seniors' TJ Acree and Lawrence Bady are ready to take the mantle. As their predecessors were, both players are small, quick burners with solid hands. Acree was the team's second leading receiver while Bady averaged an eye-popping 25 yards per reception. As a unit, these guys must also use their experience as leaders to ensure the system runs smoothly.

Tight End
Boise State's offense likes to spread the ball around, so expect both senior Trent Lundin and sophomore Derek Schoumann to make plays. Both players have great hands, but, while Lundin is a dependable target, Schoumann gradually won over the starting role with his superior blocking ability.

Offensive Line
Coach Chris Strausser has done a superb job in building a tradition of great offensive lines at Boise State. This years' team loses three starters in the trenches, so veterans Daryn Colledge and M.J. Ansel will be counted on for returning leadership. They are aggressive blockers and light on their feet. This will be the most competitive off season in the offensive line starting at center, where Joe Weigand returns after being sidelined with a traffic accident that kept him out all of 2003. Many of the linemen can play multiple positions, and Boise State will use that versatility to their advantage in determining the right mix.

How do the Broncos lose seemingly irreplaceable players each year, continue to perform at peak efficiency in their complex system, and lead the nation in scoring three of the last four years? The answer is in the question. It IS the system. Players are interchangeable parts as Hawkins' system lives on. This year will be the greatest test to that statement as of yet - brand new starters at all key skill positions and three of the players along the offensive line. Who wins the starting quarterback job will dictate these personnel decisions, including which type of front protection is needed as well what receivers have the best repoire heading into next season. The offense will strive for 50/50 run to pass play calling, but they will get there in an unpredictable manner to keep opponents off balance.


OT Daryn Colledge


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Mike Sanford-Sr (6-4, 211) Jared Zabransky-So (6-2, 197)
FB Brad Lau-So (5-11, 246) Calvin McCarty-Fr (5-10, 214)
TB Jeff Carpenter-Jr (5-9, 202) Lee Marks-Jr (5-7, 179)
Jon Helmandollar-Fr (5-11, 218)
WR T.J. Acree-Sr (5-10, 178) Drisan James-So (5-11, 187)
WR Lawrence Bady-Sr (5-10, 189) Mark Onibokun-Sr (6-0, 198)
Chrisean Christopher-Jr (5-11, 175)
TE Derek Schouman-So (6-2, 217) Andy Weldon-Sr (6-3, 246)
OT Daryn Colledge-Jr (6-5, 291) Derek Kishpaugh-Sr (6-3, 273)
OG Tad Miller-Fr (6-4, 296) Joe Wiegand-So (6-1, 292)
C Klayton Adams-Sr (5-11, 293) Pete Cavender-Fr (6-1, 286)
OG M.J. Ansel-Sr (6-4, 289) Tony Volponi-So (6-4, 302)
OT Jeff Cavender-Fr (6-2, 275) Ryan Keating-So (6-4, 318)
K Tyler Jones-Sr (6-1, 198) ..



Defensive Line
The focus of the defensive line is geared towards stopping the run. This group is coached to plug holes inside, but to be cautious in their pass rush up field (only 27 sacks). Most of the WAC teams are not patient enough to keep trying the run, which means this scheme works, especially in conference play. There is not much productivity or size returning this season, although defensive ends' Mike Williams and Julius Roberts do have experience as starters. Both are in essence linebackers (averaging 245 pounds) playing on the outside. Williams was a rare underclassman starter who has coaches excited with his speed and willingness to throw around his body inside. Tackles Andrew Browning and Alex Guerrero are also both very small and hard-nosed guys, but without much experience playing together. The unit will mature fast because all of these guys have bought into the system and their roles.

Sophomore Korey Hall is poised to be a superstar. With a relentless nose for the ball, he saves his best for the big games (Oregon State and Fresno State). A senior three-year starter, Andy Avalos will flank him. The duo was number one and two in tackles and tackles for losses on the team and will dominate again. They were the main reason Boise State ranked 11th nationally in rush defense while allowing 3.2 yards per carry. The other outside starter will be between several candidates, but whoever it is will have to be strong in pass coverage. Bronco linebackers are stellar in helping the secondary in coverage against many of the WAC conference teams' three- to five-receiver patterns.

Defensive Back
In corner Gabe Franklin and safety Chris Carr, the Broncos have a pair of dynamo defensive backs. Both are extremely disciplined but will jump on opportunities when presented to them (seven INTs combined). Franklin is a lock-down corner while Carr loves to bruise people over the middle. They are the now the core of this secondary and their play and leadership will dictate how this unit performs. Two juniors, Cam Hall (three blocked kicks!) and Gerald Alexander, look to step into the starting roles and shore up the back four. Boise State does not ask their secondary to dominate games, but are asked to keep big plays to minimum, force turnovers and be stingy in the red zone. Ranking seventh in pass-efficiency defense in '03 while being 88th in pass defense (yardage only) proves they know when to bend so as not to often break.

Boise State's defensive game plan is built perfectly for the WAC conference. Using a defensive approach that keeps the play in front of them (when needed) forces the pass-happy, aggressive offensive coordinators to become impatient. Individually, the Broncos are under-sized, but, to compensate, defensive coordinator Ron Collins has devised a scheme that keeps teams off guard - LBs play aggressively on early downs and act as secondary support in obvious passing situations. Lining up primarily in the four-three, the Broncos ask the front- and back-four to play disciplined to ensure big plays stay to a minimum. As a result, the lack of size has not been an issue. These guys are not only well-conditioned athletes but have completely bought into the system of this program, which makes for levels of play only a true team can attain.


LB Andy Avalos


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Julius Roberts-Sr (6-5, 245) Mike Dominguez-So (6-2, 245)
DT Andrew Browning-So (6-0, 272) Dan Gore-Fr (6-1, 286)
DT Alex Guerrero-Jr (6-1, 286) Ian Smart-Fr (6-3, 273)
DE Mike Williams-So (6-3, 241) Tim Volk-Jr (6-3, 273)
SLB Jared Hunter-So (6-4, 221) Colt Brooks-So (6-2, 220)
Josh Bean-Fr (6-2, 220)
MLB Korey Hall-So (6-1, 231) Chris Barrios-Jr (5-11, 218)
WLB Andy Avalos-Sr (5-10, 220) Tim Hefty-Sr (6-1, 221)
CB Gerald Alexander-So (6-0, 192) Rashan Scott-Fr (5-10, 181)
CB Gabe Franklin-Sr (5-10, 185) Austin Smith-Fr (5-9, 166)
ROV Chris Carr-Sr (5-10, 184) Robby Jones-Jr (5-8, 190)
FS Cam Hall-Jr (6-1, 209) Deshan Cabaong-Sr (6-2, 200)
P Kyle Stringer-So (5-8, 193) ..




After getting his early career inconsistencies, senior kicker Tyler Jones made 17 of 23 field goals. He has a strong leg and can be a weapon from over 50-yards. Punter Kyle Stringer has a booming leg and should only improve on the 40 yards per kick he averaged as a freshman.

Return Game
Chris Carr is also one of the nation's best at returning kicks (26 yards per return). His speed, vision and playmaking skills make it a necessity for coaches to find ways to get him the ball. Carr and junior Brad Allen both had some opportunities on punt returns and both were tremendously successful. Allen is the fastest player on the roster and should see his role increased because of the pressures on Carr in the starting defensive backfield.




The QB question still looms heading into the fall, but the picture has become a bit clearer. Mike Sanford and Jared Zabransky each played well in the spring game, but due to more consistent performances, Sanford has a slight edge. Each QB helped spark big plays on offense, connecting on bombs to the outside receivers. WR Drisan James and Mark Onibokun came on in the latter part and will really help this offense soar. Jovan Hutchinson, too, emerged. TBs Jon Helmandollar and Lee Marks have risen steadily and will rotate the first-team honor, with Carpenter mixed in, too. Look for Marks returning punts as well. Keep an eye on Oregon-transfer Corey Larsen at TE. PK Tyler Jones continues to amaze us with his leg, consistently booming kicks from beyond 40 yards.

The defense set the tone in the final scrimmage, forcing five turnovers. Most of the pain came from the back-seven, leaving the front-four as an area needing to be strengthened going into the fall. DT Ian Smart has dropped some weight to increase his speed and agility, and the work has paid off. Coaches feel true-frosh Nick Schlekeway could play immediately, to help fill those (minor) holes at DT. This is a very talented group who, with some conditioning, will be an extremely solid corps for the next couple of years. There's strong competition at SLB, as all three listed on the depth chart performed well this spring. The entire LB corps in general has a "tough as nails" persona about them and will be a very resilient crew, yet again. CB Austin Smith rose above the crowd on defense, scattering himself all over the field. He'll likely play in nickel formations and may even etch his name into the starting lineup soon enough.

WR Josh Smith (jr)
DT Nick Schlekeway (fr)
CB Marcossus LaBlanc (jr)
DB Marty Tadman (fr)