Here are our offensive line report, updated roster as Boise State football begins spring practice

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com
© 2013 Idaho Statesman

The Boise State football team opened spring practice Monday morning at Bronco Stadium. After every practice that is open to the media (12 of 15), I’ll post a practice report like the one below. As usual, it will be light on details — I can post some highlights from practice, but nothing about schemes, strategy or who’s taking first-team snaps (unless the coaches provide that information).

I’ll also be working my way through the positions, doing a report on each. The offensive line is below.

A couple notes from today:

— Sophomore Robert Ash has moved from defensive tackle to offensive guard. Ash, who was highly regarded as a high school player, wasn’t able to crack the tackle rotation last season. Offensive line coach Chris Strausser said Ash, like center Matt Paradis, was a player he wanted to move to his side of the line. The Broncos have developed defensive linemen into starting offensive linemen several times in recent years — guys like Paradis, Chuck Hayes, Will Lawrence and Dan Gore.

— Two walk-ons have joined the team. Cornerback Promise Amadi (5-foot-9, 180 pounds) spent the past two seasons at Hawaii and played in four games last year. He’ll have to sit a year and will be a redshirt junior in 2014. Offensive lineman Tim Curry (6-2, 297) is a freshman from Pinole, Calif.

True sophomore Shane Williams-Rhodes could add punt returning to his duties this season.

True sophomore Shane Williams-Rhodes could add punt returning to his duties this season.

Boise State coach Chris Petersen and the Broncos opened spring ball Monday. The Spring Game is April 13.

Boise State coach Chris Petersen and the Broncos opened spring ball Monday. The Spring Game is April 13 (photos by Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman).

•••

POSITION REPORT: OFFENSIVE LINE

Returning starters (2 of 5): Center Matt Paradis (6-3, 294, sr.) was the only Boise State offensive player to make the All-Mountain West first team last year, his first as a starter. Left tackle Charles Leno Jr. (6-4, 294, sr.) made the second team and enters his third year as a starter. Offensive line coach Chris Strausser said he’s looking for “another level of dominance” from the line’s building blocks. “Both of those guys did some really good things last year,” he said. “They’d be the first to tell you, were they dominant? No. And they can be. It comes down to cleaning up a detail here or there, a fundamental here or there. They need to just be really, really competitive and great leaders.”

Starters lost: LG Joe Kellogg, RT Brenel Myers, RG Michael Ames

Returning contributors: Spencer Gerke (6-3, 297, sr.) started six games last season and two in 2011. He can play all three interior spots, which makes him more valuable than his starts count shows. “He can make those transitions (between positions) better than anybody we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Strausser, who has been at Boise State from 2001 to 2005 and 2007 to now. “He’s made himself a really valuable player.” Jake Broyles (6-5, 299, sr.) has opened the past two seasons as a starter but injuries sidelined him early both times. “He’s got to stay healthy,” Strausser said. “We all know Jake’s got ability.”

Other players to watch: Guard Marcus Henry (6-3, 296, so.) and tackle Rees Odhiambo (6-4, 309, so.) couldn’t get through the logjam of experienced players to earn regular playing time last season, but they were close. Odhiambo replaced Myers (lost a shoe) briefly in the bowl game and Henry got some time with the first team during the season, too. They continued their momentum through the offseason program. Among the freshmen, guards Travis Averill (6-3, 292) and Mario Yakoo (6-3, 320) performed well in offseason workouts.

Way-too-early projected starters: LT Leno, LG Gerke, C Paradis, RG Henry, RT Broyles/Odhiambo

Incoming recruits: Eli McCullough and Andrew Tercek

Roster:
76 Jake Broyles, 6-5, 299, R-Sr.
77 Spencer Gerke, 6-3, 297, R-Sr.
78 Charles Leno Jr., 6-4, 294, R-Sr.
65 Matt Paradis, 6-3, 293, R-Sr.
62 Chris Tozer, 6-4, 316, R-Sr.
71 Greg Dohmen, 6-3, 280, R-Jr.
72 Marcus Henry, 6-3, 296, R-So.
67 Rees Odhiambo, 6-4, 309, R-So.
58 Robert Ash, 6-3, 280, R-So.
73 Travis Averill, 6-3, 292, R-Fr.
70 Steven Baggett, 6-3, 275, R-Fr.
66 Mario Yakoo, 6-3, 320, R-Fr.
60 Kellen Buhr, 6-0, 284, R-Fr.
79 Avery Westendorf, 6-5, 291, R-Fr.
74 Archie Lewis, 6-3, 272, Fr.
68 Tim Curry, 6-2, 297, Fr.

Notes/quotes:

— Four of the 15 offensive linemen in spring ball have started a game, and all are seniors. That makes developing the next wave of linemen — seven scholarship players in the freshman and sophomore classes — critical.

— Improving the run game, Strausser said, will come in part from the emphasis coach Chris Petersen has placed on it. “One thing we know around here is we get what we emphasize,” Strausser said. “If that’s our mission — to run the ball more consistently in certain games, which I think is what this boils down to — we just need to emphasize it and when those situations come we have to find a way to run the ball on really good defenses. It’s a mentality more than anything else — from us as coaches, just letting the guys know we’re going to stick with this till we can get it done. We had a lot of years around here where, say what you want, but when you’re playing really good run defenses and the heat is up, it’s hard not to feel like you should rely on Kellen Moore. Now we need to move beyond that and figure out how we can get something done and take advantage of our quarterback being able to run some, which he can and he did a really good job of for us the second half of the season.”

— I asked Strausser to clarify the new rule on cut blocking. He said for the most part officials want to see the force of the block coming from in front of the defender, not from the side. Last year, rules on cut blocking were dictated by where a guy lined up on the play. Now what matters is the angle of the block. However, inside the tight end box and within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage cut blocks are allowed to come from the side. Blockers cannot cut while running toward their own goal line, which is new. “They’ve simplified it for the officials,” Strausser said. In one game last season, he said, the Broncos were called for an illegal block when the officials thought the receiver lined up in a different spot than he did. Now that’s irrelevant — all that matters is the actual block.

•••

PRACTICE NO. 1

Type: Helmets only

Player spotlight: Sophomore wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes, who was used mostly just around the line of scrimmage in his true freshman season, showed great range catching the ball all over the field Monday. He made at least three tough catches. It will be interesting to see how the Broncos use him this year. If he can become a more varied threat, the quick hitches and fly sweeps should become more effective. Williams-Rhodes also is working on his skills as a punt returner and ended last year as the top kickoff returner.

Play of the day: None of the four stood out by itself, but in a short span cornerbacks Deon’tae Florence and Donte Deayon grabbed two interceptions each. The flashiest was probably the first one, when Joe Southwick’s pass deflected off the hands of receiver Kirby Moore and fell into Florence’s lap.

Notes: Southwick threw a bunch of nice deep balls in 1-on-1 drills, showing that he’s worked hard to address one of the team’s weaknesses from last season. … The quarterbacks put on quite a bit of weight for this year and tailback Devan Demas has added a whopping 25 pounds. I’ve posted an updated roster at the bottom of this file. … The Broncos don’t have anyone wearing Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 7.

Next practice: Wednesday

•••

Here is a Seattle Times report on a police incident involving Washington’s star tight end, Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Seferian-Jenkins played a key role for the Huskies against Boise State in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. The teams meet again in the season opener Aug. 31. Washington issued a statement saying Seferian-Jenkins “will be disciplined internally in accordance with team and departmental policies.” That could force him to miss the opener.

•••

Here’s my updated position-by-position, class-by-class roster:

QUARTERBACK
16 Joe Southwick, 6-1, 202, R-Sr.
9 Grant Hedrick, 6-0, 200, R-Jr.
14 Jimmy Laughrea, 6-1, 204, R-So.
8 Nick Patti, 5-10, 200, R-Fr.

Signee:
Ryan Finley, 6-4, 185, Fr.

TAILBACK
23 Derrick Thomas, 6-0, 207, R-Jr.
27 Jay Ajayi, 6-0, 215, R-So.
21 Jack Fields, 5-9, 198, So.
26 Devan Demas, 5-8, 195, R-Fr.
6 Jamel Hart, 5-9, 210, R-Fr.
35 Charles Bertoli, 5-11, 199, R-Fr.

Signee:
Aaron Baltazar, 5-11, 185, Fr.

WIDE RECEIVER
17 Geraldo Boldewijn, 6-4, 215, R-Sr.
18 Aaron Burks, 6-3, 200, R-Sr.
34 Kirby Moore, 6-3, 206, R-Sr.
2 Matt Miller, 6-3, 218, R-Jr.
81 Dallas Burroughs, 5-8, 171, Jr.
83 Troy Ware, 6-2, 190, R-So.
11 Shane Williams-Rhodes, 5-6, 158, So.
24 Jackson Reed, 6-4, 218, R-Fr.
29 Taylor Pope, 6-0, 172, R-Fr.
80 D.J. Dean, 6-0, 190, Fr.

Signees:
Kendal Keys, 6-2, 200, Fr.
Tanner Shipley, 6-1, 180, Fr.

TIGHT END
87 Gabe Linehan, 6-4, 238, R-Sr.
86 Kyle Sosnowski, 6-2, 245, R-Jr.
89 Connor Peters, 6-4, 250, Jr.

42 Jake Hardee, 6-3, 243, R-So.
85 Holden Huff, 6-5, 221, R-So.
93 Brennyn Dunn, 6-3, 212, R-Fr.

Signees:
Alec Dhaenens, 6-4, 240, Fr.
Jake Roh, 6-2, 215, Fr.

FULLBACK
90 Jamal Wilson, 5-11, 238, R-So.

OFFENSIVE LINE
76 Jake Broyles, 6-5, 299, R-Sr.
77 Spencer Gerke, 6-3, 297, R-Sr.
78 Charles Leno Jr., 6-4, 294, R-Sr.
65 Matt Paradis, 6-3, 293, R-Sr.
62 Chris Tozer, 6-4, 316, R-Sr.
71 Greg Dohmen, 6-3, 280, R-Jr.
72 Marcus Henry, 6-3, 296, R-So.
67 Rees Odhiambo, 6-4, 309, R-So.
58 Robert Ash, 6-3, 280, R-So.
73 Travis Averill, 6-3, 292, R-Fr.
70 Steven Baggett, 6-3, 275, R-Fr.
66 Mario Yakoo, 6-3, 320, R-Fr.
60 Kellen Buhr, 6-0, 284, R-Fr.
79 Avery Westendorf, 6-5, 291, R-Fr.
74 Archie Lewis, 6-3, 272, Fr.
68 Tim Curry, 6-2, 297, Fr.

Signees:
Eli McCullough, 6-5, 265, Fr.
Andrew Tercek, 6-0, 275, Fr.

DEFENSIVE END
41 Kharyee Marshall, 6-2, 240, R-Sr.
53 Beau Martin, 6-2, 258, R-Jr.
8 Demarcus Lawrence, 6-3, 244, R-Jr.

82 Sam Ukwuachu, 6-4, 232, R-So.
49 Darien Barrett, 6-2, 233, R-Fr.
94 Sam McCaskill, 6-3, 246, R-Fr.

Signees:
Gabe Perez, 6-5, 220, Fr.
Kamalei Correa, 6-2, 230, Fr.
Durrant Miles, 6-4, 220, Fr. (going on mission)

DEFENSIVE TACKLE
43 Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, 6-3, 303, R-Sr.
55 Deuce Mataele, 6-3, 280, Jr.
69 Tyler Horn, 6-5, 264, Jr.

40 Armand Nance, 6-0, 290, So.
96 Elliot Hoyte, 6-4, 279, R-Fr.

Signees:
Nick Terry, 6-3, 275, Fr.
Justin Taimatuia, 5-11, 295, Jr.

LINEBACKER
56 Dustin Kamper, 6-1, 232, R-Sr.
45 Travis Saxton, 6-1, 220, R-Jr.
13 Blake Renaud, 6-2, 249, Jr.

36 Tyler Gray, 6-4, 223, So.
31 Andrew Pint, 6-1, 217, R-Fr.
51 Ben Weaver, 6-0, 233, R-Fr.
44 Darren Lee, 6-1, 210, Fr.

Signees:
Joe Martarano, 6-3, 235, Fr.
Tanner Vallejo, 6-1, 230, Fr.

NICKEL
32 Jonathan Brown, 5-10, 215, R-Sr.
38 Corey Bell, 5-11, 208, Jr.
25 Chris Santini, 5-11, 222, R-Fr.

Signee:
Mat Boesen, 6-4, 220, Fr.

CORNERBACK
1 Bryan Douglas, 5-9, 170, R-Jr.
16 Deon’tae Florence, 5-9, 171, R-Jr.
39 Cleshawn Page, 5-8, 173, Jr.
17 Promise Amadi, 5-9, 180, R-So.
30 Donte Deayon, 5-9, 151, So.
18 Chaz Anderson, 5-10, 183, R-Fr.

Signees:
Dionza Blue, 5-11, 180, Fr.
Jonathan Moxey, 5-10, 180, Fr.
Cameron Hartsfield, 5-10, 185, Fr.
Mercy Maston, 5-10, 190, Jr.

SAFETY
37 Ebo Makinde, 5-10, 179, R-Sr.
10 Jeremy Ioane, 5-10, 189, R-Jr.
34 Taylor Loffler, 6-3, 212, R-So.
35 Darian Thompson, 6-1, 201, R-So.
28 Dillon Lukehart, 6-0, 202, R-So.
22 Chanceller James, 6-1, 202, R-Fr.

Signee:
Thomas Sperbeck, 6-0, 185, Fr.

KICKER
41 Dan Goodale, 5-10, 193, R-Jr.
26 Tyler Rausa, 5-8, 191, So.

PUNTER
14 Trevor Harman, 6-3, 207, R-Sr.
18 Sean Wale, 6-1, 183, R-Fr.

LONG SNAPPER
50 Jake Holsteen, 6-4, 220, R-Jr.
46 Kevin Keane, 6-0, 205, Jr.

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Chadd Cripe has spent the past 12 years as the Boise State football beat writer. You can follow him on Twitter @IDS_BroncoBeat.

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