Boise State football WRs preview: Veteran group seeks explosive plays


WR Geraldo Boldewijn vs. CB Mercy Maston

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

Here is my wide receivers preview, which is accompanied by a feature on Geraldo Boldewijn in tomorrow’s paper (my post on the AP poll is here):

WIDE RECEIVERS

Roster
17 Geraldo Boldewijn, 6-4, 220, R-Sr.
18 Aaron Burks, 6-3, 205, R-Sr.
34 Kirby Moore, 6-3, 208, R-Sr.
2 Matt Miller, 6-3, 222, R-Jr.
81 Dallas Burroughs, 5-8, 171, Jr.
20 Terrell Johnson, 5-9, 174, Jr.
14 Troy Ware, 6-2, 188, R-So.
11 Shane Williams-Rhodes, 5-6, 157, So.
19 Taylor Pope, 6-0, 178, R-Fr.
80 D.J. Dean, 6-0, 187, Fr.
83 Tanner Shipley, 6-0, 182, Fr.
82 Thomas Sperbeck, 6-0, 174, Fr.
39 David McKinzie, 6-0, 165, Fr.

Projected depth chart
X receiver: Miller, Burks
Z receiver: Boldewijn, Burroughs
Slot receiver: Moore, Williams-Rhodes

Storyline: The Broncos’ receiving corps is one of the deepest, most experienced groups on the team. The top six includes three seniors, two juniors and a sophomore. “I remember when I first got here with those same players, they were all the unknown products,” said offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Robert Prince, who joined the program in 2011. “They worked hard and they did a nice job and all of a sudden they’re the veteran group.”

Keys to success: The Broncos want more explosive plays from their receivers — but that means more than just deep balls, which should be more prevalent with consistent play from Boldewijn and Burks and the growth of Williams-Rhodes and Burroughs. Prince has emphasized run after catch since the spring and likes what he sees. “That’s what we’re going to need,” Prince said. “It’s very hard to just march down the field and have 10-, 12-, 14-play drives. We really do need the big plays.”

Reason for concern: The Broncos are counting on Boldewijn, Burks, Burroughs and Williams-Rhodes to have breakout seasons. That’s a lot of guys who need to step up. If all of them do, this will be an outstanding group. But if one or two struggle, the offense could feel the effects.

Star player: Miller has 128 catches for 1,448 yards and 14 touchdowns in two college seasons. He was an All-Mountain West second-teamer last season and a Freshman All-American in 2011. “He’s been our workhorse,” Prince said.

Breakout performer: Boldewijn has all-conference potential and should be a perfect complement to Miller and Moore in the starting lineup. “He’s an unknown to a lot of people and I think we can use that as a weapon,” Miller said. “He’s been laying in the weeds and I think now he’s going to jump out and make some big plays for us.”

Newcomer to watch: True freshmen Thomas Sperbeck and Tanner Shipley and junior college transfer Terrell Johnson have shown playmaking potential in camp. The Broncos aren’t likely to need any of them this year, though. “That’s a credit to our veteran players really working with those guys during the summer,” Prince said of the newcomers’ quick adjustment. “Those guys are great in meetings. They’re doing a lot of studying on their own and they’re getting better.”

Quotes/notes:

— Prince on Boldewijn: “If he can have a season like he ended that last game, he’s going to have a great year. He worked hard in the spring and had a great spring and from what I’m hearing he did a great job in the summer and he’s having a great camp right now.”

— Prince on Williams-Rhodes: “He’s become a better route-runner. He’s very sure-handed. And he’ll be a guy we’ll be able to count on.”

— Miller: “Guys are making plays when their number is called. You’ve got to be proud of how Aaron and Geraldo have improved going into their last year and I think Kirby’s going to have a big year.”

— Miller on speed: “The fastest straight-line guy we have is Aaron, I’d say. The quickest? Probably Shane. There’s a lot of different types of speed — guys like that, or guys like me with old-man speed.”

— Burks: “Me and Geraldo are roommates. We talk about football all the time. If I’m doing something, he’s doing something. If he’s doing something, I’m doing something. We kind of hold each other accountable.”

— Moore: “Everyone’s got a sense of urgency out there. In the meetings, everyone’s dialed in. A lot of us know it’s our last shot. We have three senior receivers. We all want to have a great year.”

OTHER PREVIEWS

Quarterbacks, tailbacks


Geraldo Boldewijn interview clip


WR Shane Williams-Rhodes vs. CB Donte Deayon

•••

The Broncos practiced at Dona Larsen Park this morning. The defense, which has had a strong week since the turnover-free scrimmage Monday, grabbed at least three interceptions. True freshman cornerback Jonathan Moxey, who has looked good in camp, made one of the interceptions. Junior cornerback Bryan Douglas, coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament, flashed his open-field speed while returning his interception — it looked like he’d been waiting 10 months to do that, which he has. The first-team offense was able to put together one good drive. Senior quarterback Joe Southwick completed four passes to set up a 40-yard field goal by Dan Goodale.

Senior safety Ebo Makinde also grabbed an interception. He was coach Chris Petersen’s camper of the day at BroncoSports.com.

“Ebo has been working hard throughout camp,” Petersen said. “Each day he is bringing senior leadership, and he had a really nice day today.”


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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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