Coach Chris Petersen and company enter the 2009 season n with high expectations and hope to continue from where they left off a year ago. They won the Western Athletic Conference; Petersen was named the Coach of the Year in the WAC and the Broncos appeared in the Poinsettia Bowl; losing in a nail-biter to TCU.
Despite being a mid-major program, the Broncos have proven to the rest of the college football world that they can be competitive among the elite and has beat BCS teams to prove it. It all starts with their offensive line. They have suffered some injuries, but are pretty deep at the position and if they can establish consistency and stay healthy up-front it will lead to great success for the offense overall.
One person who will benefit if the line is healthy is sophomore QB Kellen Moore. Coming off a stellar rookie campaign where he led the WAC in passing yards per game, passing efficiency and was named WAC Freshman of the Year. Although he loses three weapons at receiver, Moore will look to Austin Pettis, Tyler Shoemaker and TE Tommy Gallarda to step up and make major contributions to their passing attack.
Jeremy Avery will have huge shoes to fill since Ian Johnson will not be returning at tailback. This will be Avery’s first season carrying the bulk of the load, but he is experience with over 100 carries last season finishing with over 600 yards rushing. Fullback, Richie Brockel could be a factor on offense too. He doesn’t have a problem blocking, is able to run the ball when called upon and is able to be a receiver out of the backfield.
Last season, the Broncos defense was a group to be feared. They only gave up 94 pts and averaged 87 rushing yards against. They finished first in the WAC in total defense surrendering only 284 yards per game. They enter the 2009 season with 6 starters lost.
The Broncos secondary is a strong point on defense. They led the WAC last season with 15 INT’s and their opponents completed their passes less the 50% of the time. The leader of the secondary and someone who we will be playing on Sunday’s soon is senior cornerback, Kyle Wilson. Wilson was named first-team all-WAC and led his team with 5 interceptions, 10 pass breakups and 15 passes defended.
The defensive line is led by junior defensive end, Ryan Winterswyk. Ryan was named the Broncos co-MVP on defense and led the team with 11.5 tackles for loss. Regardless of the starters not returning on defense, the Broncos will still wreak havoc on opposing offenses and give their offense plenty of opportunity to score.
The Broncos have all the tools to have an undefeated season and go to a BCS game. The only team in their way is Oregon who they open up with at home. They have only lost two games on the Blue turf in the last ten years. What better way to inaugurate their new jerseys with an undefeated season and a BCS invitation?
’09 Prediction: 13-0