QB Taylen Green did not begin last year as Boise State’s starting signal caller. The 6-6 redshirt sophomore from Texas was behind Hank Bachmaier, but things did not go well and Bachmaier was in the portal days after the firing of former OC Tim Plough. In comes Green who finished the season with 2,402 passing yards, 14 touchdowns passing, completing 60% of his passes, plus 586 yards and 10 scores on the ground.
Like the Huskies and QB Michael Penix Jr., he and all his weapons are back and looking to build on a 10 win season. Unlike the Huskies, he’ll have a brand new offensive coordinator running the offense: Bush Hamdan in his first OC role since UW. Knowing his past, and the Boise State mentality, we can expect lots of shifts and motions and an ultra specific game plan designed around the players he has available. This is apparently what he has been saying all off season; he intends to design the offense around the strengths of the players. However, if there is reason to be worried, it’s that former QBs and QB coaches who are OCs can’t help but try to “mold” duel threat players into better pocket passers. How much Hamdan forces this and how Green reacts is something to monitor.
Let’s start with the basics: a depth chart.
#BoiseState reveals their first depth chart of the season.— Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) August 28, 2023
• No Mason Randolph, who we saw at center to start fall camp.
• DT Max Stege and S Ty Benefield make the two-deep as true freshman. (Just FYI - Benefield is a DUDE.)
• RB George Holani is still on PR. pic.twitter.com/GYY0Wtm67U
Boise State was one of the top rushing teams in the country last season, and with the key players that made it happen all coming back, they should rely heavily again on the rushing attack. They were top 20 in rushing yards per game, and 41st in CFB Graphs expected points added (read about EPA here) last season. The offensive line returns experience, and if you haven’t heard this all off season - get ready to hear it during the broadcast - Boise State has three four start running backs on its roster. George Holani, Ashton Jeanty, and “Breezy” Dubar were all composite four-star prospects in their respective recruiting classes. And so far, they are playing like it.
Holani and Jeanty are the top two backs, but Holani is the starter and is more involved in the pass game. They are both similar sized players - Holani is 5-11 while Jeanty is 5-9, but both are around 210 pounds. Holani doesn’t have immense speed or quickness, but has great vision, cutting ability, and balance. Jeanty is more of a of straight up wrecking ball, but both are plenty physical. Holani averages 3.43 yards after contact per attempt while Jeanty is up at 3.88.
Neither Holani or Jeanty possess elite speed, QB Taylen Green does. As Kalen DeBoer said to the media, he’s made guys “look silly” with his running ability.
The X Factor in the Boise State vs Washington game is whether or not UW can contain QB Taylen Green— WestCoastCFB (@WestCoastCFB) August 28, 2023
Last season, Boise State lacked a clear number one receiver but found success with the “by committee” approach of WR Latrell Caples (51 rec, 549 yards, 4 TD), WR Billy Bowens (32 rec, 462 yards, 4 TDs), and WR Stefan Cobbs (29 rec, 392 yards, 2 TDs.) They all stand 6 foot or taller and have experience in the system. Caples was going to be relied upon this year from the slot, but injured his knee and will be lost for the season.
Billy Bowens is the deep threat - see his 16.5 yards average depth he reached before being targeted. Cobbs mostly lines up outside, but spends about a quarter of the time in the slot, which I presume will increase with Caples out. He didn’t generate much yards after the catch last year, but was a threat 10+ yards downfield. WR Eric McAlister emerged last year as a big play machine, but only had 11 catches. I could see his role in the offensing increase, especially with Caples out.
The running backs will be incorporated too. Holani had 24 receptions and 3 TDs last year, and was the fifth most targeted player on the team. Not surprising for a running back, he had the highest yards after catch on the team too (for anyone with significant stats).
Finally, Green was only sacked 6 times last year, highlighting both his mobility, and strong offensive line play, which has three starters returning.
Taylen Green has an absolute cannon— WestCoastCFB (@WestCoastCFB) August 28, 2023
If they keep things simple, this offense should have a high floor with its ability to play ball control. Green showed enough as a passer last year to keep teams honest and the run game should give him plenty of opportunities. He only had one truly “bad” game last year (at least stats-wise), vs Fresno State: 175 yards, 2 picks, 44% completion. He did throw a touchdown, however. And he showed last season, he can turn the corner and get down the field in a hurry. Washington’s aggressive edge players like Joe Tryon and ZTF will either need to (1) sack Green immediately, or (2) keep him contained and in the pocket to limit his mobility.
The spine of this Husky defense should be much improved but this will be an early test. I am curious how Edefuan Ulofoshio impacts the game from the middle linebacker spot. I suspect he’ll be meeting Holani and Jeanty at the line of scrimmage a lot.
How many points will Boise score on Saturday?
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