Ken Pomponio

Spring Wrap: Boise State Broncos

Apr 18, 2013 9:34 AM EST

While six Mountain West Conference squads still are thigh-pad deep in spring drills, the other six programs already have wrapped up their allotted 15 practices.

Here’s a glance at how the spring went for defending MWC tri-champion Boise State, which is coming off an 11-2 season:

Positive developments

  • With the Broncos battling through a middle-of-the pack offensive campaign in 2012, they are looking for more out of senior quarterback Joe Southwick, who’s entering his second season as Boise’s starter. More specifically, coach Chris Petersen is looking for more leadership and more production out of Southwick, and the QB appears poised to deliver after a strong spring in which he completed 79 percent of his passes in 11-on-11 drills, according to the Idaho Statesman, and displayed an improved work ethic and more authoratative leadership skills.
  • Boise State led the MWC in total and scoring defense a season ago, and should be right up there again thanks to a defensive front that figures to be one of the nation’s best. That was in ample evidence this spring as the line — led by holdovers Demarcus Lawrence, Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe and Tyler Horn and newcomer Deuce Mataele, a juco transfer from Mt. San Antonio College — wreaked havoc all camp long.

Lingering issues

  • The Broncos have only one cornerback on the roster, redshirt junior Bryan Douglas, who’s been around for more than a season, and he’s been sidelined — including all of the spring — since last October as he recovers from a torn ACL. That leaves an inexperienced and unproven group of young faces who will be vying for playing time in fall camp.
  • There isn’t as much uncertainty on Boise’s offensive line, but the Broncos still are looking to replace three starters. Additionally, one of the holdovers, senior Charles Leno Jr., the team’s projected starting left tackle, missed time, including the spring game, due to an unspecified injury. While Leno’s issue isn’t considered serious, it still means the unit has some solidifying to do come fall camp.

Spring-game standouts

  • Despite windy conditions, Southwick was 12-of-20 for 113 yards and a TD to lead the offense to a 28-19 win over the defense.
  • Sophomore Jay Ajayi, BSU’s No. 2 back a season ago behind D.J. Harper, laid claim to the starting job with a strong spring. He carried 11 times for 69 yards and a TD in the spring scrum and added a pass reception for nine more yards.
  • Lawrence, the MWC’s 2012 sack leader, had one in the spring game to go along with his seven tackles, including one for a loss.
  • Sophomore Donte Deayon, one of the program’s young cornerbacks looking to make a name for himself, took a step in right direction with five solo stops and a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Up next

The Broncos kick off fall camp Aug. 5 and then kick off things for real on Aug. 31 with the season opener at Washington.