In case you missed our preseason Q&A with our friends over at One Bronco Nation Under God, check it out here. Also, I should note that I agreed to a bet by Kevan that the winner of the game would be allowed to put up a post on the loser's blog. So there's a lot riding on this game!
1. Has anything changed since we last spoke before camp? Were there any surprises in camp in terms of players?
From the depth chart everyone thought we would see to the depth chart we actually saw, the biggest surprises were that OT Faraji Wright is now a second-teamer, former first-team OG Jake Broyles is now a starting tackle, former second-team OG Michael Ames (himself a former tackle) is the starting guard, and Dextrell Simmons is the starter at nickel. Joe Southwick was named starting quarterback, which may not have been something I knew last time we talked but it was something that I felt was inevitable. On his own, he was okay during the fall scrimmage. Compared to the other QBs, he was sensational. Bronco fans are pretty sure he'll be serviceable against Michigan State, but I think we're all prepared to facepalm should the situation arise.2. What do we know about Joe Southwick?
He was highly thought of as a high school recruit and has all the classic quarterback skills you like to see: strong arm, accurate, smart, leadership-y. Bronco coaches are certain that he is fully capable of understanding the totality of the BSU playbook and just as smart as the other QBs Boise State has had (Kellen Moore company excluded). I'm not convinced (he made a turrible throw in the scrimmage that was miraculously completed and significantly inflated his stats).
3. What are three keys to victory for the Broncos?
Force turnovers. The Broncos plan on getting 30 turnovers this season, so when you remove the eight they will force against New Mexico, that leaves an average of two per game. If they can force two turnovers against Michigan State - especially the drive-killing, momentum-turning variety - they will be in great shape. (The opposite is true - i.e., don't allow turnovers - of course.)
Establish something on offense. I don't really even care what it is, so long as it is productive, effective, and dependable. If the Broncos run the ball well, they can set up the pass and play action. If they throw the ball well, they can counter with the run. If they get their screen game going, they can do whatever it is you do after you establish the screen game.
Score touchdowns from inside the 30. Not only do I not have faith that in Boise State's kicker, I don't have faith that kicking field goals - making them, even - would even help. If scoring opportunities will be few and far between, the Broncos need to make the most of the ones they get.
4. How has your interaction been with MSU fans in the weeks leading up to his game?
You guys sure seem nice. And one of your co-writers published a helpful FanPost on OBNUG. I tend to rank all opponent fan interaction on a scale of how far removed they are from Oregon fans. You, sirs, are waaay far removed from Oregon fans.
5. Give me a score prediction and why.
I'm going with Boise State 24, Michigan State 17. This matchup is unlike anything the Broncos have opened with in recent seasons because this is a vastly different Boise State team and because the venue and opponent is - on paper - the toughest BSU has faced. I really have no idea how or where this game is going to go, and 24-17 seems like the safest scoreline I could think of. It is the elevator music of score predictions. Hopefully no one will even notice it.
Thanks again to Kevan for answering some questions. Make sure you check out One Bronco Nation Under God for a good set of preview info from the other side of things. Perhaps you'll be hearing from him again next week.