Wonderful Wednesday's Hot Spot: MAACO Las Vegas Bowl Preview: Will Nevada loss upend Boise State a second time?
December 21st, 2010 By Corey Chavous
How do you respond? Can you forget? Those are the questions for a Boise State team that just over a month ago expected to be playing for a national championship or at least BCS Bowl game standoff in a little more than three weeks from today. There are a number of interesting battles that could determine the outcome of the game. Here's a quick preview:
MAACO Las Vegas Bowl Preview:
19 Utah vs 10 Boise State 12-22-10
Justin VanFulpen's Draftnasty Insider's Pro Prospect Look
Here are some of the players in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas to watch out for in this year’s upcoming NFL draft.
C Zane Taylor, Utah – Taylor might be a little smaller as a center than some teams wish he would be but has good strength and is a good overall athlete. He will fit into a zone blocking scheme. Right now he carries 7th round to free-agent grade.
CB Brandon Burton, Utah (Junior) – Burton is a junior but from all talks he is going to come out early and most feel like he will be a 2nd to 3rd round pick. He is close to 6 feet tall and a good athlete who runs well. Sometimes he will struggle against bigger receivers and needs to be more consistent. This season he has 46 total tackles, 2 interceptions, 8 pass break-ups, and 10 passes defended.
RB Eddie Wide, Utah – Wide is a quick, fast running back who can get outside and shows good hands. He was a wide receiver in the past before moving to running back. His workout numbers are going to be a key to his final draft stock, as right now he has a free-agent grade. This season he has 683 yards rushing, averaging 4.8 yards a carry, 11 rushing touchdowns, 31 catches for 250 yards and 2 receiving touchdowns.
RB Matt Asiata, Utah – Asiata is a big, tough running back who can run downhill, but his injury history is something that the NFL will look into to get full medical clearance. This season Asiata has 673 yards rushing while averaging 4.5 yds/carry with 8 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 31 passes for 250 yards and 1 touchdown. Asiata carries a free agent grade.
WR Titus Young, Boise State – Young is one of the fast rising wide receivers because of his speed, quickness and big play ability to get down the field and score touchdowns. He has great agility and the ability to get in and out of his cuts quickly. Because of his agility makes him a very good returner. Young this season so far has caught 65 passes for 1,151 yards, averaging 17.7 yards a catch as well as scoring 9 touchdowns. He also has returned 23 kicks for 550 yards averaging 23.9 yards a return. Right now many NFL teams have him as a 3rd round pick.
WR Austin Pettis, Boise State – Pettis is a big, physical wide receiver who is able to use his body to create space. He isn’t the fast guy on the field but runs good routes and catches the football with his hands. Pettis this season so far has caught 59 passes for 804 yards, averaging 13.6 yards a catch with 9 touchdowns. Scouts are concerned about his straight-line speed so right now he has a 4th round grade, but could move up based on his combine results.
SS Jeron Johnson, Boise State – Johnson has shown over his career to be able to do a lot for the Boise State defense and has the ability to be a very good player in the NFL. He does better in coverage than people give him credit for but still a very good run support safety. Johnson leads the team with 72 tackles, and has 1 interception as well as breaking up 6 passes and defending 7. Right now he carries a 5th round grade from NFL teams.
DE Ryan Winterswyk, Boise State – Winterswyk is a hard nosed, hard working football player that has good football IQ, but isn’t a great athlete. This is going to hurt him at the next level. He has been a very productive college football player in his career and the ability to be a rotational guy at the next level. Winterswyk has 42 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and one interception. As of right now he has a 7th round grade.
CB Brandyn Thompson, Boise State – Thompson is solid cornerback who is a good athlete but isn’t elite and that is going to limit him at the next level. This season Thompson has 30 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, 7 passes break-ups and 10 passes defended. His skill set is suited for a Tampa Two style defense and right now carries a 7th round grade from the NFL.
Chavous' Matchups to Watch:
Boise State WR Austin Pettis vs Utah CB Lamar Chapman
Chapman has been effective when covering the slot in 2009 or this season as a multi-purpose defensive back. One of the major concerns Boise State has in facing the 5’8” 176 pound senior is his ability to blitz off the edge. Although undersized, he finishes at the quarterback, evidenced by his 5.5 sacks and 9.5 TFLs.
While he is a threat to come off the slot as a pass rusher, Utah has to pick its poison in these situations. If they bring him off the #2 position, it is likely that the Broncos could counter by using play action or quick hitting passes to Pettis in the middle of the field. Pettis is not a burner, but he is a good athlete who catches the football confidently and effortlessly most of the time.
Utah LG Caleb Schlauderaff vs Boise State DT Billy Wynn
Wynn is a dynamic pass rush threat and is particularly effective on line games along the Boise defensive front. In order to slow down his upfield charge, expect the Utes to use a variety of different run schemes with QB Terrance Cain under center. Cain can run the spread/dive action and keep the football, which will put the onus on Schlauderaff.
He sometimes loses his hat and hand placement at the POA, something that could prove fatal versus the explosive Wynn, who fires off the ball because he times snap counts well. The Utes could use a trap scheme vs. Wynn that would allow C Zane Taylor to block down on Wynn and run misdirection with RB Eddie Wide from the offset gun position. For that to happen the guard occupying Wynn would have to then pull around to the front side.
The problem with that strategy?
Schlauderaff is not explosive out of his stance when pulling around the corner.
Utah K Joe Phillips vs Boise State K/P Kyle Brotzman
I fully expect that one or both of the aforementioned will have a huge impact on tonight’s game. The thing that is important to remember is that you have two totally different styles of kickers.
Brotzman is somewhat of an enigma as a punter, but his 38.9 yd/net average in 2009 shouldn’t be ignored in a game that could be decided by field position.
Phillips does not have a strong leg, so his range will always be a big question mark. In fact, at various times during his career, he’s relinquished kickoff duties. His accuracy as a kicker over the last two years is remarkable (only 4 missed FGs), but his range does not go beyond 48 yards.
If the game comes down to a big kick, we all know what will be on Brotzman’s mind? On the other side of the spectrum, Phillips has also had a state on his shoulders and came through when given the chance last fall vs. BYU. If he had missed the kick that won the contest in overtime, we may not be discussing him right now. But with Brotzman out to prove that he can rebound from a heartbreaking moment, I give the edge to Boise State due to his ability to hit outside of 50 yards.
Prediction: I could go on and on about the impact Cain’s speed could have and his 9-1 record as a starter, but I won’t waste your time. The bottom line is that the game will be exciting for a while but I’m not convinced that Boise State is completely over the debilitating loss to Nevada. I expect the game to be close early, but Boise State will be out to prove that this game defines their season.
Boise State 38 Utah 21
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