How’s everything going, Boise State fans? Everything OK?
I see the discourse online. Some of you are mad at Boise State’s 2-3 record, despite a Mountain West win. You might be confused with the team’s unclear picture at quarterback. You might even be worried about the rest of the season and are blaming head coach Andy Avalos.
I see where you’re coming from. Not many people, including me, thought Boise State would have a losing record at this point. And considering the program’s history of success, failing hasn’t happened all too much in Boise in the 21st century.
But is it time to panic? To consider firing coaches?
I don’t think so. At least not yet.
Patience could go a long way here.
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Boise State’s Starting Quarterback Dilemma
Boise State coaches said they would let multiple quarterbacks play this week. I don’t agree with that concept in the long term or short term.
Taylen Green has struggled after a Mountain West Freshman of the Year campaign in 2022. He’s thrown for 938 yards, four touchdowns, and four interceptions on a 53% completion rate. He’s also rushed for 179 yards and two scores.
So the Broncos are also going to involve redshirt freshman Maddux Madsen. He’s played a little bit already and, I’ve got to admit, he’s made some pretty good throws. He’s tallied 319 yards, four touchdowns, and no picks on 22-of-32 passing.
I’m all for new ideas. But I don’t think changing quarterbacks mid-season — or mid-game for that matter — is the answer.
Blaming Boise State’s problems solely on Green isn’t realistic. According to Pro Football Focus, he’s had less time to throw (2.62 seconds per pass this year compared to 2.96). The Broncos’ receivers have also dropped eight passes this year, which is as many as all of last year on Green’s throws.
Green has also been good at avoiding sacks. Per PFF, he’s allowed 8.3% of pressures on him to be turned into sacks. That’s tied for the 20th-lowest rate in the country.
And one could see that he has a one-to-one touchdown-to-interception ratio and be concerned. However, he’s only had six turnover-worthy plays this season and has an even lower turnover-worthy play rate than last year (he was at 4.6% in 2022 and is at 3.9% in 2023).
Wins, and sometimes even baseline stats, are not directly reflective of how a quarterback has played. Green is an example of that.
Has it been perfect? No. But I say give him some more time. He’s already shown promise, and switching back and forth between quarterbacks usually doesn’t build anyone’s confidence.
Plus, Green is still a sophomore. He’s young. He’s going to have struggles against teams like Washington, UCF, and Memphis. If a couple plays outside of Green’s control go differently, Boise State would be 4-1 and this wouldn’t even be a discussion.
I just don’t think the offense is clicking quite yet. But with some patience, that could change very soon.
We’ll see how the situation unfolds against San Jose State. Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe this two-QB system will will lead to good results for Boise State and help the Broncos find a long-term answer. But if the two quarterbacks combine for four picks (or make other colossal mistakes like that) this weekend, that wouldn’t reflect well on this coaching staff.
Boise State Football Still Has Potential
Here’s another reason I wouldn’t quite panic yet. Boise State has played some impressive teams and still has some standout players.
Many predicted Boise State could upset Washington, and that obviously didn’t come to fruition. But that’s a top-10 team in the country with national championship hopes and a Heisman Trophy contender in quarterback Michael Penix Jr.
Then Boise State also lost to UCF and Memphis. But those games were decided by a collective five points, and neither of those squads are bad by any means. In fact, both have winning records.
Am I making excuses for the Broncos? Maybe. But I’m laying all of this out to make this point: Boise State isn’t devoid of talent. If that was the case, those games I mentioned before wouldn’t have been competitive. And that should mean the Broncos don’t make any drastic changes at head coach until they’re in the midst of their conference schedule.
The Broncos still have a talented run game with Ashton Jeanty playing like one of the best running backs in the nation. And considering Boise State is still third in college football betting odds to win the Mountain West at +325, I’m not the only one that thinks the Broncos still have a shot to rebound.
They just need a little more patience.
Boise State-San Jose State Game A True Test
So am I panicking if I’m among the Boise State faithful? No.
That could change if the Broncos lost to San Jose State. But I don’t think they will.
As I outlined, Boise State has played an extremely trying non-conference schedule, and it didn’t go the Broncos way. And that probably means they don’t make a New Year’s Six bowl.
But the Broncos are still, at the moment, without a loss against Mountain West opponents and aren’t in a bad position to win a conference title.
The result of this SJSU tilt will put the rest of the season into perspective. If Boise State wins, then everything I’ve just said will prove to be true and there’s still time left in the season for the team to start playing at its best. If the Broncos lose, then everything that’s happened has been a sign of things to come.
But just look at last year. Avalos has proven he can turn a season around.
If he doesn’t, he will have fallen short of the standard he knows full well having used to play for Boise State. And if the mistakes of the past five weeks snowball into further failures against the rest of the Mountain West, then this could end up being a very, very long season.