Trying to pass time tonight at work I was trying to think of what I was going to blog on and realized that outside of a couple games each year I really don't know much about Boise State other than that they really get up for their big out of conference games, they are well prepared, disciplined, and are very used to winning. My first look at them I decided I would just take a look at their depth chart from the Virginia Tech game last year and compare it to what they had coming back this year. The first thing that jumped out at me is the number of players that will be juniors and seniors this year that were listed in their two deep. Fourteen players were listed as first team and seventeen as second team that will be the upperclassmen of this years Boise team. That is a lot of guys that have been around a winning program for a long time and that know how to win. From looking at last years roster and what they will look like next year this appears to be Boise's best team on paper in that 3 year time frame (2010-2012).
There is however two matchups that Georgia could exploit against Boise. The first is UGA's secondary against Boise's wide recievers. Boise normally lines up with 3 wr's which means the nickel back for UGA will come into play quite a bit. Boise State lost its top two wr's who accounted for half of their catches, yards and td's in the passing game. My guess would be those two would have accounted for even more if Boise was not involved in so many blow outs where the two didn't play the 4th quarter. Boise does return the rest of their receiving corp and so they will have some experience and depth just not the stars from last year. They will match up against a Georgia secondary that returns 4 out of 5 starters (counting Smith as the nickel back). The only position that will not be manned by the starter from the end of the season last year is safety. That position will most likely be filled by a player who did start games last year, either Hamilton or Williams. The best passing defense Boise faced last year was Virginia Tech who gave up and average of 205 ypg, good for 40th best in the country. Georgia's pass defense gave up 180 ypg, good for 16th best in the country. In their second year under Lakatos and Grantham and all but one player back (he is still on the team at LB) the passing defense should be set from game one while Boise will be looking to find out who steps up to fill the huge shoes of their departed wide receivers.
An even bigger advantage will be seen for UGA in a huge part of the game, special teams. Georgia returns the best kicker/punter combination in the country with Blair Walsh and Drew Butler. They also return Brandon Boykin as one of the most explosive kick returners in college football, who might also return punts this year, along with Branden Smith who might be Georgia's fastest player. Boise State lost their kicker, punter and top return man from last year. They also lost their backup punter (graduated) and the man they expected to take over kicking duties, rising junior Jimmy Pavel, left the team this summer. Titus Young was their best kick and punt returner and he is now in the NFL. The kicking game should be a huge plus in Georgia's favor and hopefully can provide field position and possibly even a few points for the team. In a close game Those extra yards and a kicker than put up three to win the game is huge.
If Georgia can take advantage of those two areas it should go a long way towards helping them win the game.