Just as the success of the program itself, it seems as if the string of poised, talented Boise State quarterbacks is never-ending. We’ve finally hit the area where we expect the Broncos to have one of the top gunslingers in the nation on the field on a yearly basis.
Last season, it was the unforgivable job of junior Joe Southwick to keep this trend going by stepping into the shoes of the most successful Boise State signal caller of all time in Kellen Moore. While this was a difficult task to ask of any first-year starter, regardless of class, Southwick did a masterful job in his first year at the helm.
In 2012, Southwick proved he was more than ready for the dubious distinction of being the Boise State QB. He led the Broncos to an 11-2 record, although the team was a mere six points away from an undefeated season and another run as a BCS buster, an honor which garnered the program its fame in the first place. If things go the other way in a four-point loss to Michigan State to start the season and a two-point drop to San Diego State, then the Broncos and Southwick would have certainly been bound for a much larger bowl than the Las Vegas one they were able to handle the Washington Huskies of the Pac-12 in to end 2012.
Throughout the 2012 journey of his first season under center, Southwick was the prototypical Boise QB. A poised pocket-passer with just enough mobility to get by, the then junior passed for 2,730 yards, 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions. While his numbers weren’t nearly as flashy as those of his predecessor Moore, Southwick had a strong running game behind him with DJ Harper rushing for over 1,200 yards. But Southwick did what a quarterback is supposed to do, he managed his offense.
So how far can he manage this team in 2013?
The answer to this question all falls on the senior’s shoulders this season. Southwick is losing Harper this year at the running back slot with sophomore Jay Ajayi filling in. While Ajayi did amass over 500 yards on the ground last season, it still remains to be seen whether he can produce on a full-time basis like Harper did.
In what is the extremely good news for the Boise quarterback, the Broncos’ top two receivers–Matt Miller and Kirby Moore–are back this season and look to develop more along with Southwick. In traditional Boise receiver fashion, these two are highly reliable targets, each with the potential to break 1,000 yards receiving. Chris Petersen may see himself reverting back to being a bit over-the-top again with the passing attack, which he has a more than capable crew to pull that off if that’s the case.
Now if there’s anything that may prove a hindrance to that plan, it’s the fact that Southwick loses a bit of protection up front. The losses of 3 offensive linemen may prove to be tough, although his main man on the left side, senior LT Charles Leno, is one of the returning starters which is a breath of fresh air as the offense comes together.
Speaking of the offense coming together, should this be the case, this could be a breakout year for Southwick becoming a household name in the game of college football, such as his predecessors did. The Broncos have a lot to replace overall as they have just nine starters returning from 2012, but this is still a team with the talent to get to double-digit wins yet again.
To get there though, Joe Southwick is going to have to show us all what he’s really made of and definitively etch his name up there with the likes of Ryan Dinwiddie, Jared Zabransky and Moore.
Jack is a College Football Writer for Rant Sports. Follow Jack on Twitter @JackJ14RS