We continue our series of camp previews for select non-AQ schools.
Opening camp: Boise St.
Schedule: Practice starts today.
Sidelined: Linebacker Daron Mackey (knee), running back Matt Kaiserman (leg) and offensive lineman Garett Pendergast (ankle) will be limited.
What’s new: Defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski takes over for Justin Wilcox, who left for Tennessee. Kwiatkowski was promoted from defensive line coach, and as he showed in the spring, this defense will continue to be aggressive.
Key battle: How many key battles can there be when nearly every starter returns? There is one, and it is a doozy. Jamar Taylor and Jerrell Gavins are fighting to take over the starting cornerback spot that belonged to Kyle Wilson. Taylor redshirted last season after getting hurt, while Gavins served as a backup.
New on the scene: Fans have high hopes for true freshman safety Jeremy Ioane out of Honolulu. Though most of the starters return, there are some depth concerns at safety. Ioane could end up contributing, depending on how well he does during fall practice.
Breaking out: Defensive end Tyrone Crawford should figure into the rotation on the defensive line. Last season at Bakersfield College in California, Crawford was a first-team JUCO All-American after recording eight sacks and 42 tackles (14 for loss).
Don’t forget about: Running back D.J. Harper. Last year was supposed to be his time to shine in the backfield. But he tore the ACL in his left knee in the third week against Fresno St. and missed the rest of the season. Harper should be OK for fall drills, and hopes to be able to share the load with Jeremy Avery.
All eyes on: Quarterback Kellen Moore. Of course they are all on Moore, who goes into the season with Heisman Trophy hype after a stellar 2009 in which he won WAC Player of the Year honors after throwing for 3,536 yards, 39 touchdowns and only three interceptions. With 10 players returning on offense, Moore is going to bear the brunt of the high expectations on the program.
Quoting: “If we want to even think about some of those BCS type goals, we have to win the WAC. That’s what we want to do. It definitely would be nice to go out with another championship.” -- senior safety Jeron Johnson.