Broncos vets must compete

BOISE – Boise State opened spring football workouts Monday with all but three starters returning from a team that went undefeated a year ago, upset Texas Christian in the Fiesta Bowl and finished No. 4 in the Associated Press poll.

A lineup rich in veterans with big-game experience might be a relief to some coaches heading into off-season drills. Not Chris Petersen.

Touting a talented and hungry pool of underclassmen, the Broncos coach has put his first stringers on notice, warning that most of their jobs are up for grabs.

“There is no sense of entitlement here,” said Petersen, 49-4 with two Fiesta Bowl wins, in four seasons as the Broncos’ head coach.

“There are a lot of good players here who are going to push some people. If one of our young guys can beat out an older guy, I think that’s how we want it here,” he said. “I hope the lineup looks much different than it did in the Fiesta Bowl.”

That’s not to suggest the Fiesta Bowl starters were a bunch of slackers.

The Broncos finished 14-0, won a second straight Western Athletic Conference title and defeated previously unbeaten TCU – a team thought by some worthy of national title consideration – 17-10 on one of college football’s biggest postseason stages.

The offense led the nation in scoring, averaging 42.2 points per game, and finished 10th in total offense, piling up an average of 450 yards per game. The defense also shined, allowing just 17.1 points and 300 yards per game, good enough to rank among the nation’s top 15 defenses in both categories.

But there are new expectations to meet and a schedule that is shaping up to be the toughest ever, featuring a Labor Day showdown on the road against Virginia Tech and a Sept. 25 matchup with Oregon State in Boise.

“If we think we’re going to repeat because of the guys we have coming back, because of what we did last year, I promise you we won’t,” Petersen said. “I think everyone needs to be extremely paranoid and have an edge.”

Barring injury, it’s unlikely junior quarterback Kellen Moore has any serious job security issues. Moore emerged as one of the nation’s most accurate and prolific passers last year, throwing for 3,356 yards, 39 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He also finished second in the nation with a passer rating of 161.6 and completed 64.3 percent of his passes.

Despite those impressive numbers, coaches have a to-do list for Moore. They want him to focus on mechanics.

On a negative note, Peterson said senior safety Jason Robinson has been suspended indefinitely for violating team rules. He did not elaborate. Robinson is a three-year letterman who made 26 tackles in 2009 playing mostly on special teams.

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