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Boise State Preview: 3 Players to Watch when the Broncos take on the Rebels

The opening game is something of a crapshoot for every coach. Hugh Freeze is no exception, nor should we expect an airtight approach from Brian Harsin in his first game leading Boise State. Games are not always about who has the most overall talent, but about who has the talent in the right places and the right situations. With that in mind, here are three Boise State players to keep an eye on Thursday. If they can take advantage of some of Ole Miss’ weaknesses, it could be a frustrating night for Freeze and the Rebels.

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Miller (WR; 6'3, 220):

Laquon Treadwell has already earned the (perhaps misguided) ire of several Boise fans when he called the Bronco DBs "small." While that may be true (both starting corners are listed at 5'9), the Broncos have a big receiver of their own in Matt Miller. While he's unlikely to obliterate the Ole Miss secondary in the same vein as Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews from last year's opener, Miller possesses good body control and the ability to abuse defensive players after the catch. Comparing him to Donte Moncrief (minus the sub-4.4 40 time) would not be too much of a stretch. He could very well have us wishing for Tee Shepard and Derek Jones (who's gone AWOL on the depth chart, but may still play significant snaps).

Jake Roh (TE; 6'3 228):

I'm convinced that Boise State will have to exercise some creativity in their blocking schemes. Robert Nkemdiche, CJ Johnson and co. are not likely to be consistently blocked by five guys, and not likely to give Boise much time to throw on passing downs. This is where the tight end position comes into play. The tight end not only allows for more creative double teams, he also opens up the possibility to burn an over-eager defense with a seam route.

A little research indicates that Boise did away with the TE position in their base sets last year, and no tight end caught more than a handful of passes. This year, Harsin plans to re-incorporate tight ends as a major part of the offense. Jake Roh, a redshirt freshman, is penciled in as the starter. I actually dug up some senior year highlight film on Jake (I'm bored), and I really think that the Broncos have a player to be excited about here. He was a finalist for the Arizona player of the year in high school, and he seems to possess great athleticism and playmaking ability. Could the Broncos have an Evan Engram-like weapon in Roh?

Darian Thompson (S; 6'2 208)

We've already talked about how Laquon Treadwell didn't made any friends with the Boise State fanbase when he called their defensive backs "small." While the cornerbacks guarding him may be small, they have at least one starter with prototypical size in safety Darian Thompson. A redshirt junior, Thompson has started since midway through his redshirt freshman year, with a solid 63 tackles and 4 interceptions last year. It's not just Thompson's size and production that could be a concern though; it's the schematic problems that he may or may not present to Bo Wallace. Wallace will be debuting a stronger arm and the increased confidence that goes with it. If he looks to stretch the field early and often, it will be up to Darian Thompson to provide help to the smaller corners. If he can hide his intentions and cover ground quickly, Thompson might be the first recipient of a 2014 Bo Wallace interception. If Bo Wallace has time, and can move Thompson around with his eyes, look for the Ole Miss receivers to wreak havoc in the Bronco secondary.