DEMARCUS LAWRENCE With the entire 2011 starting defensive line now in the NFL, opportunity abounds for the 6'3", 241-pound defensive end, who transferred from Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kans., where he had 10 sacks last fall.
KIRBY MOORE There are many reasons everyone is excited for Kellen's 6'3", 203-pound kid brother, a junior, to slide into the starting slot-receiver spot vacated by Tyler Shoemaker, who set a school record with 16 touchdown grabs last year. "He's a big target," Petersen says of Moore, "and smart as a whip."
GONE FROM the land of Smurf Turf is one of the Broncos' most recognizable faces, four-year starting quarterback Kellen Moore, one of seven all-conference seniors and 17 starters who have moved on. "We haven't been in this position for a while," says coach Chris Petersen of the mass exodus that leaves Boise State with just five returning starters. But none of the departed will be as hard to replace as Moore, the winningest QB in FBS history. Two-year understudy Joe Southwick and true freshman Nick Patti head a battle for the position among four candidates, each of whom has one thing their predecessor lacked: "They've all got some speed," says receiver Matt Miller, "so that's gonna add a whole new dimension to our offense."
FOUR STARTERS from an offensive line that allowed a nation-low eight sacks are back, and that will help the eventual QB derby winner and oft-injured sixth-year senior running back D.J. Harper, who finally has a chance to be featured. There are greater concerns on defense, where a new starting unit must be forged on the line, long a Boise State strength. The lack of continuity may be troublesome in early-season matchups with Michigan State and BYU, but Petersen has more than enough material to build a conference champ in the school's final Mountain West season.