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Broncos tandem aiming for sustained success in 2023

Running backs George Holani and Ashton Jeanty are aiming to duplicate their successful 2022 campaigns, with both expecting to improve upon their respective career years. (Photo: Josh Hemmert, CBS2){p}{/p}
Running backs George Holani and Ashton Jeanty are aiming to duplicate their successful 2022 campaigns, with both expecting to improve upon their respective career years. (Photo: Josh Hemmert, CBS2)

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After a sensational second half to the season in 2022, Boise State's rushing leaders are excited for a season in which they think they'll collectively overwhelm opposing defenses.

On what was dubbed 'Inferno Day', Broncos players completed their first practice in full pads. It was called 'Inferno Day' due to the practice being indoors, allowing head coach Andy Avalos to crank up the heat (96F on the field, 102F ceiling temperature) to prepare for hot, humid games this season, likely the Broncos matchup late September in Memphis.

Running backs George Holani and Ashton Jeanty spoke to media today. Both are expected to be heavy contributors on the offense again, after each posted career years in 2022.

Holani, a redshirt senior, had a rebound year in 2022 after two straight seasons of injury woes. In 2022, Holani put up 1,157 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground, adding 206 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in the air. He chose not to enter the NFL draft last offseason, to prove that he could have consecutive 1,000-yard seasons at the collegiate level.

"A lot of coaches they say, 'Alright, he has health issues', or whatever, so just being able to come back and show them I can have another 1,000-yard rushing season, and just continuing to stack on that and build on that," Holani said on his reasons for coming back.

Holani also added that with this likely being his final year, he's making sure he stays in the moment.

"I mean, I cherish every moment with teammates you know, especially just because this is my senior year... this could be my last year, you never know, so just going out there and just continuing to have fun with the boys," Holani said.

The Broncos' other feature back, Ashton Jeanty, came off a strong true freshman campaign in which he excelled as the second guy. Jeanty posted nearly 1,000 yards on two starts (821, 7 touchdowns), going for 178 yards and a score in the Broncos' Frisco Bowl win. He spoke today on that huge game, mentioning that it sparked confidence in his ability to run the rock.

"I definitely think it boosted my confidence," Jeanty said. "That was probably my first time playing a full college game, but it was just a great opportunity to get on the field and show a little more what I can do."

Holani expressed excitement in the tandem he and Jeanty form, noting that their differing skillsets can help the Broncos stay in rhythm on offense.

"He's able to be explosive," Holani said. "He can run a dude over. Next thing you know, I go in there, I can go in there and make a dude miss or juke him so it's really exciting."

The running back tandem is part of a three-headed offensive rushing monster. Quarterback Taylen Green adds a completely new dimension to the Broncos rush. Green's 10 rushing touchdowns, the longest of which was a 91-yard score versus Utah State, gives the defense another threat to watch out for, enabling more opportunities for Jeanty and Holani.

"He's a guy who can makes plays," Holani said of Green. He's a guy who can run 23 miles per hour. Just having him out there and being able to use that mid-zone with the read off the back side, that changed everything... it's pretty crazy how we can utilize this offense."

The Broncos get a chance to finally show that offense in action in just over three weeks, when they head to Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies for their season opener. Kickoff is Saturday, September 2, 1:30 p.m. (12:30 local); the game will be televised on ABC.

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