It has been well-documented, discussed and otherwise noted that Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick had a rough start in 2012.
In the very first game of the season, Southwick and his teammates faced the daunting task of starting the year on the road in East Lansing against the Spartans of Michigan State.
For the Broncos fanbase it had to be very difficult watching that game and watching their quarterback complete only 48.4 percent of his passes. This, mind you, was in the wake of enjoying four straight incredible years of Kellen Moore.
However, as most fans realized, it wasn't just Southwick's struggles against Michigan State that cost the Broncos that game. The rushing attack was nearly non-existent, and it forced Southwick to do far more than what could have been expected of him early on.
Moving forward through the season, Joe Southwick had his ups and downs, but his improvement progressed. In fact, in the final six games of the regular season and in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas against Washington, Southwick averaged an incredible 70.98 completion percentage.
During that same seven-game run, the Boise State quarterback threw just three interceptions compared to 10 touchdowns. But, it was his final two games that elevated his promise.
Against Nevada and Washington, Joe Southwick not only threw the ball well, but he also controlled the tempo of the game, looked like a real leader and used his feet more than ever.
Against the Wolf Pack, Southwick scrambled for 25 extra yards, and a couple of those were key first downs. He did the same against the Huskies in the Bowl game with even more effectiveness, racking up 39 rushing yards.
A more confident, more aggressive and more agile Southwick is just what the Broncos needed to finish the 2012 season strong.
It is that same Southwick that Boise State needs to begin 2013.
If Joe Southwick comes in as a senior and plays like he did the last part of his junior season, Boise State is going to be a team no one will want to tangle with.
Add to that the rushing support he should get from what appears to be a very good trio of running backs, headed up by starter Jay Ajayi, and the recipe for success is there.
The critics of 2012 might be singing Southwick's praises in 2013, but it was those same critics and the difficulties of the early part of the season last year that helped forge Southwick into a much better player and leader.
Some would have melted under the shadow he faced and the pressure he was under, but Boise State fans should be impressed and thankful that Joe Southwick didn't.
The troubles and successes he faced in 2012 should be the solid foundation he builds on in 2013.
Look for Southwick to start where he left off last season when the Broncos open the season in Seattle against those same, now much angrier, Huskies.
Let's just hope it's without the mustache this time.
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