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Zabransky back to work after Hollywood ending


Zabransky in action at the Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 1, 2007.

Though the 2006 college football season has long been over, Texans quarterback Jared Zabransky and his former Boise State teammates continued their winning ways last week.

Zabransky led the Broncos to two undefeated regular seasons in three years at Boise State. Last Wednesday, they were a perfect two-for-two off the football field at ESPN's ESPY Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

The Broncos received the Best Game award for their 43-42 victory over Oklahoma in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in January and took home the trophy for Best Play for the statue of liberty two-point conversion play that won the game in overtime.

"It was crazy," Zabransky said of the star-studded event. "Being a rookie, I haven't really got to meet a lot of these guys. I've had an opportunity with the way our game finished in the Fiesta Bowl to get out and network a little bit, but there's still a lot of people there you see growing up, legends of sports like Wayne Gretzky and Peyton Manning."

Zabransky and Boise State running back Ian Johnson accepted the ESPY for Best Play from comedian Dane Cook.

"It was pretty sweet," Zabransky said. "I got a little nervous on stage. They cut my speech in half though, so it sounded kind of funny on TV. I was pretty livid at ESPN for that."

Zabransky has also been in the spotlight lately for being selected to be on the cover of NCAA Football 2008, EA Sports' newest release of its smash hit video game.

"It's a great honor," he said. "Some of the guys before me that have been on it are Hall of Famers, some of them all-pros going to go on to be Hall of Famers."

The honor has not gone unnoticed by Zabransky's new teammates in Houston.

"They razz me about it a little bit," he said. "But after I get some games for our lounge room it'll be alright."

{QUOTE}As these honors show, Zabransky was an iconic figure for the game of college football last season. But having joined the Texans as an undrafted rookie free agent, Zabransky has much humbler aspirations for his immediate future.

"My personal goal is to make the active roster," he said. "They haven't kept three quarterbacks here for a while, and I don't know if they ever have, so my job is to play well and try to help my team out."

Zabransky faced an uphill battle early in the offseason as Texans coaches wanted to change his throwing mechanics, forcing him to learn plays and fix his techniques at the same time. But he quickly adjusted to a system that – minus a trick play here and there – is very similar to his old offense at Boise State. Since then, he has been very impressed with his new coaches and teammates.

"Coach Kubiak is a good head coach," he said. "He's the best head coach I've been around and he knows what he's doing. I have the utmost respect for him, and I've just got to listen to him and take what he says and go from there."

Zabransky sees the same winning attitude that typified his Boise State teams forming in the locker room at Reliant Stadium.

"I've been around a winning program, a very successful program for five years, and you can tell that we're trying to do it the right way here," he said. "From the coaches all the way down to the players, all the way through is one mindset, and that's to win football games, to play at a championship level.

"You can tell by the mentality of the players and team chemistry that we're moving in that direction," Zabransky said. "I see a lot of camaraderie, a lot of chemistry, a lot more than I expected. That builds for a strong foundation, when you've got guys that want to win football games."

With a Hollywood ending to a dream season at Boise State now behind him, Zabransky hopes that he can become part of a winning tradition with the Texans for years to come.

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