Last year a new chapter began to be written in Boise State football history – great defense. One can not say enough about last year’s defensive performance. Okay, enough said, now what about this year?
In the last few years Boise has slowly reshaped it’s image into a strong defensive powerhouse. Great and enduring programs are built on defense.
Boise has heavily recruited players who are athletic and versatile. It seems like in just a short period of time they develop raw players with little skills into players who are paradigms and pictures of technique. They blend into a system and scheme that runs like a perfectly tuned, timed, and crafted machine.
It is young and said to be soft in the secondary. Yet, in practices and scrimmages who do they go against? Perhaps one of the most talented and experienced receiving corps in the Mountain West Conference. What I’m saying is I don’t buy they are soft.
Frankly, I think Jeremy Ioane is the second-coming of Kyle Wilson. Behind him on the depth chart is Dillon Lukehart, who may very well be the strongest safety in the nation. I would not be surprised to see him at nickel from time to time.
And Darian Thompson my be the second-coming of Kyle Wilson (I said that already.) Behind him is Ebo Makinde, one of the fastest guys at BSU.
I’d like to see all four of these guys on the field at one time and see how long it takes for the opposing quarterback to call a time-out and stop his eyes from spinning in opposite directions. I’m thinking Derek Carr. I’d like to see all four of them come in and pull a double safety blitz.
Boise is strong in other key positions.
To start with, in the middle of the field, Blake Renaud. By the end of the season he will be mentioned as one of the best linebackers in the nation. He comes on the field as a leader and an aggressive and punishing tackler. He has great instincts, vision, and side to side mobility.
There is also Corey Bell and Jonathan Brown who could start nearly anywhere. They both have a nose for the ball.
Demarcus Lawrence will pull down an All-American year. He is likely one of the best defensive ends in the nation. He loops the outside or slices to the inside as well as anyone. He’s fast and strong. Teams will not run to his side. He has NFL written all over him.
On the other end will be Karyree Marshall. I believe this guy is a sleeper. He will show up big. I’m glad to see Ukwauchu gone so this guy can shine.
Tyler Horn and Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe have been waiting in the wings long enough to strut their stuff. I don’t think they will dominate, but they will hold more than their own.
The corners are as solid as they ever have been. Bryan Douglas and Donte Deayon are as tough as a Denny’s rib eye steak and on a par with last year‘s corners. There is also Cleshawn Page, Mercy Maston, and Jonathan Moxey; when they come in they will be equally as tough and impressive.
Great defensive teams don’t have players with great numbers. They aren’t on the field long enough. The numbers that count are fumbles recovered, interceptions, yards for loss, passing yards against, rushing yardage against, and more than anything; if your team scores 7 than the other team better only have six. (BSU 7 – BYU 6; enough said?)
This is a fairly young defensive unit, yet they have all had some quality playing time. It is not to the point of calling them inexperienced. They will not have the pressure on them that they had last year. That made them tough.
Gone are some guys that should have been here. Lee Hightower and Sam Ukwauchu. This is nothing to cry over. Their lack of discipline and conformity off the field would have showed up on the field and hurt the team. They are replaced by better men – end of story.
Their first test will be August 31st. After Washington’s initial emotional burst Boise will reduce them to scratching their posteriors and kicking in frustration at imaginary cats on the turf.