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Boise State Preview 2006 - Defense
Boise State Broncos
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 9, 2006


Boise State Broncos Preview 2006 - Boise State Defense

What you need to know ... It'll be a shock if this isn't the WAC's best defense. This is the first time as a coordinator for Justin Wilcox, but he has plenty of talent to work with thanks to several all-star caliber players led by linebacker Korey Hall along with a deep and talented secondary. Getting to the quarterback won't be a problem with everyone coming from all angles to generate pressure. The run defense will put up nice stats because there aren't many running teams on the schedule; the secondary has to be tighter after allowing 262 yards per game.

Returning Leaders
Tackles: Korey Hall, 106
Sacks: Colt Brooks, 6
Interceptions: Marty Tadman, 5

Star of the defense: Senior LB Korey Hall
Player that has to step up and become a star: Senior DT Tim Volk
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore DE Mike T. Williams
Best pro prospect: Hall
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Hall, 2) DT Andrew Browning, 3) S Marty Tadman
Strength of the defense: Linebacker
Weakness of the defense:
Pass defense

Defensive Line
The line isn't full of stars, but it has enough talent to form a good rotation to keep everyone fresh and allow the coaching staff to tinker with the lineup. The one sure thing is Andrew Browning at tackle; everyone else is interchangeable. While there's not a killer pass rusher in the group, sophomore backup Mike T. Williams is close. This will be an active group that finds its way to the quarterback, but could use a few more tackles for loss.
The key to the unit: The rotation has to keep working. It's not a big enough line to hold up against anyone who can pound the ball unless all the reserves are working well with the starters.

Defensive Line Rating:
6.5

Projected Starters
- DE Nick Schlekeway, Jr. - 33 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 TFL
Good enough to see starting time at both end and tackle, the 262-pound junior will get the start on the left side with Alex Guerrero gone. He has been an active tackler with good quickness on the inside, but now he has to prove he can be a consistent pass rusher on the end. If he can't get into the backfield, he'll be moved back to tackle.

- DT Tim Volk, Sr. - 4 tackles
Volk came over from the JUCO ranks as a big end, but at 289 pounds he's more suited for tackle. After originally signing with Arizona, he was a backup for the Broncos over the last two seasons after starting out on the outside. Now he'll get the starting not at left tackle.

- DT Andrew Browning, Sr. - 35 tackles, 1 sack, 3.5 TFL
The team's top defensive lineman, Browning has earned All-WAC honors in each of the last two seasons as a steady anchor at tackle. While he's not huge at 6-0 and 278 pounds and isn't flashy, the former walk-on is active against the run and should be one of the league's best defenders.

- DE Mike G. Williams, Sr. - 24 tackles, 3 sacks, 4 TFL
A starter for the last three seasons, Williams knows what he's doing on the right side and should grow into an all-star performer if he can get into the backfield a bit more. He's a fantastic athlete and, at 244 pounds, is pound-for-pound one of the team's strongest players. While not a pure pass rusher, he has the talent and the experience to become one.

Top Backups
- DE Mike Dominguez, Sr. - 10 tackles, 4 sacks, 4.5 TFL
While not necessarily a pass rushing specialist, he's far better at getting into the backfield than he is against the run. He has seen enough starting time to get the job on right end if Mike G. Williams moves over to the other side, or else he'll be a top end in a rotation again.
- DT Ian Smart, Jr. - 2 tackles
A little used baackup over the last two seasons, the 278-pound junior will get every shot at the left tackle spot. At the very least, he'll play a bigger role in a rotation with Tim Volk.
- DE Mike T. Williams, Soph. - 8 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 4 broken up passes
Only used in pass rushing situations so far, the 6-4, 238-pound sophomore will see action behind Nick Schlekeway on the left side to provide more of a burst into the backfield. He's a fantastic athlete who should put up big numbers with more time.

Linebackers
Korey Hall and Colt Brooks are two of the WAC's most active, most talented defenders leading one of the WAC's best linebacking corps. There's a good blend of size and speed with players like David Shields and Kyle Gingg fast enough to add more athleticism to the group, while backup Josh Bean is a good-looking reserve behind Hall in the middle.
The key to the unit: Hall has to play like the WAC Defensive Player of the Year he's supposed to be, and everyone else will fall into line.
Linebacker Rating: 6.5

Projected Starters
- Colt Brooks, Sr. - 80 tackles, 6 sacks, 11 TFL, 2 broken up passes, 3 forced fumbles, 1 interception
Brooks was a good starter in 2004 combining forces on the outside, and that experience paid off as he grew into a star last year making better, bigger plays while becoming a more disruptive playmaker. While undersized on the strongside at 216 pounds, he has good speed and handles himself well against the run.

- Korey Hall, Sr. - 106 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 5 TFL, 3 broken up passes, 2 interceptions
One of the nation's best returning linebackers, Hall has cranked out 191 tackles over the last two seasons earning first-team All-WAC honors in each of the last two years. He wasn't sent into the backfield as much last season, but he grew into a better defender using his experience and fantastic range to always be around the ball. If needed, he can be a top pass rusher from the middle.

- David Shields, Soph. - 9 tackles, 1 sack
Mostly a special teamer last year, Sheilds will step into the job on the weakside where he should be a terror. He's 6-2 and 225 pounds with tremendous speed. He runs as well as any of the linebackers with enough toughness to move to the middle if needed.

Top Backups
- Mike Altieri, Jr. - 11 tackles, 1 TFL
A special teamer so far, the 218-pound junior is still trying to find his way into the defensive mix playing behind Colt Brooks on the strongside.
- Josh Bean, Jr. - 18 tackles, 1 TFL
One of the team's hardest-hitting and most talented special teamers, the 231-pound Bean is also the biggest linebacker option. He has seen a little bit of time in the middle with enough versatility to play on the outside if needed.
- Kyle Gingg, Soph. - 9 tackles
Gingg saw a little bit of time in mop-up duty last season and now will push for the starting spot on the weakside. He's not as big or as fast as David Shields, but he's quick and should grow into a bigger role.

Defensive Backs
The talent is better than the production will be. Boise State always gives up tons of passing yards partially because it plays in the WAC and partially because it gets up early and teams have to bomb away to come back. Even so, the secondary has great speed, loads of experience, and All-WAC talent led by safeties Marty Tadman and Gerald Alexander. Orlando Scandrick is a talented young corner who should grow into something special in more time. There's good depth to provide plenty of options. 
The key to the unit: With the plan being to get the best four defensive backs on the field at the same time, the coaching staff has to be sure that it's not forcing square pegs into round holes.
Secondary Rating: 6.5

Projected Starters
- CB Orlando Scandrick, Soph - 50 tackles, 1 sack, 3 TFL, 11 broken up passes, 1 interception
Scandrick had a terrific true freshman season as both a special teamer and a corner, and now appears ready to be a consistent All-WAC star. He has decent size at 5-11 and 187 pounds with great hitting ability and good cover skills. While he made several freshman mistakes, he also showed flashes of big-time potential.

- S Gerald Alexander, Sr. - 50 tackles, 2 TFL, 13 broken up passes, 1 interception
Alexander will move to safety after spending last two years at corner. He's tremendous in coverage with the range and speed that will make him even more effective with room to roam and free-lance at safety. At 6-0 and 204 pounds, he has the size to go along with next-level athleticism; he can jump out of the stadium.

- S Marty Tadman, Jr. - 101 tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFL, 7 broken up passes, 5 interceptions
While he's not big and doesn't has average speed, he's a fantastic hitter and is always around the ball. A second-team All-WAC performer last season after finishing second on the team in tackles, he'll make a few preseason All-America teams. He's more of a free safety than a strong safety, but he'll do a little of both.

- CB Austin Smith, Jr. - 51 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 4 TFL, 5 broken up passes
The former safety will move to corner after finishing fifth on the team in tackle while also serving part time as a punt returner. He has tremendous speed and good ball skills, but he'll end up combining with the faster Quinton Jones for the job. If needed, he could move back to safety to get more speed on the field.


Top Backups
- CB Quinton Jones, Jr. - 16 tackles, 3 broken up passes
The team's fastest player and all-star kick returner will combine with Austin Smith for the starting corner job after starting out his career at running back. While not all that big at 5-9 and 177 pounds, he makes up for it with his speed and athleticism.
- S
Ashlei Nyong-Dunham, Jr. - 13 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 broken up passes, 2 interceptions
A good hitting reserve, Nyong-Dunham is one of the team's biggest defensive backs at 5-10 and 210 pounds with decent speed. He'll back up Gerald Alexander and could end up starting if more help is needed at corner and Marty Tadman or Alexander have to move to the outside.
- S Ellis Powers Soph. - 19 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 TFL
Mostly a nickel back last year as a true freshman, Powers will mostly see time as a fifth defender since Marty Tadman won't leave the field much. He's fast and talented, but he needs a spot to play.

Special Teams
This is the one area of the team that will look a little bit different after the coaching change, and that might not be a good thing considering the special teams were among the best in the WAC for the last several years. Punter Kyle Stringer is an All-WAC candidate even though his production dipped last year after a brilliant 2004, and Anthony Montgomery is a veteran placekicker, even if he's a bit too shaky. Quinton Jones is an All-America return man who averaged a whopping 20.9 yards per punt return and 24.7 yards per kickoff return.
The key to the unit:
New special teams coach Jeff Choate shouldn't mess with much. Montgomery has to be better..
Special Teams Rating: 8.5

Projected Starters
- PK Anthony Montgomery, Sr. - 6-10 FGs, 61-62 extra points
Montgomery is a serviceable kicker who doesn't have the greatest range around and could stand to be more consistent. While he's not going to be a weak link, he hasn't proven to be a strength and will have to battle redshirt freshman Chris Chalmers to keep the gig.
- P Kyle Stringer, Sr. - 52 kicks, 2,159 yds, 41.5 yards per kick, 9 inside the 20
While he didn't have the season last year that he had as a sophomore, Stringer was still among the league's best kickers and should be so again. A bomber who has been the team's main punter for the last three seasons, he should be in the hunt for All-WAC honors with an average well over 40 yards a pop.

Related Stories
Boise State Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
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Boise State Preview 2006 - Offense
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Boise State Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 9, 2006








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