2007 Boise State Preview - Defense
Boise State Bronco Defense
Preview 2007 - Defense
2007 Boise State Preview
2007 Boise State Offense Preview
2007 Boise State Depth
2006 CFN Boise
What you need to know: As expected, the defense was the best
in the WAC last year and should be fantastic again with seven
starters returning. Stopping the run will be goal one, and it
can be with a fantastic returning pass defense. The secondary
will be great with safety Marty Tadman and the corner tandem of
Orlando Scandrick and Kyle Wilson returning, while the
linebacking corps, even with the loss of Korey Hall, will be a
strength with Derrell Acrey expected to step up and star, with
veterans Kyle Gingg and David Shields keeping the run defense
strong. Mike Williams and Nick Schlekeway form a good end
tandem, but the tackles will be the team's biggest question mark
outside of the quarterback situation.
Mike T. Williams, 4
Interceptions: Marty Tadman, 6
Star of the defense: Senior S Marty Tadman
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior DT
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman LB Derrell
Best pro prospect: Junior CB Orlando Scandrick
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Tadman, 2) Scandrick,
3) CB Kyle Wilson
Strength of the defense: Secondary, ends
Weakness of the defense:
Projected Starters: The two starting tackles need to be
replaced, but the two ends are back. Getting into the backfield won't be
a problem with senior Nick Schlekeway on one side and junior
Mike T. Williams on the other. The 6-4, 238-pound Williams was art
of a rotation making 22 tackles, four sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss.
Now he has the full-time job and should flourish with excellent
athleticism. While he's been pegged as a bit of a pass rushing
specialist, he can do more.
The 6-4, 262-pound Schlekeway is big enough to see time at tackle
earlier in his career, and just athletic enough to be a solid end. The
problem is he's a quick tackle and a slow end, but he still came up with
two sacks and 4.5 tackles for loss with 45 stops.
6-1, 294-pound junior Joe Bozikovich has talent, but he hasn't
been able to stay healthy. He was dinged up almost all of last year,
seeing time in just three games, and was out all of 2005 with a knee
injury. As the biggest player on the line, his health is a major issue
for a line that needs as much beef as possible against the run.
6-3, 278-pound senior Ian Smart will rotate in at the other
tackle spot coming off a three tackle season. A career backup, he's been
given every chance to become a major factor, but hasn't yet done it. Now
he's a much-needed veteran on the inside.
Projected Top Reserves: Battling with Smart for
one of the tackle jobs will be 6-4, 277-pound junior Phil Edwards,
a spot starter last year who was decent early on. He's one of the team's
most athletic interior defenders and should be a decent pass rusher.
One of the rising stars of the line is 6-4, 230-pound redshirt freshman
Ryan Winterswyk, who'll play behind Williams on the right side.
He's a tough tackler who has the type of quickness and athleticism to
grow into a terror of a pass rusher.
Watch Out For ... Williams. He's always had the
talent, the quickness and the potential, and now he'll get the time to
flourish with the job all to himself. Watch out for him to grow into an
elite pass rusher with tremendous numbers.
Strength: Quickness. All four spots can get into
the backfield and swarm to the ball. Boise State's lines always are
overactive, making up for a general lack of size with aggressiveness.
Weakness: Tackle. This might be the team's biggest
question mark after losing Andrew Browning, who meant everything to the
front four. The Broncos always seem to unearth productive players from
out of nowhere, but there's no appreciable experience to count on right
Outlook: Getting into the backfield won't be an
issue, but holding up against the run early in the season might be.
Williams needs to grow into a star on the end, and figuring out who can
hold up at tackle early on will be vital. Coming up with a good rotation
is everything to the BSU line.
Projected Starters: Junior Kyle Gingg was one of the
team's top tacklers in the rotation on the weakside last year making 50
tackles, 2.5 sacks and four tackles for loss. He's only 5-11 and 215
pounds, but he's quick enough to be a decent pass defender and tough
enough to hold is own against the run. Even so, at his size, he'll be
better if he gets a little bit of help while trying to do the impossible
and take over for Korey Hall in the middle.
6-1, 225-pound David Shields split time with Gingg on the
weakside making 44 tackles and five tackles for loss, and now he'll be
in the mix again for the outside spot. Even though he has
tremendous speed, he's not great against the pass and is better suited
for the inside.
The newcomer to the starting mix will be 6-1, 221-pound junior Tim
Brady after making ten tackles as a special teamer and a backup. The
former JUCO transfer wasn't able to push his way in to see a lot of time
last year, but he has great potential on the strongside with good
Projected Top Reserves:
If Shields plays on the outside, redshirt
freshman Derrell Acrey will take over in the middle. At the very
least, he'll see plenty of action with as much talent as anyone in the
corps. He's the biggest linebacker in the mix, at 6-2 and 235 pounds,
and is expected to become the team's next great defender.
Pushing Brady for time on the outside will be 6-1, 225 pound junior
Garrett Tuggle after making seven tackles in a limited role. The
former JUCO transfer is a good tackler with the potential to be a good
pass rusher with good quickness.
Watch Out For ... Acrey. He's being mentioned in the
same breath with Korey Hall, and not just because they're both middle
linebackers. If Acrey turns into the star he's supposed to be right off
the bat, that'll allow both Gingg and Shields to play on the outside.
Strength: Depth. There might not be a whole bunch
of experience compared to last year, but there are several good
prospects to build on. This could, in time, end up being a better
overall corps than last year's killer crew.
Weakness: Size. Boise State always has smaller,
quicker linebackers who play bigger than they are. This group is no
exception, but considering everyone is built like a big safety, if
there's not a good rotation, there will be problems.
Outlook: Don't expect much of a drop-off in
production despite losing a player of the year defender like Hall. Acrey
will become a star, while Gingg and Shields, underrated throughout last
year, will shine with even more responsibility.
Projected Starters: The veteran secondary will revolve around
veteran safety Marty Tadman, the team's second leading returning
tackler with 67 stops. He's one of the nation's best ball-hawkers with
12 career interceptions including three for scores. While he's not all
that big at 5-11 and 182 pounds and isn't all that fast, he's always
around the ball and he's a huge hitter. He'll be in the mix for WAC
Defensive Player of the Year honors.
The other safety spot might be getting a new starter, but 5-9,
173-pound senior Austin Smith is hardly a newcomer. He spent last
season making 13 tackles with a broken up pass as a backup corner after
making 51 stops as a safety in 2005. One of the team's fastest players,
he can make plays all over the field and should be one of the team's
leading tacklers now that he's back at a more suitable spot.
The corner tandem might be the best in the league with the
return of junior Orlando Scandrick and sophomore Kyle Wilson
after great all-around seasons. Scandrick was the team's fourth
leading tackler with 52 stops to go along with an interception and six
broken up passes. A top starter from day one, he has the potential to
grow into even more of a defensive leader after two years of starting
experience. He's already one of the team's top all-around playmakers.
While Scandrick is on the verge of becoming an all-star, Wilson
is already there. One of the pleasant surprises of last season, he
stepped in and emerged as a shut-down defender over the second half of
the season making 41 tackles with an interception and five broken up
passes. He's great in the open field and can take away most number one
Projected Top Reserves:
Ready to emerge as a top backup will be 6-0,
185-pound redshirt freshman Jason Robinson behind Smith at one of
the safety spots. A big, talented prospect, he's a top athlete and a
smart defender who should quickly find his way on the field.
Senior corner Rashaun Scott has made more noise as a kick
returner than a defender, but he'll see more time on the defensive side
behind Wilson after making eight tackles. He's been a part of the
rotation for a few years, and now he has to use his tremendous speed,
along with his experience, to grow into a key reserve.
Scott might be fast, but redshirt freshman corner Cade Hulbert
can really move. While he needs to bulk up, with only 165 pounds on his
5-10 frame, he was a Idaho high school state champion sprinter.
Originally a BYU Cougar, he left school right away and has four years
with the Broncos.
Watch Out For ... Smith to shine at safety. While not
bad at corner, his speed and toughness will make him a star at safety.
With more experience than he had two years ago, he'll be in on every
Strength: Experience. The starting foursome has
seen everything and done it all. It's faced high-powered passing games,
and, of course, the BCS pressure. It'll handle itself well.
Weakness: Actual production against the top
passing game. While the pass defense was the best in the WAC and put up
good overall numbers, it got torched by almost everyone who could throw.
For every jaw-dropping shut-down performance against a Nevada or Utah,
there were performances like the one against Idaho (allowing 328 yards
and three touchdowns). Forget about slowing down the high-octane attacks
like Hawaii or New Mexico State. However ...
Outlook: Hawaii and New Mexico State will throw
for a ton of yards on everyone. This is the WAC's best secondary, and
there's not even a close second. Tadman is a lock for All-WAC honors,
while Scandrick and Wilson both have all-star potential. Smith is the
sleeper star of the bunch; he'll have a huge season.
Projected Starters: All freshman Kyle Brotzman has to do
is replace plackicker Anthony Montgomery, who nailed 13 of 14 field
goals, and punter Kyle Stringer, who averaged 44.6 yards per kick. It's
possible fellow freshman Brad Elkin will step in to handle the
punting job, and challenge for the placekicking duties, but it's
Brotzman's show for now.
Watch Out For ... Brotzman to be pushed for one of
his jobs. In a perfect world, he turns into a reliable placekicker and a
solid punter is found.
Strength: Potential in the return game. Rashaun
Scott is a speedster who should tear off some big plays on kickoffs,
while Marty Tadman is a veteran punt returner.
Weakness: Can Brotzman kick? He doesn't have a
huge punting leg, but he has good range on field goals. The Broncos are
relying on true freshmen to carry the special teams. That's never a
Outlook: Give Boise State the benefit of the doubt
after years of good special teams, but this could be a sore spot until
the overall kicking game is settled. Consistency will be a big problem.