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Bronco’s Early Season Review

The D

It’s hard to believe Boise State has played a third of its regular-season games. Have any patterns emerged?

Recall, before the season started some wondered if new defensive coordinator, Jeff Schmedding could fill the shoes of Andy Avalos.

Currently, the Broncos are ranked 28th in the nation in team defense. They are ranked 10th in stopping 3rd down conversions. That’s a pretty good measure of effectiveness.

Outstandingly the Broncos were not scored upon in the second half until the second half of the Air Force game. In the second half against Air Force, the Broncos allowed only a 31-yard field goal and a TD pass.

Curtis Weaver has continued the parade of great Boise State defensive ends. He is one of the tops in the nation in quarterback sacks.

The O

In total offense, the Broncos stand at 30th. They rank 11th in 3rd down conversions.

Hank Bachmeier although being sacked and hit more than any quarterback in the nation seems not to be phased much.

He has 1190 passing yards, well on his way to over 3,000 for the year. He currently ranks 14th in the nation; the best of any freshman.

Running back Robert Mahone has gained 290 yards. Barring any injury, that puts him near the 1,000-yard mark for the season.

It is likely a shoulder injury has lessened Mahone’s effectiveness already. The week off may give him an opportunity to heal a bit.

Special Teams

Eric Sachse has been a pleasant addition. If not for him the Broncos might very well have lost the opener with Florida State. He accounted for 18 points.

The punting game looks as if it could use a little more consistency. Punter Joel Velazquez has not found his range. However, the punting unit has not allowed any outrageous yardage and the defense has held opponents no matter where they start.

What The Games Tell Us

With 8 contests remaining in the regular season, 7 are conference. The toughest will be non-conference BYU and conference rival, Utah State, near the end of the season.

The Broncos have not run wild over opponents to this point. Certainly, the Portland State match up was not the blow-out some predicted.

The win over Florida was a come-from-behind win. That tested the Broncos ability to really show up—on the road no less.

Marshall was about as motivated to win as a team could be. They wanted the win more than anything else. The Broncos prevailed.

The Broncos were able to dominate Air Force with mental toughness. Defending against a well-coached option team is skill mixed with physical and mental toughness.

Often early in the season some of the highly-rated pre-season favorites will run up scores. Later when they have to face a test they falter. They become dependent on individual skills and not that of the unit.

In the early blowouts, the skill players are so good they really need little help from the blockers. They haven’t learned to play as a team. When a team effort is needed, it may not be there.

Conclusion

Head coach Bryan Harsin has done a good job of keeping the team from hanging too for over their skies.

In the last couple of years, the Broncos have recruited some of their best talents in the program’s history.

The coaching cadre seems more than capable. Zak Hill has assembled some really good offensive schemes.

Jeff Schmedding has stepped in and within a short period developed a juggernaut defense.

Kent Riddle is the constant who works with what is given to him. The only players special teams recruits are kickers. Coaching special teams is like herding cats at a mouse convention.

The coaching staff’s challenge is to not let the team become too confident nor should they.

It may be argued Boise’s toughest games are behind them but their toughest opponent might be themselves. They have to keep focused and hungry.

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About Kenton Lewis

Kenton Lewis
Kenton lives in Boise. He is the former publisher of the Boise State sports site, Smurf Turf; writing exclusively about Broncos football and basketball. He is also a novelist and short story writer.

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