Losing a game for athletes, coaches, and fans alike can be very difficult. Losing by a margin that hadn’t been seen on the Blue since 1992, might be even harder.
The Boise State football team lost a frustrating home contest on September 22nd. Now heading into their bye week, the Broncos have both material to reflect on and extra time to correct any in-game errors.
More Time to Prepare
The Boise State Football team will not be back in action until Friday, October 6th. They will have almost two full weeks to prepare for their game against BYU.
With the extra time, it’s up to the coaching staff to make the necessary improvements and adjustments.
After the game against Virginia, it was easy to notice one thing: The Product, as a whole, on the field, was not good.
The story of the season thus far had been a fairly unproductive offense being bailed out by a determined defense.
The defense finally showed that they were human allowing the Virginia offense 440 total yards and 6 touchdowns. Before that, they had only given up 4 total, not including overtime, touchdowns.
Simply put, the Broncos lost a football game.
Now in the past, the Boise State football team must pick themselves back up and look towards BYU.
Because it’s considered the biggest rivalry on Boise State’s schedule, BYU gives the Broncos new life. There’s a reason to get excited.
It will be a crazy environment in Provo simply because it always is. Thus, the Broncos need to forget about this loss, regain their composure, and prepare for their next battle.
It’s often said in sports to “control the controllables.” The team, especially if on the road, can’t control the environment, the away team’s plays, or past plays that didn’t work.
Instead, they can improve on what they are doing on the field.
1. Blocking and Tackling: After the game, one of the post-game radio shows addressed its concerns of the poor showing. One thing mentioned was advice heard from an NFL coach: You win games if you do two things very well: tackle and block.
The defense has missed some tackles this year, Washington State being the best example, and have suffered from it. Though the defense seems to be in a better spot than the offense, they need to work on that one element specifically. If they can do that, their unit, collectively, will stand at an even higher level.
The offensive line, throughout all of the games, has been the weakest element of the Boise State football team. Even with the return of Archie Lewis, the unit simply looks confused. The run game mysteriously disappeared in the second quarter, Rypien rarely had a pocket to sit in, and even Montell Cozart, when playing, had a tough time finding the necessary time to create a play.
The offense starts with the offensive line. If a team can’t block, the offense is immobile and unproductive. The Broncos must adjust this element of their game for them to succeed. It may start with replacing the normal starters with back-ups.
2. Establishing a Solid Run Game: The idea of the offense is two-fold- running and passing. The Broncos have been known to run the ball fairly effectively in recent years.
They were blessed with players such as Jay Ajayi, Jeremy McNichols, and Ian Johnson who knew how to get the tough yardage. All three running backs also had exactly two 1,000 + yard rushing seasons. This year, the Broncos don’t have a featured running back. Instead, they rely on a circuit of three different running backs with little collegiate experience.
The Broncos rushed for just 30 yards against the Cavaliers. That number makes up exactly 7.8% of the total yards contributed by the offense. Robert Mahone, the leading rusher for the Broncos, had 3 carries for 21 yards. Jordan Ellis, the leading rusher for the Cavilers, had 24 carries for 93 yards.
Simply put, the run game can’t disappear from the contents of a game. The run game has to drastically improve between now and the game against BYU. With an improved offensive line, the run game should be very effective.
3. Critiquing the Depth Chart: The principle of change is one of the hardest concepts for humanity. Adapting and adjusting to every circumstance is both difficult and rewarding.
Before the game, offensive coordinator Zak Hill said the offense would be doing different things to keep the Virginia defense on its toes. Though the play calling seemed to fit that agenda, the passing game was relied on too much. The Broncos need to find players to promote the balance and effectiveness of the team.
In his press conference after the game, coach Harsin even mentions the word “change.” The Broncos must now put words into action. There are certainly positions all over the field that need to be closely evaluated. The team must be proactive and that might start with giving more minutes to guys who haven’t played as much as the original starters.
4. Relying and Helping out Your Playmakers: One of the more obscure and uncanny events of the Virginia game was the role of Montell Cozart. He started the game against New Mexico and was effective both through the air and on the ground.
However, once Brett Rypien was cleared to play, he was given the keys to the Cadillac. Montell’s role and playing time plummeted to the floor.
Overall, it feels odd that his role was so diminished in the fashion that it was. He has given the offense a new weapon in the form of his legs.
He has also been as effective as needed in the games he played in. Even during the first game against Troy, Cozart added life to an offense that was dull for parts of the game. He is a vital part of this offense which means Bronco Nation needs to see more of him.
So far this season, the most consistent playmakers have been Cedrick Wilson and Montell Cozart. Wilson was probably the best all-around player against the Cavaliers. His stats were both high on the “all-time Broncos” list and a career high for himself.
— Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) September 23, 2017
He and Cozart have provided the Bronco offense with its spark. However, they both need help in making the offense as productive and efficient as possible.
One or two guys simply can’t do it all. Someone, or a collection of players, need to step up and help bring back the life the Bronco offense has possessed for many years. For the Bronco offense, that might mean giving more opportunity to players who have rarely seen the field.
It seems like in football there’s always distractions. Whether it’s the local media, fans, or even national rankings, the distractions are always there.
What’s tough about the bye week is what actually occurs during it. The idea suggests that there will be plenty of time to rest and prepare for the next opponent. However, that conception is fairly misconstrued.
The bye week allows coaches to recruit for the upcoming season. They can check in on prospects who have already committed and encourage those still making a decision to sign. For part or even a huge chunk of the time, the coaching staff will be traveling to meet with recruits.
The bye week, simply put, is busier than its name might suggest.
No matter the voices and outside distractions, the Broncos need to physically and mentally focus on preparing for BYU.
The team that played against the Cavaliers cannot take the field on October 6th.
The Broncos need to correct their in-game play, prepare for battle, and tune out any unnecessary noise that prohibits their focus.