Boise State sophomore nickel Corey Bell says he brings calm to the field.
It might be that way on the inside but it certainly doesnt look that way on the outside.
The energetic Capital High graduate plays with a fury that convinced the Broncos coaches to offer him his only Football Bowl Subdivision scholarship and play him as a true freshman to add depth to the special teams units.
He goes hard all the time, linebackers coach Bob Gregory said. Hes one of those guys you love as a coach because he knows one speed. He might get me in trouble because he hits the quarterback when hes not supposed to, but that guy knows one speed and that is it, which is nice.
Bell should play a significant role on defense this season. He is competing with senior Dextrell Simmons and junior Jonathan Brown for the starting job at nickel and likely will be a core player on special teams.
Bell made nine tackles in eight games last season after coaches made a later-than-usual decision to play him.
I keep getting progressively more comfortable in my position, Bell said.
The nickel position, which is a safety/linebacker hybrid, became a key figure on the Broncos defense from 2008 to 2010 with Ellis Powers and Winston Venable. It changed last year, with defensive end Shea McClellin taking many reps there and no true nickel emerging.
This season, coach Chris Petersen said, the Broncos may use players with different body types based on the situation. That means a defensive lineman could get involved in the rotation again.
Still, its likely the true nickels will play more. Its one of the deepest positions on the team.
I wish it was like that at every position, because I think those guys are all good players, Petersen said. Theyve got a good, healthy relationship there where they all push each other.
Bell (5-foot-11, 206 pounds) is the most athletic, Gregory said. Simmons (5-11, 200) is the most physical, built to stop the run. Brown (5-10, 211), who has battled injuries and illness through his career, knows the defense the best.
Its cool to see each one of us get to bring a little different piece of our game to the table, Bell said. Were all happy to be in the situation were in, to be able to compete with each other. Were all going to get better. Its going to help the team that its such a fierce competition.
No ones happier than Bell, whose dad is a professor in the Boise State kinesiology department.
This is as excited as I could be, Bell said. I was really happy to get to come to BSU out of high school. I had the opportunity to play last year. I really enjoyed that and it helped me out for this year. So I think I have a lot more excitement coming into this year because I have such a better understanding of what Im doing.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat