One five-word sentence from soft-spoken Jeremy Ioane succinctly explains his situation as the 2012 season approaches.
Its time to step up, he said.
Ioane, one of the most celebrated recruits in Boise State football history, likely will start at strong safety in the second straight season opener. This time, hes expected to stick in the lineup perhaps for a long time.
He definitely took a step in the spring, coach Chris Petersen said. Were really counting on him, losing two senior (starting) safeties. We feel like hes ready to go and play well.
Ioane, who delighted fans when he surprisingly signed with the Broncos instead of Notre Dame or Washington in 2010, started last years opener against Georgia when then-senior Cedric Febis was suspended.
Ioane gave way to another senior, Travis Stanaway, during the game and never started again even when the Broncos were forced to play three safeties late in the year.
Ioane turned a corner in spring ball and, with Lee Hightower, gives the Broncos a pair of talented sophomores as the last line of defense.
He is one of those guys who ever since he stepped onto campus here you could tell had a ton of talent, senior wide receiver Chris Potter said. Its been exciting to see him just kind of grow into that. I think hes going to have an awesome year.
Ioane (5-foot-10, 197 pounds) brings a physical edge to the secondary. He needs to improve his play against the pass, first-year defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake said, but he takes the right angles to the ball to make the sure, open-field tackles that are required of safeties.
Several times during fall camp, Ioane has positioned himself to deliver a big hit on a receiver but held back because coaches dont want defenders taking those kinds of shots in practice.
He put a lot of stuff on tape in the spring that I can coach the young guys off of and say, Hey, this is how its done, Lake said. And hes continued to do that in fall camp.
Ioane has benefited from an improved comfort level both on the field, where he has a better grasp of the defense, and off the field, where he has made the often-difficult adjustment to life away from his home in Honolulu.
Hes just way smarter, senior cornerback Jamar Taylor said. Coach Lake has kind of simplified stuff and taught him what to do on certain things. Jeremy has taken that and run with it.
Ioane also hopes his experience from last year pays off. He made his first start in the jam-packed Georgia Dome against a ranked opponent; hell make his second start under similar circumstances Aug. 31 at Michigan States Spartan Stadium.
Hopefully this year Ill be a lot smarter about it, he said.
He makes no proclamations about what kind of impact he can have. About as far as hell go is to say he hopes to provide the physicality that made his YouTube highlights a hit.
In fact, his humility stands in stark contrast to the hype that accompanied his recruitment and that impressed his coaches and teammates.
Hes always just fit in very humbly and unassuming, Petersen said. Thats another reason that were all hopeful for him that its his time to shine.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat