SHANE WILLIAMS-RHODES, WIDE RECEIVER
The Broncos have followed a simple plan with Williams-Rhodes so far: Find a handful of easy ways to put the ball in his hands and see if he can make something electrifying happen.
The 5-foot-6, 154-pound true freshman has seven carries for 33 yards and two catches for 17 yards. He hasnt been used as a downfield receiver yet; instead, coaches are counting on his shiftiness to create a big play.
Hes got an interesting skill set thats different than some other guys, coach Chris Petersen said. Well be creative getting the ball in his hands. It needs to be not all just handing it to him. Well continue to evolve that package and see how he does.
Williams-Rhodes is one of five true freshmen who are playing, including three on offense. The other two are tight end Hayden Plinke and tailback Jack Fields.
Williams-Rhodes and Fields each have lost a fumble at a key moment.
I forget when we play a bunch of them how painful it can be, Petersen said. I just love them when they become sophomores.
GABE LINEHAN, HOLDEN HUFF & CO., TIGHT ENDS
Boise State has a deep collection of tight ends and a long-standing affinity for throwing to them yet, through two games, the group has been noticeably quiet (four catches for 56 yards and no touchdowns).
It is kind of fluky, Linehan said. We have the pass plays there. Our game plan is loaded with good tight end plays that really can outmatch the defense. Theyll come. Theyll come when they come. Thats what Ive kind of learned. Well all get our balls and were going to have success and we have the right guys to do it. Its just a matter of time.
Said coach Chris Petersen: Were trying.
DEMARCUS LAWRENCE AND SAM UKWUACHU, DEFENSIVE ENDS
Lawrence, a sophomore transfer, leads the team with 16 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Ukwuachu, a redshirt freshman, has three tackles and pressured Michigan State quarterback Andrew Maxwell into a pick six.
Theyre part of a young, inexperienced line that has outperformed expectations so far. The Broncos have allowed 5.0 yards per play, down from 5.2 last season. They also have allowed just one drive longer than 60 yards.
Were young, but we can rush the passer, Ukwuachu said of the defensive line. If we can do one thing, its that. We just have to keep working on stopping the run. I feel like were talented. If we keep working on the details and techniques, well be pretty good.