MATT PARADIS, CENTER
Fresno States new 3-4 defense has wreaked havoc with offenses this season. The Bulldogs lead the nation with 18 takeaways (12 interceptions) and are tied for ninth with 20 sacks.
Really their scheme is what sets them apart and is really going to be a challenge for us, running backs coach Keith Bhonapha said.
The Bulldogs thrive with aggressive play and smart pass coverage, but also by disguising their blitzes. Thats where Paradis, the junior first-year starter, becomes a critical player he must identify the threats and make the adjustments to ensure the Broncos can block them.
They dont quit and they confuse people, Paradis said. ... We look forward to that kind of challenge.
TYLER GRAY, LINEBACKER
Gray (6-foot-4, 227 pounds), a true freshman, received his first extended playing time on defense last week at Southern Miss and delivered his first interception. He also made four tackles.
The weak-side linebacker gives the Broncos the fourth linebacker theyve needed and possesses the athleticism that is critical against spread offenses like Fresno States. Gray also plays special teams.
Hes learning every day, said senior J.C. Percy, the starter at Grays position. Hes really long and rangy and can run. Once he gets the scheme all down hes going to be great for us.
Gray signed with Hawaii in high school and grayshirted. He joined the Broncos in January instead after the Warriors changed coaches.
KHARYEE MARSHALL, DEFENSIVE END
Two years ago, Marshall looked like a future star with his speed at the stud end position, a combination of end and linebacker. But a series of injuries two knee surgeries and a shoulder surgery derailed him.
Hes back in the mix this season, despite missing the Miami (Ohio) game with a foot injury. Last week, the junior forced a fumble and made three tackles, the second-highest total of his career.
Marshall played in five games last season without a tackle.
It felt good to be back out there playing fast and doing what I need to do, Marshall said.
He has earned playing time on the No. 2 defensive line, where he shares time with sophomore Beau Martin. Sam Ukwuachu starts.
Its impressive to see him come back after not playing for so long and get in there and actually make plays, sophomore end Tyler Horn said. Its just cool to see him out there again, playing with us.