Boise State junior defensive end Demarcus Lawrence is following a self-improvement plan this year.
More focus. More maturity. More consistency. More polish.
And if the first four days of fall camp are any indication, more havoc.
Lawrence, who led the Mountain West with 9.5 sacks last season but missed two games because of team-rules violations, is determined to take a big step this fall.
We talk about staying hungry all the time stay humble, but weve got to stay hungry, too, defensive line coach Andy Avalos said. Thats the approach hes brought out here so far this camp. And its exciting to see a guy whos had the success hes had, and yet he still comes out and works the way he does day in and day out. Hes setting a good example for the younger guys in our group.
Lawrence is on the watch list for three major awards the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player), Lombardi Award (best lineman or linebacker) and Ted Hendricks Award (best defensive end).
He joined the Broncos in January 2012 out of Butler Community College in Kansas. Like many junior college transfers, his transition was bumpy at times.
This year is more a focused period, because last year coming in I had to learn a lot, learn my tools, he said. And now this year I know it all, so I have to focus on getting better every day.
The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder made significant gains in the weight room and used the offseason to learn the details of his position.
He loves to watch the film, Avalos said. Thats a guy right there who loves watching football. Hes constantly breaking himself down, the things he can get better at.
One of those: leadership.
Lawrence is one of four returning starters on defense and the only returning All-Mountain West first-teamer.
Hes the centerpiece of a line that likely will feature at least a couple players in their first year in the program, like he was last year.
I want to be a better leader because I feel like the team will follow me, he said. If I come in and show that I want to work, theyre going to want to work, so I have to step up and come to the plate.
News and notes
Junior Tyler Horn played end for most of his first two years at Boise State and shifted to tackle late last season after the injury to Mike Atkinson. Horn remained at tackle in the spring but is working at the stud end position this fall after the loss of Freshman All-American Sam Ukwuachu.
Horns final position will be determined by where he is needed most, coaches say.
T-Horns awesome, Avalos said. Last year, he played every position across the front. Does he necessarily have the weight to play inside? Not ideal. But he does a great job when he jumps in there. And hes got the athleticism when we put him on the edge. We do do a fair amount of stuff on defense. For him to be able to handle all that stuff mentally speaks volumes to his preparation.
Sophomore right guard Marcus Henry, who has been with the first team since the spring, was coach Chris Petersens camper of the day. Redshirt freshman Mario Yakoo is pushing him. Marcus has been competing very hard, and he has been working his tail off since last spring, Petersen told BroncoSports.com. He certainly showed up today.
The Broncos begin practicing as a full team and in full pads Friday morning.
Redshirt freshman stud end Sam McCaskill, who had a strong spring, continues to cause problems as a pass rusher. He recorded a sack, forced fumble and pass breakup Thursday.
The first-team offense drove into field-goal range during a game-like drive. Junior Dan Goodale capitalized with a 37-yard field goal. The defense won the battle among second-teamers.
Junior cornerback Deontae Florence made the catch of the day, a leaping interception just outside the goal line. He stuck one foot just inside the sideline.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat