The Boise State football team's defense still is looking for small ways to hone its performance after a dominant three-game run.
The defense has scored 16 points -- and set up many more -- while allowing 14 during that stretch. The Broncos have shut out two of the past three opponents, forced 10 turnovers and allowed a total of 741 yards.
"There were some run-fit issues," defensive coordinator Marcel Yates said of the latest game, a 55-0 whitewash of Hawaii. "The quarterback had some throws where he had guys open. As a coach, there's no game that is ever perfect. We're not there yet."
The three-game stretch has pushed the Broncos to the upper echelon of many defensive stats, including: scoring defense (12.4, eighth), total defense (260.2, seventh), pass efficiency defense (89.03, fifth), rush defense (51.8, second), interceptions (11, first), takeaways (13, tied for fifth) and opponent red-zone conversions (50 percent scoring, third; 33 percent TDs, tied for 10th).
Hawaii ran three plays or fewer on 11 of its 16 full possessions last week.
"We're feeling good about ourselves on defense," Yates said. "I always say our job on defense is to score, No. 1, and then to get the ball back to our offense as much as possible. The more they get the ball, the more they'll have their chance to score. The one thing I harp on is we don't want to play defense. I don't want to be out there for 10-play drives. Let's get off the field, and let's get off the field fast. We've been doing that."
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Here are some highlights from offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz's press conference (for a recap of what coach Bryan Harsin, defensive end Tyler Horn and center Marcus Henry had to say, click here):
— Drinkwitz has noticed tailback Jeremy McNichols, a true sophomore, running for more yards after contact since the second half of the Idaho State game. "That's part of the development of being a running back," Drinkwitz said. "This is all still really new to him."
— Drinkwitz on the offensive improvement: "It's finding your rhythm. We replaced the quarterback and the tailback (from last year) that were very much driving the offense and we're putting all those things together."
— Drinkwitz on the 10 turnovers forced by the defense in the past three games and resulting field position: "It's like real estate -- location, location, location."
— Drinkwitz on QB Brett Rypien's lack of interceptions: "Brett got very fortunate on the one interception before halftime (against Hawaii; the play was wiped out by penalty). That was a poor decision. But he hasn't put the ball in jeopardy and our wide receivers have helped, too. There was one underthrown pass and Chaz (Anderson) went up and reverted back to his DB days."
— Drinkwitz on Rypien's in-game demeanor: "He's very matter of fact. He wants to know the information. We talk through every decision he made the previous drive, what he was seeing, what I was seeing. He doesn't need a lot of cheerleading. He just needs information."
— Drinkwitz noted that true freshman wide receiver Akilian Butler has made an impact even without getting the ball. He made a nice block on a run play last week and his route allowed Anderson to get open for a deep ball. "He ran a great route that held the free safety in the middle of the field, which was the only reason Chaz was open," Drinkwitz said.
(Note: I don't have video of Drinkwitz this week. My phone's memory was full so it didn't record.)