Defense sets physical tone in scrimmage
On the first public play of the fall, the Boise State football team’s defense sent a message about the physical, aggressive style coordinator Marcel Yates has implemented.
Sophomore cornerback Jonathan Moxey rocked wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck — a hit that drew a flag for targeting.
Three plays later, sophomore safety Chanceller James hammered junior tight end Jake Hardee.
“We came out and established some physicality early with those hits,” senior defensive end Beau Martin said.
The defense also confused the offense at times with an array of blitz looks. James, who started at nickel, and senior strong safety Jeremy Ioane recorded two of the defense’s seven sacks.
“There were a couple in there where everybody came free,” coach Bryan Harsin said. “I don’t know what to put the blame on — bad scheme. I’ll put it on myself. It’s a good job by the defense timing it. There were a couple in there where we had the right matchup, the right guy to go to, and just one guy got beat. We’ve got to get that corrected, and we will. Everybody has got to be on the same page when it comes to protecting the quarterback.”
The offense also provided some bright moments in the only open scrimmage of the fall. Quarterback Grant Hedrick was 13-for-19 for 143 yards. Junior wide receiver Troy Ware made five catches, including a couple difficult grabs, and junior wide receiver Terrell Johnson caught a 62-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Ryan Finley.
The first-team offense (vs. the second team) scored on a red-zone drive, a goal-line drive and a 70-yard drive. It did not score on a hurry-up drive against the first-teamers.
The second-team offense (vs. the first team) scored on a red-zone drive. Johnson made his catch against the second-teamers in the hurry-up drive.
And the third-team offense scored on a red-zone drive.
Ware caught Hedrick’s eye.
“He’s showed up and been a playmaker for us,” he said. “That one (70-yard) drive, he had three or four big catches.”
News and notes
— Harsin made it official: Hedrick, a senior, is the starting quarterback. “Grant’s our guy,” he said.
— Moxey and senior Cleshawn Page have emerged as the top candidates for the second starting cornerback spot, opposite junior Donte Deayon.
— The only true freshman whose status has been determined is safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner, who will play, Harsin said. Tailback Jeremy McNichols also has created some buzz and has taken significant snaps with the second team.
— Harsin said he doesn’t expect any players to miss the opener with injuries. Players who didn’t scrimmage included nickel Corey Bell, defensive tackle Justin Taimatuia, defensive tackle Armand Nance, offensive lineman Archie Lewis, safety Taylor Loffler, tailback Charles Bertoli, Deayon, cornerback Mercy Maston and linebacker Joe Provenzano.
— Harsin said the team will wear white jerseys with the orange helmets in the Ole Miss game. He hasn’t decided on the color of pants.
— The scrimmage was the Broncos’ third of fall camp. They held an unscheduled scrimmage Monday. Harsin said the staff wanted to address some issues from the first scrimmage (Aug. 7) quickly rather than waiting until Friday. They also ran some live special teams plays. “It wasn’t long, but it was exactly what I felt like we needed,” he said. “ I didn’t think the practice time was going to be more important than actually going out and playing 11-on-11 football.”
— Hedrick on the big hits early in the scrimmage: “They’re a physical defense. We want to be a physical offense. We kind of like that. We feed off of that. We get into a real game and you see defensive guys playing like that, that’s just going to fuel our fire as an offense. We like that.”
— Harsin on the big hits: “I like the aggressiveness. I don’t like the penalties. We’ll go back and review Moxey’s hit.”
Other quotes from Bryan Harsin
— On No. 3 wide receiver: "Chaz (Anderson) is a guy that's stood out." Harsin also mentioned Thomas Sperbeck and Troy Ware. Ware had a big night during Friday's scrimmage, something Harsin noted in his post-game remarks.
On No. 2 running back: "I like what I've seen from (Devan) Demas." Charles Bertoli did not participate in the scrimmage.
On the offensive tempo: "I think the (offensive) tempo was OK. I don't think it was great." Boise State rarely huddled on offense in the scrimmage.
On getting ready for the Aug. 28 game against Mississippi: "It's not about Ole Miss, it's about us. We'll get into the Ole Miss plan and all that ... but we've got to worry about ourselves."
On the pressure from the defensive line: "The (d-line) has done a good job ... on the flipside, we need more time on the o-line."
Rushing: Grant Hedrick 7-(-22); Ryan Finley 6-13, 1 TD; Jay Ajayi 5-18, 1 TD; Devan Demas 5-14, 2 TDs; Skylar Seibold 2-2; Jack Fields 2-(-1); Jeremy McNichols 2-(-4); Tanner Shipley 1-15, 1 TD; Cory Young 1-0; Tommy Stuart 1-(-1).
Passing: Hedrick 13-19, 143 yards; Finley 8-16, 87 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception; Stuart 2-3, 26 yards.
Receiving: Troy Ware 5-37; Terrell Johnson 4-84, 1 TD; Holden Huff 2-45; Thomas Sperbeck 2-15; Chaz Anderson 2-4; Dallas Burroughs 1-28; Jay Ajayi 1-11; Taylor Pope 1-11; Jake Roh 1-7; Devan Demas 1-7; Jake Hardee 1-5; Chase Blakley 1-2; Jack Fields 1-0.
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