Boise State special teams coach Kent Riddle said the Broncos were “not good enough” in the kicking game against Ole Miss.
Kicker Dan Goodale made fields goals of 25 and 43 yards and his PAT and produced touchbacks on all three of his long kickoffs (he also tried a late onside kick). Punter Sean Wale struggled with a 33.8-yard average on five kicks. Punt returner Shane Williams-Rhodes had minus-2 yards. Kickoff returner Bryan Douglas had a long of 28 yards on six tries. Ole Miss had 2 punt-return yards and no kickoff-return yards.
“The disappointing thing was we didn’t make any big plays,” Riddle said. “Solid, but solid’s not good enough. We’ve got to do a better job of finding some ways to make plays.”
That was complicated by the touchbacks — “We didn’t have a chance to hit anybody, really,” Riddle said — the fair catches on all but one of Wale’s punts and the lack of a scouting report on Ole Miss’ new punter, who kept the ball away from Williams-Rhodes.
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“We didn’t do anything bad,” Riddle said. “We just need to do better.”
The Broncos’ biggest loss on special teams was in the punt game. Will Gleeson averaged 47.2 yards for the Rebels; Wale averaged 33.8, down from 41.5 last year.
Riddle thinks Wale’s struggle was a case of nerves.
“We know he can do better than that and we know he will do better than that,” Riddle said. “He’s shown us he has the ability. He’s just got to believe in himself, trust his fundamentals and his technique and I think we’ll see a way better game from him on Saturday.”
Riddle hinted that the Hammer was given out for a hit not on special teams last week. The one that comes to mind for me was cornerback Cleshawn Page’s play on a bubble screen, when he plowed through a blocker to make a tackle for loss.
Riddle also is the running backs coach. He played junior Jay Ajayi on 82 of 85 snaps last week.
“We’ve got a pretty good guy and every carry somebody else gets is one he doesn’t get,” Riddle said. “We know we can’t play Jay 80 plays a game the whole year. Some of that is just going to be depending on the flow of the game.”
Sophomore Devan Demas came in for one play and got a carry. He got banged up on that play and had to come out.
Junior Jack Fields came on for two plays late in the game. Both were sacks, but neither were Fields’ fault, Riddle said.
“The first play he was in he put a guy on his butt,” Riddle said. “He did a great job.
“ We’ve got good confidence in those other guys and expect that over the course of the year they’ll do some good stuff for us. How much, how fast — we’ll see.”
— Defensive end Beau Martin: “We have to finish practice better if we’re going to finish games better.”
— Martin on playing a home game for the first time in nine months: “It’s a great feeling. I’m going to be excited. That’s why I play the game, for that kind of emotion. There’s no game like football where you come out of the tunnel like that with the smoke and the fans going crazy there’s nothing like the beginning of a football game.”
— The Broncos only used seven defensive backs against Ole Miss. The three safeties — Darian Thompson, Jeremy Ioane and Corey Bell — played the entire game. Donte Deayon, Cleshawn Page, Douglas and Jonathan Moxey played cornerback. “Those kids know they go out and earn what they get,” defensive backs coach Julius Brown said. “The guys who were in there were playing well. Those kids know it and understand it and I think they respect it.”
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