Boise State senior wide receiver Dallas Burroughs said this week that he’s disappointed in the way he has performed during his Broncos career.
Burroughs provided a much-needed deep threat as a true freshman in 2011. He made nine catches for 175 yards and a memorable touchdown against TCU.
He hasn’t scored since.
“Ever since that year, I’ve kind of decreased a little bit in my performance,” Burroughs said.
Never miss a local story.
He made four catches for 100 yards in 2012 and two catches for 11 yards in 2013.
This year, he’s the starting No. 3 wide receiver and showing flashes of a breakout season. He has made some nice plays in portions of practice open to the media and last week he forced a pass interference penalty on a deep ball that might have resulted in a touchdown with a better throw.
He has three catches for 29 yards.
“It’s my senior year. I feel like I have to go out with a bang,” said Burroughs, who was a record-setting track star at Rocky Mountain High and is the younger brother of former Boise State wide receiver Mitch Burroughs. “I don’t want to be known for just going deep.”
Boise State sophomore linebacker Darren Lee tipped two punts last week against Connecticut, including the one that hit blocker Jack Fields in the leg for a turnover.
Junior college defensive end Rondell McNair got his first game action late in the Connecticut game. He was recruited to make a quick impact, like defensive tackle Antoine Turner has, but hasn’t developed as quickly.
“We think he’s got a lot of potential,” coach Bryan Harsin said. “He’s very athletic, moves well, he’s strong. There’s a lot of coordination that goes into playing on the D-line. It’s getting it all down. He’ll be in there at some point. He’s doing everything else right.”
Boise State’s stout run defense is partially a product of defensive coordinator Marcel Yates’ willingness to play man coverage with his cornerbacks. He says he might have done that too much in the first two games.
“Our thing is we want to stop the run and make the quarterback beat us throwing the ball,” Yates said. “That won’t change as far as our style.”
Of the breakdowns in the pass defense this season, the ones that particularly irk Yates are the wide-open receivers over the middle of the field.
“Every week, it’s been somebody different,” he said. “The one thing you don’t want as a coordinator is you don’t want the ball caught over the middle of the field. Most of the time, defenses are set up for guys not to catch the ball over the middle of the field.”
The Broncos gave up a touchdown pass last week in the back of the end zone on a nice throw down the middle over the top of a linebacker.
“That was a great ball (Chandler Whitmer) threw,” Yates said. “They’re going to make plays. I ran a whole lot of cover two that game and they kind of got me there in the red zone. I thought (the linebacker) was going to pick the ball off. That I can live with because at least we had somebody right there on him. The ones that are hard to swallow is when a guy is wide open and nobody is covering him. That happened in the first two games.”
One reason junior Shane Williams-Rhodes leads the team with 24 catches is a new take on the fly sweep that many college football teams use. Williams-Rhodes runs in front of quarterback Grant Hedrick, instead of behind him, and Hedrick flips the ball ever so slightly rather than handing it to Williams-Rhodes.
Technically, that’s a pass play.
Why do it that way?
“If you have an exchange issue, it’s an incomplete pass,” offensive coordinator Mike Sanford said. “That’s part of it. There’s a rhythm to it. It just times up really well. We like the way that that’s worked for us. And as a quarterback guy myself, it’s not bad to steal a couple completions here and there.”
One reason Louisiana is off to a disappointing, 1-2 start this year: turnovers. The Ragin’ Cajuns rank 124th out of 125 teams in turnover margin (one takeaway, nine giveaways).
Boise State, meanwhile, is 23rd in turnover margin (nine takeaways, six giveaways).
“Turnovers were again an issue (last week against Ole Miss) we’ve got to address,” Louisiana coach Mark Hudspeth said. “Those were a big, big part of our problem.”
Remember that crazy first half between Boise State and Ole Miss, when Boise State’s Grant Hedrick and Ole Miss’ Bo Wallace combined for six interceptions (three each)?
Maybe it wasn’t just the quarterbacks.
Two weeks later, Ole Miss leads the nation with eight interceptions. The Rebels picked off Hedrick four times in all but have grabbed four more since.
Boise State ranks second in the nation with seven interceptions. The Broncos also have four in the two games since the opener.
As for the quarterbacks, Hedrick and Wallace each have thrown one interception since that game.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.