The Boise State football team’s assignment-sound defensive line made some major mistakes last week at Nevada — errors that were line coach Steve Caldwell’s priority to fix during this week’s bye
Nevada produced runs of 56 and 51 yards — the two longest runs of the season against Boise State.
On the Wolf Pack’s other 25 carries (not including sacks), they averaged 3.0 yards per carry.
“You give up one of those type plays and it makes the whole thing look a lot different,” Caldwell said.
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The Broncos rank 21st in the nation in rushing defense (109.5 yards per game) going into the Oct. 17 home game against Fresno State. They are ninth in tackles for loss with 8.2 per game.
Caldwell has been pleasantly surprised by the Broncos’ performance on the defensive line this season.
“I was a little nervous coming into the fall,” he said. “I didn’t know how we would play inside, that was my biggest concern. I thought our edge players were really capable of making plays, but I was concerned about (opponents) being able to run up the middle.”
The tackles have combined for 7.5 tackles for loss this season, including one by Tyler Horn (injured in the opener and out for the year). Junior nose tackle Armand Nance leads the group with 17 tackles and three tackles for loss. Sophomore tackle Sam McCaskill is next with 10 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.
“I’d still like to be more productive with our inside guys,” Caldwell said. “We’re not making a lot of plays, but the one thing we are doing is we’re taking up blocks. They’re not able to knock us off the ball. That was my biggest concern. For Sam McCaskill to come in and play the way he has has really been great for us.”
Other notes from Caldwell:
— I asked if he thinks junior college transfer Antoine Turner’s second half of the season will be more productive. “It better be. I do. Antoine’s just got to become more and more consistent. Sometimes I think he presses himself too hard. He tries to go make plays and the next thing you know it ends up hurting us. He’s just got to become a little more disciplined. His technique has gotten a lot better.”
— He hopes to use junior college transfer end Rondell McNair more beginning next week: “I told him he’s gotten better and better and he’s so doggone athletic. I’ve just got to find the right time to get him on the field more.”
— On senior end Beau Martin, who leads the team with nine tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks: “He’s been really consistent. He puts a lot of pressure on the offensive tackles.”
— On McCaskill, who sustained a knee injury in the second game of the season but hasn’t missed any time: “He’s a tough rascal. He hasn’t missed a practice except when (the trainers) made him. That type of mentality is what I wanted when I got here. He’s doing that, so that’s really exciting to me.”
— Caldwell wore cowboy boots during his interview Thursday. “I’ve got these boots on today, so we’ll get better today,” he joked.
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