Boise State has not been alone in playing part of the continued increase in up-tempo, no-huddle offenses in recent years. But what we have seen from the Broncos this season is quite a change.
Gone from typical situations is the hurry-up mentality. The Broncos have gone a little old school and huddled this season. It’s a new move for an offense that isn’t exactly what fans are accustomed to seeing.
“When we can provide those opportunities to keep (defense and special teams) off the field and keep them fresh, we’re better as a team,” offensive coordinator Zak Hill said. “There’s a lot of positives, but it may not be as fun to watch.”
Through six games, the Broncos are running 66.7 plays per game, a dip from the 69.2 they ran in 2016 and a steep drop from the 82.9 they ran in 2015. Only 19 teams that have played six or more games have run fewer plays than Boise State’s 400.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
In 2015, the Broncos averaged 23 seconds between plays and it’s 26.2 seconds this season. With more shorter fields, three new starters on the offensive line, a lack of options in the pass game and a focus on the run, there’s no need to be hasty.
“Going into this season, we knew we were going to be a huddle team, slowing it down a little bit so we can concentrate on more of the details,” Hill said. “With the guys we’ve got, we felt like it fit our offense a little bit better.”
Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin bristled at the idea of deliberately trying to slow down, adding that explosive plays are still the goal. But the Broncos have simply been unable to create them, instead using an offense that marches instead of sprints once it gets going.
They have 20 plays of 20 yards or more, tied for 116th in the Football Bowl Subdivision. They’re 112th in total offense (336 yards per game) but 62nd in scoring (29 points per game).
“We’re just trying to be as efficient and as effective as possible each play,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “... If we’re getting 50 plays versus 80, they’ve still got to be 50 good plays.”
Don’t expect a blur of snaps Saturday, either. Wyoming has run 42 fewer plays than Boise State. Defensive coordinator Andy Avalos, tasked with getting the Cowboys off the field as quickly as possible, has beneffited from his own offense’s pace.
“That helps the defense a ton, I think it allows for a little bit more rest on the defensive side,” Avalos said.
WILLIAMS HONORED AGAIN BY MOUNTAIN WEST
In six games, Avery Williams has two punt return touchdowns for the Boise State football team.
The Broncos had two in their previous 107 games entering this season.
On Monday, the Mountain West honored Williams for the second time this season as its Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week. The redshirt freshman had a 53-yard punt return touchdown Saturday at then-No. 19 San Diego State and also had a 43-yard kickoff return.
Williams is one of five players in the Football Bowl Subdivision with at least two punt return touchdowns and his 15.9-yard average is No. 9 in the FBS. Boise State had not earned an offensive or defensive player of the week honor from the conference yet this season.
DEAYON MAKES MOST OF HIS SHOT
Former Boise State cornerback Donte Deayon made his NFL regular season debut on Sunday night in the New York Giants’ win against the Denver Broncos. He had a tackle on his first-ever play, and finished with three tackles.
Deayon, undrafted last year, spent the 2016 season and the first five weeks of this season on the Giants’ practice squad. He was activated last week after Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie’s suspension.
“I didn’t know when, didn’t know how, but you’ve just got to keep working and when your opportunity comes, you’ve got to be ready,” Deayon told NJ.com.
Wyoming at Boise State
When: 8:15 p.m. Saturday
Where: Albertsons Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf); fans are asked to wear orange in sections 27-30, 101-104, 127-130, North End Zone and Stueckle Sky Club; blue in all other sections
TV: ESPN2 (Roy Philpott, Tom Ramsey)
Radio: KBOI 670 AM/KTIK 93.1 FM (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender)
Records: BSU 4-2, 2-0 (beat San Diego State 31-14); Wyoming 4-2, 2-0 (beat Utah State 28-23)
Series: Boise State leads 10-1 (Wyoming won 30-28 on Oct. 29, 2016 in last meeting)
Vegas line: Boise State by 13 1/2
Kickoff weather: Upper 40s, cloudy, 20 percent chance of rain