Boise State Football

Boise State football camp report: Energetic Drinkwitz takes charge of Broncos’ offense

Questions about first-year Boise State offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz elicit the same two responses from the Broncos.

Don’t expect much change to the offense.

Do expect high energy from Drinkwitz.

Drinkwitz, last year’s tight ends coach, replaces Mike Sanford, who took a job at Notre Dame last winter.

“He just has crazy energy,” sophomore tight end Jake Roh said, “which I think just goes down the line. Then everyone has it. He’s a very detailed coach, which I think is going to be a big part of our offense.”

Added senior tight end Holden Huff: “He has the right mentality to keep us all pushing in the right direction. ... He knows what he wants. That helps us all stay focused.”

As for the playbook?

“Every coach has their adjustments,” Roh said. “Overall, we’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing.”

News and notes

•  Boise State is releasing the four players banners for the east exterior of Albertsons Stadium one at a time, beginning Saturday. The banners will be hung beginning Tuesday.

The first player announced: safety Darian Thompson, with the word “discipline.”

•  For the second straight year, coach Bryan Harsin has limited media access to fall camp practices. The media were able to view short segments of the first two practices Thursday and Friday. Practice isn’t open again until Tuesday.

Player spotlight

Junior Sam McCaskill started 13 games at defensive tackle last season — finding success at a position he didn’t play until fall camp. He’s back at his natural end position this fall, where he likely will be a backup.

That’s how it goes on the Broncos’ loaded defensive line, which added three senior tackles who didn’t play last year to the mix for 2015.

McCaskill shares time at end with Tyler Horn, the guy he replaced at tackle last season when Horn was injured in the season opener.

“I’m trying to get on the field any way that I can,” McCaskill said. “Last year, it was fun getting to move in just because it was moving to playing time. Now I’m just trying to really work on my craft and figure out which position I play better.”

McCaskill finished with 26 tackles, including four for loss, last season. His steady play and toughness through a knee injury early in the season were critical for a defense that also lost tackle Justin Taimatuia, a potential starter, before the season.

The Broncos have Taimatuia, returning starter Armand Nance, practice sensation Tutulupeatau Mataele and Antoine Turner — all seniors — at tackle.

The one hole on the line was at end, where Beau Martin graduated. That’s why Horn, who also began his career at end, and McCaskill have moved back.

“Having so many veteran guys and so many people hungry for playing time this year has really pushed everyone to go that extra yard and keep pushing hard,” McCaskill said.

He trained at end and tackle over the summer. He improved his strength and speed.

He’s ready, he said, to play wherever he’s needed.

“Last year, I just felt so out of position,” McCaskill said. “Now I kind of have a good balance of both of them.”

Defensive line coach Steve Caldwell expects to use McCaskill and Horn inside at least some of the time.

“They both know they’ve got to be prepared to go inside if they need to,” Caldwell said. “And either one of them can do that. We’re fortunate enough that we’ve got enough guys inside that we’re able to play those guys outside. We’ve got a lot of different combinations we’ll be able to use.”

Broncos in the NFL: Jay Ajayi

Former Boise State tailback Jay Ajayi won’t be handed the No. 2 job with the Miami Dolphins, who have returning 1,000-yard rusher Lamar Miller in the starter’s role.

Ajayi, who contributed a 13-yard run Friday in a scrimmage, appears to trail LaMichael James and Damien Williams, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor told the Palm Beach Post the battle for No. 2 is one of the best competitions in camp. Mike Gillislee also is competing.

“There’s not one guy who’s out of it,” Lazor said. “And it might be the most fun job to watch.”

Miller rushed for 1,099 yards last season. The Dolphins selected Ajayi in the fifth round this year with hopes he could become a perfect complement.

Dolphins Executive Vice President Mike Tannenbaum has expressed some concern with Ajayi’s pass blocking, which was a strength at Boise State.

Williams rushed for 122 yards last season. James, the former Oregon star, has rushed for 193 yards in three seasons as a pro.

“Damien Williams has had a really good camp. I think he’s done well,” coach Joe Philbin said, according to the Post. “LaMichael James has done well as well. Jay is picking things up and improving. ... I think it’s going to be a good competition. I think the preseason games will help iron it out a little bit.”

The Dolphins begin preseason play Thursday at the Bears.

Related stories from Idaho Statesman