Boise State junior Sam McCaskill started 13 games at defensive tackle last season – finding success at a position he hadn’t played 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.
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“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 out there.
“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 said he 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.”
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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.”
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The Broncos practiced Saturday in shoulder pads and helmets but the media weren’t allowed to attend. The next practice segment open to reporters is Tuesday, when the team has a two-a-day.
We did get to talk to wide receivers coach Junior Adams, wide receivers Chaz Anderson and Thomas Sperbeck and tight end Holden Huff.
I’ll post a couple videos of interviews shortly. I’ll have a wide receivers story in tomorrow’s newspaper.