Expect to see more of Boise State junior tailback Devan Demas on Saturday at BYU.
Demas finished with 20 yards on four carries last week against Washington. His 5.0-yards-per-carry average led the team — and that number was damaged by a 2-yard loss on which he lost a shoe.
He gained 22 yards on his other three attempts (7.3 per carry).
Demas was the No. 3 tailback in the game. Starter Jeremy McNichols had 24 carries for 89 yards and two touchdowns and three catches for 24 yards. Backup Kelsey Young carried 13 times for 48 yards and had three catches for 26 yards.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Idaho Statesman
“Devan, to me, showed some really good ability when it came to game time of just making things happen,” coach Bryan Harsin said Monday. “Because of that, there’s probably more opportunities.”
Added offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz: “Devan Demas actually did some really good things. He earned the right to continue to see the football field.”
• • •
— The Broncos didn’t make any changes to the depth chart this week.
— Junior defensive end Gabe Perez didn’t play against Washington because of an injury. He is questionable this week.
— The players of the game were McNichols (offense), end Kamalei Correa (defense), guard Mario Yakoo (offensive line) and tackle Justin Taimatuia (defensive line).
— Former Boise State wide receiver Matt Miller has been hired as an offensive quality control assistant, a non-coaching position. “He didn’t hesitate,” Harsin said. “He wanted to be back here. He wanted to be a part of it. He wanted to contribute. ... Going into his senior year (in 2014), you’ve got a guy that’s like a coach on the football field.”
• • •
— On the injury to BYU quarterback Taysom Hill: “Taysom is a local guy, came from Highland High School (in Pocatello). We recruited him here as well. He’s a fantastic football player. It’s very tough for him and his football team. Our thoughts are with him as well.”
— On BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum, who played at Eagle High and Timberline High: “He really picked up with the whole Elite 11 competition. That’s where — I’m not sure how heavily he was being recruited prior to Elite 11 and then as it went on ... he got more and more attention. He’s a very good football player. What he’s done from what I remember in high school to where he is now, he looks bigger, stronger, obviously more mature. Even his mechanics, you can tell he’s improved. They’ve done a nice job with him.”
— On the offense against Washington: “Probably what showed up were some missed opportunities — that’s offensive football. ... I thought (defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski) had a really good plan. we had a couple open opportunities and we missed two of them. Overall, they made it very difficult for us.”
— On the defense: “Even at the end of the game, when we were struggling on offense and we were struggling on special teams — a lot of times the third unit, if that happens, they start to struggle, too. It gets frustrating for them. And that didn’t happen. That defense ran out there with great energy and they got it done. (The Huskies) were putting themselves in a chance to win the game or tie the game and we get two sacks on the final drive. They were able to step up and rise to the occasion in that moment and they did a very nice job.”
— On BYU’s tall wide receivers: “You think sometimes that you’re going to have jump ball opportunities, just get beat by sheer height. They’re running, I thought, very precise routes, getting out of their breaks, coming back to the ball. That makes it more difficult. They’re long-levered and can attack the football. It makes it more difficult for DBs to fight through the football. You’ve got to be in the right position to be able to make plays.”
— On the blocked kicks: “The first one was a little bit low and they got some good push on it. The punt block we had guys in place. Their young man did a nice job. He kind of stuck them a little bit and made them move underneath. He got his hand on it. It was just a great individual effort and poor on our part. The (punt return) we had guys really just attacking the punt returner and we didn’t put ourselves in the right positions to keep it contained. That’s basic fundamentals of playing special teams. You need to keep that returner contained. That’s poor on our part. ... Last year, I thought our punt return team had done a really nice job. To start the year off that way is not how we want it.”
— On McNichols playing every down: “Could he do it? Yes. Do we need to do that right now? I don’t think so, not with where we’re at.”
— The Broncos will practice on grass this week, a change from last year when they had so much trouble in a grass game at Connecticut. Players had significant problems with slipping in that game, but Harsin expects a better surface at BYU. “We’re going to utilize our grass practice field,” he said. “We’ve got that to be able to prepare for it. Probably some guys will choose a little different cleat than they did last year at UConn. ... We spent most of our time in fall camp on the grass. I don’t think it’s going to be much different.”
— Harsin wants to get more wide receivers involved. “We still have guys that didn’t get many opportunities that we want to get out there more — (true freshman) Akilian Butler, (redshirt freshman) A.J. Richardson. You’re going to see more of them moving forward.”
Offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz
— On BYU: “Physical up front. Real long. Big. Similar to UW and the fact that the edges are real long. ... It will be a tremendous challenge.”
— On QB Ryan Finley: “When you go back and watch the film, obviously there’s things you wish we did differently, and he knows those. We can’t throw the ball where we’re not supposed to on interceptions. He took a bad sack in the third quarter when we were in our own territory. But I thought he did a nice job of pushing up in the pocket. He had a couple of very big scrambles. ... He’s going to continue to get better. I know he wishes he had that throw back to Chaz (Anderson). ... Any time you’re above 60 percent completions, you’ve got a chance. He’ll get better. He’s not a finished product, but he’s 1-0.”
— On not scoring in the second half: “Nobody wanted to win that game 100 to nothing worse than me. Games never go the way you want them to go. Coach Harsin talked to our team about having grit, and that’s what I think we showed. You’ve got to put all the pieces together. There were spots in that first half we were pretty good and there were parts in the second half we were pretty bad. So you’ve got to be consistent. ... You have to find a way to win football games, and especially early, and once you do that you get confidence. It’s not like we were playing a bad football team or a team a level below us. We were playing a Pac-12 team. Nobody is sitting here patting ourselves on the back, but you’ve got to tell those guys that the goal of the game was to win it and they did. The manner in which we did it wasn’t pretty at times, but we had 270 yards at halftime — that’s a pretty good sign. The second half, we’ve got to get better. I’ve got to do better. The players have got to do better. If we do that, we’ll be fine.”
Defensive coordinator Marcel Yates
— On the game plan vs. Washington: “I was afraid to blitz those guys because I was afraid of their screen game. I didn’t put those guys necessarily in position to get a lot of sacks.”
— On BYU’s tall receivers: “They have a lot of size on their football team. Their O-line is huge. And that (Nebraska) game, you see their receivers go up and make plays for the ball. That gives the quarterback a great feeling knowing he can hang it up there.”
— On sophomore safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner: “I saw something in him that it clicked for him on Friday. His whole approach throughout camp has been great.”
— On the defense holding off Washington in the second half: “I always compare it to a year ago when we played against Ole Miss. I don’t think that defense thought they could win the Ole Miss game on defense. I think this team this year felt like they actually could. Same players, but just a year later, just a different mentality within the group.”
— On tackling: “Tackling wasn’t as good as you probably thought it was but that’s because guys were running to the ball. It didn’t stand out.”
— He said Correa stood out: “He was zoned in. Whenever that kid is zoned in, you know he’s going to have a good week.”
OT Rees Odhiambo
— On the long first-half drives: “We all got tired just because it’s one thing to go through practice and get six plays in a row. To go 16 and 11-plus gets to you. It felt nice to get that going for us.”
— On the defense: “It’s annoying for us to go against them in practice. It’s nice to see them doing really well out there against somebody else.”
DT Justin Taimatuia
— On his last-drive sack against Washington: “It was a three-man rush. we just had to see who was going to get there first. We all got there. If I had been a second late, Sam (McCaskill) would have been there. Two seconds late, Kamalei would have been there.”
— On his year on the sideline injured: “It’s a memorable moment, every snap I play. Just sitting out helped me a lot, kind of humbled me and kind of got me anxious to get out there. I’m thankful I got the chance to play on Friday and took advantage of the opportunity.”
— On the blowout loss in 2013 in Provo: “It’s still in the back of my head because I had a poor game that game.”
• • •