Bronco Beat

Boise State defense report: Broncos adjust as injuries mount

Marcel Yates, pre-UNLV

Boise State defensive coordinator Marcel Yates talks to the media in advance of the UNLV game.
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Boise State defensive coordinator Marcel Yates talks to the media in advance of the UNLV game.

Note: I’m trying something new this week. Rather than stuffing all of the notes/quotes from the coordinators in the Monday post, I’m separating that content out into weekly reports on the offense and defense. You can check out the offense post here.

Also, my blog’s home page has moved to a new address with our new website. You can find it here.

Looking back: The Broncos allowed two touchdowns in a 34-14 win Saturday against Wyoming. Those were the first offensive touchdowns scored by an opponent at Albertsons Stadium this season. Still, they held the Cowboys to 233 yards, 4.3 yards per play and 30 percent third-down conversions. And the defense was playing without three starters — cornerback Donte Deayon, middle linebacker Tanner Vallejo and safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner. Safety Darian Thompson continued his excellent season with seven tackles and a sack. Linebacker Ben Weaver added seven tackles. And true freshman Tyler Horton, making his first start at cornerback, fared well.

Looking forward: UNLV gets quarterback Blake Decker back from injury this week, which should spark the offense. Decker missed about two and a half games. The Rebels faced a challenging schedule early — at Northern Illinois, vs. UCLA, at Michigan — but were gaining momentum offensively before Decker went out. They likely will try to run the ball and eat the clock, like Wyoming last week. They average 4.7 yards per carry and have run nearly twice as many times as they’ve thrown (320 to177). “They’ve had two weeks to prepare for us, so I’m sure we’ll see something new we haven’t seen on film,” defensive coordinator Marcel Yates said.

Player to watch: Boise State junior Chanceller James spent part of last week’s game at safety and could do that again this week.

Against running teams, the Broncos often have used three linebackers and removed the nickel from the game. James, who is the starting nickel but was a starting safety last season, slid back to safety in some of those situations against Wyoming. He replaced sophomore Kam Miles, who is starting because of the injury to Dylan Sumner-Gardner.

“Being back there is fun,” James said.

But he also is becoming more comfortable with his new role at nickel. He’s third on the team with 32 tackles, second with five tackles for loss and tied for second with three sacks. He also has two pass breakups.

“I feel way better than I did when I first started,” James said. “I’m getting closer and closer to the ball. I’m rooting for an interception sometime soon.”

Notes and quotes from DC Marcel Yates

— On S Darian Thompson: “He’s had certain games where he didn’t play as well as he wanted to play, but overall he’s playing pretty good. The two games we lost he was down with the way he played, but he didn’t play bad in either game. There were certain drives he wanted to have back. He’s a guy, every week he comes to work. In that room and on our team, he’s a leader for us.”

— On LB Joe Martarano: “Joey is starting to see the game as if he was a coach. ... He’s playing real fast.”

— He called the defensive performance this year “up and down.” “I’m greedy,” Yates said. “I’m a greedy coach. I never listen to how many turnovers our offense had. If our offense had eight turnovers, I want to cause nine turnovers. That’s just the way I think.”

Quotes from DE Sam McCaskill

— On UNLV coming off a bye: “We know that they’ll be dialed up on all of our stuff. They’ll definitely study all of our looks that we’ve given people in the past and they’ll be well-rested, so we know we’ll get their best.”

— On Boise State’s bye next week: “I don’t think anyone is looking forward to the bye week. Everyone is focused on UNLV and we’re excited to get over there.”

— On defensive end Tyler Horn getting tackled at the 1 last week on an interception return: “I already gave him a hard time. I think people have been messing with him but you can’t take away from that play. It was pretty spectacular. That’s just the way it goes. I felt bad for him.”

OFFENSE

BSU

UNLV

Scoring (FBS rank)

38.0 (19)

28.3 (T-73)

Total offense

455.6 (30)

370.6 (89)

Rushing

175.4 (61)

213.6 (27)

Passing

280.3 (26)

157.0 (114)

Turnovers lost

15 (101)

8 (18)

3rd-down conversion

39.5 (69)

36.5 (93)

DEFENSE

BSU

UNLV

Scoring (FBS rank)

17.3 (18)

27.4 (76)

Total defense

265.5 (5)

419.9 (90)

Rushing

81.4 (5)

183.7 (89)

Passing

184.1 (24)

236.1 (80)

Turnovers gained

18 (5)

14 (28)

3rd-down conversion

33.3 (35)

38.7 (69)

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