Bronco Beat

Boise State defense report: Chanceller James has performed well vs. option

Each week, we’ll take a look at the Boise State football team’s offense and defense in separate posts. Here is the offense post from Wednesday.

Looking back: The Broncos struggled defensively Oct. 31 at UNLV. They only allowed 20 points but gave up 387 passing yards and 487 total yards. Defensive coordinator Marcel Yates said after the game that the injuries to three starters — most importantly to two defensive backs — caught up with his defense.

One of those injured starters, middle linebacker Tanner Vallejo, could return this week. But cornerback Donte Deayon and safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner are still out.

Looking forward: The Broncos allowed a school-record 505 rushing yards to New Mexico last year. They’ll take another crack at the Lobos on Saturday at Albertsons Stadium. The Broncos played much better in the second half last year — they allowed 42 points in the first half and seven in the second half — but senior linebacker Tyler Gray wants his teammates to think about the first.

“You take the uncertainty of the first half (from it),” he said. “You can’t take this team for (granted) at all. Just watching film on them, they gash people for long runs all the time. That’s how they win.”

More on the Broncos’ history of defending the option, and what they must do right this time, here.

Player to watch: Junior Chanceller James has played nickel primarily this year but has played some safety when the Broncos utilize three linebackers against rushing teams. With Sumner-Gardner out, a bye last week and two option teams on the horizon, it would make sense for James to play safety against New Mexico.

Last year, James made a team-high 13 tackles in a spot start at Air Force and a critical tackle on fourth-and-2 in the fourth quarter against New Mexico to help the Broncos close out the game.

Notes and quotes from DC Marcel Yates:

— On facing the option: “It’s their offense and they force everybody on the field to be in their gap, have great eyes and be disciplined. Because they do it all the time, they usually have an answer for everything you do. Also, you have to deal with their speed because these guys are fast now on the edges.”

— On allowing 505 rushing yards to New Mexico last year: “Damn, you brought that up.”

— On defending the option: “It comes back to doing your job and eyes. Everybody has a job to do. Against this style of offense, you have to harp on everybody being in the right gaps. You’ll keep hearing this from me because that’s the answer. I don’t have any great scheme I can tell you.”

— On maintaining eye discipline: “It’s easy to watch it on film. You have a slow-mo button, a pause button. Once you get on the field, they’re running their offense full speed. You can see how it’s hard for guys to necessarily do their job at times.”

— On last year’s New Mexico game: “It was happening so fast and in chunks. As a coach, you’re trying to stop the bleeding basically. ... At halftime, we came together and we felt like our approach wouldn’t be to go in there and yell at them, lose our mind. Almost every one of those plays was one guy not doing his job. And it varied which guy, or a missed tackle here or there. To me, it was about getting it fixed and really harping on just tackling. On a whole lot of those plays, we had guys there in the run fit and we just missed the tackle.”

Notes and quotes from LB Ben Weaver:

— On memories of last year’s game: “Not fond ones. Ones I don’t like to remember but stuff we definitely reflect on and use to get better this year.”

— On the bye: “A bye week can be a good and bad thing. You can’t take that as a week off and not get better.”

— On the option: “A lot of the triple option focuses on singling out one person. There’s 11 people out there, there’s 11 responsibilities. You’ve really got to make sure you’re doing your job. When you play a traditional offense a lot of times it’s just the whole defense playing hard and playing fast and rallying to the football.”

— On Utah State’s loss and regaining control of the Mountain Division: “It’s awesome that the ball is in our hands.”

— On playing with discipline vs. New Mexico: “The smoke and mirrors is what the triple option is. It’s basically getting one guy to not do his job. That’s the tough part. Can you be disciplined for 80 plays?”

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Scoring (FBS rank)

39.9 (14)

28.1 (71)

Total offense

483.3 (24)

365.2 (93)


181.7 (52)

235.4 (13)


301.7 (20)

129.8 (122)

Turnovers lost

16 (83)

12 (35)

3rd-down conversion

40.6 (58)

36.7 (93)




Scoring (FBS rank)

18.3 (T-17)

26.3 (63)

Total defense

290.1 (7)

407.9 (73)


83.4 (4)

194.8 (96)


206.7 (47)

213.1 (54)

Turnovers gained

20 (10)

16 (43)

3rd-down conversion

33.3 (30)

43.0 (99)