Well, we are halfway through college football, which I find very sad :( But it is also a good time to evaluate teams! Now why do we do mid-season reports? Well, most football people run out of things to talk about. That's why fantasy football was made. And now that's all NFL Network talks about anymore......
So I'll go over all 3 aspects of football: special teams (yes, they count), defense, and offense. Now lets do this!
Last season, Boise made a total of 6 field goals. This year, Boise already has 8. I say that's improvement! Frisina has made 66.7% of kicks this year, which is the same percentage from the previous 2 years. So technically, it isn't getting worse!
Kickoff and punt returns have done good so far this year, and the coverage has been great. Opposing teams are returning kickoffs an average of 19.25 yards per return, and only 3.83 yards per punt return. I can go 3.83 yards in one step. No touchdowns for either side, but the special teams have done pretty good so far.
A big question at the beginning of the year was how Boise was going to replace 7 defenders who spent time in NFL training camps. Yeah, that's right, 7! You know who didn't get that many? LSU! Take that SEC! And according to my Magic 8 ball, no team has ever had 5 rookie defensive lineman in training camps the same year. And the ball don't lie!
So how did they replace those guys? Well, Demarcus Lawrence has played like a beast. Mike Atkinson had the greatest pick 6 you will ever see. Sam Ukwuachu's name keeps coming up, so either he's making tons of plays or the announcers are just proud that they can pronounce his last name. Jeremy Ione has had some great plays himself. The list goes on, but the best is that Boise's defense has 19 takeaways. 19! There are 37 FBS teams that have yet to score 19 touchdowns! Idaho is one of them (teehee!). Numbers aside, just watch them play! They are crazy! Like a fox!
Their only bad game of the year was against New Mexico, where they gave up 29 points. Now some of you gave them the sympathy nod, because of the triple-option, but others weren't happy about that. In an effort to comfort those people, remember they did get the ball on the opposing side of the field twice, and that's difficult for a defense to not give up any points. New Mexico has average 31 points per game the past 4 weeks. Also, just think: how many defenses can play great 5 out of 6 times? Not many!
This one probably bugs the fans the most, as Boise is known for the offense. But, I've seen improvement on a week to week basis. I'll start with the running game!
DJ Harper has three 100 rushing yard games this year, and 4 with 100 total scrimmage yards. Not bad for a guy who's been playing since a white guy was president! (Please, no political crap, this is a football website). Jay Ajayi is running through people like they aren't even there.The offensive line, which had problems blocking early on, seemed to have gotten things figured out against Fresno. The past 3 weeks, Boise has averaged 175 rushing yards per game. That's pertty good, if I do say so myself!
After watching some of the games again, I noticed the runningbacks are getting almost an extra 2 yards per carry when following Dan Paul (and with hardly any runs for loss), and have also had good success running it outside. Unfortunately, the majority of the runs have been up the middle, with no Dan Paul. So....use Dan Paul and run it outside more? I think it'll work. Basically, for the rest of the year, I'd just punch and jab with Ajayi, then an uppercut with Harper, a combo that works great on Wii boxing. Grinding it out up the middle wears out the defense and forces them to stiffen up. When that happens, they're typically not lined up right to stop a quick outside run, or are usually too winded to stop it consistently. Even if they are defending the middle well, there is a small chance they can defend the edges and outside too. If a defense is able to stop both of those, that's the point where there's not much you can do, running wise. On to the passing game!
Joe Southwick had back-to-back games with 3 passing touchdowns, but appeared to have regressed against Fresno. But with the running game doing so well, I think he was playing more of a game manager than a game winner. Most of his incompletions were on those deep passes, and he could have done better. But he did his job, because they won! But what I have noticed is he isn't checking down as many throws as he should. Seems like he checks his first 2 options, then will try to run. My solution: get the tight ends involved.
The tight ends only have 9 receptions all year. And only in 1 game have they caught at least 3 passes. For those of you who don't know, tight ends are very important to an offense, and good ones give a major advantage. Just look at what the Patriots have done recently because of their 2 great tight ends. They almost won a Super bowl! Now why do tight ends help out so much?
"Elementary, dear Watson!"
The first is physical: tight ends are more difficult to cover, due to their size. Even if your in position, they'll usually have a 6" advantage over you. Their arms are longer, and hands bigger, making catching easier. Plus, tight ends usually run simpler routes, meaning they can focus more on making the catch.
2nd, tight ends usually run short routes, which means they are typically covered by linebackers, who can't cover as well. This means you can make easy 3-4 yard completions. That isn't much, but just like with the running game, if you're successfully doing the same thing over and over, you have to compensate for it. And when you do that, you are weakening another part of your defense. Those safeties will start to cheat up, meaning those 50 yard bombs are a little easier to make. And who doesn't like those?
She doesn't, but she also doesn't like getting 50% cash back.
If you don't get that reference, you must not watch a lot of TV.
For the rest of the year, I think the team will do fine. The special teams is doing its job, for the most part. Defense is playing lights out. The offense is getting the kinks out, but has shown they can play well in all aspects, they just need to pull it all together. Personally, I think Ajayi has been the biggest boost. A physical running style can degrade a defense, and motivate the offense. Cause other than that baby and University of Idaho defenders, who doesn't like to watch a runningback bulldoze a player? It's awesome!
Also, am I the only one who misses the old helmet design, with the Boise State logo on both sides? I guess the combat look is cool, but too flashy for my taste. I'm afraid that Boise is turning into another Oregon when it comes to uniforms....
Another thought: the team should totally wear all blue in their final home conference game this year, just to stick it to the Mountain West! And does anyone else get puzzled when they see "K. Moore" on the stats sheet? For Kirby Moore?
So that's how I see the first 6 games, and I'm excited for the next
six seven games. Anything you've liked so far this year, or still waiting to see happen? I'm still waiting for a Bald Eagle to intercept a pass....it could happen!