We are exactly one week away from the kickoff of Boise State's 2010 season, and that both thrills me and terrifies me. Speaking of terrifying me, what will the Broncos do without Kyle Wilson this season?
After the jump, Drew and I preview the Bronco secondary with one big question on our minds: How will Brandyn Thompson fare as BSU's No. 1 corner? Find out what we think and then share your thoughts on the subject.
In case you haven't heard, Boise State is going to win a national championship this year. OBNUG's season previews are here to explain why. Today's topic: the secondary.
Boise State's secondary depth chart
- Jeron Johnson
- George Iloka
- Brandyn Thompson
- Jamar Taylor
- Jerrell Gavins
- Winston Venable
- Cedric Febis
- Ebo Makinde
- Travis Stanaway
- Antwon Murray
- Josh Borgman
- Jeremy Ioane
- Jonathan Brown
Some other time
Roundtable: Do you trust Brandyn Thompson?
The Fiesta Bowl DMVP is a Sports Illustrated cover boy, one of the WAC's most celebrated defenders, and near the top of the list of things that keep me up at night (alongside Kyle Brotzman and Inception). How should I feel with Brandyn Thompson locking down his own side of the field on Labor Day night?
I talk Drew onto a ledge, he talks me off, and then we both think very happy thoughts as we discuss Thompson's new role as Boise State's No. 1 corner. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
Kevan starts things off:
All this talk about replacing Kyle Wilson is a little misplaced, if you ask me. Jamar Taylor is not replacing Kyle Wilson. Jamar Taylor is replacing Brandyn Thompson who is replacing Kyle Wilson.
We should not be asking whether Taylor can fill Wilson's shoes. We should be asking whether Thompson can. Although, frankly, I'm not sure I want to be answering that question.
Don't get me wrong. I think that Thompson is a great cornerback, but I would project him more as first-team All-WAC caliber than All-American caliber. He is a ballhawk and a gambler, and those are his biggest strengths and weaknesses. As such, watching him play gives me the heebey-jeebies.
Do I trust Brandyn Thompson to lock down the opposing team's best receiver? Do I have any choice? On a good day, I know Thompson can hang with the best pass catchers in all of college football. I just wish I knew which days were going to be good ones. Is there a Far Side calendar I should be purchasing?
I like the cut of Thompson's jib...you scare the bejeezus out of me though. He isn't half the physical specimen that Kyle Wilson was (Jamar Taylor, incidentally, is close), but I don't think that has too much bearing on his coverage skills (although I did like Wilson's physicality) (I also like parentheses).
The thing with Thompson is, he is either great (Fiesta Bowl part deux, Hawaii 2008) or he...well...isn't.In fact, he may well be long remembered for his Defensive MVP performance in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl, but keen-eyed observers will also remember Thompson as the defender most responsible for allowing TCU to hang with BSU in that game. His failed jam of the receiver allowed TCU to get out of a precarious spot near their own goal line, a blown coverage allowed TCU their only TD, and another blown coverage could have cost Boise State their lead if the Horned Frog could've got a hand on a fairly routine ball. Sure, Thompson scored on an interception that got Boise State on the board, nabbed another to stop a Frog drive and tipped the ball that Venable was able to bring down to seal the game...but those other miscues were heart-stopping...and coulda done us in. When the run game isn't working, teams are going to the air, and if your corner lacks consistency—good night, nurse.
You're right about the fact that Jamar Taylor won't be replacing Kyle Wilson, Thompson will, and I don't think he'll command the same kind of respect that Wilson did. That might partially be a good thing for Thompson, as he'll get the benefit of a few more balls thrown his way throughout the year.
But I think what Wilson did best was command the respect of not just the QB, but the receiver as well. If Thompson can turn into a more physical corner and let the corner know right off the line that that ball is his, he could turn in a special year. For some reason, Thompson reminds me of Gerald Alexander...who until his senior year and subsequent turn at safety was a wildly inconsistent corner. I actually think Thompson is a better corner than Alexander ever was...but Alexander's "scarier" tendencies at CB look awfully familiar in Thompson.
Let's all send good thoughts to Brandyn for his senior year. I have a feeling that he'll be tested far more than Wilson was during his swan song.
I think the biggest difference with Thompson at cornerback will be Boise State's defensive strategy. Thompson is not the type of guy who can consistently lock down an entire side of the field like Kyle Wilson. There is no Thompson Island, or if there is, it is easily accessible by boat and TCU party barge. As such, Boise State will not be able to take as many risks in its defensive secondary as they may have in years past (i.e., "zero" coverage, man-to-man, etc.).
No complaints here, though. If the Broncos do indeed go to a safer D sans Wilson, that likely takes some of the pressure off of Thompson, and ipso facto some worry off of me. Instead of leaving Thompson out to dry while the Broncos bring the house, the strategy may be to give Thompson help over the top while tapping the front four to do the house-bringing.
I do not trust Thompson to be an exact replica of Kyle Wilson. But I do trust him to be a very good cornerback who is capable of great things when put in a position to excel. I believe Bronco coaches will find that position.
Other questions plaguing Boise State's secondary
- Has Jeron Johnson fixed his missed tackle jones?
- Can George Iloka be the George Iloka that everyone thinks he can be?
- How will Jamar Taylor do in his first real game since 2008?
- What fancy coverage schemes will the Broncos draw up this season?
- Will Jason Robinson have an impact?
- Am I wrong in putting Winston Venable and the nickelbacks in with this group?
- Will Jeremy Ioane play as a true freshman?
Boise State's secondary, on a scale of Paul J. Schneiders
With five Paul J. Schneiders being good, and one Paul J. Schneider being perpetual busted coverage.
How will Brandyn Thompson fare as a No. 1 corner? Do you trust him? What other fears
Previously on Boise State football 2010 previews:
- Q: Who will be Boise State's starting running back? A: Pass.
- Q: Can Kellen Moore improve on his 2009 season? A: Statistically? Eh. On the field? You bet.
- Q: Can the Boise State offense survive without Austin Pettis or Titus Young? A: Have you seen the WAC lately?
- Q: Does the Boise State football team have anything left to prove? A: Sadly, yes.
- Q: Who is Boise State's most important offensive lineman? A: . Maybe. Unless it isn't.
- Q: Is Boise State's defensive line better against the run or the pass? A: Yes.
Q: Which two Boise State linebackers would you start against Virginia Tech? A: and an amalgam of and .