Two games into the 2014 season is probably not the best time to call for a job performance review, but that's just what we're going to do, because it's Tuesday of a Saturday game week against a team from Connecticut that just slid past a team I was unaware existed outside the Harry Potter universe. Much of the assessments are inconclusive, but I think we've seen enough in two games to give a preliminary ruling on the coordinating efforts of the Robert Prince and Pete Kwiatkowski replacements. According to some sources, the following hire would have produced better results than Robert Prince, by the way.
Mike Sanford, Offensive Coordinator, tired dad
Sanford didn't have enough on his plate with his new coordinator duties, so he decided to shoehorn a new kid into the equation. Who needs sleep, anyway? Sanford's offense has yet to have a "great" game, in my opinion, but have put back-to-back "good" games together, statistically. Unlike Robert Prince, Sanford knows exactly who his playmakers are and their capabilities...however, Sanford seems to go to that well a little too often for some of our tastes...especially people that believe that Jay Ajayi's legs are going to spontaneously combust if he keeps getting 35 touches a game. Grant Hedrick seems much more apt to tuck the ball and run this season—an oft unused element of Grant's game a season ago. That's the good part for Grant thus far, who's had some decision-making lapses, but overall is running Sanford's offense in a rather efficient manner UNTIL the team gets in the redzone. The bottom line is the Broncos must execute better close to the goal line and some of that comes down to playcalling. Also, the coaching staff has been roundly criticized for going to the Jay Ajayi amusement park too often. I think Sanford is absolutely right in his insistence on turning Jay loose on defenses and the 2 games thus far have not presented ample opportunities to spread carries into the stable. I think if this trend continues, however, Sanford and company will be fair game in this particular criticism. Jay means too much to the team to be driven to exhaustion or injury.
Overall, the shift, motions and offensive playbook has been much better than what we've seen the last two seasons. Boise State rolled up nearly 700 yards on Saturday and an acceptable 400 on Ole Miss...the scoring just hasn't reflected the Broncos ability to move the ball between the 20s, which has been solid. We'll check back in at mid-season, but Sanford thus far hasn't once made me wistful for the Prince era.
Marcel Yates, Defensive Coordinator
With Boise State giving up 42 4th quarter points in just two contests and still struggling to contain the more potent passing attacks, you'd think this grade would be lower...it's just that without those dings on the defensive record, Yates might be receiving an A+ through 2 games. If you isolate 6 quarters of play over the first two contests, the Broncos have allowed just 17 points and utterly embarrassed opposing rushing attacks. Consider that Colorado State's two-headed rushing monster was universally expected to make Saturday a long night (well a longer one, anyway) for the Broncos after running at will against Pac-12 foe Colorado. Boise State's defense rendered the Ram rushing attack utterly useless. The only problem with that is that the second-straight above-average QB that the Broncos faced this season was able to move the ball so well through the air, specifically late in the game. So, whether it's effort, injury or otherwise, the Broncos have a "complete" game problem on defense and just like the offense in the redzone, everything else is hunky dory.
Through 2 games, the Broncos have 18 tackles-for-loss, 5 INTs (6 turnovers) and 5 sacks. These are good numbers against good offensive teams and obviously the entire defensive staff should get credit for that. Yates' biggest "win" so far is he has the defense attacking and confident again, the late game meltdowns appear to be fixable and the simplest fix may be to just get our starters healthy. Knock on wood.
It's early yet, but what are your thoughts on the new coordinators now that the season is underway? What improvements have you seen so far? What improvements would you like to see in upcoming games?