Boise State Football: Broncos' 5 Most Important Players on Defense
Most people have heard the saying that offenses sell tickets while defenses win championships.
Certainly, without a good defense, regardless of the number of points the offense puts up, the outcome will be in jeopardy. In 2011, the Boise State defense was relatively stingy against the opposition’s ground and aerial attacks. The Broncos yielded just 110 yards rushing per game and 210 yards passing. A lot of that yardage came late in the game with the score out of reach and the second and third teams on the field.
That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that Boise State lost a lot of players to graduation following the season, and while there are some quality athletes coming back, the defense will be tested in the 2012 campaign.
So who are the key defensive players for the upcoming season? Who will have to step it up and take a leadership role both vocally as well as performance-wise? Discounting incoming freshmen, here are some of the Bronco returners who could be counted on in 2012…
1. Jamar Taylor: Cornerback
For each season, Boise State hangs banners featuring players who epitomize the attitude and spirit of the team for the upcoming campaign. Jamar Taylor was one of the Broncos' chosen, and the word under his image simply says “Excellence.”
That is some billing to live up to, especially considering that Taylor missed four games in 2011 due to injury. When he did play, though, he recorded 27 tackles and a pair of interceptions, including a 100-yard pick six against Arizona State in the Las Vegas Maaco Bowl. Taylor will be called upon to be one of the defensive leaders in 2012.
2. Jerrell Gavins: Cornerback
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If someone said that Jerrell Gavins has something to prove, they could well be correct. Gavins had his 2011 season cut short after the third game due to an injury. In three games, he had 11 tackles and three interceptions.
A healthy Gavins will mean a strong defensive secondary for Boise State, which is what is needed. Inexperience in the secondary hampered the Broncos at times in 2011, but that should not be an issue in the upcoming season. Gavins could be one reason the Broncos shore up pass coverage.
3. Ricky Tjong-a-Tjoe: Defensive Line
Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe had a solid freshman year, but his sophomore season was not quite as strong. Still, after sitting out games because of an NCAA probe into his eligibility, he played in the last seven games of the season in 2011, and he has the size to be a force on the defensive front. He will certainly have to step up in his junior year, and he may be counted on to fill the void left by departing seniors.
4. J.C. Percy: Linebacker
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J.C. Percy was fifth on the Broncos 2011 defensive roster in tackles with 48 and should have a solid handle on reading opposing offenses. Percy had the privilege of playing with some solid players, like Billy Winn and Shea McClellin, and was a co-winner of the Boise State Special Teams Player of the Year award. He brings experience to the team and could be a real factor in 2012.
5. Demarcus Lawrence: Defensive Line
Demarcus Lawrence (right) practices in this Idaho Statesman photo.
From second team NJCAA All-American to the blue and orange at Boise State, Demarcus Lawrence weighs in at under 250 lbs (light for the defensive line), but he has power and speed—both of which are essential in getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
The defensive pressure has to start up front, and Lawrence may well be one of the guys to get the job done, hurry the pass attack and help carry the Bronco tradition of being stingy against the rush. He is just one of several new-to-the-program guys who could be an impact player from the start.