The Boise State football team has suffered crucial injuries on defense in its last two games. In total, at least five players have left the field with injuries, and reports indicate two of them are done for the season. With the defense hurting, the offense has to step up.
Redshirt sophomore cornerback Bryan Douglas is out for the year with a knee injury. The injury to Douglas hurts a thinning defense, and it caused head coach Chris Petersen to pull the redshirt off freshman corner Donte Deayon.
Senior nose tackle Michael Atkinson will also miss the remainder of the season. According to the Idaho Statesman, Atkinson has a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Atkinson is not only a key player on that Boise State defense, but he is a major leader on the team as well.
Defensive tackle Greg Grimes, defensive end Kharyee Marshall and nickel Dextrell Simmons were injured during the Wyoming game and are day-to-day. Marshall dressed for the San Diego State game.
As if the injuries weren't enough to challenge the Broncos' defense, add to that the indefinite suspension of sophomore defensive back Lee Hightower and the suspension of redshirt freshman defensive back Eric Agbaroji for the San Diego State game.
It all adds up to a very challenging November for the Boise State Broncos defense. The same defense that has carried the team all season.
Those injuries and suspensions caught up with the Broncos against the Aztecs. Boise State suffered a disappointing loss, knocking the team out of BCS bowl contention and threatening the team's goal of a Mountain West Conference championship.
If Boise State wants to finish strong in the MWC and take with it the conference title as they depart for the Big East in 2013, they are going to need some help.
That help has to come from the offense.
So far this season the Broncos' offense is only averaging 27.4 points per game. That is 67th overall and much different from what fans of Boise State are used to.
The Broncos average just over 210 yards passing per game and 159.8 yards rushing. Again, much less than what is typical of a Chris Petersen team.
The Broncos offense needs to step up in a big way so as to take the pressure off of a defense that has carried far too much of the load for far too many quarters this season.
It sounds like a perfect time to let it all hang out.
Joe Southwick has played like a man afraid to fail at times, and why wouldn't he be. There has to be a tremendous amount of pressure on his shoulders, and he is dealing with the most criticism a single Bronco player has had to deal with in recent memory.
However, whether it is the pressure or not, it seems that Southwick plays it safe much of the time rather than taking risks. His method has worked at times, as he has thrown few interceptions, but his over conservative style has hindered the offense overall.
With the thinning condition of the defense, It is past time for Southwick to play with an increased dose of reckless abandon.
Bronco Nation would be much happier with 350 yards passing, two touchdowns and two interceptions than they would 165 yards passing, no touchdowns and one interception.
One of the greatest gifts a coach or a fan base can give to its players is to allow every player the power to fail. Because in that gift there is the seed of success.
Jay Ajayi is a spark and D.J. Harper is the fire.
Against San Diego State it was Jay Ajayi that sparked the offense in the first half.
With his pounding style, Ajayi was able to cause havoc in a San Diego State defense that seemed to have things under control. In turn, that opened up running lanes and seemed to inspire D.J. Harper who took full advantage of it.
Then, in the third quarter Ajayi was limited, in a time when he was most needed it seemed.
Boise State should think about utilizing this combination in every quarter of the game. If it is a trust issue, again, it is long overdue to throw out any conservative style the Broncos want to hold on to. That has not been the way past teams have played.
If Ajayi fumbles, he fumbles. However, what he mostly does is pound out serious yardage. In turn, this inspires Harper and the offense, and gets the fire going.
Time to play downfield bingo?
The Broncos didn't really attempt any downfield passes against San Diego State. In fact, all season that has been a rare item on the menu.
However, there are so many fast and talented receivers on the roster, so why not just go for it?
Matt Miller, Kirby Moore, Dallas Burroughs, Chris Potter, Aaron Burks, Geraldo Boldewijn and others are certainly capable of making good things happen if their number is called.
How about this? Offensive coordinator Robert Prince could just bring one of those Bingo devices that hold all the numbered balls into the booth with him. He could then fill it with the numbers of his outstanding receiving corp, and every series he could roll out another number and go for it.
The offense needs to play like the defense
Even with diminished personnel, the Boise State defense will still play hard. They will still make some good things happen. However, it is long overdue that the Boise State offense do their part.
The only way that happens is if they play with the same kind of mentality the Broncos defense does.
The offense must play with reckless abandon and without fear of failure. They must let it all hang out and leave the field with no regrets. If they do that they will probably make a few mistakes, but so what?
It would be far better to make a mistake when trying to succeed than to fail because you might be worried about making a mistake.