Boise State's dominant defensive line has 'a lot of room to grow'; Atkinson on 'right track'; Efaw assumes leadership role

By Chadd Cripe
© 2011 Idaho Statesman

Boise State’s defensive line was touted as one of the best in the nation last season.

It returns nearly in tact — but players say they won’t relax.

“There’s definitely that confidence,” senior tackle Chase Baker said. “We’ve got to make sure it doesn’t become an arrogance, because we can definitely afford to get better in a lot of places. We have to keep that chip and understand we have a lot of room to grow.”

The Broncos expect to start four seniors on the defensive line — Baker and Billy Winn at tackle and Shea McClellin and Tyrone Crawford at end. They lost end Ryan Winterswyk, a three-time All-WAC performer, but gain junior tackle Mike Atkinson (suspended most of last year) and a talented class of incoming freshmen.

The seniors hope to set the tone for the backups who will become starters in 2012 — guys like sophomore Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe and Atkinson.

Baker remembers looking up to veterans like Joe Bozikovich when he was a freshman.

“They showed you how to work,” he said. “We have the same responsibility to show them we have a certain way of doing things and you go hard every play.”

Baker likes what he sees from Atkinson, long considered a future star. Atkinson was coming on strong last season when he was suspended for the final nine games for violating team rules.

“He’s really putting himself in a position this year to do big things,” Baker said. “He won’t be a surprise because everybody knows what he can do, but this will be his year.”

Baker lives with Atkinson and has seen firsthand his dedication to becoming a reliable player.

“He messed up but he’s on the right track,” Baker said. “It’s up to him and he knows that. Just living with him, you can see a huge change. He has no intentions of messing things up. He’s beyond precautious now.”


Tight end Kyle Efaw has stepped into a leadership role this season. It’s not exactly the soft-spoken Capital High grad’s comfort zone. He is the only senior tight end on the roster.

“It’s very weird not to have someone else in the room who’s an old vet, who’s older than me, someone I look up to,” Efaw said. “There’s a little more responsibility on me to show the guys how to act and how to practice. … I’m not the greatest leader. I’m not a big vocal guy. If they have questions, I just want the young guys to feel comfortable with me and not feel like it would be a dumb question.

“… At the same time, I’ve still got to focus on improving my own game because it’s not all pretty there, either.”

1300479690 Boise State's dominant defensive line has 'a lot of room to grow'; Atkinson on 'right track'; Efaw assumes leadership role Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Good to hear

about Bacon! Stay on track dude!

As the old saying goes....

a good defense helps establish a good offense.....If BSU keeps its good defense; the offense will shine evenmore and make them hard to beat by anyone...

length of stay Efaw

how many years has he been here go get a real job

Ω weiscrass climbs out ...

... from under his rock.

Most assuredly, a real job is something foreign to you.

Run out of little high school girls to demean?


So true Low Rent Weisberg went on a high school blog

and slammed one of the local girls who won a nice award. What a classy guy you are Weisberg.

weistard arrested?

saw something about an arrest of some loser for possessing child po-rn, figured it was him.

169 days and counting.........

I'll be in Atlanta, will you?

Ω Good work ...

... on taking a leadership role, Kyle.

Spike a weiscrass for us all after the next TD, huh?

Who Cares!

It's not even football season!

defense wins championships

of course, having an offense that puts up 35 every game helps.

gotta love that depth ...

Bacon and Ricky TAT could probably be the starting defensive tackles for many of the schools in college football ...

Atkinson, you crazy

kid. Keep your head on straight to bust through the line like only you can do, and it's going to be your year. You can help make a really good D-line great, and we can all be yelling Canadian bacon. Stay healthy, and as they say "stay thirsty" and out of trouble.

Just for VNDL

no one else view this......


tfunky - Excellent

Thanx. Was great.


Mao the spammer is working SO hard lately!


You must be lucky to be in the state I was born in!

Defensive Line

I look forward to seeing Atkinson playing this season. He should be a high impact player and do a lot of damage this year.

I am also looking forward to the rematch with UGA and think we get the, " you have not beat a SEC team" monkey off our backs.

OldBSUBlue - I hope so too

Been following Atkinson since his recruitment. Very exciting to see him play with the intensity he does - when his head is on straight. I wish him the best and hope he has finally 'gotten it'.

But, it seems he got into both of his 'predicaments' during the Summer ('09 and '10) when he was not under the daily supervision of coaches and an organized structure, as a result of bad choices that he himself made.

Maybe he has matured to the point where he can survive this coming Summer and emerge a more responsible and viable person and citizen. I sure hope so, as I want to see him on The Blue.

I am not holding my breath, this time around with him though, as the Summer months are filled with many too many temptations, away from the player run practices. I think Coach Pete has had a belly full too, and Atkinson is one predicament away from permanent suspension, and he knows it. Prolly, good knowledge for him to have, at this point of his CFB career. Atkinson's propensity for getting into predicaments appears to stem from his lack of reasoning skills when consuming alcohol. He's not a bad kid with evil intent or designs - it just looks like he thinks he is above it all when he is drinking (the same could be said for the thousands of people attending AA meetings throughout the Treasure Valley, every day).

Who knows - maybe with a lot of 'friendly supervision' by his teammates and room mate (and hopefully an AA Sponsor) over the Summer, Atkinson will be on the field to help destroy UGA on 3 SEP, '11 and as you say - finally get the monkey off our backs with a SEC win.

Even if Atkinson does not play in the Fall - I think, given BSU's Defensive Line depth, that BUS finishes UGA with a win. It would be nice to have Atkinson in a rotation, but I don't see him as a keystone to a victory or a loss.