By Chadd Cripe
© 2011 Idaho Statesman
Boise State true freshman Blake Renaud is the Broncos’ No. 5 linebacker going into the season and will play extensively on special teams, Broncos assistants Bob Gregory and Jeff Choate said Tuesday.
Renaud plays middle linebacker and is behind senior Byron Hout and junior Tommy Smith on the depth chart.
“He’s a good young player and he’s got a great future in front of him,” said Gregory, the linebackers coach. “We first start with the special-teams deal and kind of go from there. … At some point, he’ll play (linebacker) for us this year.”
Renaud helps the Broncos at a position where they lack depth. They don’t have a scholarship linebacker in the sophomore or redshirt freshman classes.
“We told him in recruiting that our depth is not huge at that position and we need him,” Gregory said. “To his credit, he did a great job preparing.”
Renaud is 6-foot-2, 235 pounds. He’s from De La Salle High in Concord, Calif.
“He’s physically different than most incoming freshmen,” said Choate, the special teams coach. “He can hold up. He’s a physical kid.”
Choate is watching a couple of high-profile competitions for starting jobs.
He’s the nickels coach, where senior Hunter White and sophomore Jonathan Brown are locked in a battle for the starting job. Both will play and a starter might not be named until game day.
“It’s really about production,” Choate said. “I trust both of them. They’re both accountable guys. … That’s an awesome feeling to have. I’ve got two guys I can put out there. Now it comes down to who can be the most productive player at that position.”
Junior-college transfer Dextrell Simmons also will contribute at nickel but lacks the experience of the other two.
Meanwhile, on special teams, Choate must decide between redshirt freshman Dan Goodale and junior Michael Frisina for the starting job on field goals and PATs. He has charted every kick during team situations in fall practice and Frisina is a couple makes ahead. Both kickers could travel to Georgia because of an expanded travel roster but the Broncos won’t have that luxury all season. The tiebreaker might be that Goodale is the backup kickoff specialist.
“They are very, very close — in a good way,” Choate said.
Tommy Smith grew up about 10 minutes from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
He has acquired 17 tickets to the Sept. 3 game against Georgia for family and friends but still is 10 short of what he needs. He’s hoping to get some more when the Broncos settle on their travel roster.
Smith never has played at the Georgia Dome but he did attend Atlanta Falcons games there.
“I never in a million years thought I’d be playing Georgia in the Georgia Dome,” Smith said. “… It’s not a dream, but it’s definitely a great chance I get to have all my family come and watch me play.”
Smith is expected to play an expanded role this season. He and senior Byron Hout will rotate at middle linebacker. Hout is the better blitzer and run defender; Smith is the better pass defender.
The linebacker corps as a whole, Smith said, needs to bring “intensity” to the defense.
“We need to be real hard-nosed,” he said.
My linebackers preview runs in Wednesday’s paper.
Boise State coach Chris Petersen talks to his team often about “verbal combat” — and he doesn’t mean trash talking.
“It’s talking amongst yourselves, getting guys fired up and being positive,” defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski said. “… There’s nothing worse than a bunch of mutes out there.”
This came up while I was talking to Kwiatkowski about defensive end Jarrell Root, who has emerged as the vocal leader of the defense. Here is the story I wrote on Root for today’s paper.
Nike says it will unveil the Broncos’ uniforms for the season opener on Thursday.
BYU on Tuesday announced that it will play Houston on Sept. 27, 2014. BYU already has a game scheduled at Boise State for that date. That game hasn’t been moved, so for the moment BYU is double-booked.