By Chadd Cripe
© 2011 Idaho Statesman
Boise State defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski and a couple players said the Broncos were missing their defensive “edge” Friday night at Toledo.
The Broncos allowed 15 points, 349 yards and seven third-down conversions in their 40-15 win. One national columnist, Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com, wrote that the Broncos have “the defense of a lower-level SEC team” after seeing them in person for the first time.
Kwiatkowski and coach Chris Petersen also said the defense needed to show more consistent effort after the opener against Georgia, but this was different.
“The first game, we’re nitpicking,” Kwiatkowski said. “The second game, that was not acceptable.
“There were too many guys not playing full speed or being physical or just cutting it loose. … The video doesn’t lie. You can see the guys when they play that reckless, full speed all the time. And you can see when there’s an edge missing.”
Junior linebacker J.C. Percy said the players knew when they walked off the field that they hadn’t played their style. The video confirmed it.
“The coaches are absolutely right,” he said. “We didn’t play to our best ability and the ability we know we’re able to play. So we’ve been really practicing on that. That’s a big emphasis for today and tomorrow and hopefully it carries over into the game.”
Practices leading up to the Toledo game were missing something, too, Percy said.
“We had kind of an OK week of practice leading up to Toledo and you practice like you play,” he said. “We didn’t practice to the best of our ability, so we didn’t play to the best of our ability.”
One sign that the Broncos weren’t playing to their standards was the lack of defenders around the ball. They usually gang tackle; against Toledo, they relied more on individual players to make tackles.
“We gave up too many plays, too many yards, too many points,” senior nickel Hunter White said. “That’s not our standard. Our standard is we’re trying to shut every team out. We understand that’s not going to happen every week, but that’s our standard. … We’re such a fanatical defense, when we kind of lose that edge effort-wise we take a big step back — and we can’t take any steps back.”
Kwiatkowski said it’s difficult to keep the same level of intensity throughout the season but he isn’t sure why a lapse occurred last week.
“Every year there’s always a little funk somewhere in there,” he said. “I don’t know if it was the bye or what it was. It just wasn’t what we want and it wasn’t what (the players) want.”
One word keeps coming up when the Broncos talk about Tulsa: speed.
“Probably the biggest thing that stands out to me is just speed, all over the field,” Percy said. “Their running backs are fast, their receivers are fast, their quarterbacks are fast. … One of (the running backs) would get out and everybody would have an angle on these guys and then they’d just leave them in the dust, these big Oklahoma State guys who were top recruits, guys who are supposed to be super fast, and these guys are just leaving them like they’re standing still.”
The Boise State-Toledo game drew a 2.2 rating and more than 2.7 million viewers, according to Toledo’s athletic department. That’s believed to be the largest audience for a Toledo game and the largest for a game played in a Mid-American Conference stadium.
Here is the parking information for Saturday's game against Tulsa.