By Chadd Cripe
© 2011 Idaho Statesman
Boise State senior middle linebacker Byron Hout has 30 tackles, two forced fumbles and a blocked punt in the past three games.
His strip last week against TCU on the first play of the second half turned into a touchdown for defensive end Tyrone Crawford.
“He’s playing really, really hard,” coach Chris Petersen said. “That’s what I see out of Byron. He puts his heart and soul into this deal. It’s fun to watch him play.”
Hout had 15 tackles in the first six games. He says he’s become more comfortable in the defense as the season progresses.
“I’m able to anticipate a little bit more back there,” he said. “… I don’t necessarily know when it clicked for me, but I think it did.”
San Diego State, the Broncos’ opponent Saturday, also features a playmaking linebacker.
Miles Burris, a senior outside linebacker, led the league with 9.5 sacks and 20 tackles for loss last season. He also tied for second with four forced fumbles. This year, he’s fourth with six sacks and first with 15.5 tackles for loss.
“Miles is a very experienced, good player who rushes the passer well,” San Diego State coach Rocky Long said.
Burris has thrived in Long’s system. He plays outside linebacker, which gives him opportunities to play like a defensive end and like a safety.
“Depending on the play, I can line up kind of anywhere on the field,” he said. “It’s definitely fun from my perspective. I get to do a little of everything.”
Like many strong pass rushers, effort is key to his success.
“I just try to play to the end of the whistle,” he said. “You make a lot more plays just by going hard — and probably you make plays you shouldn’t.”
Boise State is tied for 65th in the nation in sacks with 17 — a disappointment considering the Broncos led the nation with 48 last year and got six in the season opener against Georgia.
Opposing offenses have done some things, like throw quick, short passes, to offset the pass rush. But that doesn’t fully explain why the Broncos have just 11 sacks in the past eight games and couldn’t get to TCU’s Casey Pachall last week.
“We were steps away many times,” defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski said of Pachall. “… It’s a combination of maybe the quarterbacks being aware of that and getting rid of the ball and us maybe not throwing a move fast enough. The coverage might not be tight enough. There’s a bunch of different reasons why, but a lot of it comes back to what offenses are doing.”
Boise State's 2012 quarterback recruit, Nick Patti, was at Saturday's game. The Orlando Sentinel wrote about his trip.
The New York Times has a feature on former Boise State cornerback Kyle Wilson, who is blossoming in his second year in the NFL.