Breaking down the Boise State football team's linebackers: Renaud, Bell try to capitalize on early playing time

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com
© 2011 Idaho Statesman

I’m running a series of blog posts breaking down each position on the Boise State football team. I’ll try to hit a new position after each practice.

Previously: Offensive line, tight ends/fullbacks, specialists

Today: Linebackers

Returning starters (1 of 3): Boise State counts senior weak-side linebacker J.C. Percy as a returning starter because he split that job with Aaron Tevis over the past three seasons. Tevis, though, was the primary starter. Percy has 177 career tackles, finishing second, second and tied for fifth on the team the past three seasons.

Key losses: Tevis (46 tackles, seven passes defended) and middle linebacker Byron Hout (team-high 69 tackles, six pass breakups) are gone. So, too, are defensive end Shea McClellin, who spent much of the season at the nickel spot, and nickel Hunter White.

Other key returners: Senior Tommy Smith made 18 tackles last season as the backup to Hout and has extensive game experience. He likely will start at middle linebacker, but he will get competition from sophomore Blake Renaud, who made 10 tackles as a true freshman. At nickel, three players who contributed return — junior Jonathan Brown (19 tackles), senior Dextrell Simmons (16) and sophomore Corey Bell (nine).

Other players to watch: True freshman Tyler Gray (6-3, 215 pounds) has the frame of Tevis and is a terrific athlete. As he gets comfortable in the defense, he could be a factor on the depth chart.

Projected starters: WLB Percy, MLB Smith, N Bell

Position chart (in no particular order):

Weak-side linebacker — Percy, Dustin Kamper (junior), Gray, Mitchell McCarthy (redshirt freshman)
Middle linebacker — Smith, Renaud, Travis Saxton (sophomore), McCarthy
Nickel — Brown, Bell, Simmons, Hilton Richardson (redshirt freshman)

Joining in August: Andrew Pint of Highlands Ranch, Colo., and Ben Weaver of Klein, Texas.

Notes/quotes:

— The Broncos remain thin at the two inside linebacker spots. Only four of those seven players are on scholarship, and two of those guys (Renaud and Gray) have been on campus for less than a year. That puts pressure on Percy and Smith to deliver. “Sometimes seniors don’t necessarily take that jump,” linebackers coach Bob Gregory said. “We want all those seniors to take the jump, to take the next step, and they know that. They’ve been working hard.”

— Renaud and Bell, who played as true freshmen last season, have looked good in spring ball. “I’m excited to see what Corey can do. He’s playing really well right now,” Gregory said. “… It’s so much better for (Renaud this spring) because he knows what’s going on now. He had a great practice today. He’s going to be a good player for us.”

•••

The first-team offense drove for a touchdown during a game-like drive during Monday’s practice, the fifth workout of spring ball. Redshirt freshman tight end Holden Huff, who looks like he could be a factor this year, made the touchdown catch. Wide receiver Kirby Moore made a long catch on the drive and is having a nice spring.

•••

Gregory is taking a group of Broncos to the Dominican Republic for spring break for the second straight year. It's a service trip to an orphanage/school. This year's participants are offensive tackle Faraji Wright, Bell, safety Dillon Lukehart and cornerback Ebo Makinde. Makinde was supposed to go last year but he got mono.

Last year, Brown and wide receiver Chris Potter made the trip. Here is the story I wrote last year on that journey.

•••

Emmitt Smith apparently is a big fan of Doug Martin, according to this post on CBSSports.com.

1332192930 Breaking down the Boise State football team's linebackers: Renaud, Bell try to capitalize on early playing time Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Chadd,

sorry, but your reporting is less informative than Dave Southorn's. If Geraldo Boldewijn caught a 70-yard TD catch (per Southhorn) you should also report it, even though you can't say which quarterback threw the pass--or the quarterback who threw the interception to Dillon Lukehart, etc. These are specific details that help us to see which individual players are doing well. Your vanilla reporting adds nothing for BSU fans excited by our outlook for the 2012 season. We are reloading as opposed to rebuilding, but apparently you haven't recognized that.

Haters just hate

That's what haters do - lol

But your "hateful" comments here are simply laughable and absurd. Especially considering the fact that Dave Southorn's "article" on the Boise State practice consisted of exactly FOUR sentences............oooooh........what an "article".

I'll take Chadd Cripe ANY day of the week over the absolutely PATHETIC "coverage" offered by The Press Tribune. It's liking comparing a puddle to a lake.

I'm not a hater

idiot, I've given Chadd a lot of compliments on his coverage and appreciate his efforts. Some folks just can't wait to throw that "hater" label out there. Get a life. Southorn's "blog entry" contained names and details, and playmaking. A few nuggets are worth more than a whole lot of empty lines.

looking forward to the LB's

I think BSU is going to have a lot of young talent that will develop over the summer at linebacker. Renaud looks like he will be able to step in a jam up the middle. We could be watching this group for several years.

Don't break down players, we lost a lot of seniors as it is.

Player analysis works better.

----------

I'd like to thank Kevin Richert for persuading all the legislators to quit.

Forgot One

Your 'incoming' recruits left off Chris Santini at OLB, who might be the best recruit in last year's class.
He'll probably play this year ahead of Pint.

Ben Weaver

I think Ben Weaver will play ahead of both Pint and Santini. Santini may play some at DB. I think Pint may be in the mix next year.

Going on a limb here...

And projecting Renaud as a starter. He's got the talent and definitely has the intangibles to be a starting linebacker. He's athletic, so any position he'll excel at. Percy is an obvious choice to start as well.

I'm thoroughly excited to see what Renaud can do this year. I think he's going to surprise some folks. He seems like a natural "lead by example" kinda guy.