Boise State football team's secondary thrives amid youth movement

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com
© 2012 Idaho Statesman

The Boise State football team started the season with a young secondary.

And now it’s quite a bit younger.

The Broncos enter Saturday’s game at Hawaii with three freshmen among their top six defensive backs — redshirt freshman starting free safety Darian Thompson, true freshman No. 3 cornerback Donte Deayon and redshirt freshman No. 3 safety Dillon Lukehart.

Each has stepped into a larger-than-expected role because of the suspension to sophomore starting free safety Lee Hightower (this will be his third game missed) and season-ending injury to sophomore No. 3 cornerback Bryan Douglas (this will be his second game missed).

So far, the youth hasn’t hurt the Broncos — who rank sixth in the nation in pass defense at 159.1 yards per game and pass-efficiency defense (99.22). And there’s hope among coaches that it will set them up well for the next two years. They lose starting cornerbacks Jamar Taylor and Jerrell Gavins after this season, but could return Hightower, sophomore starting strong safety Jeremy Ioane, Thompson, Douglas, Deayon and Lukehart — and none of them will be seniors until 2014.

Thompson leads the team with three interceptions.

“I look at Jamar and Jerrell and say, ‘Are you going to let him do that?’ ” defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake said.

Thompson has started the past two games but has played some key snaps throughout the season. He recovered a fumble in the opener at Michigan State.

“It’s been very fun to watch him grow each game and now obviously he’s getting a lot of reps, so I expect his play to just explode here down the stretch,” Lake said.

Said Thompson: “It’s just been fun. It’s one experience I’ll never forget.”

Deayon made his college debut last week — immediately moving into the No. 3 cornerback role, leapfrogging a couple more experienced players. He played 10 snaps on defense, a workload that Lake expects to increase from week to week.

Deayon also played on three special teams units.

“Donte was a guy who came into training camp and opened our eyes up,” Lake said. “We knew that we had a player who could play right now, but obviously we had our corners set who we wanted to play this season.”

That changed when Douglas tore an anterior cruciate ligament at Wyoming. By the end of the game, the coaches were talking about playing Deayon the next week against San Diego State.

“He came in there and played 10 plays and played excellent,” Lake said. “This guy shows up every practice, makes plays on the football. He’s very studious, he doesn’t miss a lot of opportunities … so the future is bright for Donte Deayon.”

•••

Before the season, we ran a story on the difficulty of succeeding in the first year after losing a quarterback who finished in the top five of Heisman Trophy voting during his career. Boise State is one of three teams in that category this year. The others are No. 16 Stanford (7-2) and Baylor (4-4).

That makes 25 teams since 2002 that have replaced a quarterback of that caliber and only one — USC in 2003 — has finished with fewer than two losses.

The past 13 teams on the list are a combined 99-57 (63.5 percent). Here’s the list:

Team (QB) Year W-L
Boise State (Kellen Moore) 2012 7-2
Stanford (Andrew Luck) 2012 7-2
Baylor (Robert Griffin III) 2012 4-4
Auburn (Cam Newton) 2011 8-5
Texas (Colt McCoy) 2010 5-7
Florida (Tim Tebow) 2010 8-5
Oklahoma (Sam Bradford) 2010 12-2
Texas Tech (Graham Harrell) 2009 9-4
Missouri (Chase Daniel) 2009 8-5
Hawaii (Colt Brennan) 2008 7-7
Oregon (Dennis Dixon) 2008 10-3
Ohio State (Troy Smith) 2007 11-2
Notre Dame (Brady Quinn) 2007 3-9

•••

Boise State senior linebacker J.C. Percy has been named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team. Percy has a 3.67 cumulative GPA in finance and leads the team with 80 tackles. He’s now eligible for Academic All-America honors.

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Nice find

Chadd.

Kudos to J.C.

Φ What's it gonna be?

In five days the online Statesman will become a subscription-based website. To what degree access will be restricted for non-subscribers, I don't know and, if details have been published, I haven't seen them. Murph responded to my question during the last chat that blog and chat access would be behind the paywall. It seems safe to assume that access to main articles will be limited either by number or by displaying only partial content to non-subscribers. We've all seen that before (e.g, ESPN's Insider).

I asked a followup question about this during the chat which went unanswered. Perhaps Murph and Chadd didn't know, were not at liberty to discuss, or felt that question was inappropriate.

Obviously, the Statesman needs to generate revenue for its ongoing operation (i.e., survival) and it certainly has every right to do so. Print media has been hammered in recent years. One needs look no further for evidence than the demise of "Life" and "Newsweek". The Seattle P-I left the printed page behind a couple of years ago and became a very good online news source. It must be surviving on ad revenue because I've seen no evidence of a required subscription. Then, its readership vastly outnumbers the Statesman (www.seattlepi.com).

The P-I is a solid example of what an online paper should look like. The Statesman, in its current form, is not. What will the customer be receiving for his/her subscription dollar? If the website retains its present look and features, that's not an improvement for anything other than the McClatchy coffers.

If we must pay for breathing while on a jetliner, paying to read and participate in an online newspaper isn't much of a surprise. But, there should be improvement because right now the Statesman looks like something that needs revision. Perhaps the added revenue will justify that.

One feature that is sorely missing is forums. If you are going to offer content about current events (and charge for it), you need to provide far more interactivity for your customers. Forums are the way to do that, not simply comment sections within articles and blogs. This is not taking a swipe at Murph, Chadd, Popkey, Deeds, or anyone else. The blogs aren't really blogs at all, just short articles in which there is little, if any followup by the author(s). That's a limitation that would be overcome if forums existed and readers could create and discuss topics among themselves. It's also why the articles and blog starts inevitably go off-topic and most often collapse.

I'm guessing that most people here also participate (or have at some time) in true online forums. Most sections of the online Statesman need forums, especially sports and politics. If that isn't provided and we get next week what we see today, what's the point ... especially if one cannot justify the expenditure?

On a different note, advertisers want to know our online behavior. This is why nearly every commercial website employs the use of trackers that record pages we visit, what we click on, how long we are "there", links we follow, etc. It's marketing research that is sold to online advertisers who then can tailor their ads and popups to, in the case of the Statesman, the readers/subscribers. At this moment, the Statesman home page is running 8 trackers [DoubleClick, DoubleClick Floodlight (both owned by Google), Financial Content, Gomez, NetRatings SiteCensus, Omniture, Quantcast, and Yahoo! Overture]. By comparison the P-I home page is running 23 trackers, ESPN 10, CNN 9. Trackers are not like cookies, which are non-interactive. Unless you know about and block trackers, you are providing information that will eventually be sold to advertisers for their marketing purposes.

I didn't purchase the print edition of the Statesman for the advertising or coupons within it. Similarly, I don't read/participate in the online Statesman to see advertisements, popups, or have my browsing tracked. Throwing away print ads or blocking the electronic equivalent is my prerogative ... even if the online media disapproves.

Had to put it somewhere because there are no Statesman forums.

Go Broncos!

So - we won't be seeing you a month from now?

What will we ever do?

VNDL

PS - I know you ain't goin' anywhere. You gonna be here a month from now - just like ugly is. I got your number, Bub.

Razor? What Happened ????

You wrote a prose and actually made good points....did someone write this for you?

I actually agree with what you have said....also, most papers are in financial trouble and the internet and iPhones/iPads is their future, so they will need to standout and have new formats....also, advertising on the net is the best way to pay for the majority of the fees....

on the user end? maybe just an annual fee?

Keep up the good work, your essay above almost shows some 2D thinking....

Movements are much easier in your youth.

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If you still print the same stuff everybody else gets from AP, Reuters and Yahoo! without subtantive local content beyond this, you are doomed to fail wanting money from me.