Making Names for Themselves

Who will fill the shoes of (fill in the blank of a great Bronco senior)? The media has consistently doubted Boise State's chances over the last five years. Last year's success (and again you can fill in the blank pertaining to the year) was a fluke, they say. This year, you have the departure of two incredible Broncos--Korey Hall and Colt Brooks. How can they possibly replace them, you ask?

When one considers a team's strengths and weaknesses going into a new season, the first category to consider is experience. Going into the 2006 season, the Boise State Broncos had plenty of experience at the linebacker position. Korey Hall and Colt Brooks formed arguably the best linebacker tandem in Boise State history, making the Bronco defense an elite run-stopping force, ranking 6th nationally in rush defense.

 

This year's linebacker core lacks experience, but aims to make up for it with superior talent and depth. Two partial starters return this year, juniors Kyle Gingg (5-11, 220) and David Shields (6-1, 220). Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketGingg started the first half of the season at the "Will" linebacker position, but yielded the job to Shields because of intermittent injuries. Gingg finished fourth on the team with 50 tackles and also had four tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two pass breakups, a forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

Both are strong against the run, but need to improve in pass coverage, as neither intercepted a pass last year. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketShields, who had 39 tackles including five for loss last year, has the WLB position locked up going into fall ball, and Gingg will play either in the middle or the "Sam" position, depending upon who steps up to fill the third spot in Defensive Coordinator Justin Wilcox's 4-3 defensive scheme.  Gingg was fourth on the team with 50 tackles last season while Shields was ninth with 39 stops.

 

 Two very talented individuals will be battling in fall ball for the starting job, but look for both Darrell Acrey and Tim Brady to see plenty of playing time. Acrey, (6-2, 230) a redshirt freshman, hopes to become the next four year starter at MLB, following in the footsteps of Korey Hall. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketAcrey is a phenomenal athlete with great size and speed, but he needs to prove that he can play disciplined assignment football, a necessity at MLB. The coaches have high hopes for him--he was named defensive scout player of the year last season, his redshirt year. The Sporting News is buying into him as well, selecting Acrey as the Preseason Western Athletic Conference Defensive Newcomer of the Year. Acrey's high school statistics at Redlands East Valley High School are startling--304 tackles, five sacks, six fumble recoveries, two blocked field goals, three interceptions and two-time all-league honors.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketWhile Acrey is trying to follow in the footsteps of Hall, junior Tim Brady (6-1, 207) is hoping to take Brooks' place.  Both are former Bishop Kelly quarterbacks turned Boise State linebackers. Brady had a tremendous spring that included an interception returned for a touchdown. What Brady lacks in size, he makes up for with speed and awareness.

 

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketLook for Josh Bean (6-2, 229, Sr.), Dallas Dobbs (6-2, 219, Jr.), and converted safety Ellis Powers (5-10, 206, Jr.) to make plays on special teams and nip at the heels of the starters. Mike Altieri (5-11, 224) hopes to have a strong senior campaign after coming back from his injury last year. He looked strong in last Friday's scrimmage.

New players are waiting their turn as well. Ben Chandler (6-3, 220) is coming off a greyshirt year--he could redshirt this year or contribute. Dave Wilson (6-1, 213, freshman), Travis Stanaway (5-10, 190) both walked on to the program and show promise. Cody Darrington is from where else but Korey Hall's hometown; he too is a walk-on freshman. is another walk-on. Hunter White (5-11, 205) and Aaron Tevis (6-3, 219) are two of the top recruits from last year's amazing class and may redshirt. Even though the Broncos lack significant experience, look for the linebackers to be the strength of the defense.    


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