Perhaps no unit on the
In 2006, the Broncos boasted one
of the best linebacker units in the country. Korey Hall,
In 2007, the linebackers entered the season with the intention of building on that success. Instead, the season was marred from the beginning with the disappointing loss to Washington. The defense gave up almost 400 yards rushing in the overtime win against Nevada, and they got torched by Hawaii and mauled by East Carolina to close the season with two losses.
2008 is about redemption.
Just as sophomore Derrell Acrey was
about to finally take over as the starting middle linebacker, promising
freshman Aaron Tevis has grabbed his spot for the opener against
Acrey has a physical prowess the likes of which Boise State Football has seldom recruited. However, Acrey needs to catch up with the mental aspect of the game. This should be the year Acrey puts together the athleticism and enthusiasm with the disciplined assignment football, as he has been dominant in fall camp.
Senior Kyle Gingg enters his third year as a starter. After a stint at middle linebacker last season, Bronco coaches were hoping they could move Gingg to the outside. With Acrey's demotion, Gingg will once again play middle linebacker against the Bengals at least. Gingg moves into a leadership role with this team after leading it last year in tackles. Gingg has good speed and athleticism, but he needs to grow into a coach on the field and improve his pass coverage, as he still has never intercepted a pass.
Senior Tim Brady will start at outside
linebacker for a second straight year. The former Bishop Kelly quarterback,
Brady is athletic and a sack machine. He provided the one defensive highlight
Senior Dallas Dobbs was a partial starter last year and made a profound impact. He led the team in interceptions as a middle linebacker. While he may not be as athletic as Derrell Acrey, he made plays in the pass defense last year that no other linebacker could make. Dobbs will see the field plenty this year.
Junior College transfer Daron Mackey
was a third team JC All-American at
Dan Paul has the strength to literally throw guys to the ground. He claimed first place in the Oregon Weightlifting Championships, benching 355, power cleaning 355 and squatting 615 pounds.
Hunter White was named special teams scout player of the year in his redshirt year and will star for that unit. That same passion and intensity will also give White an excellent shot at linebacker this fall as well.
These student-athletes don't want to go through another year and then hear all off-season how bad the linebacking crew did. The word in fall camp is that they've responded with heart, soul and hard-hitting. In just three days, we'll find out if that practice can be translated to game day.
Up next, the last defense: The Bronco secondary!