Yes, they lost the game 28-19, but the Boise State defense did some very good things on Saturday. In fact, they dominated some key elements of the game.
After losing so many starters from last year's squad, most fans probably thought the defense would be far behind come spring time.
Gone from last year's team are two of the best cornerbacks to ever suit up for Boise State in Jerrell Gavins and Jamar Taylor. Gone also is the dominating combo of linebackers J.C. Percy and Tommy Smith.
The Broncos also lost key members of the D-line and a few key backups.
However, if you watched the spring game, you probably realized that Boise State is not hurting for defensive talent.
In fact, there were some pretty incredible displays Saturday.
For starters, the cornerback situation was the biggest concern for most going into the spring. Gavins and Taylor were incredible, and nearly impossible to replace.
However, players like Chaz Anderson, Deon'tae Florence, Cleshawn Page and Donte Deayon are stepping it up, and in the spring game they looked quite capable.
Are they up to Taylor and Gavins' level?
No, not yet, but they are doing some really good things. On the day, Donte Deayon led the group with five tackles and an interception that he promptly ran back for a touchdown.
It was an impressive play, and his coverage most of the day was equally impressive.
Darin Barrett had four tackles while Cleshawn Page and Deon'tae Florence added three each. However, the most impressive thing that all of them did was display solid pass coverage most of the day.
They were also aggressive, fast and swarmed to the ball.
Starting safety Jeremy Ioane didn't dress for the Broncos, but Chanceller James, Dillon Lukehart, Taylor Loffler and Ebo Makinde all stepped up and had some good moments.
It looked to the naked eye that the speed and talent are there for the Broncos secondary to continue having success in 2013.
What do Blake Renaud, Ben Weaver, Travis Saxton, Andrew Pint, Darren Lee and Dustin Kamper have in common? Well, besides the fact that they are all linebackers for the Broncos, they all looked good on Saturday.
The best performance of the day for linebackers went to Blake Renaud. He led the team with eight tackles and looked dominant at times. He was everywhere on the field and looked hungry on every play.
Travis Saxton and Ben Weaver had seven tackles each, and both of them look to be ready for serious playing time this fall. They were aggressive and looked very comfortable out there.
Darren Lee and Dustin Kamper each had a couple of plays where they showed promise.
Overall, if this game was any indication of how the linebackers are going to play this fall, it means good things for the Broncos and their fans.
Demarcus Lawrence is just a beast on the defensive side of the ball. On the day, he had seven tackles, one of those for a loss and a sack.
However, he may have some company in the "beast" category.
JUCO transfer Deuce Mataele made his Blue debut by making several fans say, "Who was that?"
Six tackles, a couple of them brutal and two of them for a loss, made Boise State fans take notice. There has been a buzz about him around town, but to see him in action had to validate the rumors for many.
Deuce Mataele is going to do good things for the Broncos.
Sam McCaskill, Beau Martin and Armand Nance had their moments, as did Tyler Horn.
Horn actually intercepted a pass on the day. Something that Michael Atkinson would be proud of. However, Horn didn't make it to the end zone.
Still, it was an impressive display.
The Broncos look like they have a very good defense once again. However, as most fans know, it usually comes down to depth.
Last season, key losses like Michael Atkinson hurt Boise State down the stretch. To make another BCS run in 2013, the health of the defense will matter.
There were players who sat out Saturday's contest. Linebacker Tyler Gray was a notable absence, as was defensive end Kharyee Marshall and the previously mentioned Jeremy Ioane.
One of the best cornerbacks the Broncos have was out as well. Bryan Douglas is expected to be a starter this fall, but had an injury this spring. All indications are that he will be ready by the time the season rolls around.
If Boise State can stay healthy on defense, the 2013 version may be as good as the 2012 version. No one is crazy enough to say the Broncos will be better, right?
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