WSU’s defense says it’s ready to take on Boise State and the Broncos’ two quarterbacks

Boise State needs its young offensive line to grow up quickly when the Broncos face 20th-ranked WSU and its experienced defense

Over the years, Boise State has been known more for its offense than its defense.

After all, the program is synonymous with the infamous Statue of Liberty play that they pulled out in their upset win over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. And it doesn’t matter that the head coach from that game – Chris Petersen – has since moved on to UW.

Current Boise State coach Bryan Harsin was the offensive coordinator in 2007, and he’s maintained that offensive tradition at Boise State both in terms of gimmickry — that Statue of Liberty play was deployed again to beat Oregon State last season – and lethality.

Boise State (1-0) was ranked 21st nationally in total offense last season, averaging 472.8 offensive yards per game. And that’s down from the 501.5 yards per game the Broncos averaged in 2015, when they ranked 15th nationally in total offense.

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So it’s a little surprising that the Broncos team that will take on 20th-ranked Washington State (1-0) at Martin Stadium on Saturday night (7:30 p.m., ESPN) is trying to rebound from one of its less impressive offensive showings in recent memory.

The Broncos tallied 357 offensive yards in their season opening win over Troy, but gave up four sacks and converted 9 of 19 third downs – while going 0-for-4 on fourth down – in a game that was won on the strength of its defense and special teams play.

Part of the issue is that Boise State was breaking in four new offensive linemen – left tackle Ezra Cleveland and left guard Garrett Larson made their first career starts; right guard John Molchon was starting the fourth game of his career, and mysteriously, veteran right tackle Archie Lewis suited up but did not play. Instead, junior Andres Preciado made his first career start at right tackle.

Put it all together, and it was a little chaotic on the Broncos’ front line.

Quarterback Brett Rypien said the overall communication needs to improve and “that’s something we’re still working on and hoping we can make a jump in from Week 1 to Week 2.”

“There’s some inexperience there, but we need to play faster on the offensive line and we need to play better,” Harsin said. “We need to be more physical on the offensive line. These guys better take what they learned in that…

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