BOISE, Idaho — Through the first three weeks of the 2021 season, the Boise State Broncos are 1-2, with two losses being decided by less than a touchdown. First-year head coach Andy Avalos and the rest of his coaching staff admit it's not up to the standard Bronco football.
Under Avalos, the Boise State coaching staff is not shy from taking accountability for mistakes and taking criticism in stride. Unfortunately, the Broncos' coaching staff is likely having to do that more often than they'd like to.
Following Boise State's 31-36 loss to the University of Central Florida in week one, Avalos and his staff took accountability for not getting the players prepared well enough. Now, after their week three 21-20 loss to Oklahoma State University at home on The Blue, the Broncos' coaching staff is honing in on the team's execution and consistency on both sides of the ball.
During his press conference on Monday, Avalos said there are no moral victories from the team's loss against the Cowboys on Saturday night and the team has to learn and improve from their mistakes.
"We understand what the standard is here and we are not meeting that standard, each and every day and that's where the consistency has to come into play, we've obviously shown flashes of what we're capable of becoming, we just need to be way more consistent," Avalos said.
He added that consistency starts with the coaches and how they model what consistency needs to look like.
Following their second loss of the season, Boise State will be on the road in week four when they take on the Utah State Aggies in Logan, Utah. According to Avalos, Mountain West Conference play has always been the Broncos' goal so the team will now be able to turn their attention to league games.
As the Broncos move into the slate of conference games in their schedule, Avalos said the team is moving quickly to make the adjustments needed so the team avoids any more second-half woes.
"We've had some great conversations as coaches, we feel good about our plan moving forward, we actually had some great conversations today after practice with the players, and they're excited about it too," he said.
With now two losses on the season, Avalos said losing is a feeling that he never likes but regardless of a game's outcome, they need to be honest with their evaluations of how everything went for the team and coaches need to explain to players how to improve.
"It's our responsibility as coaches to provide them the concept, the confidence through having answers and solutions so that we can move forward and grow into what we're capable of becoming because we've shown it, we're just not consistent with it right now," Avalos said.
The Broncos' potential and promise have been seen in each of their three games; Boise State was able to keep UCF's offense in check and jump out to a 21-0 lead over the Knights, in week two, the Broncos only needed one quarter to put up 31 points against UTEP, and Boise State was able to keep a Big 12 offense in Oklahoma State from airing it out on offense and getting into Bronco territory.
With that potential, which has the talent of being a Top 25 ranked team, the team needs to find out how to be consistent with their play, on both offense and defense.
For offensive coordinator Tim Plough, the team needs to be consistent with the pre-snap offense, execution of assignments, both individually and collectively, and on finishing drives and games.
"I just think those three levels, if we can get those more consistent, I think we'll see not only success in the first half, like we've had, but we'll see success through the entirety of the game, which is what we're after," Plough said in Monday's press conference.
Part of building that consistency on offense, according to Plough, is to build confidence through mastering the fundamentals and techniques.
"It starts with me, I gotta, I gotta make sure we're putting the guys in the right place to be consistent so that our guys can be confident, and we can run the ball consistently entirety of the game and we will do that," Plough said. "We'll get it figured out."
On defense, the Oklahoma State Cowboys gashed the Broncos for a team total of 246 rushing yards after the UCF Knights ran for 255 yards on the ground against Boise State in week one.
Through three games, the Broncos have a total of just 206 rushing yards on offense.
The Broncos' rush defense issues fall first and foremost on co-defensive coordinator Spencer Danielson, he said during Monday's press conference.
"It starts with me and making sure our guys are prepared and put them in the right situations to execute," he said.
Danielson added that the rush defense isn't up to the standards of Boise State football but said he believes they have the plan and players to turn things around, which the Broncos' defense did in the second half against Oklahoma State.
He said that as a coach, "it was cool to see our players go out and execute" after the coaches made adjustments on defense when they figured out what Oklahoma State was trying to do with their run game. Danielson said it wasn't a perfect second half, but it showed how the defense playing like how they believe they can. Now, it's a matter of making that consistent through four whole quarters.
Danielson also explained that the Broncos faced two power-backs against UCF and Oklahoma State, who could also punish defenses for their mistakes by taking it to the house, which Cowboys running back Jaylen Warren did with a 75-yard rushing touchdown against Boise State's defense in the second quarter.
In order to slow down and take down these bruising power running backs, Danielson said the defense needs to focus on taking out the player's legs, motor because they can plow through high tackles.
Whether or not the 2021 Boise State football team can be consistent through a whole game remains to be seen. The Broncos' next game is on the road against the Utah State Aggies at 10 a.m. MT on Saturday, Sept. 25.
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