The first, last and only NFL team to go undefeated and win the Super Bowl up to date was the Miami Dolphins in 1972.
Their offense gained most of the press for their accomplishments, but their defense–deemed the “No Name Defense” was just as much a part of their team’s success.
Life after Kellen has been one of the hottest topics, since Bronco fans actually had to grasp the fact that he would graduate and move on.
But whoever is awarded the commander-in-chief position under center will need all the help he can get from the Broncos defensively too.
When a team loses three starters upfront to the NFL draft—Shea McClellin, Billy Winn and Tyrone Crawford—it can be tough to replace that kind of talent immediately.
Returning senior Mike Atkinson and junior Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe have the size and ability to join the elite listed above at the next level and should stuff the middle of the defensive line. Tyler Horn, a defensive end, is expected to continue to progress on the edge as well.
Senior linebacker J.C. Percy, who Head Coach Chris Petersen has called “the smartest man in Boise,” will be an extension of the defensive coaches on the field, while roaming sideline to sideline.
The nickel position will come down to sophomore Corey Bell and senior Dextrell Simmons. Aside from being physical players, they both will bring a different dynamic to the defense.
The Broncos return household names at the cornerback spot in seniors Jerrell Gavins and Jamar Taylor. Gavins missed last season due to injury, after a promising opening win over Georgia, while Taylor battled injuries throughout the season. They have the ability to change the game while out on their island and will no doubt be solid independently.
“I think both of those guys will do big things,” one of last season’s starting safeties who graduated, Cedric Febis said.
Gone along with Febis, is Mr. Reliable George Iloka at free safety, leaving the last line of defense with a new cast.
A pair of sophomores, Lee Hightower and Jeremy Ioane are expected to fill the void.
Ioane, one of the highest profile recruits for BSU in recent years, should replace Febis, and is rumored to be finally settling in and ready to be a playmaker.
This defense may not have the big names now, but given time they will make one.