Boise State’s group of tight ends suffered a big loss when junior tight end Gabe Linehan suffered a hamstring early this season that lingered, and likely will keep him out the rest of the season.
In his place, some young faces have had to step up, namely redshirt freshman Holden Huff and true freshman Hayden Plinke. Huff leads tight ends with seven catches for 104 yards, while Plinke has two grabs for 20 yards. Sophomore Connor Peters has been a strong blocker, and caught a two-point conversion pass at New Mexico.
“Holden’s done a really good job, and really all the guys have, because all their roles have changed a little bit,” tight ends coach Scott Huff said. “… they’re figuring stuff out, they’re going to continue to get better, and I think everybody’s going to be really happy in the next year or so with the young guys we have. These reps are going to be very valuable down the road.”
On the other side of the line, at defensive end, the Broncos have utilized young contributors like redshirt freshman Sam Ukwuachu and sophomores Demarcus Lawrence, Tyler Horn and Beau Martin. Horn had a sack last week, while Martin had a tackle for loss.
“They’ve just been really working hard and really putting the time in to learn these techniques and study film,” defensive line coach Andy Avalos said. “They’ve really been good students of the game. They’ve been very receptive to (defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski) and myself in the things we’re trying to get done with them. The biggest thing is they just go out there and have fun and want to learn and play fast.”
Boise State has been able to easily rotate two groups of defensive linemen – second-teamers like Greg Grimes have been consistent contributors. Even with Lawrence suspended last week, the depth enabled the Broncos to hardly miss a beat.
“Whoever is out on the field is going to do their job … we expect the same things out of all of them,” Avalos said.