Idaho: Defensive Keys to the Game

Idaho: Defensive Keys to the Game

Bulldog Playbook breaks down the keys to the game for Fresno State's defense with insight from head coach Tim DeRuyter, defensive coordinator Nick Toth, and outside linebacker Ejiro Ederaine.

1) Keep Chalich in the Pocket

Fresno State's pass rush saw a mobile quarterback for a half last week in Hawaii's Ikaia Woolsey. Idaho quarterback Chad Chalich brings a much greater challenge in talent and experience. Chalich comes off his best game with 310 passing yards and 106 rushing yards against Temple.

"Hawaii's guy tried to run a lot and I feel like it kind of changes up your pass rush lane," said outside linebacker Ejiro Ederaine. "It kind of changes up your path lanes a little bit, but the counter moves become your best friend."

The Bulldogs have 13 sacks on the season and Idaho ranks worst in the FBS in protecting the quarterback, giving up 28 sacks this season. As long as the Bulldogs don't allow Chalich to scramble away from pressure, Fresno State should have a big game behind the line of scrimmage.

"I feel like you've got to really attack the upfield shoulder," Ederaine said. "When you have slow quarterbacks, sometimes you feel like you can just run at them. With a mobile quarterback, you kind of have to anticipate his moves. Anticipate him to spin out or to step up and try to break it. You've got to stay disciplined to your base rules which is to get the upfield shoulder and when you're a leverage rusher to not get out leveraged."

2) Pre-Snap Reads

Idaho will use a multitude of different formations on Saturday. Head coach Paul Petrino is known for his offenses at Louisville, Illinois and Arkansas. Petrino is able to use his schemes to help make up for lack of talent. Fresno State will have to adjust at the line of scrimmage to the Vandal's different attacks or they will be even more vulnerable to giving up the big plays.

"It's a challenge," Defensive Coordinator Nick Toth said. "We've got to do what we do. We've got to recognize a little bit of what they're doing… When they give you something you're not used to you've just got to adapt the best you can. Because there's going to be something unique, they do so much stuff. There's going to be something we haven't seen before."

3) Play 60 Minutes

Fresno State is yet to play a full 60 minutes at a high level this season. The Bulldogs expect the offense to jump out to a big lead for a second straight week, but the defense will need to hold strong to avoid another close finish. If the defense competes in the second half with the same intensity they've had in the first halves this season, the Bulldogs could leave the Kibbie Dome with a large margin of victory.

"We need to play 60 minutes of football and we haven't done that," DeRuyter said. "That's an issue for us right now is playing consistent 60 minutes of football in all three phases. Our goal every week is to improve. We've got a long way to improve from a week ago, particularly in taking care of the football, particularly in not giving up explosive plays. If we can do those kinds of things and play consistent for 60 minutes, the results will take care of themselves." Recommended Stories

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