Sophomore safety Taylor Loffler thrives in first action with Boise State football team

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com
© 2013 Idaho Statesman

LOFFLER’S ROLE GROWS

Boise State sophomore safety Taylor Loffler sat out the first two years of his college career with torn anterior cruciate ligaments. He tore the ACL in his right knee in high school and re-tore it at Boise State.

Now he’s finally living his college football dream — starting on three special teams units. He already has won the Hammer once.

“It’s been great to finally get back out there,” he said. “I was hurt for two years. Being able to come back, it’s just such a good feeling. Watching your teammates out there is one of the hardest things and being out there with your team is one of the best things.”

Loffler could see more action on defense the rest of the season, too. He began the season as a third-teamer but the season-ending injury to backup Ebo Makinde elevated Loffler to the backup spot at rover, behind Jeremy Ioane.

“I went from reps here and there to going consistently with the twos,” he said. “So I’m getting a lot more reps. … It’s hard being injured — I went through it — but, yeah, it’s a big opportunity to step in and take reps.”

Loffler was one of the top prospects in the 2011 recruiting class. He’s 6-foot-3 and 212 pounds — and his combination of size and athleticism has been apparent on special teams. He’s a key player on the Broncos’ much-improved specialty units.

“Being able to come in on special teams, it shows you can play other positions,” he said. “Everyone works so hard on special teams.”

TIME FOR TURNOVERS

Boise State defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski’s No. 1 item on his defense’s improvement list: “We’ve got to be able to create turnovers. We can’t just rely on offenses to give us the ball. That’s the No. 1 thing. And then keep improving on tackling.”

The Broncos have 11 takeaways this season. Nine of them came against UT Martin or Southern Miss, the two worst opponents.

NOTES & QUOTES

— Utah State is wearing white for a whiteout Saturday. Boise State will wear blue. The game is expected to be the third straight sellout for the Aggies, a program first.

— Utah State coach Matt Wells replaced Gary Andersen this season. Wells had been the offensive coordinator. “I like that there’s more interaction with the players on both sides of the ball, being part of the guys’ lives on more of a personal level,” Wells said. “The hardest is dealing with the administrative and off-the-field issues. Non-football-related stuff on a daily basis, juggling that with football. That’s a new challenge.” He asked several coaches, including Boise State’s Chris Petersen, how to balance the football and non-football responsibilities. “The overwhelming answer I got was, ‘Matt, there’s no Cliffs Notes version and deal with them as they come,’ ” he said.

— Boise State linebacker Corey Bell on the bye week last week: “They kind of sell it to us that by the end of (Utah State week) we should be so tired of looking at film that we don’t want to watch anymore the rest of the year.” Bell, in an interview last week, also said he planned to use his time off to get outdoors. “Hopefully I’ll have a chance to throw some guns in the trick and go out and shoot something,” he said. “Do a little hunting or shoot some clay pigeons or something.” He planned to take some of his out-of-state teammates with him. “I mean, who doesn’t want to go out and shoot some guns?” Bell said. “Everyone wants to, especially if they haven’t ever really been around it.”

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OUR COVERAGE

Monday blog: Highlights from coach Chris Petersen’s press conference, with video
Tuesday story: Tailback Aaron Baltazar will miss the rest of the season
Tuesday blog: Mountain West Football Report
Wednesday story: Utah State tries to replace QB Chuckie Keeton

Live chat: 11:30 a.m. Thursday (sign up for a reminder below)

•••

GAME NOTES

Boise State game notes
Boise State depth chart
Boise State stats
Utah State game notes
Mountain West weekly notes

•••

UTAH STATE COVERAGE

Salt Lake Tribune

Deseret News

You can follow beat writer Kyle Goon on Twitter, @kylegoon.

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GAME FACTS

Boise State at Utah State

When: 6:05 p.m. Saturday

Where: Romney Stadium (25,513, AstroTurf GameDay Grass)

TV: CBS Sports Network (Andrew Catalon, Aaron Taylor, Lauren Gardner); channel 332/410 (HD) on Cable One, 221 on DirecTV and 158 on Dish Network

Radio: KBOI (670AM), KKGL (96.9 FM); Bob Behler, Pete Cavender

Records: Boise State is 3-2 overall, 1-1 Mountain West; Utah State is 3-3, 2-0

Series: Boise State leads 13-4 (BSU 50-14, 2010 in Boise)


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Chadd Cripe has spent the past 12 years as the Boise State football beat writer. You can follow him on Twitter @IDS_BroncoBeat.

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