CALDWELL, Idaho — The College of Idaho Yotes football started practice this week and so far, their defense is shining.
Last season, the team only allowed 18.9 points a game, earning the top defense for points allowed in the entire Frontier Conference. Based on the first week of practice, that trend might continue.
“Love the energy today, super competitive," Defensive Coordinator Chris Jewell said. "(The defense) won today. But it’s not going to always be like that. Talk about offense is going to have their day too, but today the communication and just our guys’ approach was really impressive.”
The team's front seven is stacked. The Yotes' linebacking group is led by returning All-Conference player Dylan Martinez and Tanner Leaf who led the linebackers in sacks last season.
Keagan McCoy coming off the defensive line's edge should be a force for the Yotes. The team's overall sack leader is back after earning an All-Conference honor.
In Thursday's practice, the defensive line repeatedly overwhelmed the offensive line, getting to the quarterback multiple possessions in a row. The defensive line's depth is making Jewell's decisions more difficult.
“Right now, I don’t know," Jewell said about how the line would look at the start of the season. "We’re at least three deep on that defensive line at every single spot and I couldn’t tell you who’s going to be the starter come August 26th.”
The praise of sacks shouldn't just go on the defensive line. Secondary coverage matters. Jewell will be the first to tell you the team's secondary is young and sometimes makes mistakes. But defensive back Bridger Marboe thinks talking fixes that.
“Communication has really been big," Marboe said. "Communicating on defense, everyone is talking, and flying around. Just knowing assignments really.”
Marboe had multiple deflections in coverage throughout practice.
Communication helps Jewell with his job too. The more people talking on defense, the more coaching gets done.
“That's the big thing with our defense," Jewell said. "They're all communicating and working it out. Those guys when they make mistakes are talking to the vets. I probably got 22 coaches in that two-deep, as far as having coaches on the field that are helping coach the young guys so when you get that going they’re taking dudes on to the side and working with them as well.”