BOISE, Idaho Everyone has heard of the freshman-15 but who has heard of putting on the freshman-30? Well that is what Boise State freshman defensive end Ryan Winterswyk had since spring 2006 as he converted from outside linebacker to the defensive line.
Winterswyk recorded 150 tackles and two interceptions his senior year as a free safety at La Habra High School in Calif., before joining the Broncos in the spring of 2006 as a walk on linebacker. He was only 235 lbs., when he arrived in Boise, but he bulked up 30 lbs., as he added strength to battle in the trenches.
“About the second week I was here they (the coaches) said I needed to play defensive line,” Winterswyk said. “It was awkward, I had never been in a three-point stance but I learned the position and I want to get playing.”
There will be a whole new set of challenges for Winterswyk as he makes the adjustment from the secondary to the defensive line.
“It is a whole different world in the secondary,” Winterswyk said. “You are thinking constantly (in the secondary). As a defensive lineman it is a huge physical battle, we have to win the one-on-one.”
Defensive line coach Pete Kwiatkowski wants his defensive ends to be well-rounded players that can have an impact in the running and passing game.
“I want our guys to be physical against the run and when it is a passing situation guys that can get up the field to get after the quarterback,” Kwiatkowski said. “They (the defensive ends) got to play hard, they got to play fast and they have to use their intelligence to help them in their pass rush.”
The group Bronco fans will see coming off the edge will include a diverse mix of talent.
Nick Schlekeway, 6’4”, 256 lbs., senior, started 13 games for the Broncos in 2006 and finished eighth on the team with 45 tackles.
“Nick is a caption and senior leader,” Kwiatkowski said. “He brings that work ethic everyday and he is always working to get better everyday, so he is a good example for the young guys and the other guys in the program. He is the glue of the defensive line right now.”
Mike T. Williams, 6’4”, 245 lbs., junior, was a co-starter on the 2006 team. He finished the season with 22 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and four sacks.
“He is an explosive guy that has a lot of energy and emotion,” Kwiatkowski said. “He is always going to bring that (energy) on game days and in practice.”
Ryan Winterswyk, 6’4”, 259 lbs., freshman, redshirted for the Broncos during the 2006 season.
“Ryan got a lot of reps this fall,” Kwiatkowski said. “He has gotten better and he continues to strive to get better. We expect big things out of him.”
Chuck Hayes, 6’3”, 250 lbs., freshman, played his high school football in Aurora, Colo.
“He is freshman that is swimming a little right now,” Kwiatkowski said. “But he is very strong, loves football and plays with a great motor, we just have to get him to understand the position better.”
Jeff Lowe, 6’1”, 235 lbs., senior, transferred to Boise State as a defensive end and long snapper.
“He has been solid,” Kwiatkowski said. “He could get in the mix, you never know what will happen down the road.”
Jarrell Root, 6’3”, 233 lbs., freshman, played his high school football at Capitol High School in Boise, Idaho.
“He is very quick and athletic,” Kwiatkowski said. “We have to get him in the playbook, knowing the calls, knowing the defense and how to play the position because he is a guy that could play this year.”
Drew Tavares, 6’4”, 261 lbs., junior, joined the team in January 2007.
“He was a track guy so he has some work to do to catch up with the rest of the guys,” Kwiatkowski said.
Steven Reveles, 6’1”, 266 lbs., junior, redshirted during the 2006 season.
“Reveles is an awesome effort guy,” Kwiatkowski said. “He brings it everyday, is always getting better and he just has to keep battling to fill his role on the defensive line. He better be ready if someone goes down because his number will be called.”
The defensive ends will be looking to prove all season to Bronco football fans that they are the hardest working guys on the field.